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Teaching Excellence Center

General Advising Scenarios with Answers


Helping Your Students Find Answers:  Practice Scenarios


1. Denise wants to make additional progress towards her degree requirements by taking courses at a community college near her parents’ home next summer.  Can you recommend a resource that will help her select courses?

2. Joseph, a new freshman, has lots of questions about pending credits for the AP exams he took in high school, but no credits have been awarded yet.  Where can he learn more about AP at SFA?

3. Monica is thinking of switching from accounting to marketing.  Or maybe communication?  How can she review the differences in degree requirements and “try on” different majors?

4. Brandon took Music 140 again last semester, as you advised him to do after he failed it the semester before.  He noticed that the original “F” is still affecting his cumulative GPA.  What might be the reason?

5. Michelle asks if you think she might be a good candidate for taking CLEP tests in place of some general education courses.  Which traits in Michelle might convince you that she’d be successful at this?  Where can she find more information about CLEP?

6. Sonya worries that she is in the wrong major, but she seems to know little about degree requirements or career choices.  You’re not so sure she will change fields, but you agree to help her explore her options.  What might you suggest that she do between now and the next registration period?

7. Trey has emailed you to complain about being required to get advised every semester, though he’s only a freshman.  What will you say to convince him that advising is a good use of his time?

8. Tiffany is discouraged.  She is required to take developmental courses in reading, writing and math, and she feels that she will never get started on her “real classes.”  What advice do you have for her?




1. Visit, and click on “Transfer Equivalency.”  Depending on her situation, you may want to review hours-in-residence requirements, limits on junior college transfer hours, and rules governing grades for transfer work.

2. See pages 56 and 57 in the ­2005-2006 General Bulletin.  Visit, and click on “College Board Advanced Placement (AP).”  When in doubt, or when credits have not been applied, check with the Admission Office to verify that scores are on file.

3. Show the student how to log on to MySFA if needed.  She should visit “My Services,” “Registration and Schedule,” then “Degree Audit” under “Student Records.”  She can also review degree requirements in the General Bulletin, pick up department-published materials on the new major, and check in with her Dean’s office about degree plan changes.

4. Watch out for those courses with different topics for different sections.  Students must repeat the same topic for the grade repeat policy to apply.  Brandon probably took different music topics.  Such courses include MUS 140, ENG 374 and KIN 200.  Others, anyone?

5. Visit, and click on “College Level Examination Program (CLEP).”  Note that no credit is awarded at SFA for certain CLEP tests, so students should consult this list before choosing an exam.  Successful CLEP students have a background in the subject, the self-discipline to set up a study plan and finish it, and low anxiety about standardized or computerized testing.

6. Have her talk with professors in other programs and pick up major information in the department, the Admission office, or the Advising Center.  Great assessment and research tools are available to SFA students online.  TypeFocus is available at with Site Password ste344.  SIGI3 can be found through MySFA on the “My Success” site.  You can also access these sites for answers to career-related questions.  Students should follow up with a counselor in Career Services, Rusk 3rd Floor.

7. Let’s make this answer up as we go. . .

8. Take the courses seriously.  Finish the requirements quickly to stay on track.  Consult the Advising Center about any retesting needs.  Get support from the AARC.  Remember that former developmental students graduate every year from colleges all around the country.  Remind her that she was admitted because we think she can succeed in college work, even if she is required by state regulations to strengthen her skills early on.