Why Academic Advising Matters 5 Structure of Undergraduate Academic Advising 6

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2015-2016 HANDBOOK

  1. Why Academic Advising Matters 5

  2. Structure of Undergraduate Academic Advising 6

    1. General Education Advising 6

    2. Advising for Post-Graduate Schools or Careers 7

  3. Structure of a John Jay Bachelor’s Degree 8

  4. General Education Requirements 9

  5. FERPA 10

  6. Best Practices for Major and Minor Advisors 11

  7. Ten Questions to Consider When Advising a Student 14

8. Major Advising and Transfer Students 17

9. Advising the Graduating Senior 18

10. Essential Advising Tools 19

  1. Quick Answer Chart 24

12. Academic Policies and Procedures 27

1. Why Academic Advising Matters

The goal of Academic Advising is to help undergraduate students explore, define, and achieve their academic goals. Advisors do so by helping them understand themselves and helping them learn to use the resources of the college to meet their educational needs.

All research about the impact of faculty-student contact and advising finds that we, as faculty advisors, have the power to affect student outcomes positively. We can do this by meeting our students regularly, knowing who they are, and taking an interest in their concerns.

Frequent and meaningful contact with faculty members, especially contact focusing on intellectual or career-related issues, increases students' engagement and motivation
One of the first terms used to describe this interaction is “engagement.” Engagement influences learning; effective colleges actively engage students through advising. Frequent and meaningful contact with faculty members, especially contact focusing on intellectual or career-related issues, increases students' engagement and motivation.

Most students expect specific answers to short-term questions about courses, schedules, and procedures from advisors. But advising can be viewed in a broader way. Advisors who first encourage students to consider larger questions about educational and career goals and then help students plan their courses of study share responsibility for advising with students. As students frame questions about the future and seek the information they need to formulate answers, they practice the self-efficacy that is fundamental to their success in future situations. Advisors facilitate this process.

In addition to faculty involvement, student persistence is critical to obtaining a college degree and it is an important criterion by which success in college is measured. At John Jay, only 43% of students graduate within six years. Studies have shown that a student's sense of belonging is directly related to their persistence, or decisions made to remain in school. This sense of belonging is increased or decreased through interactions with the academic and social environments of the university, especially with professors.

The only variable that has a direct effect on student persistence is the quality of a relationship with significant member(s) of the college community. The primary negative characteristic linked to student attrition is inadequate academic advising. So what’s the bottom line? With a little effort, faculty advisors have tremendous power to make a positive difference in students’ lives.

2. Structure of Undergraduate Academic Advising

2a. General Education Advising

Academic Advising Center:

The AAC’s main focus is making students understand and work toward fulfilling the General Education courses and prerequisites to their major. The AAC serves:

  • Freshmen (students who have 0-29 credits)

  • Continuing Students who need advising regarding general education requirements

  • New Transfer Students

  • Readmitted Students

  • Students on Academic Probation

Contact: Senior Academic Advisor Louise Freymann, lfreymann@jjay.cuny.edu; (212) 484-1123 or Senior Director of Academic Advising, Sumaya Villanueva svillanueva@jjay.cuny.edu; (212) 484-1346.

Location: L73.00 NB General Phone: (646) 557-4872

Website: http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/academic-advisement-center

Students enrolled in the SEEK program receive their General Education advising from SEEK counselors. Contact: Monika Son, mson@jjay.cuny.edu; (212) 237-8182, or the student’s individual counselor.

Honors Program:

Students in the Honors Program receive General Education advising from the program.

Contact: Litna McNickle, lmcnickle@jjay.cuny.edu; (212) 237-8553
Macaulay Honors College at John Jay:

Macaulay students receive all General Education and Macaulay requirements advising from the program. Contact: Adrienne FitzGerald, afitzgerald@jjay.cuny.edu, (212) 393-6407.

In-Service Advising:

The Department of Counseling provides General Education advising for veterans, police officers, firefighters, and corrections officers. Contact Professor Bob DeLucia, rdelucia@jjay.cuny.edu; (212) 237-8142.


Student Athletes receive academic advising from the program.

Contact: The Athletics contact person TBA (hiring in Fall 2015 term)

2b. Advising for Post-Graduate Schools, Fellowships, and Careers

Pre-Law Institute and Office of Fellowships and Special Opportunities:

Students interested in going to law school receive tailored advising and learn about development opportunities. The Pre-Law Institute (PLI) and the Office of Fellowships and Special Opportunities (OFSO) also provide advising for non-law related fellowships and graduate school applications.

Contact: Elizabeth Broccoli, ebroccoli@jjay.cuny.edu; 212-237-1433
Pre-Health Advising:

Students interested in going to medical school or other health-related post-graduate programs receive tailored advising and learn about opportunities.

