Graduation planner helping students get on the right track

Graduation Planner, a new class planning tool, has been created by the MinnState system and implemented into MSU for more convenient academic planning.

Student Degree Planning and Completion Coordinator, Lindsay Smith is responsible for sharing information and teaching students how to use Graduation Planner to create individualized plans for a better understanding of students’ academic pathway  to graduation. She believes that this tool is helpful for planning and organization.

“I think it’s helpful because I know that a lot of students like to have an idea of what they want to take and when they want to take it. I know people will write everything out, semester by semester. In this way, everything is in one place. It’s telling them exactly what they need.” said Smith.

Fourth-year student Ryuto Hashimoto agrees with that statement.

“I tried to look at the DARS and understand the total credits that I have, and that wasn’t sometimes that is helpful enough. Because I ended up writing on a piece of paper to organize things. And planning ahead was hard because there is no way that I can save that somewhere,” said Hashimoto. 

Graduation Planner allows students to plan their classes ahead, save their plans and create plans for “what-if” situations. Smith explains that Graduation Planner will help students understand what their plan is in case of unexpected situations.

“It’s pretty common for students to come into college and think that they want to study a certain major and then maybe change their mind or maybe they need to come up with a backup plan just in case they don’t get into a certain major,” Smith stated.

First-year student Aruzhan Betigenova has learned about this tool recently. She believes that the ability to create backup plans is helpful in her situation.

“I did my plans manually, so it took much more time than it should have and I’m still fluctuating between minors and their classes, so I need more backup plans,” said Betigenova.

Mariana Dermenji, a fourth-year student, wished that she could have used this tool during her academic journey.

“I believe that a graduation planner is a very useful tool. And I wish it existed back in my sophomore year, because the lack of a graduation planner and the ability to fill out the spreadsheet didn’t prevent me from taking classes that I didn’t even need,” said Dermenji.

According to Smith, Graduation Planner not only allows students to plan their classes, but is good to explore other majors as well. 

“It’s a good way to explore other majors. Students can look at classes that they have already taken and compare them to requirements for another major,” said Smith.

Besides all of the features that this tool already has, it is planned to develop the Graduation Planner with slight adjustments for the future. Smith said that she collects students’ feedback for future improvements.

“Right now we’re taking information from people that are using it across the MinnState system. Product owners will make adjustments like with any other program. Since it’s new, we don’t know what could change but it’s possible that there will be changes,” Smith said. 

Nevertheless, the tool is already available for students to use. They can start to plan classes using Graduation Planner. Smith said that she is holding office hours to help students learn how to use Graduation Planner for their benefit. For more information email

Write to Amalia Sharaf at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.