Program Works to Help Students Earn Degrees

October 08, 2017

Between the first day of orientation and the final exam before graduation, University of South Carolina Aiken students have to take a lot of classes.

Mapping out which classes to take -- whether they be general requirements, major-specific courses or ICE credits -- can be a daunting task for some.

Fortunately, an easy-to-use, web-based resource – known as Degree Works – helps track students’ progress toward their degrees and helps them plan for graduation. Students can access it on Self Service Carolina (SSC).

“Degree Works has tools that allow students to view their academic progress at any time and confirm how their course choices fulfill degree requirements,” said Maureen Quinn, degree audit coordinator.

In addition, students can calculate a GPA based on their performance for the term, she added.

Degree Works is also helpful to students who may be considering changing majors.

Quinn explained that the “What If” feature of the software allows students to see what would happen to their existing credits if they decide to change majors. It also gives students insight into the courses they’ll need to take within the new degree program – and identifies when they would be eligible to graduate should they ultimately decide to change majors.

While Degree Works is extremely helpful to students, it’s also a handy resource for advisors during the advisement period, which is just around the corner.

Dr. Chris DeWitt explains that from his perspective as an advisor, Degree Works is an important tool. The program not only provides insight about each student, helps faculty to track the course progress of students, but also allows for “paperless” advising.

It’s a win-win for everyone involved in the advising process, according to the chair of the department of exercise and sports science.

“Students can follow their progress and prepare themselves for advisement. I can prepare for advisement. The student and I can view [Degree Works] together during our advisement session,” DeWitt said.

He said that since it was first introduced to USC Aiken faculty and students, Quinn has worked to improve the software, particularly related to accuracy. She continues to refine the resource. One area of focus includes ensuring lab science and general education courses are properly categorized.

To help students become more familiar with Degree Works, Quinn produced a comedic, informational video which can be found at: .

“Students who have not yet accessed their audit on Degree Works or the video are encouraged to take a look prior to meeting with their advisors,” Quinn said.

USC Aiken, a comprehensive university in the University of South Carolina system, offers undergraduate and master’s degrees to more than 3,500 students in 50 programs of study. USC Aiken is ranked the #1 public regional college in the South by U.S. News & World Report’s guide "America’s Best Colleges." The 2018 distinction marks USC Aiken’s 20th consecutive ranking among the top three in this category and its 13th time in first place.