Contact: Edgardo Sanabria-Valentin, esanabriavalentin@jjay.cuny.edu; (212) 393-6489
Center for Career and Professional Development

Provides individual career counseling, regular workshops, career panels, and networking events such as recruitment and job fairs to help students explore career options and test their interests through internships and other practical experiences.

Contact: Will Simpkins, wsimpkins@jjay.cuny.edu; (212) 237-8754

For Internships, Contact: Gerald Stannard  (gstannard@Jjay.cuny.edu , 212-237-8438

3. Structure of a John Jay Bachelor’s Degree

120 credits = bachelor’s degree

2.0 minimum GPA

42 Credits

30 CUNY Common Core


12 College Option

33-75 Credits

9-45 Credits

Can be used for

Second Major



General Electives

4. General Education Requirements

For lists of courses that meet the New General Education reqs: http://johnjay.jjay.cuny.edu/gened/_images/Course_List_for_New_Gen_Ed_ByArea2.pdf


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for the correction of inaccurate and misleading data through informal and formal hearings. The Act applies to all institutions that are recipients of federal aid administered by the Secretary of Education. Students who are currently enrolled or were formerly enrolled regardless of their age or financial dependency status are protected under FERPA.

What does this mean for faculty/staff at John Jay College?

  • Without specific permission, faculty and staff can’t tell parents/guardians anything about a student’s academic progress, status, GPA, any issues discussed with the student.

  • Without specific permission, faculty and staff can tell parents/guardians about major/minor requirements, opportunities in the major, academic policies and procedures (since this is general information), just not anything specific to an individual student.

  • For parents/guardians to gain access to the educational and financial records of a student, the student must fill out the form on this website http://jstop.jjay.cuny.edu/forms/Academic_Financial_Information.pdf and submit it in person with a photo i.d. to Jay Express.

To verify if a student has signed an authorized release form, go into the CUNYfirst Advisee Student Center for that student and click on General Info at the top of the page. If the student has given permission, you should see “Release Info Authorization” (REL) under the Service Indicator section. Clicking on it should show who the student has authorized to receive his or her academic and/or financial information.

6. Best Practices for Major and Minor Advisors


  • Listen

This may sound obvious, but even the best advisors can use a reminder now and then about the importance of listening well. When things get busy, it’s easy to slide into an advising dynamic that simply focuses on a checklist and misses the value of a real conversation. The most helpful advising discussions are ones in which you give each student your full attention, hear that particular student’s questions and concerns, and create a welcoming atmosphere that encourages a student to speak up. People can always tell when someone is really hearing them, and it makes a huge difference.


         Remember that advising is a skill

You are an expert in your field, but good advising in your discipline is a kind of expertise in itself that requires knowledge, patience and tweaking over time as you learn from your student interactions. Be clear about what students need to know about requirements, choices within the major, and sequencing of courses so you can help them plan ahead.


         Ask questions that show interest and encourage student self-reflection

Many students don’t expect faculty and staff to ask them questions outside the classroom, but they relish that kind of interest. Ask how they like John Jay, what courses they’ve most enjoyed, if they have any strong interests or goals at this point. Just the act of asking such questions sends the message that you care, that they matter, that you expect them to be thinking about these things so they can have the most satisfying and personally meaningful education possible.


         Encourage student questions

Many students are not in the habit of asking questions, or are simply shy about asking them for fear of seeming unintelligent or annoying. It’s part of their education to learn the importance of asking intelligent questions and not to be silent when they don’t know something. The smartest, most successful students know when they’re in need of information, guidance, and perspective, and they go get it. Ask students if they have any questions, and if they need more prompting, ask them something more specific, such as if they have any questions about major requirements or what courses to take next or what opportunities the major can offer them.


         Address questions that the student should be asking, even if the student doesn’t ask them!

You can’t read student minds, but you know what students need to know about your major. Even as you encourage their questions, fill in the blanks if certain important questions aren’t being asked, such as what are the necessary prerequisites for upcoming major courses, etc.


         Emphasize the importance of thoughtful planning

Make sure students understand that checking off a list of requirements isn’t the goal of pursuing a major. Interest and thought has brought the student to this major, and now more thought is involved in planning just how to complete these requirements. Why are some courses considered “foundation” courses? What courses might well be taken together? Which courses have prerequisites that are not immediately obvious? If there are major “elective” courses, which ones look most interesting to that particular student? What kind of course pacing will allow the student to graduate within a four-year period, given other academic requirements, extracurricular involvements, and personal obligations? None of this needs to take up too much time, either. Students can stare at a list of courses, but it’s up to them to work with you to create an actual plan.


