Pass 1 for Winter 2016 is coming up. Some of you may already have a beautiful schedule lined up and some of you may still be frantically searching for classes to take, feeling lost and anxious. Whichever individual you are at the moment, you should seriously consider making a rough four-year plan or revising one you already have. Creating a four-year plan can seem daunting, time consuming, and unnecessary; however, in the long run your academic life will be much easier with a pre-planned schedule. Think about all those pass times that you won’t have to stress over! For many of you, creating a four-year plan may mean making life defining decisions such as: Should I go to Medical School? Will I be taking a gap year before work? Do I want to change my major? Am I finally going to minor in Spanish like I said I would? Our recommendation is: make a plan now and don’t be afraid to change it along the way! Here are some simple steps to get started.
Not sure where to begin when planning your future? When in doubt, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your major adviser or come by during drop-in hours to see a peer adviser. Trained professionals are available to give you the know how’s and the what’s ups to making an academic plan.
What about Double Majoring?
Finishing a double major at UC Davis requires tactful and strategic arranging of classes and definitely, lots of planning. When making a plan be sure to visit the advisers of both majors you intend to finish.
Thinking About Minoring?
Finishing one minor or even multiple minors is a great way to broaden your academic experience. Most minors require roughly 20 units; it’s also important to check for prerequisites and other minute details. For more information, talk to an adviser for the college or department you plan on minoring in.
Planning on Going to Professional School?
For many of you, applying to college won’t be the last time you needed to write a personal statement; find teachers for letters of recommendations; take a standardized exam; and ensure you fulfill all the prerequisites for your future dream school. This is where a four-year plan can really help you reach your professional dreams and make sure you fulfill all prerequisites, GE’s, and university/major requirements before you graduate. Applying to professional school is indeed difficult, but thankfully there are trained advisers available to guide you through the application process. Visit UC Davis’ Pre-Graduate/Professional Advising in 111 South Hall or go to 1011 SLB to talk to a Pre-Health Professions Adviser \
- Make a List of Prospective Classes
So, you’ve already seen your major adviser and you’re on track to graduate–Great! The next thing to do is incorporate interesting and/or relevant classes into your four-year plan. Exploring the General Catalog is a great place to begin, as it contains all the major/minor requirements, a list of all the GE’s offered on campus. Tip: The letters and numerals you see here: QL, SE, SL, VL.—I, II, III. (I, II, III.) These tell you what GE’s the class fulfills and also the quarter that class is offered. (I. means fall, II. means winter, and III. means spring) You can also narrow down your search using Schedule Builder’s Advanced Options. Extra Tip: Jot these classes down into a planner or into your computer so you can access them later.
So, you’ve more or less decided on a career and have compiled a list of interesting classes–you’re ready to start planning! Be sure to allocate a time block of a few hours to sit down in–front of a computer and churn out a four-year plan. Many students like to use Excel but we also recommend using Oasis‘s Academic Plan form. Such a form can be found under the Forms and Petitions Tab on Oasis. When plugging and chugging the classes you want to take, be sure to consider a few things…
Most upper-division major requirements have prerequisite classes, and it is important to make sure you’ve filled in all your prerequisite courses before putting in your major classes. Not having the right prerequisites could result in being dropped from the class or being unprepared for the course, so be sure to take a look in the General Catalog or on Schedule Builder for specific details.
Consider SS1 or SS2:
UC Davis offers a large majority of major classes during the summer, and students tend to perform better in classes taken during the summer time. Instead of spreading yourself thin with multiple classes, you can focus all your efforts on one class! If you want to get ahead of your schedule or take a load off of your normal academic quarter, definitely plan on taking a class or two in the summer. It’s important to plan ahead so that you can talk to the Financial Aid Office regarding your financial needs or make vacation plans with friends and family.
Make Time for Studying Abroad:
Did you know students can take BIS 101 in Europe every summer? This is just one example of the many classes and places students can explore with the Study Abroad Program. Studying abroad is usually the experience of a lifetime, but there may be a lot of hoops to jump through before actually going abroad. That is why it is important to have a plan, so you have time to prepare documents and figure out living expenses.
Whether or not you’ve decided on a future career, it never hurts to make a four-year plan and then change it as life goes forward. Life happens and your plans may be uncertain; however, a four-year plan may elucidate certain fuzzy details about the future, and set you on the right track to success!
Melissa Li Class of 2016 Biological Sciences, Emphasis in Neurology, Physiology, and Behavior Biology Academic Success–Peer Adviser