At colleges across the university’s campus, students huddled around booths under banners imprinted with their majors, gathered at tables with advisors and professors, or sat at desks classroom-style listening to presentations, all with the same goal in mind – to better prepare for semester conversion.
Instead of a campuswide gathering in the quad, this quarter’s Pizza with the Presidents, dubbed “The Semester Conversion College Tour,” offered students more personalized assistance with each college hosting its own event.
President Soraya M. Coley and ASI President Farris Hamza briefly visited each college during the Feb. 13 event, shaking hands and encouraging students to work with their advisors, department chairs and professors to get ready for the switch, which goes into effect on Aug. 23, the first day of the fall semester.
Chris Konieczny, a graduate student studying landscape architecture, said he appreciated the one-on-one time with advisors and department representatives.
“It was a great opportunity for personal dialogue with the teachers we have this year and the teachers we will have in the future to hear about changes to our program,” he said.
Fellow landscape architecture graduate student Morgan Ruby said hearing the questions other students asked helped her get additional information.
“The best way was the group session where we were able to hear everyone’s questions and the answers,” she said. “Normally we go to our advisor on our own and we might not think of the same follow-up questions. I feel like this way, we heard more of a full story.”
A fear of not getting the classes needed to graduate and changes to sequence courses were among students’ chief concerns.
“I don’t feel prepared,” said Jacqueline Ayala, a communications sophomore, while in line for pizza. “I just feel like maybe I am taking classes that won’t count in semester because in my communications department, they have been changing a lot of classes. I am worried that some classes are available and some aren’t, so I am stressed. I want to graduate in four years, so it’s important to me.”
Losing credit for completed courses has been a common misconception. Under a pledge the university has made, students will not lose credits they’ve completed before conversion. All students have the option of continuing to follow the quarter curriculum of classes outlined when they started their programs. If they opt to switch to the semester curriculum, they can work with their academic advisor on a plan. More information on how students can switch is forthcoming.
Taylor Hennessy, a senior majoring in chemical and materials engineering, said she has concerns about a class in a series that is only offered once a year. John Chao, a freshman studying chemical and materials engineering, said wondered how retaking a class in the semester system would affect grades.
Students were urged to talk to their academic advisors and department about any concerns they might have regarding the transition. Also key is filling out their MyPlanner, a tool in Bronco Direct that helps students chart the courses needed as they move toward graduation. The university also relies on MyPlanner to see which classes are in high demand or must be taken as part of a sequence so that more sections can be added.
Academic policies are currently being revised in the Academic Senate.
ASI President Farris Hamza also encouraged his fellow students to talk to their advisors, chairs, deans and ASI if they had any concerns or questions.
“This highlights how important of a transition this is for us,” he said. “I know other CSUs have gone through this and we want to make sure it’s as perfect as it can be for you.
Several of the students said they feel prepared for the change.
“I’m not minding semester conversion too much,” said Steven Beadle, a sophomore majoring in sociology. “I feel confident.”
Melanie Ortiz, a junior majoring in Spanish, said she is not new to semesters, so the adjustment won’t be tough.
“I think I am prepared for semester conversion, especially after speaking with advisors,” she said. “I saw how they took a lot of notes. Hopefully, my time goes by pretty fast. And I’m used to semesters because I had the semester system before transferring.”
For more information and resources, visit the Semester Conversion website.