         Make sure students leave with a clear understanding of next steps

Advisors are sometimes surprised when students don’t always understand what they should do next, or what courses they should take in the upcoming semester, when they thought this was all very clearly spelled out for the student. Sometimes the student will actually have a major checklist in hand but not be sure of how to interpret it in terms of his or her own actions. It’s not insulting to ask the student if s/he is clear about courses to take or where to go for additional information. For instance, if you have told a student about the importance of using the Bulletin while looking at the degree audit, make sure the student understands how to access the Bulletin and the degree audit. If you have told a student to make an appointment with an Academic Advisor, make sure the student knows where the Academic Advisement Center is and how to make that appointment.


         Make sure student has signed documentation of progress in major

Departments often call their forms Major Checklists and fill them out during the major advising appointment. Students appreciate having an official form to carry with them and refer to after the appointment. It documents that conversation, showing which requirements have been met, which are in progress, and which ones still need to be completed. Reminder: It’s important that whatever form is handed to a student reflects the requirements in effect when the student declared your major. For this reason, it’s helpful to have some kind of notation on your advising form that indicates “For students declaring the major in Fall 2011 or after” or whatever is appropriate and clear.


         Welcome and respond to responsible contact from students

We all want students to take responsibility for their education and be active rather than passive when making their decisions. Students see faculty as mentors, and the brave ones will reach out through email or visits to your office hours, seeking advice. As long as they are respectful of your time and don’t overstep appropriate boundaries, welcome this show of initiative and give them whatever attention you can spare. They will not only appreciate your interest, they will be all the more motivated to stay in school.
         If you don’t know something, know where to look for accurate information!

Sometimes you’re not the best person to address a student situation or answer a particular question. Knowing whom to call/email or where to send a student is part of excellent advising, and can create a network of helpful resources over time. The Quick Answer Chart in this Handbook should point you toward the right people.


         Be firm but positive when handling a challenging student situation

There are any number of advising scenarios that can be challenging, including student academic difficulty—and even failure-- in the major or a student aggressively wanting you to waive a requirement or grant a course substitution. This is where your compassion can combine with a certain amount of healthy firmness and honesty to serve students well. A student doing poorly in your major is not your fault, but you can help that student by talking about the causes of this trouble, discussing tutoring (if available), exploring whether the student genuinely wants to stay in the major, and—if you think it appropriate-- making the student aware of other major options that might be a good fit, just as something to consider. Feel free to refer students to The Academic Advisement Center, where advisors can help students explore other major options as well. Throughout, you can express your confidence that the student is capable of succeeding at John Jay, but should pay close attention to their level of satisfaction in the major and ability in the major. Some students struggle in one major and thrive in another. Once again, the message to students is that they should be thinking about their choice and continually asking themselves, based on experience, is this a good path for me?


When a student pushes you to waive a requirement or grant a substitution, remember that requirements exist for a reason, and should only be waived or substituted if you believe this is appropriate.  The student requests this action on your part, but in your view is it reasonable and ethical? Sometimes the desire to be kind and fair can make an advisor consider an exception that isn’t feasible. In that situation, simply explain why you can’t say yes. Then offer to help the student come up with an alternative plan. Students can handle disappointing news best if they see you are trying to work with them as helpfully as possible.

If you are unsure if a substitution is appropriate, confer with your chair, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Kathy Killoran, or the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

7. Ten Questions to Consider When Advising a Student

You are the major/minor expert in your department, but it never hurts to have some reminders about what to include in your advising conversations. At best, your discussion is not just about reviewing a checklist, but taking the time to explain or clarify information related to the major, offer course suggestions, look ahead as you help the student plan, offer whatever career advice you can, and make sure you’ve either answered all questions or referred the student to the appropriate resources.

  1. When did the student declare the major?

  • Follow the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin for that academic year and note whether the student’s degree audit is following that Bulletin so the student fulfills the appropriate requirements.

  • If a student is not following the requirements for the year in which s/he declared the major, the Registrar will not allow that student to graduate.

  1. What major requirements has the student met?

  1. Which major requirements are currently in progress?

  1. Which major requirements are still needed?

  1. If the student has choices/options in meeting major requirements, is s/he clear about those options?

  1. Are there any particular major requisites to draw the student’s attention to?

  • ENG 101 is a requisite for all 200 level courses

  • EAP 121 and/or EAP 131 will sometimes be needed before ENG 101, if students (often international, but not always) need to strengthen their writing skills.

  • Some courses, such as PSC 101, require that a student be eligible to enroll in ENG 101, so a student with one of the above remedial placements cannot take that course yet! Any restrictions are always listed clearly in the Bulletin, after the course description, and you should also see them when you click on the degree audit major courses or in CUNYfirst under Course Search when you click on the course section for further information.

  • ENG 201 is a requisite for any 300- and 400-level course.

  • Be aware of other requisites for your major courses as you help students plan ahead. Examples:

    • Police Studies majors must take CRJ/PHI 321, and the requisite for this course is PHI 231

    • Police Studies majors think they can plunge into 200 level PSC courses right after ENG 101 and PSC 101 or CJBS 101, but they often need sophomore standing (30 credits earned) to take those courses.

