Academic and Career Essentials for Success

What is ACES? This page contains information from various offices and resources at Clarion University to get you started and keep you going on your road toward academic success, graduation, a future career and a lifetime of learning.

Information contained in this guide will supplement your Clarion University Resource Guide, Undergraduate Catalog, Student Rights & Regulations Online Handbook, and refer you to key areas of Clarion's website. Use this guide, especially during your first year, to help you take charge and make the most of your Clarion University education.

There are many people and processes to help you plan your college journey. One of the key resources is a positive relationship with your academic advisor. Your academic advisor is a faculty member from the department of your major, or, if you are undecided, your advisor is a faculty member who has volunteered to work with undecided students through the UASC. You may have more than one advisor if you have a double major, declare a minor, or take part in a special program.

Another important element for your journey is a clear understanding of both the general education requirements and the requirements of your major. It is important that you know how to choose the appropriate courses and plan for possible minors. Ultimately, it is your decision as to what courses you take and how you prepare for courses. Your advisor can help, but the final decision is yours to make.

Finally, it is important that you understand how to keep track of your grades and your progress towards graduation. Tracking your grades in your courses will enable you to always know where you stand in a particular course and also enable you to predict what you need to do to achieve and obtain the grade you desire. In many cases you need to be able to figure out your quality-point average (QPA) for your major courses.

The following information will help you to understand these processes and help you plan your time at Clarion University.


Academic advising is an educational process that facilitates students' understanding of the meaning and purpose of higher education. It fosters intellectual and personal development toward academic success and lifelong learning (NACADA, 2004).
UASC is home for undecided students, liberal studies majors and students who are transitioning between majors. At UASC, our role is to help you find the information, self-knowledge and experiences that will move your life in the directions you choose. We encourage you to find academic areas that you enjoy and in which you will do well.
We believe academic advising is a collaborative educational process where students and their advisors are partners in meeting and ensuring academic, personal and career goals. This partnership requires proactive participation and involvement by both parties. The partnership is a process that is built over the student's entire educational career at Clarion University.

Expectations of students

Your UASC Advisor expects you to:
• Schedule regular appointments and/or contacts during each semester
• Come to appointments prepared with questions and/or topics to discuss
• Accept responsibility for your decisions and actions
• Be open to developing and clarifying your personal values and goals
• Research college programs, policies, procedures, and opportunities as appropriate
• Keep a record of your academic progress and goals
• Be courteous and plan ahead (schedule appointments early and cancel or reschedule if necessary)

Expectations of advisors

You can expect your UASC Advisor to:
• Understand CU degree requirements and effectively communicate them
• Provide a safe space in which to share your thoughts, aspirations, concerns and interests
• Provide resources and referrals
• Listen carefully to your questions, concerns, and confusions
• Maintain confidentiality
• Encourage and support you as you gain the skills and knowledge necessary for success
• Assist you in making course and major decision

Your Academic Advisor

Every student at Clarion University is assigned an academic advisor who is a faculty member in the department of his or her major. Undecided students are assigned to a faculty advisor through the UASC until they declare a major. It is important to know what an advisor is and how an advisor may be of assistance to you. Here are some questions and answers that will help you to make the most out of your relationship with your academic advisor.

When should I see my academic advisor?

• Take the initiative to get to know your advisor within the first three weeks of the semester. Continue to meet
   with your advisor on a regular basis throughout the semester to discuss your academic progress and
   educational planning. Meet with your advisor at least once each and every semester, from your first year
   through graduation, to check your progress and make sure you are on track.

How do I make an appointment to see my advisor?

Different advisors may prefer different means of communication, but here are the best ways to make contact
with your advisor. Keep in mind that meeting in person is the best way to develop a more personalized relationship with your advisor.

