Planning your future in college can be anxiety-inducing. Crafting a four-year plan is a great way to reduce stress.
There are eight semesters in a typical four-year degree program, and you can plan all eight carefully. Talking to your academic advisor, an expert in helping people in your area of study graduate, is the best place to get started.
It’s helpful to track your progress in one place. Your academic advisor might prepare you a document to record both your major and core requirements, or you can create one of your own.
Start on the Maryville College website (Core Curriculum – Maryville College), where the core requirements are explained section-by-section. For example, “LS” stands for “Literary Studies,” which is under the category “Domains of Knowledge.” This is described as, “a critical knowledge of self and informed understanding of other.”
All the categories have corresponding abbreviations that show what requirement a class fulfills. One of the Literary Studies classes is “A Survey of British Literature I,” or ENG196. In Self-Service, where the class catalog is found, this class is listed with LS next to it in parenthesis, showing that it fulfills the Literary Studies requirement.
Any class that fulfills a core requirement can be found with its associated abbreviation next to it in parentheses. If it doesn’t have an abbreviation, it doesn’t meet a core requirement, but it may be a class for your major.
On the “Academic Divisions” page (Academic Divisions – Maryville College), listed under the academics tab on the Maryville College website, you can find the requirements of your major(s). This includes a description of each class or experience.
All of the classes have a certain credit hour value associated with them, which you can find in their descriptions. By adding up those of the core and major classes, you can calculate how many you’ll need to earn by senior year.
Once you’ve identified the classes you need to take, decide when you’re going to take them. To estimate how many credit hours you need to earn each semester, divide the total number of credit hours by the semesters you have left. Pick classes that fulfill the number that you calculated, and you’re sure to be on track.
You can organize the document you use to track your four-year plan into several categories: core classes you’ve taken, core classes you need, major classes you’ve taken, and major classes you need. This system clearly shows what is done and what is left.
For example, if a first-semester freshman is taking four hours out of a necessary 40 for core classes, and seven hours out of a necessary 70 for major classes, they need to take 99 more credit hours in total. Since a first-semester freshman has seven semesters remaining, they need to take a minimum of about 14 hours per semester. Taking a minimum of 14 hours worth of required classes each semester will ensure they achieve their goal.
By following these steps, and getting help from your advisor, you can make a solid four-year plan.