The Professional Studies Program

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2019 Graduation

May 4th, 2019

Ask An Advisor

Why does my advisor always ask if I have submitted my transcripts?  I sent over my official ones when I started.  Can’t I wait until I finish all of my community college classes and send them over then?”  

~ Submitted by Rhonda, a Human Services student

Good question!  I worked with two students last week who had not been consistent about sending their transcripts over.  Sorting through what we had talked about in our last advising meeting and what was still needed for graduation was complicated because instead of having marks in each student’s file where she had completed appropriate classes, I had just penciled notes to work with.  Intentions.  Plans too often gone awry.

Being able to chart your course to graduation accurately is our goal.  Being able to do so depends on having a complete picture of where you are.  We have your NDNU progress, but most students are also working to complete community college classes.  We do not have knowledge of anything outside of NDNU until you give it to us.  Waiting several semesters can make your adviser’s job more challenging and the confusion can complicate your road to graduation.

Please help us work together by requesting official transcripts as soon as you finish each course.  This can be important for Financial Aid reasons, too!

Do you have a question?  Please feel free to submit it and have your question and the answer published here.  

Now is the time for registration for summer and fall classes.


“Take A Seat, Make A Difference”

Silicon Valley’s Can’t-Miss Networking Events:
Matching Nonprofits with Board Members

If you read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In,” she advises taking a seat at the table. THRIVE, the San Mateo-based Consortium of NonProfits, takes it a step further, reminding us that when you take a seat, you make a difference.

From THRIVE: “Local nonprofits need your skills and expertise. They are looking for potential board members like YOU to help them move mountains and improve the quality of life in our community. Register to attend OnBoard Match Event to find a nonprofit where you can:

  • Contribute to a cause you are passionate about
  • Use your professional skills and connections to help others
  • Work with a group of committed, visionary leaders
  • Give back to where you live or work
  • Have fun and make a difference!”

For more information about these events, see the sign up page at this link.

Ask An Advisor

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!

Alum Geeta Singh wins Emerging Scientist Award

Congratulations, Geeta!

Spring Term II Welcome and Info Video

Welcome to Spring Term II! Here’s a video reminder about prepping for classes and registering for Summer/Fall!

Tiana Bailey, Tracy Human Services Student, Makes News with Homeless Advocacy Letter

In this letter to the editor, Tracy Human Services student Tiana Bailey addresses local news stories about homeless issues in Tracy, combining compassion and advocacy with practical ideas. Well done, Tiana!

This photo accompanied an earlier article, to which Tiana was responding. (Courtesy

Our gratitude to NDNU Tracy Enrollment Director Cerena Sweetland-Gil for noticing Tiana’s contributions and sharing them!

Coat Drive/Book Drive

Two students are doing two separate drives and YOU can support them! Yoshi Yoshizawa-Wong is collecting warm coats (adults or kids) for the organization One Warm coat. Savannah Southers is collecting books for friends of the Redwood City Library. We have collection boxes set up in Tabard; come by if you have gently used books or coats to spare and help support these student projects. Thank you….