    • Many majors require LAW 203, which requires not only ENG 101 but at least sophomore standing (30 credits earned)

  • In any major where courses build on each other/are sequential, make sure students know about this. Examples:

    • Forensic Psychology, one example: MAT 108 is the requisite for STA 250, STA 250 + PSY 200 are requisites for PSY 311, PSY 311 is a requisite for most of the 400 level Forensic Psychology major options

    • Criminology majors must meet all of the following BEFORE they take SOC 440: Senior standing (90+ credits), ENG 201, SOC 203, SOC 314, STA 250, SSC 325

    • CJBS students must have taken MAT 108 or STA 250 before they take CJBS 250, which is the requisite for CJBS 300, which is the requisite for CJBS 415

    • Many major 300 level courses require at least junior standing (60 credits earned), and 400 level courses often require senior standing (90 credits earned)

Help students plan ahead! Tell them to click ahead on the degree audit course requirements so they see not only the descriptions but the requisites. If you know that certain courses later on will require requisites not particularly obvious to the student, bring this up in your advising conversation.

  1. Are there important pacing strategies/wise combinations of major courses that the student should be aware of? Students want and appreciate your suggestions!

  1. What advising form/documentation will you give the student to take away from the appointment, clearly indicating the requirements met, in progress, needed?

NOTE: Any major/minor checklist or form given to students should reflect the appropriate requirements according to when they declared the major/minor and must correspond to what is written in that year’s Undergraduate Bulletin! For example, if your major changed requirements in Fall 2011 and you are talking with a student who declared the major in Fall 2010 or Spring 2011, the student is NOT responsible for the new requirements, but rather for the ones in effect during the 2010-2011 academic year (see that Bulletin, and the degree audit should be following it as well). Exception: If the student declared your major in an earlier year, but then was away for more than one full (Fall or Spring) term, the student must follow the version of the major in effect during the academic year when s/he returns. Any exceptions to this rule must be approved by Kathy Killoran (kkilloran@jjay.cuny.edu), who will inform the Registrar.

If a continuing student declares your major/minor in summer of a given year, then the student would follow the previous academic year’s Bulletin. This does not apply to brand new freshmen and incoming transfer students who declare a major when they arrive at John Jay for the first time during a summer session. Even if they take classes that first summer, these new students will follow the upcoming year’s Bulletin.

  1. Is the student pursuing double majors or minor(s)? Remember we allow double majors now and some students will have one or more minors (note that they can’t overlap more than two courses between major and major, major and minor, minor and minor). This applies to certificates as well. Double majors/minors will show on the degree audit now. Sometimes on the audit a course that could overlap between major and minor will appear in only one place: make sure to look at the audit carefully.

  1. If the student requests a course substitution, is it appropriate?

8. Major Advising and Transfer Students

Some transfer students arrive at John Jay after only a semester or two at another college, while others may transfer in many credits and possibly a degree. All transfer students need to be particularly careful in their academic planning, since they may not have room for any more elective credit and need to be very certain of how many more general education courses and major courses they still need to graduate. No matter how many credits a transfer student brings in, s/he needs at least 30 credits in residence at John Jay and at least half of the major credits need to be earned at John Jay. These students may have individual issues and questions, but here are some highlights of common transfer student concerns:

Transfer students and requisites:

Many transfer students arrive at John Jay having completed some kind of Associate Degree (AA, AS, AAS). If they haven’t spoken with an Academic Advisor, they should make an appointment with one, especially since the Degree Audit is often inaccurate in the way it presents these students’ general education requirements. Please refer them to the Academic Advisement Center (L73.00 NB) or direct them to their website (http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/academic-advisement-center) to schedule an appointment on-line. Encourage any transfer student to consult with an Academic Advisor to confirm what requirements are still needed.

It’s great when transfer students arrive with MAT 105, 108, 141, 241, or 242 credit because you’ll know they have either met the math requirement for your major (if your major has a math requirement) or at least you know what their next course should be. Sometimes, however, transfer students will have taken a math course that is not equivalent to one of the above courses and the credit evaluators in the Office of Testing and Credit Evaluation post it as elective college math credit (often the designation is MAT 1). Occasionally, depending on the course, they will approve such credit to meet the Math and Quantitative Reasoning general education requirement, but you and the Degree Audit may not know it. HOWEVER, even if such a course meets the general education math requirement, your major may require further math, and the transfer student may need to take the CUNY math test for placement purposes. When in doubt, an Academic Advisor can confirm whether the student needs to take a test for placement!

Transfer students who have previously earned a Bachelor’s degree are done with general education requirements (unless they still need ENG 101/201 or certain major prerequisites). They should check in with an Academic Advisor to be clear about degree criteria. The main thing for major advisors to keep in mind is that no more than 15 credits from their previous degree can count towards the John Jay major they are pursuing in their second Bachelor’s degree.

