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In planning a student's enrollment, two major academic decisions have to be made.
What will the student learn in this term?
- What new studies need to be included in the program? Should the student take Educational Planning? Are there studies in the plan which require additional foundation work? What is an appropriate progression of learning?
- How many credits/studies is the student planning to undertake?
- What resources are available to you and your student?
How will the student learn it?
- Does your student prefer working alone, or interacting with other students?
- Does your student have ideas regarding someone in the community who might work with her?
- Has the student tried various modes of study? With what results?
Individual tutorial nearby:
- someone else at your location?
- outside "tutor"?
Independent study at a distance:
- collegewide entry in the Term Guide?
- someone at another location who might work with a student?
Working in groups:
- study group at your location?
- CDL or from another SUNY campus?
- another college?
- other distance learning options?
- e.g., Adirondack Residency, Women's Residency
- community events?
- project in the community?
- internship or practicum opportunity?
- cross-registration at an accredited institution?
Your student needs to:
- take responsibility for getting critical details of the contract in writing
- pay attention to dates of enrollment, end-dates of contracts, etc.
- compare the details of the contract with the planned degree program, especially with regard to advanced level, liberal studies and general education requirements.
The Student's First Enrollment
Attributes of studies:
- clearly interesting
- well defined and completable
- maximally useful.
A special contract for new students. Mentors are strongly encouraged to create at least one study for first contracts that they can tutor themselves and that meets the above criteria.
- Immediately involve the student in the selection of resources.
- Create many (e.g., weekly) small assignments.
- Vary the assignments.
- Make the assignments particular to the student.
Thumbnail Sketch Degree Program
Purposes for students:
- To satisfy them that Empire State College will work for them.
- To give them a general sense of where they stand in completing their degree.
- To identify potential challenges they’ll need to address as they plan their degree.
The thumbnail sketch is often completed during the initial meeting.
The Thumbnail Sketch Process
First, focus on goals.
- What do you want this degree to do for you?
- How clearly can you define the concentration you’re seeking?
- Honestly, do you feel that you’ve already earned a degree, or are there things you know you still need to learn? What are some of those things?
- What about the skill areas not directly related to your Concentration: reading, writing, math, critical thinking? Which of these would you define as areas of strength for you? Which do you think need work?
Begin a list of possible topics for future contract studies, including general learning areas as well as the concentration.
If you have the transcripts:
- indicate on the draft degree program the distribution of clumps of credit between concentration and general learning
- scan for advanced and liberal studies.
If you don’t have transcripts:
- ask the student to describe previous college work -- degrees earned, rough estimates of credit amounts
- summarize what we do and don’t know having reviewed or discussed the transcripts: rough amounts of liberal studies, advanced level studies, and general education requirements.
Ask the student to briefly describe their work history since high school. Emphasize that what you’re looking for is possible sources of college-level learning.
- How long did you have that job?
- What was the nature and scope of your responsibilities?
- Did you supervise people?
- Were you responsible for budget/planning?
- Did you carry out substantial projects?
- When you left that position, what did you know that you hadn’t known when you were hired?
- What were the qualifications of the person who replaced you?
- What qualifications are "required" in your current position description?
- Ask about community activities and travel. Look for leadership roles, substantial responsibilities, long-term learning experiences.
- Are they active in religious, school or other community affairs?
- Can they speak a language other than English?
- Have they traveled extensively or lived abroad?
- Military service?
The student will have gained:
- a clearer sense of how the pieces might fit together
- a clearer idea about some studies that might be included in the first contract
- a clearer understanding of what’s involved in educational planning, of how we balance the needs and expectations of individual students with the expectations and requirements of several other interested parties: Empire State College, other colleges, SUNY, employers, graduate schools, and professional organizations
- an awareness of things that you’ll both need to keep in mind.
Outcomes for Mentor:
- a clearer picture of the student’s goals
- an awareness of skills that are likely to need attention, competencies apparently demonstrated, areas requiring special attention.
Review what you’ve each agreed to do, and schedule a subsequent meeting or contact point.