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Long Term Planning – Key to Academic Success

October 17, 2012

By: Maha Khmur, MyEdu (proud partner of Delta Sigma Pi)

Graduating in 4 years is too often taken for granted these days.  Students just starting college think that they’ll zip right through and graduate in 4 years with no problem. However, that is rarely the case anymore. Students are increasingly taking 5 or (or even 6!) years to graduate, which can put an emotional and financial strain on students and their families. However, if you take some time to plan out your college career, 4 years is definitely not out of the question. Use the following planning techniques to save time and money.

Consult your academic advisor frequently.  Academic advisors are devoted to helping, yet many students do not take advantage of them. Talking to an academic advisor at the beginning of each semester and during registration is a great way to ensure that you remain on track. Academic advisors can help you choose electives and other courses that will be beneficial to your degree, and help you map out major requirements through your future semester. Request a degree audit to keep with you so you will always know where you stand in relation to degree fulfillment.

Visit a career center to help figure out what you want to do. Most colleges and universities have career centers with literature on career options, as well as staff members that can help you choose a potential career and a major based on your interests and career aspirations. Knowing what career path you’re interested in early on will help you pick a major, therefore reducing the number of unnecessary classes you might have otherwise enrolled in.

Think long and hard before declaring your major.  One of the most common reasons behind students taking longer to graduate is a shift in major. If you decide to major in English Literature at the end of your freshman year, but realize two semesters later that you have a larger interest in Marketing, chances are many of your English courses will not fulfill the requirements for a Marketing degree. And so you realize that you’ll need an extra semester or two to make up all of the new requirements. This happens to students all the time.  Often, the pressure of the deadline to declare a major results in a quick decision that may not be the right one. So, keep in mind, it’s never too early to think about what you want to study. Considering all of your options, talking to your advisor, and figuring out what you want to do after college all lead back to what you’ll want to major in. Consider as much as you can in order to make a smart decision when the time comes to declare.

As much fun as college is, in the end, no one wants to stick around longer than necessary, especially when it means more money spent. Therefore, take the time to consider how you can plan better. Looking ahead to what you want to do with your future will help you get there in better time.

About MyEdu: MyEdu is an online academic tool that guides students (and parents) through the college career process. Some of their features include Q&A Stream, GPA Calculator, professor recommendations, degree planning tool, class schedule generator and Facebook integration. For more information go to www.myedu.com.

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