All first-year students at UNC enroll in the General College in the College of Arts and Sciences. All student-athletes enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences are required to meet with an academic advisor each semester. Student-athletes in the professional schools meet regularly with their academic advisors.
The Student-Athlete Academic Initiative Working Group identified and compiled recommendations from reports over the past several years and linked each report recommendation to 21 academic processes. Report Recommendations for Enrollment & Advising
5.0 Enrollment & Advising
In Fall 2013, the University implemented a plan that all General College and College of Arts and Sciences student-athletes meet with an academic advisor at least once per semester to review their program of study, discuss courses, plan for their academic majors and monitor progress toward degree completion and graduation. Approximately 90 percent of all student-athletes are enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences (all first- and second-year student-athletes, and those who have declared majors within Arts and Sciences). Currently, student-athletes are the only undergraduate student cohort at UNC required to meet with an academic advisor each semester.
5.1 College of Arts and Sciences Academic Advising Program (AAP)
The College of Arts and Sciences Academic Advising Program (AAP) provides comprehensive academic advising for all student-athletes from orientation through graduation. The AAP expects student-athletes to have a meaningful academic advising interaction in each semester of their undergraduate careers (e.g., individual advising appointment, small group advising sessions and/or a pre-registration workshop).
Additionally, all students (not just student-athletes) entering their sixth or seventh semester at UNC must meet with an AAP advisor for a graduation review meeting. This meeting must take place prior to their eighth semester.
During an academic advising session with each student-athlete, an advisor emphasizes key points depending on the student’s semester term as well as academic, career and life goals. Advising sessions focus on four general learning outcomes:
- Personal discovery, self-assessment and identity development (who I am, what I value)
- Educational goals
- Major and minor exploration
- Learning abilities and preferences–share ASPSA services and resources, Learning Center, Writing Center, Accessibility Resources, faculty/academic department connections
Advisors may cover additional points of emphasis, including:
- Academic department and faculty referrals
- Pre-graduate school, pre-med, pre-health professions, pre-law
- University Career Services
- Internships and other experiential learning opportunities
- Service learning courses
- Undergraduate Research
- Honors thesis
- Study Abroad
- Resources within the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes
- Counseling and Psychological Services
- Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
- Leadership Development opportunities, clubs and organizations
- Policies/procedures/logistics related to degree progression
- Other resource referrals
Two assistant deans devote half of their time to student-athletes, and three academic advisors devote one-third of their time to student-athletes. These five individuals fulfill two full-time equivalent employees on a weekly basis and are knowledgeable of all degree programs within Fine Arts and Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
The AAP office is located in the Steele Building, but the AAP also maintains a satellite office in the Loudermilk Center for Excellence to provide further times and locations for student-athlete academic advising:
- Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Monday Evening: 6 to 8 p.m.
- Thursday Evening: 6 to 8 p.m.
The AAP also provides advising hours in Hardin Residence Hall each weekday afternoon and evening, available to all students.
To communicate with AAP Advisors, student-athletes may use a common email address (advisingforstudentathletesAAP@unc.edu) or contact an advisor directly. Assistant deans respond to all questions posted to the common email. All students utilize a scheduler within Oasis (the AAP’s online scheduling system) to schedule advising appointments in Steele, Loudermilk and Hardin.
The AAP works closely with the ASPSA. For instance, an assistant dean in the AAP attends ASPSA staff meetings bi-weekly to provide necessary academic updates to Academic Counselors.
The AAP also:
- Partners with the ASPSA during Carolina’s New Student Orientation to offer advising support to student-athletes and information to Academic Counselors;
- Meets with all incoming first-year student-athletes enrolled in Summer Session II;
- Conducts training sessions with ASPSA staff to improve communication between the two offices and with students;
- Helps train new Academic Counselors (e.g., overview of top-12 majors, university forms, policies and procedures, undergraduate student population, etc.);
- Works with the ASPSA Academic Counselors to encourage academic advising appointments with student on each team;
- Coordinates with the Office of Undergraduate Retention to discuss trends related to student-athletes and establish priority advising schedules for students on academic probation; and
- Holds drop-in hours during the first week of classes and provides additional advising support during peak registration times in all advising locations (Steele, Loudermilk and Hardin).
While there is much collaboration between the AAP and the ASPSA, each office has a unique focus in supporting academic success of student-athletes.
BOTH offices provide the following academic support to student-athletes:
- Student guidance and schedule planning;
- Course planning;
- Major selection;
- Degree progress tracking;
- Academic planning and discussion of strategies to address challenges; and
- Connection with campus resources (Learning Center, Writing Center, Peer Tutors).
- In-depth knowledge of the UNC curriculum;
- Transactional authority for University Policies (e.g., declaration of major and clearance for graduation);
- Advisors addressing any personal challenges that may impede a student-athlete’s academic performance (e.g., students may choose to share information with advisors about issues such as medical, psychological, financial, family, etc.); and
- Advisors working strategically with students to plan their academic futures.
- Tutorial assistance
- My Academic Plan (MAP)
- Guidance regarding UNC and NCAA academic eligibility;
- Administration of recognition and awards
- Information regarding academic resources to current student-athletes and recruits
5.2 Course and Major Selection
The AAP and the ASPSA provide academic support to student-athletes in planning their schedules, choosing courses and selecting their majors.
