The picture above is easily the best picture I’ve seen in four years. Do you see that beautiful green pie graph? It illustrates the depth of my satisfaction knowing that in just one more semester I will be a college graduate. I’ll clarify now and say that I didn’t just write this post to brag (though the idea was tempting) but rather to express just how vitally important it is to keep an eye on your degree audit report (DARS). That little pie graph is so wonderfully green because I always kept close tabs on what classes I’d taken and what I still had left to worry about.
Over the last four years I’ve checked my DARS excessively. Sometimes, I’d even check it twice a day just to make extra sure that I was going to graduate someday. Now I’m not encouraging my level of obsession (it’s exhausting!), but knowing what’s on your DARS is incredibly important, especially as you get further along in your college career.
Basically, the DARS is your roadmap to graduation. It tells you your standing GPA, your completed classes, the general education requirements and the requirements for your majors and minors all in one place.
And here’s the kicker: it’s your job to be on top of it. Even though your advisor will always be willing to help you figure things out, they likely have dozens of other students to help as well so they will not be able to track all of your progress.
Having a grasp on what you’re expected to accomplish will not only make your college career smoother, it will make your advisor’s job easier. Rather than going into their office and asking “Which classes do I need to take?” you can ask questions like “Between these two classes that I’m required to take, which do you recommend for my focus?” This will help narrow the problem down significantly.
Considering all of this, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of being aware of your progress. I have a close friend who got to her last semester only to realize that she didn’t take a class that she needed to graduate. Though she still walked in the commencement, she had to come back over the summer and finish the last class in order to receive her diploma. She could have easily fit the class in much earlier in her college career; she just didn’t realize it was a requirement.
This problem could have been easily dealt with had she checked (and double-checked) her DARS before her last semester. Plus, I still give her a hard time about it even though she did eventually graduate. I’m a good friend that way.
So this is me being a good friend to you, readers. Don’t put off checking your DARS. Make lists of the classes you have left, or print off the report and highlight the classes you want to take, However you do it just make sure it gets done.
Besides, if you check it regularly you get the immense satisfaction of seeing that little pie-graph at the top turn all green. That almost makes the effort worth it in itself.