Using Degree Audit to plan your academic experience

A sketch of a person in a lab coat, in a chemistry lab. Thoughts bubbles show a guitar and a book.
While it is always a good idea to think and dream, maybe in this case care about chemicals is a better idea. Mohamed_hassan via Pixabay, manipulated by Lee Lim

Making the most out of electives

University is not just about ticking off boxes and fulfilling degree requirements. It’s also about the journey of self-discovery, intellectual growth, and perhaps, finding a new passion.  

That’s exactly where electives come in. Those often-underestimated courses can add to your GPA, or, if not chosen wisely, bring it down. But do you find it hard to choose which electives to take? Are you overwhelmed by the options and unsure how they fit into your degree? Well, meet Degree Audit, your virtual academic advisor accessible at the tips of your fingers through UR Self Service. This invaluable tool provides a comprehensive roadmap for your academic journey, whether you’re pursuing a diploma, a bachelor’s degree, or even a concurrent program.  

Degree Audit enables you to make informed decisions about your electives, ensuring they not only align with your interests but also strategically fit into your degree plan. Logging into UR self-service and accessing Degree Audit is straightforward. Once you’re in, you can start from scratch to hypothetically plan a change in your major or if not, add a concurrent program to your current major. Whether you’re in your first year or your last, this helps you register for courses by showing your prerequisites and electives available to you. Personally, I’ve been using Degree Audit since my first year and this tool helped me plan my courses ahead of my time ticket opening. After navigating this online platform, I even added a concurrent program in the Non-Profit Sector Leadership and Innovation (NSLI) to my Human Resources Degree. I believe that this certificate in NSLI will give breadth to my HR degree as it will focus on the transferable skills that are valuable in settings not solely driven by profit but also motivated by a cause or community. 

Now, everyone is different and has unique passions and interests. What works for one person may not work for another. This is why the UR Degree Audit allows you to tailor your chosen courses according to your individual needs. Let’s say you are a science major with a keen interest in psychology. You can explore this interest by opting for psychology electives. Another enriching avenue worthwhile of considering is taking electives focused on Indigenous studies which offer insights into the history, culture, and contemporary issues facing Indigenous communities.  

If you’re bilingual and interested in expanding your linguistic and cultural horizons, La Cité’s French language electives could be a perfect fit. These courses offer a deep dive into various aspects of the language and Francophone culture. The best part is that if it is approved by your faculty, you can even declare a minor or certificate in French and Francophone Studies, thus adding a valuable credential to your resume. 

A recent graduate who chose to remain anonymous shared, “I learned about the Degree Audit tool in my third year, and it’s the best academic planning tool I’ve ever come across.” They continued, “It’s a bit disappointing that it’s not advertised as much as it should be. It’s a game changer for long-term course planning. Students can experiment with different electives, concurrent programs, and certificates to see how they fit their academic plan. For students, it’s a hidden gem.”  

The UR Degree Audit potentially directs you to how these seemingly disparate courses can complement your major, potentially leading to dual degrees, minors, or certificates, all within the set target graduation deadline. Sometimes it’s worth getting out of your comfort zone and exploring subjects you might not have considered otherwise. For instance, a STEM major can very well choose courses in humanities to enhance their ethical reasoning skills. 

In light of the above, electives are more than just filler courses; they are an opportunity to explore diverse interests and skills. And the Degree Audit is your virtual guide, helping students make informed choices about making the right use of their electives. This tool demystifies the often-overwhelming process of course selection, allowing students to experiment with different fields. Electives are not just courses; they are your academic wild card, offering you a chance to diversify your skills, deepen your knowledge, and defy expectations. 


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