5.2.1 New Student Orientation
The AAP expects all first-year students to prepare for course selection prior to arriving for New Student Orientation. All students receive a checklist of tasks that they need to complete in order to register for courses. The checklist includes:
- Complete the Academic Advising Pre-Orientation Planning Module online, offered via the UNC web site (Sakai). The Module explains the general education/liberal arts curriculum at UNC;
- List approximately 20 courses they are interested in taking and provide reasons why they are interested in those classes (e.g., “this course fulfills one of my General Education requirements,” “I am academically interested in this course,” “I plan to major in this area,”);
- Complete and submit the “Get Ready to Register (GRR)” form via Sakai (UNC’s online document sharing system); and
- The advisor accesses the student’s GRR information via Sakai to utilize during New Student Orientation advising sessions.
Day one of New Student Orientation:
- Advisors meet with large groups of students (approximately 60 each) to introduce them to the AAP. There is no discussion of particular courses at this time. During this initial meeting, advisors emphasize the importance of curiosity, confidence and connection to campus resources.
- ASPSA Academic Counselors meet with student-athletes on day one of New Student Orientation to cover ConnectCarolina (UNC’s PeopleSoft Portal). This session further prepares student-athletes for registration.
- All students are expected to review Tarheel Tracker (the degree audit program within ConnectCarolina) before and during registration.
Day two of New Student Orientation:
- All students meet with an AAP advisor (two students per advisor) to discuss course interest and registration. The focus of this meeting is academic planning and strategy. At this time, the advisors review GRR forms with students.
- Students register online via ConnectCarolina after they finish New Student Orientation; registration for the fall semester takes place during the month of July. Student schedules are then “frozen” until registration re-opens in August for drop/add.
5.2.2 Choosing Majors
Students are encouraged to explore major/minor options through University resources provided during New Student Orientation, including the New Student Advising Guide, the Undergraduate Bulletin, and a brochure on first-year seminars. All first-year students are required to meet with an academic advisor through individual appointments or major exploration workshops conducted by Academic Advising in conjunction with academic departments. This meeting must take place prior to registering for their third semester at Carolina. Advisors also encourage students to utilize services provided by University Career Services such as self-assessment tools, career exploration course (EDUC 131) and learning how majors/minors potentially connect to career and post-graduate pursuits.
By the beginning of the fifth academic term, students are required to declare a primary major. Students often select majors based on interest and strengths along with career aspirations. Student success in general education and/or gateway courses often motivate them to select a specific major. Other influences may impact a student’s major selection, including parent/guardian, community and peer groups, as well as early engagement with faculty and their research.
To declare a major and/or minor, a student must meet with an academic advisor to review the requirements for the proposed major or minor and to determine if the completion of the major/minor is feasible within the University’s eight-semester graduation policy (see 5.3 below). Students can declare a major and/or minor at any point in their undergraduate career as long as the degree can be completed within the time determined by the eight-semester policy.
5.2.3 Choosing Courses
Discussions between students and advisors regarding course selection begin during New Student Orientation. Students choose courses based on their initial interests as they work to complete general education requirements. The AAP conducts workshops during New Student Orientation to educate students on UNC’s “Making Connections” curriculum. Students also are advised on how to select courses based on placement scores. Additional considerations for selecting courses include major and/or minor exploration and interests, general education requirements, course availability and athletic participation commitments (e.g., practice and competitions). Students also take into consideration academic eligibility guidelines set forth by both the University and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). As with all students, student-athletes also rely on course recommendations from their peers.
In addition, the process of selecting courses to complete degree requirements is a topic of conversation during required academic advising appointments each semester. During these meetings, academic advisors incorporate curriculum planning tools and review milestones for each academic year. Additional information can be found on the AAP website.
5.3 Additional Semester Appeal Guidelines
Students are required to graduate in eight semesters, but there are times when an additional semester may be approved. Students apply online for an extension through the AAP website and present a statement of why they cannot graduate in eight semesters. An advisor in the Graduation Division of the College of Arts and Sciences confirms the student’s outstanding degree requirements. The associate dean compares their record with their statement and makes a decision.
Reasons additional semester(s) may be granted:
- Transfer transition and awarding of credits
- Veteran transition issues
- Medical/psychological issues (including a documented learning disability)
- Academic progress
- Course sequencing
- Redshirt student-athletes
- Student teaching (UNC BEST Program)
- Financial issues (Summer School too expensive)
- Change of major
- Student required/asked to stay at UNC for authorized reason (ROTC, unique campus leadership opportunity, etc.)
- Study abroad opportunity
- Honors Thesis
Reasons additional semester(s) may NOT be granted:
- Student can finish in Summer School
- Student can transfer in a final course(s)
- Student can finish online
- Student has failed to progress multiple times
- Student is academically ineligible
Generally, students remaining for an additional semester(s) will NOT have a second major or minors recognized. Exceptions to this rule:
- Student has a documented disability and is utilizing campus resources
- Student teaching (UNC Best Program)
- Redshirt student-athletes
- Student required/asked to stay at UNC for authorized reason (ROTC, unique campus leadership opportunity, etc.)
5.4 Procedures for Advising Returning or Inquiring Student-Athletes
The AAP has specific procedures in place for advising former student-athletes who wish to return to campus and complete their Carolina degrees. Student-athletes meet with AAP Advisors to determine and verify what courses they need to pursue their majors upon returning to UNC. The ASPSA, the Office of Admissions and the Department of Athletics also work closely with these students, as they are required to apply for readmission to the University and may be eligible for grant in aid (for more information see Process 19.0 Complete Carolina).