9. Advising the Graduating Senior

Once a student completes 102 credits or at least has enough credits in progress to reach 102 credits by the end of the term, s/he can file an official GRADUATION AUDIT (this is different from the Degree Audit that the student checks through the CUNY Portal) in order to be considered for graduation. Students file for Graduation in their Student Center in CUNYFirst. They click the “Other Academics” drop down menu, select “Apply for Graduation,” then click on the circle to the right to proceed . After selecting their program and the term they wish to apply for, students can then submit the graduation application.
Students are not eligible for this service unless they have completed a minimum of 102 credits (or will reach 102 credits by the end of the term) and their cumulative GPA is at least a 2.0.
If a student has applied to graduate but doesn’t hear from the Registrar within three to four weeks after filing (students receive letters via John Jay email confirming their status), s/he should be advised to follow-up by contacting Ivette Rivera, (ivrivera@jjay.cuny.edu).
Go to http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/apply-graduation for detailed information about the graduation application process. For all questions related to commencement, find helpful information at http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/graduation.

10. Essential Advising Tools

Undergraduate Bulletin

The Undergraduate Bulletin (also known as the College Catalog) is revised every academic year, and contains the College’s rules, policies, academic calendar, general education requirements, and major/minor requirements. It is essential that all faculty and staff who advise students consult it regularly. Remember that students are responsible for whatever major requirements were in effect when they declared the major/minor, so consult the Bulletin for that particular academic year. Go to http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/college-bulletins and click on the appropriate academic year for the student you’re advising. You can see when students have declared a major or minor on their transcript in CUNYfirst. Degree Works was created to follow and enforce the Bulletin, and both of these resources are best used together for accuracy and clarity.

If there is a period during which the appropriate Bulletin is not available, the next best thing is to refer to http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/majors, since the Undergraduate Studies Office makes every effort to keep those majors pages current.

Every now and then your academic department may wish to change its major requirements. This is just a reminder that even if there are expected changes to your major and you know the changes have been approved, students are not responsible for these new requirements unless they appear officially in the Undergraduate Bulletin—and remember that students who declared before that Bulletin may follow the requirements of whatever Bulletin was in effect when they declared.

Degree Works

Degree Works is an on-line tool that helps students track their own progress towards graduation, showing important information such as official major, GPA, which general requirements and major/minor requirements they have met, which requirements are in progress, and which requirements they still need to complete. Degree Works is designed to follow requirements outlined in the Undergraduate Bulletin, so should always be used with that catalog.  It also offers a Planner feature that allows students to plan their courses over time. General advisors and Major/Minor advisors should consult Degree Works when advising students, referring to the appropriate Bulletin and the actual student record in CUNYfirst to ensure accuracy.
To access Degree Works, follow these steps:

  • Go to the CUNY Portal (https://cunyportal.cuny.edu/cpr/authenticate/portal_login.jsp)

  • First time users click on Register for a New Account, otherwise simply enter your user name and password

(If a student is with you, have the student log on and access Degree Works!)

  • Click on Student Advisement Degree Audit

  • You can enter either the Student CUNYfirst EMPL ID or click the “Find” magnifying glass and put in the student’s first and last name

  • If you have trouble accessing the Degree Audit, contact DoIT, (212) 237-8200

Degree Audit features of high interest to major advisors:

  • Student’s official major is listed at the very top of the Degree Audit

  • Scroll down the Degree Audit to the Prerequisites for the major section and note if they have been completed

  • In the Major section, note the Academic Year indicated (this is the Undergraduate Bulletin the Audit is following for major requirements) and see if it is following the Bulletin in effect when the student declared the major. To confirm when the student declared a major, look at the Unofficial Transcript in CUNYfirst, which lists the declared major directly under each term. NOTE: if a student declared a major and then was away from the College for two or more consecutive full semesters, the student must follow the major requirements in effect when s/he returns. Any exception to this must be approved by Kathy Killoran (kkilloran@jjay.cuny.edu).

  • Look at the Audit’s completed/in progress/ needed courses and confirm accuracy by looking at the student’s Unofficial Transcript and consulting the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin.

  • If you notice any inaccuracies related to the major in the Degree Audit, contact Kathy Killoran (kkilloran@jjay.cuny.edu; 212-237-8263) to request changes or, for a problem with a specific student’s Degree Audit, contact Ivette Rivera (ivrivera@jjay.cuny.edu; (646) 557-4716.


CUNYfirst is a student record system that has a huge range of features, including the student unofficial transcript, course history, a course search function, Registrar notes, and the student course registration system. You will access it regularly in your advising work with students, particularly because you’ll want to look at the unofficial transcript for an overview of each student’s academic career.
CUNYfirst features of high interest to major advisors
Access the student’s Unofficial Transcript:

  • From HR/Campus Solutions click on Self Service, and then click on Advisee Student Center under Advisor Center.

