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Chapter 4 focuses on academic planning, from working with an academic advisor to selecting (and changing) a major and minor. We discuss the importance of developing a graduation plan and offer suggestions and tips for selecting and registering for classes.


  1. Review all the majors your school offers and research at least two that interest you. What are the credit requirements for each major? What kinds of prerequisites are there for each major? Which classes in the subject seem particularly interesting? Which classes in the subject seem particularly difficult or not interesting? What kinds of internships or apprenticeships are related to the majors you’re considering? What kinds of career opportunities are there?
  2. Which resources were most helpful in answering the questions above?
  3. Take and aptitude or personality test at your college career center or counseling office. Or, if those tests are unavailable on campus, take one online. (The Keirsey Temperament Sorter is one widely-used test available for free online ). Reflect on your results: According to the test, what are your strengths, weaknesses, personality traits, and interests? Which education of career paths do the results suggest for you? What did you learn about yourself (or about the test) through this process?
  4. Outline your ideal week. When would you attend classes? When would you study? What extracurricular activities would you do and when would you do them? When would you sleep and eat? How much time would you spend socializing and what kinds of socializing would you prefer? What other things would you do with your time?
  5. What resources are available to find out more about a class or instructor at your college?

Additional Exercises (LDC Website only)

  1. Before answering question #4 (above), find out more about your individual daily biorhythms with the BBC’s rhythm test at
  2. Four years or more? Use this online calculator to see how you can fit it all—classes, sleep, socializing, etc.—and still graduate.
  3. Academic planning helpful, but it’s important to be open to change, as well. Watch one or more episode of PBS’s Roadtrip Nation to find out about inspiring, successful people—many of whom did not take a direct path to their goal.
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