Creating an academic plan is one of the most important tasks for college students. A good plan will help you to be more successful each semester and to graduate on time. Here are some tools to help you create a great academic plan:
Choosing a Major
The Career and Transfer Resources webpage offers many online resources to help students figure out what they would like to study while they are attending FCC. Some of these resources include:
• A quick, free career assessment to determine your interests
• Links to the Occupational Outlook Handbook and other Career Exploration tools
• A Choosing a Major video with important points to consider in making your choice
• Answers to “What can I do with a Major in…?” to connect career options to majors
• A tutorial on Steps to Successful Decision Making
• An opportunity to ask a counselor questions about majors and careers
• You can also stop by Counseling & Advising located in Jefferson Hall (J-201) to check out additional resources, or call the office at 301.846.2594 to schedule an appointment with a career advisor.
Regardless of how you choose to use the career resources at FCC, be sure to discuss what you’ve learned with your advisor, so together you can incorporate that knowledge into your goals, adjust your academic plan, and select appropriate courses accordingly.
Completion of 15, 30, and 45 college credits are considered “milestones” in your academic career. For each of these milestones we have identified specific steps you should be taking toward meeting your educational goals.
Check out your milestones to see how you measure up.
• 15 Credits Completed
• 30 Credits Completed
• 45 Credits Completed
If you have completed 15 credits… Ask yourself these questions.
1. How am I doing? If you’re doing okay, that's great. If you felt overwhelmed with work, consider taking fewer credits next semester. If you weren’t successful in a course, consider repeating it.
2. Have I completed my Developmental English and/or Math requirements? If not, make them your first priority.
3. Have I started my math and science requirements? Don’t put them off, as they are often sequenced and you won’t be able to “cram” them all in before you graduate.
4. Am I sure I am taking the right classes? Check your Degree Plan to see what classes you need for your degree program. We encourage you to meet with an advisor to help plan your classes.
5. Have I picked a major? If you need help choosing a major, check out the Career and Transfer Resources webpage, or stop by Counseling & Advising in Jefferson Hall (J-201), to talk with a career advisor. If you have decided to change your major since you first applied, remember to complete a Change of Major form to submit to Registration and Records in Jefferson Hall (J-101).
6. Am I planning to transfer to another school? Some careers require more than an associate degree. Start your transfer planning early. Transfer guides for individual schools, indicating which FCC courses should be taken to meet their requirements, are available in Counseling & Advising in Jefferson Hall (J-201).
Here’s your TO DO list to get to the next milestone:
1. Learn the specific requirements for your major using the Academic Catalog or your Degree Plan to make sure you are taking classes you need to earn your degree. If you’re not sure of any requirement, talk to an advisor.
2. Visit the Career and Transfer Resources webpage or Counseling & Advising in Jefferson Hall (J-201), to learn about your intended career field, complete career assessments and gather career information, and to make sure you are in the right major for your intended career goals.
3. Visit the Career and Transfer Resources webpage or Counseling & Advising in Jefferson Hall (J-201), to learn which transfer schools offer degrees in your major. Students are encouraged to identify their transfer major and possible transfer schools by the end of 30 credits.
If you have completed 30 credits… Ask yourself these questions.
1. Do I know what is required of my major? If not, check your Degree Plan or the Academic Catalog. If you are unsure of any requirement, talk to an advisor.
2. If I plan to transfer, have I learned about the schools I am interested in? Research is the key. Check out the Career and Transfer Resources webpage or Counseling & Advising located in Jefferson Hall (J-201), to pick up brochures, applications and other materials. Talk to admissions reps from different colleges who periodically recruit students in the Student Center lobby near the Cougar Grille. Make plans to attend Transfer Day each semester. If you still need help, call 301.846.2594 to make an appointment to see the transfer counselor.
Here’s your TO DO list to get to the next milestone:
• Ask your advisor whether there are requirements for graduation other than completing the classes for your major. For example, Education majors must take and pass the Praxis I exam in order to earn their degree.
