Short On Credits? Here’s How A Degree Audit Will Help You Graduate On Time

Everyday challenges can quickly add up for a college student. Be it a change in major, taking on too many electives, or poor class attendance, a lot can happen on the path to college graduation. With so much going on, students can easily find themselves a few credits short of graduating with not enough time to catch up.

That’s where we come in. We’re here to make sure you know how to use your graduation degree audit to help you meet your educational goals with these 6 helpful tips.

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Understand your degree audit

You cannot understand your degree audit without having done at least some degree planning. And the better you understand your degree audit, the more helpful a tool it will be. In short, your college graduation audit compares your coursework with your academic degree program and displays your progress against your degree program’s requirements.

What you need to know:

  • Current Earned Credits = Total number of credits completed toward graduation
  • Current Remaining Credits = Total number of credits needed to graduate
  • Anticipated Additional Credits = Number of credits for which you are now enrolled
  • Anticipated Remaining Credits = Number of credits you will need in light of your completed credits
  • The required minimum GPA and the total number of credits (as determined by your school’s guidelines)
  • Whether you have any I (incomplete) grades, which will require you to make arrangements with your professor to complete the necessary work

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Still having trouble understanding your degree audit? We suggest you…

Meet with your academic advisor

An academic advisor's role is to help students achieve their educational and career goals. As a student, you should think of your advisor as a lifeline throughout your college career. So scheduling an advising appointment each semester is a smart way to stay on top of everything you need to be doing in order to graduate on time. 

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Have your advisor check your degree audit to make sure you’re meeting all of your school’s requirements. For all of you transfer students, have your advisor double-check your transcript. Just because the credits you earned at your previous school are transferrable, that doesn’t mean you automatically received credit upon acceptance – many registrar offices require a separate submission for credit.

Review your degree audit after each semester

Now that you have a pro's understanding of your degree program's requirements, it’s time to put that knowledge to use! Regularly checking your degree audit puts you in control of your education. It also serves as a useful guide in planning your course schedule for future semesters.

After each semester, review your transcript AND your degree audit to make sure you’re still on track to achieve your educational goals.

Find an internship for credit

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Take advantage of internships as a unique opportunity to explore and experience a prospective career path. Internships are a great way to earn credit while gaining experience in your field. An internship also can cut down on the number of credits you'll have to earn in-class, saving you money as well as time.

Some degree programs require an internship while others offer one as an elective course for credit. Be sure to check with your particular institution. And don’t forget to network with your colleagues! They could be the connection that leads to your first job!

Get ahead of the game

Give your college credit accounting a boost by earning credit by exam through DSST. You can meet a lot of your electives and certain general education course requirements with credits earned by exam. Make sure to take advantage of the opportunity to make up any missing credits during the summer and winter breaks. Did drop a course last semester? Don’t let that requirement slip your mind! Sign up for a DSST exam over your next break and make up those credits before it's too late.

You can do it all

Balancing classes, work, and home life can be overwhelming. But if you get organized and stick to a schedule, you’ll be able to carve out the time you need for what’s most important to you. For further reading, Fox Business wrote a well-balanced article to help students manage their time and maintain their sanity, and we've written here about how to set up a calendar to keep yourself organized while balancing your commitments at work, school and home.

Have additional tips on how to graduate on time? Tell us in the comments, or chat with us on Facebook!

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