  • Put in student name or EMPL ID

  • Click on the drop-down box titled “other academic” under the blue bar titled Academics

  • Select Transcript: View Unofficial and click on the >> button to the right

  • For Report Type click on Advisor Unofficial Copy. There can be a delay of up to a minute to process this request before the report loads.

               Access Enrollment Information/Course History:

  • From HR/Campus Solutions click on Self Service, and then click on Advisee Student Center under Advisor Center

  • Put in student name or EMPL ID

  • Click on the drop-down box titled “other academic” under the blue bar titled Academics

  • Select Course History and click on the >> button to the right.

              Remove a Major Advisement hold (called a Service Indicator)

  • From HR/Campus Solutions go to Advisee Student Center

  • Put in student name or EMPL ID

  • On the top center tab click on General Information, and when the page comes up, any holds should be obvious

  • If there is a Major Advisement hold, click on the Service Indicator’s Details

  • Click the yellow Release button at upper right

  • Click YES when prompted if you’d like to lift the Service Indicator


AdvisorTrac is a powerful and complete management software system designed for academic advising centers at colleges and universities. As a unified system, it allows advising staff to track visits to advising centers, record and share notes about sessions and report on student activity and progress. It is completely web-based and can be accessed from any desktop with internet connection. At John Jay College, the software is used primarily for appointment scheduling (including student self-service online scheduling), recording and storing advisor notes from student visits, uploading relevant advising documents, assessment through surveys and most importantly, creating standardized reports on students’ visits. As a faculty advisor, you will use AdvisorTrac to schedule your availability for individual student appointments. Students will be able to book their appointments online once you have created your availability. Follow the steps listed below to access AdvisorTrac and create your advising appointment availability.

Creating Availabilities in AdvisorTrac:

  • Go to the John Jay homepage, and select the AdvisorTrac link from Web Apps at the top of the page

  • Sign into the program with your user name and password (same as your John Jay computer user name and password)

  • Access your “Schedule” from the main menu option

  • Move your cursor to the day and time of the intended “Availability”

  • Change the “Max number of students allowed” to 1

  • Choose the correct duration for the appointment by using the “From and To“ times

  • Save the availability

11. Quick Answer Chart

Student Question/


What To Do

Student asks where to find an official list of major requirements

Student can go to http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/college-bulletins

and click on the Bulletin that was in effect when s/he declared the major, then look up the requirements. Encourage student to use the Degree Audit as well, but only with the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin to confirm accuracy.

Student wants to declare a major or minor

Refer student to Jay Express counter, main floor (L), NB, near 11th Avenue

Student asks you to grant a substitution for a major/minor requirement

This is your call. See Best Practices section of this Handbook for what to consider when this comes up. Notify the Registrar of any substitutions by submitting a Course Substitution Request form from the Jay Stop website. Go to http://jstop.jjay.cuny.edu/registrar.php, scroll down and click on Course Substitution Request to access the form.

Student can’t access Degree Audit

Tell student to call or visit DoIT helpdesk: 212-237-8200; L2.73.00 NB

Student can’t access CUNYfirst account

New Students should first check in with the Admissions Office at L.64 NB (212-237-8866). Otherwise, students should contact Do It, Dept of Information Technology, 212-237-8200 (L2.73 NB).

Student asks how to remove a hold on CUNYfirst

The student can click on the hold to see which department put it on and then talk with that department to discuss its removal. See Essential Advising Tools section of this Handbook for more technology information.

Student doesn’t know how to use the Degree Audit to maximize its usefulness

If you can, take a few moments to show the student some best practices. See Essential Advising Tools section of this Handbook for technology information.

Student believes the Degree Audit is incorrect about remaining general education requirements or major requirements

You can confirm if the Audit is accurate in its presentation of major requirements. If it is not, contact Kathy Killoran, kkilloran@jjay.cuny.edu; (212) 237-8263. If it is accurate in its presentation of major requirements but there is a problem specific to that particular student, contact Ivette Rivera in the Registrar’s Office (ivrivera@jjay.cuny.edu). Refer student to Academic Advisement Center in L.73 NB to confirm whether the Audit is correct about needed general education requirements.

Transfer student asks which transfer courses can count towards the major or minor

This is your call. Make sure the Registrar knows about any substitutions by submitting a Course Substitution Request form. Go to http://jstop.jjay.cuny.edu/registrar.php, scroll down and click on Course Substitution Request to access the form.

Transfer student asks why a course from the other school doesn’t appear on the John Jay transcript—or why a course appears only as elective credit

Refer student to the Office of Testing and Evaluation at L71 NB
(212-237-8108) to discuss any questions regarding course evaluation. If a student receives elective or blanket credit, this means that there is no direct equivalent at John Jay.

