Demystify Designing a Degree Plan

Degree plan for the graduating class
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Across the country, high school seniors are gathering their gowns and mortarboard caps. Graduation is dawning for millions of students, and the path toward what’s next might be clear. And it might not be. Even for those who are college-bound, the details can be a little fuzzy. Particularly when it comes to creating a degree plan.

For some students, it might be pretty straightforward. Some degree programs and institutions do a great job of creating distinct model course sequences for incoming students. But the truth is, it doesn’t take much to fall off-route. A semester abroad, changing a major, dropping a course, anything that happens over the course of a college career can waylay the most carefully-laid plans.

Designing a degree plan is probably the most important part of any college experience. Truthfully, and not just because it’s our business at DegreeSight! We know how important it is for any degree-planning tool to allow students to adjust for life experiences. Whether that means a semester off or figuring in advanced placement coursework. Creating a strategy around a degree plan is the best way to see how your credits can apply to a program, as well as what other flexibility might exist.

Getting Started with a Degree Plan Strategy

Thomas Edison State College created an approach to degree planning that works for students in any situation, from first time to transfer to adult learners.

Determine if you have any existing completed credits

Already attended a college or university? Took advanced placement courses? Served in the military? Then you might already have some credits to apply toward a degree. Usually called an academic evaluation or something similar, all institutions have a resource that compiles official transcripts and potential transfer credit. The academic evaluation shows exactly what credits or requirements have been met, and which still need to be fulfilled.

DegreeSight’s interface makes it easy for students to be able to see their existing credits, and how they apply against a degree’s requirements.

Identify what still needs to be completed

For a new student, this might be a long list. But as a transfer or returning student who has amassed a lot of credits, it’s important to step back to gain a wider viewpoint. Working with advisors at this point is a great way to learn how your credits are being applied, and how it will figure into longer-term academic career.

In the meantime, a degree plan software like DegreeSight makes it clear which prerequisites have been fulfilled, and what the next step might be.

Fill in the Blanks

Now it’s time for the fun part. Make a list of the things you may want to consider doing throughout your college career. Want to study abroad? Take an easy load of classes your final semester? Maybe add a major or minor? You can work with an advisor to figure out the ramifications of these different ideas. Drag-and-drop courses in DegreeSight to see how these different ideas can impact your future.

Using DegreeSight for Your Degree-Planning Platform

Oh, what’s that? What if your institution isn’t using DegreeSight? Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Reach out to the team today for a demo. We’ll help guide students through their college career to walk across another stage in a cap and gown.


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