• Stop by during your advisor's scheduled office hours. These are usually posted on his or her office door.
• Telephone your advisor's office or e-mail your advisor and make an appointment. Write down the date and time
  of your appointment and make sure it is one that you can keep. If you don't have your advisor's telephone
  number or e-mail address, look it up using the employee directory at, or contact the
  department secretary of your major. Undecided majors should contact UASC (814-393-2091).
• If your advisor is not in his/her office, leave a message with the department secretary with your name, the
  reason for your visit, and your telephone number. Your advisor will have the information needed to return your
  call. Be certain to contact your advisor when it is necessary to change or cancel a scheduled appointment.

How should I prepare for my meeting with my advisor?

• Know the name, location, telephone number and email address of your advisor.
• Think about your interests and the possible majors and minors you may want to explore if you are undecided.
• Write down questions or topics you would like to discuss with your advisor. Take them with you to your meeting. Complete any forms in advance.
• Review a recent copy of your degree audit from MyClarion, we will discuss it at your appointment.
• See your advisor well ahead of deadlines. Students who wait until the last minute are unlikely to get their advisor's best time and attention.
• Become familiar with the university's General Education requirements.
• Become familiar with the requirements for your major and minor programs if you have already selected them.
• Become familiar with the university's resources that can help you to achieve your goals.
• Become familiar with the university policies, procedures, and requirements.
• Be on time for scheduled meetings.
• Take a pen and paper to your meetings.
• Make a list of courses that interest you if you are scheduling.

Keep a copy of all advisement documents (Undergraduate Catalog, ACES electronic guide, degree audit, grade reports, semester schedules, advisor letters, e-mails, etc.).

Planning and Scheduling

When you plan your schedule for the next semester, you will need some tools and answers to important questions to help you along the way. Make an appointment with your advisor before the time you are to schedule and review your planned schedule of classes. The more prepared you are for this advising session, the more you will benefit from your advisor's recommendations.

Planning tools you will need:

Academic Advisor
• helps plan future semesters and assists you in meeting your goals
• helps you chart your progress
• helps you personalize your options

Semester Schedule of Classes
• lists when and what classes are offered
• contains important dates and deadlines
• lists all of the courses that count toward general education

Course Catalog
• contains a description of courses and prerequisites

Degree Audit
• printout of your current academic status including courses you have taken and what areas still need to be filled
• available from MyClarion, UASC, and your advisor

Major/Minor Requirement Forms
• checksheets that lists all of the requirements in your major/minor
• available from department and advisor



Registrar's WebSite

Questions you will need to ask yourself:
• How much time am I going to spend on this class?
• How often does this class meet?
• What is the focus of this course?
• Is this subject easy/difficult for me?
• How is this course taught?
• Why am I taking this class?
• Have I met the pre-requisites?
• Do I need this course as a pre-requisite for other courses?
• How will I be evaluated?
• Do I have a mix of general education, major classes, electives?
• Is there variation in the type of classes I'll have this semester? (lecture, reading, labs, papers, math/graphic problems, etc.)
• What are my other commitments this semester? (employment, personal, activities, sports, recreation, family, social life, etc.)
• How am I doing academically? (raising QPA, progress on major, connections with faculty)
• What is my backup plan if I don't get my first choice?

General Education Requirements

The General Education program is a selection of course requirements designed to provide a well-rounded educational experience. Courses in your major are specialized to provide knowledge in an academic discipline and in a career area. The General Education Program gives you an opportunity to explore a variety of subjects that can serve as a basis for your specialized area of study as well as for your life in the university and community.

Where can I get information about the General Education program and requirements?

• The best source of information is your academic advisor. Your advisor is prepared to answer your questions
   about selection of courses, requirements of the program and requirements of your major. If you have not
   declared a major, UASC is staffed with advisors who are very knowledgeable about the general education
• The semester schedule lists courses that qualify as general education classes as well as all flagged classes. It is
   important that you check this list, as not all courses on the schedule are approved to fulfill the general
   education requirements.

For a complete list of courses and flagged courses that fulfill General Education requirements, consult the Office of the Registrar Webpage.

Last Updated 3/4/20