In the world of university life, there are few things more important than your academic audit. Your audit is the key to your whole degree: the courses you take, the majors you switch out of, the minors you pick up. It is the complete collected works of your post-secondary education rolled into a user-friendly, if somewhat elusive, database.
It must have been halfway through my second year at Carleton University when I finally pressed the curious “Submit an audit” button on my school account. Lo and behold, a breakdown appeared detailing what classes I was taking, a list of my unfulfilled requirements, and even suggestions of courses that I could use towards my degree.
Now, if you happen to be anything like me, you try to avoid any unnecessary contact with university administration. Besides paying my tuition fees and picking up my student card, I was always determined to have very little to do the administrative resources on campus. I admire the go-getter students who really get involved: making appointments with professors to get feedback on a first draft, signing up for library workshops, and having regular meetings with the student career centre to track the course of their degree.
Of course, making use of all the resources and services your campus has to offer is never a bad idea. Those systems are in place to help make sure you don’t get lost in the sea of student numbers. However, if organized appointments and administrative assistance don’t appeal to you, there is just one service you should embrace wholeheartedly: your audit. Your audit is the Do-it-Yourself version of all things academic, the “Planning Your Degree for Dummies” book no student should do without.
As a fourth-year student on exchange, I learned very quickly how important it is to keep an eye on your audit. In the land of ECTS credits and courses in 7-week blocks, it’s essential to know how your courses will translate back to Canadian university.
For instance, if I had not looked through my audit, there would be no way for me to know that two of my exchange courses had been bundled neatly into a random psychology elective, instead of being put toward my final remaining credit for my English minor. Spending the time to look through my entire audit of my exchange courses—as tedious as it may be—means that I won’t arrive back in Canada to the nasty surprise that my minor is not complete after all.
As is the case with much of university life, keeping track of your degree is completely up to you. You monitor your academic standing, you track the GPA you need for graduate school applications and you make sure you have all the necessary requirements for your degree. Your academic audit is an easy key to avoiding mistakes and planning ahead.
Perhaps if I had clicked that “Submit an audit” button just one year earlier, I would be on track to a double major with my newfound university love, Sociology. As is, juggling a major and a double minor, along with the ins and outs of my exchange, is quite enough. No doubt about it, I’ll be keeping an eye on the colourful, almost-complete pie chart of my audit right up to the end.