Additional Academic Opportunities 53
Additional Academic Opportunities
Open Option Program
UCM openly welcomes students who are undecided and want to keep their options open. Students who are unsure about what academic program best fits them may choose to be an Open Option student. This program is intended to ensure students are progressing toward the completion of a degree while they are actively exploring their academic options. Some of the services available to assist Open Option students are: • Specialized Assistance in Academic Advising. Career Counselors in the Gateway Center will aid students in selecting courses to keep them progressing toward graduation, even though they are unclear about their academic direction. • Individualized Career Counseling. Career Counselors are available in the Gateway Center to help students explore their options, narrow their focus, and methodically make a major decision. The Career Counselors will utilize today’s most valid and reliable resources available to assist students with their decisionmaking process. • Exploring Majors and Careers (AE 1410). This is a one-credithour student-development course designed to introduce students to a wide range of college majors and career options. Special emphasis is given to an exploration of self through the use of career assessments and individual career counseling sessions, as well as individual and group activities, discussions, and interviews specifically designed to expose and educate the student about career options and the academic programs that lead to those options. • Majors Fairs. Faculty representatives from every academic department on campus gather to present information about their programs twice each semester. Any student may attend a Majors Fair to learn about the various opportunities available at UCM. Faculty address topics such as course work required, accreditation, job opportunities, career outlook, what past graduates are doing, and answer student questions about their academic programs. • Informational Interviewing and Job Shadowing. Career Development Coordinators in the Career Services Center have access to over 8,000 individual employer and alumni contacts that can be utilized by students to learn more about specific career paths and the desired academic programs that lead to those options. The Open Option program is not designed to be a long-term academic status or program. It is designed to be a bridge between being unsure and confidently deciding on an academic program. At UCM, we are committed to helping every student make continuous and steady progress toward graduation, and to successfully graduate in a program best suited to him/her as an individual. To that end, the following rules apply to individuals who choose to be Open Option students: • First-Time, Full-Time Students (FTFT). FTFT students will be enrolled in AE 1410, Exploring Majors and Careers, and will need to reach a decision/declare their major by the time they have earned 30 credit hours, or before enrolling in their third semester (whichever comes first). • Continuing Students. Continuing students, who are in an academic program and have determined that program to no longer be a fit, may change their status to Open Option. Students in this category with more than 30 credit hours will need to decide on an academic program prior to their enrollment in the semester following their decision to change their status to Open Option. Students with less than 30 credit hours earned should refer to the FTFT rules above.* • New Transfer Students and Readmitted Students. New students transferring in to UCM, as well as UCM students, who are coming University
back after a break in their college career, may choose to enter UCM as Open Option students. Students in this category with less than 30 credit hours earned should refer to the FTFT rules. Students in this category with more than 30 credit hours earned, will need to decide on an academic program during their first semester, prior to their enrollment for the subsequent semester.* By taking active steps to explore and decide on a major before accumulating more than 30 hours of credit, students greatly improve their chances of making timely progress toward graduation. *All Open Option students with more than 30 hours of credit must meet with a Career Counselor in the Gateway Center and complete a “Major Exploration Contract.” This one-semester, non-renewable contract must be completed prior to enrolling in courses and/or receiving financial aid. For more information about the Open Option Program at UCM, or to make an appointment with a Career Counselor, students should contact the Gateway Advising & Major Exploration Center (WDE 1900, 660-543-4721).
Pre-Professional Education UCM programs take an active role in preparing students for admission to professional schools in the following areas: • Medicine • Dentistry • Veterinary Medicine • Physical Therapy • Occupational Therapy • Optometry • Pharmacy • Chiropractic Medicine • Physician’s Assistant • Engineering • Molecular Biology/Molecular Technology Students wishing to pursue pre-professional programs are assigned to an appropriate faculty advisor whose job it is to mentor the advisees: • by helping them plan and prepare a program of study, • by assisting them to prepare for appropriate post-baccalaureate admissions tests, e.g., MCAT, DAT, GRE, administered by national agencies. The faculty advisor shares pertinent information and resources of such tests, i.e., topics covered in the tests with the advisee. Many professional schools use the results of such tests as important criteria for admission. • by emphasizing the importance of General Education in analytical and critical thinking, which is also evaluated in the written portions of some post-baccalaureate admission tests. • by communicating the competitive nature of admission to the professional schools and the necessity of an “achiever’s attitude” in the classroom. • by providing student handbooks which summarize the admissions process to a professional school, e.g., The Pre-Med Handbook. • by sponsoring student clubs in pre-professional fields (e.g., The Para-Medico Club, The Pre-Vet Club, The Tri-Beta Honor Society, etc.), and coordinating meetings between student organizations and professional school admissions officers. • by encouraging hands-on student participation in professionrelated work outside the classroom (e.g., volunteering or working
Central Missouri 2014 Undergraduate Catalog