What To Include In An Academic Plan

Though four years of college might seem like a long time when you’re a freshman, the reality is that you have a finite amount of time to take more classes than you could in a lifetime. As soon as you can, you should sit down with your academic adviser and map out an academic plan to help you meet your requirements and make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the courses you’d really enjoy. In fact, if you’re reading this in the summertime, school might be the last thing on your mind, but it might not be a bad idea to pull out the course catalog and get a jump on your plan before you sit down with your academic adviser in the fall.

Distribution Requirements

Make a note of any distribution requirements your school has. In addition to what the required courses are, you should make a note of when they’re offered. If you are interested in getting your requirements out of the way as soon as possible, this is important information for you to have. Some classes aren’t offered every semester, so you should plan ahead.

Go Shopping In Your Major

If you know what area you would like to major in, you should begin making a list now of the department’s course offerings. Write down the classes you are just dying to take, as well as any prerequisites that these courses have. Many departments require a 101 course, a broad overview of the subject, of all students planning on majoring. If you know the major you’d like to pursue, you should try to take this 101 class in the fall. Here, too you should make a note of when courses are offered to make sure you will be able to take them.

Plan On Some Fun With Electives

Once you see how much time distribution requirements and a major will take, you’ll see how truly limited your time in college is. (Even if you don’t know your major, you should plan on blocking out eight to ten classes to fulfill the requirements of whatever major you declare.) Time is of the essence, but you should also take some courses that simply appeal to you because you think they’ll be fun, interesting, or both.

Get Your Foot In A Door In The Real World With An Internship

Now that you’ve blocked out your class schedule for the next four years, look and see where the lighter semester loads might be in your class schedule. If you’ve created an academic plan that takes care of distribution and major requirements efficiently, you should have time for an internship. Usually, you can do these for course credit during the semester or summer.