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Getting on Track with Degree Track

The Office of the Registrar, in conjunction with Yeshiva University Information Technology Services (ITS), is currently testing its new communication and advising platform, “Degree Track.” The platform will connect Academic Advising, the Dean’s Offices, the Registrar’s Office, faculty advisors, the Jewish Studies Department, and students.

Degree Track is a new feature built into the MYYU web template which will let undergraduate students In Yeshiva College, Stern and Sy Syms see where they stand in terms of their academic progress. Students will be able to see which requirements they have satisfied and which ones they still need to take, sketch out the course of the major(s) that they want to pursue, and to plan their schedules for registration ahead of time.

Some new features include a major and a general academic GPA calculator, a bar graph demonstrating student progress, and an extensive advisory note taking system. This note taking system will contain a record of topics discussed during advisory meetings, allowing students to keep better track of their progress.

Degree Track will store forms students usually have to fill out, saving time during meetings so that important issues can be discussed. Until now, students have needed to e-mail advisors their questions.  Now, Degree Track will replace e-mail as the communication platform that students and advisors use, centralizing where forms and important messages are stored, giving the registrar a full picture of where each student is headed.

Students in the past have had difficulty figuring out which classes satisfy which requirements, mystifying the whole graduation process. Degree Track will help students see which of their classes will satisfy their requirements, easing them through their time at YU.

Psychology major Eli Shavalian (YC ’14) attests to the difficulty of figuring out where course requirements fit into a student’s transcript. “I had a general sense of what I wanted to graduate with. For each major and minor they have a sheet with required courses, and you have to take specific required courses and electives to complete this major. Next to each required class, I wrote what semester I would take it. I planned over four years to take a few classes each semester. It’s harder to figure out your general requirements, because you have to make sure your classes fit into each category. Hopefully, the new feature will help people figure out how to fulfill their requirements.”

Students who want to switch from Sy Syms to YC will find the transition easier by using Degree Track, which will enable them to see which of the classes that they have already fulfilled can count towards their new major and new school requirements. Advisors will be able to offer students a list of classes with a “plans” feature. The database will also store waivers and requirement exemptions, helping students ensure that their exceptions are processed accordingly.

“The main point of the tool is that it’ll better prepare you for graduation,” Diana Benmergui, the Interim University Registrar, says.  “You’ll know everything in advance. Previously, especially on the Wilf campus, we’ve had a lot of issues where students were unaware of what requirements were missing, and we often had miscommunication about requirements overall. This way, students will be able to be more on top of making sure their degree requirements are fulfilled… You now have control to see what’s in your file at all times.”

On December 20, the Student Life Committee plans to unveil the platform on the Wilf campus, and the Registrar’s Office will be offering informational how-to sessions to help students navigate the new software. The Registrar wants students to know that they are open to suggestions, comments and questions, and that students should not hesitate to come in to the registrar’s office to talk to them.