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Enrolment confusion leaves student unable to graduate on time

by Vanessa Elley (she/her)

news writer

A third year student was left surprised after being told she will be unable to graduate at the end of the year as expected due to not having completed enough points.

Communication Studies student Sharnae Cunningham, who began her degree in Semester 2 of 2020, said that the situation with her enrolments was a “mess” from the start.

“[I was] doing half year-one papers, half year-two papers and then couldn’t do the other year-two papers because I needed to do my other year-one papers, so already I was like ‘this is chaos.’”

Due to starting halfway through the year in 2020, Cunningham was left with a messy mix of classes in 2021, finishing first-year courses at the same time as starting second-year ones with the rest of her cohort who were a semester ahead.

Over the course of her studies she was not enrolled in enough classes each semester, and was unable to earn the points she needed to graduate.

After hearing a friend mention that they needed to complete extra points, Cunningham said she realised she hadn’t received any communication from her faculty about whether she had enough to graduate.

“I went to the head of Communications admin… I sat down and was like ‘hey, I have just come across some information that has put me in a state of panic, what is going on?’”

“Their solution was, I pick up another three papers this sem, making me do five papers this sem, come back during summer school, not have my ceremony until August.”

Alternatively, she was told to come back in Semester 1 of 2024 to complete the necessary points.

According to Cunningham, the same thing has happened to one of her friends in the School of Science who also enrolled midway through 2020.

“The exact same thing has happened where there’s been no communication and they’ve just told her that yeah, actually now that you bring it up, we’ll see you next semester.”

The second student was approached for comment but declined.

A spokesperson for AUT said the university does what it can to support students, and is not aware of this being a widespread issue.

“Most degrees are intended to be completed over three years."

“We try to make sure the benefits and costs of starting in Semester 2 are explained clearly and these students do get extra attention in terms of pastoral care, course planning and academic advice.”

However, according to Cunningham this extra attention was not there to help her understand how many courses she needed to be enrolled in, and when, in order to complete her degree on time.


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