An academic plan allows a student to map out short, medium, and long term components designed to meet an academic goal. Remember that an academic plan should include some outside of the classroom learning activities. Learn to think beyond the minimum degree requirements. During each term (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, should I study abroad later on, should I try to accelerate my studies by completing a combined degree? There are lots of ways to maximize your undergraduate education.
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, and renewal of the plan. And even a choice of a major does not dictate your life's work. So, the 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? 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?
Ask lots of questions - of your advisers, your teachers, your teaching assistants (TA's), and your fellow students. Not only will you learn more, but they can serve as good sounding boards for your ideas. They will probably mention a number of opportunities that a large research university like UB makes available. Should you do an internship, undertake research with a faculty member, study abroad, complete a leadership training program, do an academic minor, or run for student government? 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.
Ensuring that you complete the course requirements to obtain your undergraduate degree is an integral part of your overall academic planning. Good short, medium and long-term academic planning, reviewing your Academic Advisement Report each term, and frequent consultation with you advisor will help you stay on track. Assistance in obtaining and understanding an Academic Advisement Report is available.
It is essential that you notify the university of the date on which you intend to graduate. UB confers degrees three times per year (commencement ceremonies are only in May, however). In order to have the university complete a final, official degree audit and to have your degree conferred you must file an application for degree form by the deadline date.
Note that many academic units have their own school graduation ceremonies. Stay up-to-date with plans for commencement and life after UB through the Countdown to Commencement: A Senior Celebration.
Last updated: April 23, 2013 10:50 am EST