Program Completion planning ultimately is your responsibility. Unfortunately, many students near the end of their programs find out too late they are missing a course requirement and cannot graduate as scheduled.
- Understand Post-Secondary Jargon
Each program and industry has its own jargon, it's own language and the terms used differ with career, vocational, technical, and academic programs. Take the time to understand the words associated with your specific program so you are comfortable choosing courses to meet your program requirements and career goals. Learn the terminology used in your specific area of study.
- Develop a Relationship with your Academic Advisor
Advisors in the post-secondary system do a phenomenal job, but it is not their job to monitor your progress. See them early in your planning process AND at least a year before you plan to complete your studies. As you move towards meeting your graduation requirements, check your progress each semester. Don’t put yourself in a position where you have to take extra courses near the end of a program because you overlooked a requirement. And don't corner yourself into taking a number of very demanding courses all at one time! Double check program requirement information regularly. Refer to your institute’s academic calendar, talk to a program coordinator or faculty member and see an advisor.
- Remember, Don’t Rely on Technology Alone
Most institutions now use degree audit programs that can be accessed through your personal account assigned by the institution. These programs and tools can help with program planning and completion. It is essential to learn to use these systems but remember, no database cares about meeting your program planning requirements as much as you do. If the computer program has a glitch and fails to give you proper advice it’s not the one that won’t graduate on time. Double check your information and monitor your progress.
- Seek Career Planning Advice Early
Early in your studies seek career planning advice from a career advisor. Some institutions offer career advice as part of their academic advising services. However, other institutions have separate career advisors in their career centres. Career advisors can help explore occupations that are available to you on graduation. They can also help you decide what part-time jobs, or work integrated learning opportunities you can participate in to improve your future employment outlook.
- Check with Others About Your Plan
Even after you have visited advisors, and checked and re-checked your progress, it is helpful to have a fellow student, friend or faculty member, who is familiar with the requirements of your program, check to see how the courses you have selected are meshing with the overall requirements of your program and your career goals. Faculty members are great career mentors and can provide realistic advice about how to connect your studies to your career goals.