Yale students scrambling to figure out their distributional requirements can now look to the Yale Degree Audit, a new tool offered by the University Registrar, for guidance.
The YDA, which was announced in a collegewide email in late August and is now available to all Yale college students, tracks each student’s progress toward the bachelor’s degree and displays which requirements still need to be addressed for every academic year. The registrar’s office piloted the tool for Berkeley College and Morse College students last year, and have decided to extend it to all of Yale College following positive feedback, University Registrar Gabriel Olszewski said.
“Morse and Berkeley students [were] pleased to have an electronic resource that provides access to their academic history as well as tracked distributional requirements,” Olszewski said, adding that no significant changes have been made to the system since the pilot.
The YDA can be found on the “Academics” tab of the Student Information System and offers several different online displays that show checklists of distributional and skills requirements. At the moment, the tool only offers information about the bachelor’s degree requirements, and does not track requirements for specific majors. However, Olszewski believes that the programming of the tool can incorporate these features in the future. However, he added, a significant amount of effort and time will be needed to build major requirements into the system and there are no plans to do so yet.
Morse and Berkeley students interviewed said they found the tool easy to use. Describing the visual aspect of the checklist as effective, they said they found the tool useful.
“Being able to physically see in a visual interface what requirements you have done, and what needs to be done was pretty helpful,” Michelle Kelrikh ’17 said. She added that the “Look Ahead” feature, which shows how future course enrollment might apply toward a Yale degree, was particularly useful. With this function, students can enter specific courses and generate a visual report of the distributional requirements remaining.
Others noted the financial benefits of using the YDA.
Isabel Hummel ’17, who used the tool over the summer, said it saved her from paying the $40 fee for a transcript request from the Registrar’s Office. The YDA offers a feature that turns the spreadsheet into a PDF document, listing courses taken to fulfill the requirements.
Olszewski added that an additional convenience of the YDA is its ability to foster interactions between advisors and advisees, as the tool allows students to share their academic plans with advisors and receive feedback.
Kelrikh, who did not use the YDA with her advisor, said she might have shared it with her advisor if it included major requirement tracking.
While Morse and Berkeley students may be more familiar with the tool, none of the six undergraduates from other colleges interviewed were familiar with the YDA.
There are over 2,000 courses offered by Yale College every year.