What is an Education Plan?
All types of students
come to community colleges, but no matter what brought you here, you'll get ahead if you develop
and stick to an "Education Plan." What is an Education Plan? An Education Plan is a plan
that you will develop alongside your college counselor
based on your goals and interests, and it basically lays out which kinds
of classes you need to take, and when. All students benefit from creating
their personal Education Plan, no matter what has brought them
to community college and where they see
themselves going after. We've brought in a few of our students
to show you how diverse the community college student body is
through their stories, and how they might benefit from creating
an Education Plan for themselves, with the help of their college counselor. We'll follow their stories up
with 5 Tips from Gina, our virtual college counselor, about the importance of creating
an effective Education Plan.
A Diverse Body of Students
(Jaime) I'm not even sure
I want to be in college. Why am I here? Because my parents say
if I don't go to school, I will have to work full time
and move into my own place. How can I possibly make an
Education Plan when I don't have clue about what I want to do in life,
let alone my college major?
(Cassandra) So I think
I really messed up. I blew off my class placement tests and now
I have to take remedial math and English. Have I let a couple of tests
completely derail my college career?
(George) I retired last year,
but I knew that I would be happier if I kept my mind active
by taking college courses. Do I need an Education Plan?
(Olivia) I was a straight-A student
in high school, planning to go to UCLA. But then my mom got sick and I had to
stay home to help take care of her. I still want to go to medical school
and need to develop an Education Plan that sets me up to transfer to UCLA
for my junior year, once she's better. Please tell me that you can help me!
(Martha) I haven't been
in school in 10 years and I'm terrified that I've
forgotten how to be a student. On top of that, I have two small children and a husband who says he wants me
to just go back to work. I know I can't make much money with
just my high school diploma. I can't waste time. Everything I take has to count
toward my nursing major. Can you help me with my Educational Plan?
(Andre) I'm here to play football, but in order to play,
I need to maintain eligibility. I hope to go pro in a few years.
Please set me up.
(Edgar) I work full time
and have a family. My employer told me I have gone
as far as I can go in the company without a Bachelor's degree. I earned a few college credits when
I first graduated from high school, but I'm not sure they're
worth anything anymore. What plan should I follow
to get to a CSU ASAP? I'm thinking about taking online
courses toward a business major.
Three Essential Tasks
Maybe some of these stories sound familiar
to you, and maybe they don't. But you can see that on
a community college campus, the student body is
extremely diverse. The California Community College system
wants to help all of you, no matter what your stories,
become successful college students. So what do you have to do on your end? First, you have to participate
in an orientation, in order to get an idea of what being a student
at your community college will be like. Second, you'll take placement tests
so that your community college knows which level of required classes (think, math or writing) you would be most successful in. The third step is your Education Plan,
which can be a two-step process. A preliminary Education Plan
is fine in your first semester, but after that you'll need a more
comprehensive Education Plan. Your college counselor can
really help you develop this. Gina, our virtual college counselor,
is here to tell you why an Education Plan is so important
for you as a student.
The S.T.E.P. Process
(Gina) Hi, my name is Gina,
and as you already know, I am your virtual college counselor,
here to talk to you about your Education Plan. When students come to me for advice, I tell them that a careful and
well thought-out Educational Plan is the perfect way to
STEP up their college career!
When you have a plan, you're less likely to
waste time and money by taking courses that
are not part of your plan.
T- Track. An Education Plan allows you to track
your progress as a focused and driven student. You'll know when you're on track
and when you've veering from your initial goal. But don't let that feel like
overwhelming pressure! Did you know that many,
if not most, college students change their majors
at least once? You're not expected to have everything
figured out from the first day of school, but even if you don't know
what major you want to pursue, or what career path
you want to follow, a preliminary college major
helps most students more quickly figure out
what they really want to do. Additionally, if your educational goals
are to earn an Associate's Degree and transfer to a four-year school
for your Bachelor's degree, you will want to research
the four-year schools that could be the best fit
for you and your interests. Look at the Career Exploration module
to get you started with that decision. The ASSIST website will get you started
with transfer school information so that you can start researching
what you should take care of at community college,
before you transfer.
E- Eligibility. If you are
receiving Vet benefits, are an athlete, or
are receiving a scholarship, there may be eligibility requirements
that you need to keep track of. And if you're receiving Financial Aid,
it is essential that you maintain a certain GPA and demonstrate progress
toward your educational goals in order to continue to be eligible. All of these factors will be part
of your Educational Plan, and they will help you keep
your academic commitments and goals fresh in mind throughout
each school term.
P- Plan. Planning comes
in many different forms, but it is one of the chief benefits
to an effective Education Plan. You can plan to take courses
in a sequence that makes sense in terms of course and
placement pre-requisites. You can balance your semesters
with easier and harder courses, as well as courses
that are more interesting with those that may be
less interesting. Leaving the hardest and least interesting
courses for your last semester is NOT recommended. Also, did you know that some courses
are not available every semester? With careful planning,
you can minimize the risk that you will have to stay an extra semester
just because you couldn't get into a course or two. Good planning will help you
stay on top of this, and even expose you to
"insider" tactics that will push you to the next level
as a student. For instance, have you ever
investigated the priority registration? It can not only ensure you
of a better schedule, but It will also allow you
to sign up for all the courses that you need for a
particular semester. Make sure to find out how to benefit
from priority registration at your college.
The bottom line is, when students know how
the courses they are taking apply
to their degree and can see their progress
by using an Education Plan,
they're more likely to complete
their educational goals.
It's as simple as that.
Even if you're feeling
a bit overwhelmed right now,
know that there are California Community College
Academic Advisors and Counselors
who will be more than happy
to help you out.
Develop a relationship with an
sooner rather than later,
and avoid waiting until
peak advising times.
It might just be one of the
smartest things you do in college.
They have a wealth of information
and are ready and willing to
help you to achieve your goals.