Top Tips to Avoid Academic Disaster

1. Read the University Calendar
Whether or not you realize it, you are responsible for knowing all the pertinent regulations, requirements and deadlines contained in the General and Faculty-specific sections of the University Calendar.

2. Keep copies of all correspondence or forms
This is the easiest way to establish what was said and when. As well, keep copies of all papers and assignments in case these go missing or a mark is not recorded.

3. Keep all your receipts for at least one full calendar year
In case of errors or a dispute, this may be the only way to avoid paying tuition twice.

4. Be aware of all your options
Did you know that the U of A has an appeal process that enables you to appeal a decision regarding a grade or academic standing? You may also be eligible to rewrite an exam or have it reappraised.

5. Talk to your professor as soon as problems or concerns arise
The longer you wait to discuss difficulties, the harder it becomes to solve them. For example, if you are ill, it is easier to defer the exam within the deadlines than try later upon receiving your grades and attempt to prove that you did so poorly on the exam because you were ill at the time.

6. Pay close attention to important dates and deadlines
University deadlines are kept very strictly – especially fee payment deadlines and withdrawal dates. As well, double check where and when your exams are being held, according to class section.

7. Know your limits
If you experience a major emotional or financial upset, realize that you may be unable to handle it at the same time as your studies. Check out all your options – such as dropping courses or deferring exams. Talk to people like your professor, faculty advisor, Student Counseling Services, Student Distress Centre, Specialized Support and Disability Services or the Student OmbudService. Remember do not delay!

8. Confirm your online registration
It is very easy and common to assume that after you add or drop a course, it will automatically be included or removed from your timetable. This mistake can cost you! Do not forget to call back and list your registered courses and always exit the system by pushing the *key.

9. Get it in writing
If you speak to personnel from the University regarding your academic program or other concerns, make sure you get their answers in writing. This makes sure both parties understand what is being advised and can be referred back to if disputes arise.

10. Use the services available
The many excellent services are willing and able to assist you in a myriad of ways. You have already paid for them with your Student Services and Student’ Union fees, so use these services to your advantage.

Other Tips regarding….

Deferred exams
This is not an automatic right. But if you are ill or have “domestic affliction”, you can defer an exam to prevent a failure by submitting the application and documentation WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS following the scheduled date of the missed exam.

Address Change
It is the student’s responsibility to update the Registrar with address changes. If you do not, you may not get letters concerning your grades, academic standing, etc., until it is much too late.

Double submission of assignments
Many students do not realize that it is an offense to submit the same or relatively the same assignment for two or more different classes. See the Code of Student Behavior for greater detail on academic and non-academic offences.

Re-appraisals and Re-examinations
This may be an option. Consult the regulations regarding your eligibility in the Faculty sections of the University Calendar.

Re-registration in courses
You cannot take the same failed course more than twice without the permission of the Dean. In addition, you cannot take more than twice a course for which you have received a grade of W.

Take note of deadlines for course withdrawals. Note that while dropping courses constantly is not favorable, even the brightest students have dropped a course. Be aware of the regulations on re-registering in courses.

Pre-requisite requirements
You need to complete pre-requisites or have written permission from the department. If you do not have the pre-requisites for a course, you can be denied credit for the course or your course registration can be cancelled.