• If you're considering changing your major, call 301.846.2594 to make an appointment to meet with a career counselor to learn about career options. Complete a Change of Major form to submit to Registration and Records in Jefferson Hall (J-101). Follow up with an advisor to learn how classes you have already taken will apply to your new major.
• Researching transfer options takes time, so don’t put off this important step. Students who identify their transfer school early can be assured that the classes they are taking transfer to their intended school and apply to their intended major. Now’s the time to visit Counseling & Advising located in Jefferson Hall (J-201).
If you have completed 45 credits… Ask yourself these questions.
• Have I applied for graduation? Graduation applications are available online in PeopleSoft. You should apply to graduate even if you do not plan to attend graduation ceremonies.
• If I intend to transfer, have I made specific plans to do so? Determine admission criteria and application deadlines for your chosen transfer school. Plan a VISIT or attend an OPEN HOUSE. Check out transfer scholarships. Apply and have official transcripts sent. Make an appointment with the Transfer Counselor at 301.846.2594 if you need help.
• If I will be entering the workforce after graduation, do I have a plan? If you have a job lined up, that's great. If not, Counseling & Advising in Jefferson Hall (J-201) can provide help with resume writing and job search assistance. Call 301.846.2594 to make an appointment with a career advisor who can help review your career options and prepare you for the job market.
Here’s your TO DO list to get to the next milestone – Graduation
Meet with your advisor to make sure you will have all your credits and other requirements completed to earn your degree. Check your Degree Plan to prepare for your appointment.
General Education Requirements
General Education (Gen Ed) courses are part of every degree program at every college and university. Gen Eds are intended to give you a little bit of knowledge in a lot of different subject areas (a.k.a., academic disciplines) to help you become well-rounded.
All courses that are designated as Gen Ed courses are listed on the Gen Ed Course List, which can be found in the Academic Catalog or in the Credit Course Schedule. The course list is broken down into different academic disciplines including: Arts, Humanities, Communications, English, Interdisciplinary & Emerging Issues, Mathematics, Science, and Social & Behavioral Sciences.
You will need courses from some or all of these different areas to satisfy your major’s requirements. Some courses will be required and some you will get to choose (elect):
• Required Gen Eds are specific courses listed in BOLD print, such as EN101, which is the required Gen Ed English course for every Associate degree.
• Elective Gen Eds are courses you get to choose and are listed in BOLD print under your program in the Academic Catalog. For example, for the Arts Elective (Gen Ed course list), you would select any of the courses listed under the Arts section of the General Education Course List.
When choosing Gen Eds, remember to:
1. Check your major's requirements using your Degree Plan.
2. Sign up for any required Gen Eds (like EN101) that you need in your major.
3. Use the General Education Course List to pick any elective Gen Ed courses in the subject area you need.
If you are still uncertain about your Gen Ed requirements, contact your Advisor or ask the Email Advisor.
My Degree Plan
Do you want to know what courses to take for your major, or how long it will take to graduate?
All students planning to earn a degree or certificate have direct access to their Degree Plan, an advising report in PeopleSoft that shows how completed courses and in-progress courses "satisfy", or count toward, their degree requirements. For most "unsatisfied" requirements, the list of courses that are available to complete the requirement will be displayed so students can click on them to view prerequisites and course descriptions. These courses can then be added to the student's planner for future semesters.
The Degree Plan allows students to:
• Get easy access to their degree requirements
• Plan how to complete their courses for graduation
• Prepare for their advising appointments to make sure courses they selected are the best options for their transfer or career goals
• Enroll into courses directly from Degree Plan
The Student PeopleSoft Tutorial includes directions to your Degree Plan.
Once you have reviewed these resources, you will have the tools you need to create an academic plan for all of your courses through graduation. You can create this plan with your advisor, or make a plan on your own, but we strongly recommend that you at least share it with your academic advisor.
Advisors can help you to make sure you have correct course sequencing, a manageable workload each semester, and can verify availability of courses in different semesters as well as transferability of courses to Maryland colleges and universities.