Staying on track

stayontrackOn Oct. 28, the University of Alaska’s Stay on Track, Finish in Four campaign launched a photo contest. Upload a photo of how many years it will take you to finish your degree and be entered to win 2 free Alaska Airline tickets. The Stay on Track campaign is a system-wide effort created to get students graduated on time.

Ashleigh Gaines of the New Student Orientation office says, “I don’t have the exact number, but a good majority of freshmen we have are taking a 15-credit load. I have not seen many part-time students, but more students are getting engaged with the Stay on Track campaign and taking 15 credits so they can graduate on time.”

Throughout the UA system, 30 credits per year is considered to be the “real” full time. An associate degree requires at least 60 credit hours, and a bachelor’s degree requires a minimum of 120 hours. So, a student needs to have completed 30 credits to be considered a sophomore, and in order to graduate a student must complete 120-155 credits. The credits a student takes must count toward his or her degree.

There are specific things a student can do in order to stay on track. The first thing is to choose a major early. If a student is not sure what he or she would like to major in there is some leeway and time to explore a degree field. For a student working toward a bachelor’s degree, a major should be chosen by his or her third semester. Choosing a major early helps cut down on GERs and other classes that may not be necessary for your chosen field of study.

Once a degree is chosen, be sure to know the requirements of that degree. DegreeWorks is a degree auditing system that can help you track your progress, and is accessible through your UAonline account. Advising can also help keep you on track. Every degree program has advisers, so once a major has been chosen, be sure to meet with your adviser at least once a semester. Make sure that all of the credits you are taking actually count towards your degree.

If this seems like a lot, there are resources for students who are struggling to meet the requirements of their courses. Gaines suggests that all new students go through New Student Orientation. Orientation is important because it helps the new student learn about different resources that are available to them such as the Learning Resource Center, or LRC, and specialized tutoring services that are included in their student fees, such as the math, English and language tutors that are available in the LRC.

Gaines also says if the tutors in the LRC are not enough, the New Student Orientation Office can help find a more specialized tutor or connect students with clubs on campus that are specifically designed for tutoring.

- Advertisement -

Working less and making school a priority is a sure way to graduate on time. However, if working less is not an option, then take advantage of summer courses. At UAA, there are two five-week sessions per summer, and one 10-week session. That’s like three semesters of classes in one summer, and can help you catch up on credits if you are falling behind. UAA also offers distance learning courses, so if you are unable to attend a course in person, it may be completed online. Keep in mind that if you do not complete 30 credit hours per year, it will add up to an extra full year of classes. This means that you will be paying approximately $10,000 extra for your degree. There are many student jobs available at UAA that are flexible with student schedules.

Another resource offered to students through the New Student Orientation office is a Wolf Pack leader. A Wolf Pack leader is a fellow student who knows his or her way around the UAA system. Wolf Pack leaders will check up on new students and offer them advice or show them to resources when needed. This help is vital to staying on track, because it’s been proven that students who are more engaged on campus are more likely to graduate.


For more information about how to stay on track, visit the Stay on Track website at If you are a new student who has not gone through orientation contact the New Student Orientation office at 90-786-1224.

To apply for a job on campus visit