Steps to Advising Incoming Students

You play a vital role in providing a smooth transition for our incoming transfer students, who require a great deal of information in order to be successful at Missouri State.

Advising prospective transfer students

As most advisors know, My Missouri State only allows an advisor to view future students admitted for the semesters that are currently active in Banner. For example, during the opening week of spring 2017 classes, the summer and fall 2017 class schedule was not available yet, and the same process that makes it available also controls the semesters available for selection in My Missouri State. Some advisors have inquired about how to respond to student advising questions for students who are not yet selectable in My Missouri State.

It is important to know that while the student may not be retrievable in My Missouri State in these situations, you may still run a degree audit for these students. To do so, click on the “Degree Audit and Student Educational Planner” link in My Missouri State. Once you are into Degree Works, you may enter the student’s BearPass number or search for the student using the “Find” feature. Since the Degree Works student search is independent of My Missouri State, it will allow you to find the student starting the day after the student is admitted to the University, even if their semester of admission is not yet selectable in My Missouri State.

For students new to the University, it will show their future curricular information. For those who have attended previously (such as dual credit high school students or previous degree-seeking students returning to MSU), their initial audit will be based on their previous information as Degree Works looks at the current semester if a student has attended MSU previously, but you can temporarily work around this by running a “what-if” degree audit for the program they are coming back to pursue in the future semester. Once that semester begins, their regular degree audit will update accordingly.

Registration options for transfer students

Incoming transfer students can register for classes at Missouri State in a number of ways:

  • On their own by setting up an appointment with a department-designated transfer advisor
  • Through an appointment with the transfer advisor in the Academic Advisement Center (specifically for undeclared students)

The first advising meeting with a transfer student will take about an hour. Then, the student may register online through My Missouri State or in person at the office of the registrar.

Document advising appointments by using the “Advising Notes” function on the Teaching and Advising tab in My Missouri State. These notes are beneficial for the student and advisor, including future advisors.

Outline of transfer advising appointment

Establishing a routine in transfer advising appointments helps ensure all information is provided. The following outline may be helpful in developing your own routine:

Verify the student’s status prior to scheduling the appointment.

Check to make sure the student is fully admitted, transcripts have been evaluated, his/her registration date is posted and that there are no holds. If there is information available on the web you would like students to review prior to your meeting, let them know how to find it and explain your expectations.

If a student requests an appointment prior to admission, just make sure the student understands you will be discussing general information and that you will not evaluate course work or be able to tell with any certainty how many hours will be needed to graduate.

Find out why the student has decided to come to this institution.

A student’s answer may give you some clues about his or her level of understanding of the degree program selected and if it is a correct fit.

Ask the student if he/she is finished or near finishing an Associate of Arts degree or a 42-hour certified block.

In some cases, if a student is close to finishing one of the above options, a transferring institution may make an exception to its residence requirement and allow a student to transfer back a course to complete the native school’s requirements. In other situations, a student may actually benefit from transferring to Missouri State early, rather than completing a degree at another school.

However, student eligibility for some scholarships may be affected by transferring prior to the completion of an AA. It may be helpful to discuss how many hours a student may need in our general education program versus completing the AA or 42-hour block.

Please explain that all students must fulfill the Senate Bill #4 requirement. Courses required by a major or minor are still required, even if they are part of our general education program.

Discuss the status of the transfer work and how the courses transferred will meet degree requirements, including general education requirements.

Degree audits are available on My Missouri State for admitted students but will not include any courses that are listed as “in progress” on the student’s transcript. You’ll find “in progress” courses on the student’s transcript evaluation. Students may also report work not on a transcript. If so, please request that a new transcript be sent ASAP.

A degree audit for an admitted transfer student may also erroneously report that a student needs GEP 101. This error will not be corrected until approximately the third week after enrollment. General education worksheets can sometimes be easier for new students to understand, so using the worksheet in conjunction with the degree audit is a good idea, if the student hasn’t completed an AA or 42-hour block.

Discuss reevaluation options if necessary.

Discuss opportunities to waive degree requirements or request the use of a transferred course as a degree substitution.

Dr. Jeanne Phelps, former associate provost, reported that the Degree’s Committee has often heard cases involving a student who was “promised” a transfer course would fulfill a requirement and then at graduation the student discovers he or she still needs a course. Please avoid glib reassurance and give the student clear instructions on who has the authority to make the change and how to request a reevaluation. Document all suggestions for course reevaluation in Advising Notes.

Help the student understand the difference between “declaring a major” and “being admitted into a degree program.”

All new transfer students are allowed to register for their first semester without a degree hold, regardless of the number of credit hours. Some transfer students will have a degree hold on their record prior to registering for their second semester if not admitted to a program in the first semester.

Explaining how to complete the paperwork (if necessary) to become admitted into a degree program and putting a deadline to complete this task in your Advising Notes may prove helpful. This may also be a good time to discuss GPA requirements and our repeat policy.

Agree to courses appropriate for the student’s first semester here.

  • Give detailed information about what the student must do after leaving your office to register:
  • Provide assistance in obtaining permission forms or online permission if necessary. Suggest alternatives in the event courses are closed.
  • Demonstrate where to find the online class schedule and the trial schedule tool.
  • Help the student build the first schedule to ensure the registration process will go smoothly.
  • Discuss the options to change a schedule if it becomes necessary.

Invite the student to return to you (or someone in your department) if there are any further questions or concerns.

Help the student understand when the registration process begins for the following semester, since schools register students in different ways and times. Explain how you prefer to schedule appointments. Clarify your role as an advisor and your expectations of advisees.

Remind the student to “take care of university business.”

Many final steps (e.g. getting a BearPass Card, parking permit, campus email and computer accounts) can be overlooked by students with “information overload.” Students are reminded of these things in the instructions from the office of admissions, but it is helpful to review these expectations.