Peer Advising 101: Most Common Questions and How I Google Answers

Peer advisers receive a lot questions that could be answered if the many UC Davis websites were more easily navigable. Much of the peer adviser work comes in the form of knowing what to Google and how to navigate through UC Davis websites to find relevant information. Here are some of the most frequent reasons for visiting a peer adviser and what I will Google to help answer them.

Graduation check

In my experience, the most common reason for seeking BASC drop-in advising is for a graduation check. Graduation checks involve checking miscellaneous college and university requirements in addition to major and general education requirements. I usually find the above links with a Google search similar to this:

basc degree requirements

Seniors who are seeking a pre-graduation degree check will be referred to their major adviser due to the importance of such a check. However, peer advisers are happy to help students who have questions about their major requirements or GE progress. In the BASC office, we use a paper copy of the GE requirements as a visual reference for explaining the overlap rules and which requirements are satisfied by major courses. Degree requirement PDFs for each CBS major are available on their respective BASC website pages (Select Major > left sidebar > Major Requirements (B.S/A.B.)).

basc major requirements

Alternatively, you can find degree requirements on the general catalog.

I will also pull up the student’s OASIS and MyDegree.

mydegree google.PNG

MyDegree provides a visualization of one’s progress in GE and major requirements as per their OASIS record. Ignore the “degree progress” bar at the top of MyDegree and focus on what it says about the completion of each requirement. Always compare MyDegree alongside OASIS in case MyDegree omits a class. Mistakes sometimes arise through MyDegree, so use the resource with caution and clarify any possible mistakes with a major adviser.

Schedule planning

The second most common reason for seeing a peer adviser seems to be to plan upcoming schedules. I will still bring up OASIS and MyDegree to keep track of what courses they have taken already. Schedule Builder is an obvious resource for planning schedules and checking course offerings for the following quarter. For planning more than one quarter ahead, I google two additional things:

ucd-general-catalog-google-1.png

On the general catalog, I navigate to “Departments, Programs, & Degrees”. This brings up a full list of departments within the University. If planning the order to take upper division BIS courses, for example, select the Biological Sciences department and then navigate to the BIS courses tab in the upper right. This provides a full list of BIS courses, their descriptions, and prerequisites.

general catalog
The tabs next to BIS courses contain degree requirements for B.S. and A.B. in Biological Sciences.

My second google search:

ucd-class-search-tool-google-e1551735151379.png

The course search tool allows us to look back in time at what courses were offered during past quarters. This can help give an idea of when courses are offered in the future. For example, if CHE 8A has been offered every Fall and Spring for the last three years, but never in Winter, we have good reason to believe it will continued to be offered in Fall and Spring but not Winter. Another way to check when courses might be offered in the future is through the OASIS academic plan tool (Forms and Petitions > Submit A New Form > Academic Plan). If you select a course on a quarter it is not typically offered, the academic plan will warn you with a small red warning next to that course.

ACADEMIC PLAN

Is it too late to drop a course?

Another very common type of question I get is “how do I add, drop, P/NP a course? / is it too late to drop, add, P/NP a course?” To answer the second question, I generally google:

ucd calendar google

The UC Davis academic calendar outlines important deadlines each quarter, including last day to add classes, drop classes, opt for P/NP, and add/drop with a PTA/PTD.

The question of how depends on what action they are trying to take. If adding, dropping, swapping sections, or electing P/NP before the relevant deadline, simply use schedule builder. Click Edit next to Letter Grading to change to P/NP, and click Actions to Swap sections or drop.

svched build

Late adding a course is also done through schedule builder after receiving the PTA from the professor. Late dropping requires adviser approval, and the petition is initiated through OASIS.

Conclusion

Web searching may seem menial, but with these simple Google searches and knowing how to navigate the links I provide above, the majority of questions I get from other students seeking drop-in advising can be answered. The amount of information available spread across innumerable UCD websites can be daunting when trying to figure out (for example) “can I graduate?” Concise Google searches and knowing where first to look is how peer advisers answer those sort of questions for students every day.

Justin Waskowiak
BASC Peer Advisor
4th Year, Genetics and Genomics major

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