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Ask An Advisor

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2018 GraduationMay 5th, 2018
Countdown to May 2018 Graduation!

It’s mid March and summer/fall registration is about to begin. During this period, we will be hosting an “ASK AN ADVISOR” column, hosting your questions and soliciting expert advisor help to answer them.  Please submit any questions via email to Dr. Therese Madden at We are all looking forward to this conversation so that you always know exactly where you stand with regards to your graduation progress.

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION, submitted by Human Services student:

Why is my friend taking Religious Studies at a Community College, but I was advised to take it at NDNU? 

NDNU’s tuition is more expensive, you know….”

ANSWER:  Yes, we do know.  We also know that most students want to finish their studies with 1) the least cost and 2) the least number of required classes.  Many of you took lots of community college classes before you realized that you weren’t following a particular track to graduation and found NDNU because you were ready for a plan that would result in your graduation.  Advising confusion always lies in the individual nature of each student’s graduation plan.  The classes you took before you came to NDNU are different from those that your friend sitting next to you took, so your path to the 1) least expensive and 2) quickest route to graduation will likewise vary.  Ask, ask, ASK and we can always clarify the “whys” behind our advice in constructing your graduation plan.

First, be assured that we never advise students to take more than the minimum number of classes needed to graduate and we won’t advise you to take an NDNU class if one for less cost at a community college will work.  But sometimes that NDNU class fulfills a requirement AND at the same time counts toward the Upper Division units you need for graduation.  If so, we recommend an NDNU class for this requirement; if not, we’ll help you find one at a community college.

More detail:  Everyone is required to take six units of Religious Studies.  These classes can be taken either Lower Division (community college) or Upper Division (NDNU).  Either way, they will satisfy the requirement, as long as the community college classes are listed on the Transfer Credit Agreement with the appropriate school.

So, what’s the difference?  Well, for some people, taking the class as an Upper Division class (at NDNU) satisfies both Upper Division miscellaneous units AND the General Education requirement.  Remember, you are working toward both a unit count and the completion of specific courses.  Others will complete their Upper Division unit count (46) with other requirements and taking Religious Studies as an Upper Division course would put them over the required 46 units.  In that case, you are welcome to spend the additional dollars, but our advice is based on the premise that less is better in terms of tuition and so in that case we will recommend a community college (cheaper) option (unless you tell us you’ve just won the lottery; in which case, we are happy to celebrate with you!  

WHAT QUESTION DO YOU WANT ANSWERED NEXT TIME?  Send me an email at and I’ll make sure that you get answers!

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