UB Undergraduate Advising

Developing an Academic Plan

An academic plan allows students to map out short, medium, and long term components designed to meet an academic goal. Remember that an academic plan should include the courses you need to complete each semester (your academic advisor will help you develop your course plan) and some outside of the classroom learning activities.

Learn to think beyond the minimum degree requirements. During each semester think about the degree requirements you need to complete next AND one or two topics to expand your reach — for example:


  • How to get started on research as an undergraduate
  • Studying abroad
  • Completing a minor or combined degree

There are lots of ways to maximize your undergraduate education.

Why Have an Academic Plan?

When you head off to college almost everyone asks you what you are going to major in and what your career goal is. The truth is that most students really do not know and if they say they do, they will likely change their minds. So, how can you plan when you are unsure about so many things? But that is exactly why a plan is so important.

A plan allows for:

  • Constant goal setting
  • Evaluation
  • Renewal of the plan

Planning is continuous and life-long. The best thing you can do for yourself is to learn to set goals (maybe just for the first term or the first year) and then to be able to evaluate your outcomes:

  • Did you meet your goal?
  • Were you satisfied? Why or why not?
  • Do you have to change your plan?

As you develop more experience your questions and goals will become more complex. Now that I have completed a series of courses in one area, can I make connections between the formal education and real life experiences (through a job, internship, shadow experience)? And do I like the result? If not, what have I learned about myself and what changes should I make in my plan?

Ultimately you will make decisions that are right for you. You can do that if you:

  • Are inquisitive
  • Collect accurate information
  • Engage in self-assessment, and
  • Plan thoroughly

Last updated: April 19, 2017 3:41 pm EST

University at Buffalo Academic Advisement Vision Statement: To empower students to be active, responsible learners who take full advantage of the many opportunities the university provides in the areas of academics, research, and community and global engagement.