While visiting your advisors, some of them may have suggested mapping out your college courses to ensure a timely and surprise-free journey to graduation. Some of them may have even given you the means to do so. Fantastic! If not, don’t fear. Here’s one way you can map it out and STICK to your plan:
Materials: sticky notes of various colors; large, sturdy paper; your academic bulletin.
Step 1: Choose your colors
Figure out what types of classes you need to graduate and choose a different color for each (ex/general education classes, major classes, minor classes, etc.). This gives a quick visual of your requirements.
Step 2: Make a sticky for each class
Write the course designator of the classes you wish to take on the corresponding color sticky notes. Write down how many credits its worth and the class name. Does a class fulfill two requirements? Good for you! Make two or more stickies (one of each color) for that class and stack them. Again, it’s all about organized visuals.
Step 3: Draw up semesters
Create rectangles on your paper to represent each semester you plan on being in school.
Step 4: Map it out
Place the sticky notes you filled out onto the board in the order you would like to take them. Keep in mind the number of credits you hope to take each semester and the order of classes you’ll have to take (some need prerequisites). Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; just get started! That’s the beauty of using sticky notes. If your plan changes, you can just pick up the sticky note and move it to a different box. When you think you’re all set, write down how many credits you plan to take each semester.
Step 5: Verify
More sets of eyes are always better than one. Take your plan to your advisors so they can make sure it checks out. It’s even a smart idea to take it to more than one type of advisor. Your general academic advisor can tell you if your general education class requirements are fulfilled by your plan. Your major advisor can tell you if you have all the classes you need in the correct order, and your minor advisor can do the same. If each color on your plan is approved by an advisor, you know your plan can STICK.
When planning things out, you may hit some bumps in the road; you may get contradicting information from different departments due to communication errors, but remain diligent! Explain to those helping you what contradicting information you have received; this will help the two departments work it out for you. Always double check your plan and get a second opinion to ensure no surprises happen due to miscommunication.
So now you can see your academic journey on paper; a glorious multi-colored paper. But seeing it on paper and experiencing it are two different things. Soon enough, those classes won’t just be sticky notes, they will become reality. How else have others mapped out their journey?