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Advising, tutoring keep students on graduation track

CLAIRE C. LAURENCE/Arizona Summer Wildcat
Academic advisers like the University College's Gerry West help students plan their academic careers. Advisers are available to answer questions or direct you to someone else who is able.
By Troy J. Acevedo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
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With less than a month to go before the beginning of the fall semester, students are preparing to hit the books once again, working toward their moment in the sun - the day they get to take the long walk.

Earning a university degree is not an easy task, but with hard work and knowledge of some key facts, the journey can be a whole lot easier. The attention you pay to these little details, which can turn into major headaches in the long run, may determine your success or your failure at the UA.

All students must fulfill a basic set of general education requirements put forth by the state as well as complete coursework specific to an individual major.

Advisers are available to assist students with many different aspects of their educations.

"It is critically important for students to meet with their advisers, especially for freshmen and all incoming students," said Ann Parker, director of student services for the College of Education and former director of the Advising Resource Center. "Advising really helps establish a connection between the student and someone on campus, which has been shown to increase retention."

Many incoming freshmen will notice that they cannot even register for classes because most courses are "full," and advisers play a key role in making sure students get the classes they need, Parker said.

From degree checks to registration, maintaining contact with one's adviser can be critical in ensuring that students receive their degrees with as few complications as possible.

"The main purpose of advisers is to make sure students are on track with their individual programs and are staying on track," Parker said. "Advisers need to have a wide range of knowledge in order to help students with all the various academic needs."

Success in the classroom is primarily the responsibility of the student. Instructors are well versed in their fields and should be consulted when having difficulties.

However, if students need more assistance, the university has developed a campus-wide tutoring system available to all enrolled students in an array of subject areas.

According to the University Tutoring Services Web site,, several different options are available, including drop-in, online and private tutoring.

Drop-in tutoring is a fee-based service that costs a non-refundable $30 per semester; students can register on the first floor of Old Main.

Online tutoring is a collaborative effort between the UA, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University and is available free to students at all three universities.

Private tutoring is arranged with an individual. There is no fee to look up a tutor on the UTS index, but individual prices will vary, according to the Web site.

UTS is closed for the summer, but services will resume on Sept. 5.

The Student Code of Conduct, available at, and the Code of Academic Integrity, available at, are governing sets of rules that apply to all students at the UA.

These two policies, set forth by the university and approved by the Arizona Board of Regents, are designed to ensure everyone receives a quality education based on individual merit.

However, these policies can be very difficult concepts for students to understand, said Alexis Hernandez, associate dean of students.

Violations of these policies can result in anything from written warnings to expulsion from the university.

"Penalties that are to be imposed really depend on the faculty member that is involved," said Hernandez. "They make a recommendation on what they think needs to be done with the student in question."

Plagiarism accounts for two of every three policy violations, Hernandez said; it is, however, one of the easiest infractions to avoid. When completing assignments, it is important to remember to cite sources, no matter how insignificant they may seem or how little of the material is actually used. If an idea comes from someone or something else, be sure to give credit where credit is due, said Tom Miller, English professor and director of the writing program.

"Citing your source properly isn't just a question of honesty, it's a question of professional courtesy," Miller said. "People work very hard in conducting research and writing these materials. Citing sources within your own work only adds credibility to your work."

While not fully inclusive, these pointers should help on the journey toward obtaining a degree and making the final walk.

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