Transfer student asks if it’s necessary to take the CUNY Math test

See Major Advising and Transfer Students section of this Handbook. Student should consult with an Academic Advisor in L73 NB to confirm if it’s necessary to take the test.

Student wants to discuss progress in general education requirements

Refer student to the Degree Audit and Undergraduate Bulletin and encourage a visit to the Academic Advisement Center at L73 NB (646-557-4872 or 646-557-4816).

Student asks about the deadline for dropping or adding a class

Show student how to access the Academic Calendar (at top of John Jay website click Calendar, then click on Academic Calendar Quick Link). Last day to add or swap is typically end of first week; last day to drop is typically tenth week.

Student asks about study abroad and whether classes from abroad can count towards the major or minor or gen ed requirements

Refer student to the Office of International Studies and Programs at 1101 North Hall (212-484-1390) http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/study-abroad-programs for general information. If the student is interested in a particular program, s/he can talk with you about major/minor courses from that program and an Academic Advisor in L.73 NB about study abroad and general education requirements.

Student has questions about financial aid/TAP

Refer student to Jay Express counter, main floor (L) NB, near 11th Avenue.

TAP contact person is Rose O’Neill (212-237-8476, roneill@jjay.cuny.edu)

Student wants to know about internship opportunities and career resources

Tell the student what you know about internships in your major, and refer to the Center for Career and Professional Development at L.72 NB (212-237-8754). Mr. Gerald Stannard (gstannard@jjay.cuny.edu) is Associate Director for Academic Internships and is a good resource for any internship-related questions.

Student asks when s/he will be able to graduate

This depends on many factors. To confirm, student should discuss major or minor progress with you and also meet with an Academic Advisor in L.73 NB.

Student asks about graduation application process

Once a student has earned 102 credits (or will have 102 by term’s end), s/he can file for Graduation in the Student Center in CUNYFirst.  Students click the “Other Academics” drop down menu and select ‘Apply for Graduation’.

Student has applied to graduate but has heard nothing and is concerned

Remind student that the Registrar has to process many graduation applications and it can take weeks or months to hear back from that office. If the student is still very concerned, s/he can email Ms. Ivette Rivera, the certifying graduation officer (ivrivera@jjay.cuny.edu). The student should not keep submitting graduation applications! See Advising the Graduating Senior section of this Handbook.

Student has questions about the commencement ceremony

Refer student to Office of Student Transitions in Student Affairs, L2.70.01 NB. For more information about commencement, go to www.jjay.cuny.edu/graduation . Contact Tiffany Onorato, tonorato@jjay.cuny.edu, 646-557-4888.

Student seems to have a lot of academic difficulty and/or emotional distress

Refer student to the Counseling Services Center at L68 NB (212-237-8100) http://www.jjay.cuny.edu/counseling. If the situation seems extreme, offer to walk the student there yourself. For academic difficulties, please refer student to the Academic Advisement Center in L73 NB.

Student asks if it’s possible to take a class at another campus

Refer student to permit guidelines: http://jstop.jjay.cuny.edu/forms/JJay_PermitGuidelines.pdf and Jay Express. There are different procedures depending on whether a student wishes to attend a CUNY school or a non-CUNY school. Students apply for an epermit to a CUNY school through the CUNY Portal, and for a non-CUNY school there is an on-line form at The Jay Stop http://jstop.jjay.cuny.edu/ that they can download and submit. The Registrar’s office must approve courses that students take elsewhere. Questions should be referred to Sara Scaldafferry (sscaldafferry@jjay.cuny.edu ; 646-557-4757).

Student asks if it’s possible to receive academic credit for prior work/life experience

Refer student to Michael Rohdin, Prior Learning Assessment Coordinator (mrohdin@jjay.cuny.edu) in 8.66 NB (212-484-1343).

12. Academic Policies and Procedures

The Undergraduate Bulletin contains all academic policies and many procedures and should always be consulted to ensure the most up-to-date policies. The section titled “Academic Standards” contains the most relevant policies for academic advising, a brief of overview of which follows:

Official Class Standing

Each matriculated (degree candidate) student is considered to be in one of eight classes, according to the number of credits that have been earned.


Class Credits

Lower Freshman


Upper Freshman


Lower Sophomore


Upper Sophomore


Lower Junior


Upper Junior


Lower Senior


Upper Senior

105 or more

Maximum Number of Courses in a Term

Freshmen and sophomores are permitted to register for five courses each semester; juniors and seniors may register for six. Sophomores, juniors and seniors with grade point averages of 3.30 or above may exceed these limits by one course. The foregoing limits may be exceeded by enrolling in a physical education activity course that awards 1 credit. During summer sessions, students may register for up to 6 credits per session. Exceptions to this policy can be made by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, or the Registrar.

Maximum Course Substitution

A maximum of three course substitutions is permitted for each degree program.

