University College is an academic unit that houses a number of programs to help students achieve success at Kent State University. The staff fosters student academic success by providing extensive academic advising services, assisting undecided students with degree and career planning, and providing tutoring services that promote student learning.
The Exploration Plan
More than 540 new first-year students choose the exploratory pre-major each year. The exploratory pre-major is for students who are considering different majors or who are undecided about a major. Exploratory pre-majors receive assistance through a guided Exploration Plan. The Exploration Plan is designed to guide each student through the exploration process by the time they reach 45 Kent State credit hours. The plan includes six key components that you will participate in including:
- Selecting of the 13 area of interest (concentrations) to begin exploring.
- Creating a Major Action Plan (MAP) using the results of a career readiness inventory, and utilizing the MAP with your academic advisor until you declare a major.
- Engaging in the First Year Experience (UC 10097) which focuses on the transition to college and career exploration.
- Enrolling in a course with other first-year exploratory students, providing students with the opportunity to network with fellow peers and create study groups. Some of the courses include experiential learning components, which promote academic relevance, meaning and an understanding of real-world issues.
- Enrolling in Career Navigation: Constructing Possibilities course during your second semester.
- Participate in the EXCEL (EXplore, Careers, Education, Leadership) Learning Community. EXCEL is designed to assist with major selection by guiding the student through career, education and leadership exploration. EXCEL is housed in Lake Hall for students living on campus; however, Honors College students living in honors housing and students who commute may also participate in EXCEL.
What Is a “Concentration?”
To assist exploratory students in narrowing down their interests in preparation for declaring a degree-granting program, all exploratory students are required to select one of the following interest areas:
- Aeronautics, Applied Engineering and Technology
- Biological Sciences, Health and Wellness
- Communication, Journalism and Media
- Computer, Mathematics and Information Sciences
- Education and Teaching
- Government, Public Policy and Justice
- Human Services and Social Sciences
- Languages, Literature and Culture
- Physical Sciences and the Environment
- Sport, Recreation and Hospitality
- Visual and Performing Arts
Students may revise their concentrations as new areas of interest are uncovered.
WHAT IS THE EXPLORATORY ADVISING CENTER?
The Exploratory Advising Center (EAC) is the “academic home” for students in the exploratory pre-major. Academic Advisors assist students with their Major Action Plan as well as making informed decisions about coursework based on area(s) of interest during a required advising appointment. Additionally, students can take advantage of numerous special programs and services offered through that unit.
HOW IS PROGRESS TOWARD GRADUATION ENSURED?
The goal of the academic advisors in the EAC is to assist students in developing career goals as they select coursework each semester. Their progress is followed carefully, and advisors make every effort to guide them in declaring a major while they accumulate credits toward graduation. Advisors also keep various program requirements in mind as they help students navigate through their first semesters of college study. Because students cannot earn a degree in the exploratory major, they are expected to declare a major by the time they have earned 45 hours of credit at Kent State University.
WHAT COURSES DO ADVISORS RECOMMEND FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE NOT READY TO COMMIT TO A MAJOR?
The two basic components in a baccalaureate degree are the Kent Core requirements, which are the focus of the exploratory pre-major, and the academic major requirements.
Kent Core courses, which are required of all students, ensure breadth of knowledge and exposure to our vast intellectual heritage by challenging students to improve their:
- thinking and analytical skills.
- reading, writing, speaking and listening competencies.
- understanding of numerical data.
- historical consciousness.
- science understanding.
- value orientation.
- appreciation of the visual, performing and literary arts.
- international and multicultural understanding.
Academic major courses add to the Kent Core component by providing in-depth knowledge and mastery of a field of study or of an interdisciplinary area. Majors are derived from building blocks of knowledge that lead to greater understanding and wisdom.
In most majors, the Kent Core and major components are integrally related. Certain Kent Core courses, such as mathematics or language, are required to complement and provide a foundation for coursework in the major.
WHAT IS EXCEL AND HOW DOES IT BENEFIT EXPLORATORY STUDENTS?
The EXCEL (EXplore, Careers, Education and Leadership) Living-Learning Community is the best residence hall option for our first-year exploratory students. EXCEL is designed specifically for students who are looking to:
- Connect with your peers quickly and develop lifelong friendships,
- Gain insight into the many fields of study by participating in programming specifically for Exploratory students hosted in Lake Hall,
- Enroll in EXCLUSIVE courses specific for EXCEL students, which provides you the opportunity to connect with your fellow EXCEL peers and network in study groups, and
- Gain on-site access to EXCEL Peer Mentors who are here to support you in success with special programming and scheduled office-hours to visit (and chat).
Located in Lake Hall at the center of campus, residents have access to classes, programs, events and resources geared towards first-year students. EXCEL is open to exploratory students who live on campus (Lake Hall), honors students living in honors housing (Stopher/Johnson Halls), and those who commute. Students have contact with a peer mentor and the entire EXCEL staff throughout the year to provide support and guidance. Visit www.kent.edu/excel or email EXCEL@kent.edu for more information and details on how to sign up for this exclusive opportunity.
HOW DOES UNIVERSITY COLLEGE HELP TRANSFER AND NONTRADITIONAL STUDENTS, AND STUDENTS TRANSITIONING FROM A REGIONAL CAMPUS?
Transfer, nontraditional or Regional Campus transitioning students may also select the exploratory pre-major. Services are provided to help students make smooth transitions to the new learning environment so that they have every opportunity to be academically successful. Students will work with trained advisors to select courses and examine different options at Kent State University.