Double Majors

Students can choose to pursue two separate majors after they have earned at least 12 college credits. Both majors must be 45 credits or less. Students must complete each of the degree requirements entirely.

Degree Overlap Policy

To satisfy the requirements of any degree program, no more than two courses (of 3 credits or more) may overlap between a major and a minor, a major and a second major, a minor and a second minor, or a certificate program and any other degree program. Credits earned from internships and independent studies may not be included in the two courses of overlap.

Required Repetition/Number of Attempts of Failed Courses

Students who receive the grade of F, FIN or WU in a required course must repeat the course at the next earliest opportunity. However, students who receive the grade of F, W, WU, or FIN—or any combination of these grades—three times for the same course shall be barred from registering the following semester because the student is not making appropriate progress toward a degree. A stop shall be placed on the registration of such students by the Registrar. Such students are required to be advised by the Academic Advisement Center or the coordinator of the student’s major or minor, as appropriate, or by a SEEK counselor if the student is in the SEEK Program. Such students shall be permitted to register only after a plan of study is developed and agreed to in writing and official written permission for the student to register is transmitted to the Registrar. If it is determined that the student is unable to make progress toward completing the degree, the student may be permanently barred from registering.

CUNY F-grade Policy; Repetition of Failed Courses and the Grade Point Average

Beginning in the Fall 1990 semester and in any semester thereafter, the grade of F, WU or WN is not computed in the overall grade point average when a student repeats the failed course and receives a grade of C or better. The original F, WU or WN, however, remains on the student’s official transcript. The number of failing credits that can be omitted from the grade point average in this manner is limited to 16 for the duration of the student’s undergraduate enrollment in CUNY. Repeated courses must be taken at John Jay.

Independent Study Courses

Students who wish to undertake independent study under the direction of a member of the faculty must complete an “Independent Study Form.” The form must be signed by both the faculty member and the department chair, certified by the Registrar and accepted during the official registration period and prior to the end of the second week of class. All 400-level independent studies must be approved by the Office of Undergraduate Studies. Approval is subject to the academic prerequisites listed in the course description and the following stipulations:
• The student must have completed 60 degree credits and have at least a 2.50 grade point average.
• Students may take only one independent study course each semester, up to a total of four such courses for the duration of their undergraduate enrollment at the College.
• The instructor must be a full-time member of the faculty.
• The instructor cannot sponsor more than two independent studies per semester.
Permission for exceptions to these regulations must be obtained from the department chair and the Vice President for Enrollment Management, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, or the Dean of Undergraduate Studies prior to the registration period.

Permit/CUNY ePermit Courses

A permit course is a course taken at another college for which students receive credit at John Jay College. See the Undergraduate Bulletin for details on who is eligible and how to apply.

Sara Scaldafferry (sscaldafferry@jjay.cuny.edu) is a good contact person if you have questions!

Pass/Fail option

Upon completion of 60 credits, students with a grade point average of 2.0 and higher may take one course a semester under a Pass/Fail Option, for a total of four such courses. The Pass/Fail Option may be applied only to elective credit, not courses satisfying the College’s general education requirements and courses in the student’s major.
Application for the Pass/Fail Option must be made at the Jay Express Services Center before the conclusion of the second week of classes during the fall and spring semester, at the end of the first week of classes for summer session, and by the third class for winter session. Once granted, this option is irrevocable. The grade of P received for a course taken under the Pass/Fail option is not computed in the grade point average. Grades of F are computed as a zero in student grade point averages.

Graduation with Honors

Latin Honors

Baccalaureate students qualify for three levels of Latin Honors awarded at graduation:

• Summa cum laude (with highest distinction), awarded to students whose cumulative grade point average is at least 3.9

• Magna cum laude (with great distinction), awarded to students whose cumulative grade point average is at least 3.75

• Cum laude (with distinction), awarded to students whose cumulative grade point average is at least 3.5

To be eligible for graduation with honors, a student must complete at least 56 credits at the College. Students who entered the College with an Associate degree qualify for these honors with a minimum of 52 credits earned at the College. All courses and earned grades obtained at John Jay and elsewhere enter into the computation of the GPA.
The eligibility of students who transfer into John Jay from other college(s) for such important academic recognition as Latin Honors (summa, magna, cum laude), valedictorian and salutatorian status, and other graduation awards shall include their cumulative GPA at their previous college(s), which shall be averaged in with the grades they have earned at John Jay.

Honors in the Major

To qualify for honors in the major, a student must have completed the credit requirements for the major and have earned at least a 3.5 cumulative grade point average in courses above the 100-level in the major. Credit for courses required as prerequisites for major courses applied to the major will not be calculated into the major cumulative grade point average. Students must also have earned at least a 3.2 overall cumulative grade point average. This honor will be noted on the student’s transcript. Note: some majors have additional requirements for honors in the major. Consult the Undergraduate Bulletin.

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