Click on each for helpful hints, resources & additional advice

Freshman Year~Explore

Develop relationships with academic advisors, professors and career counselors

  • Developing relationships with faculty and staff on campus can be a great way to make sure you are aware of graduation and major requirements, valuable resources, academic policies, and opportunities to get involved!
  • Develop these relationships by meeting regularly with your advisor for academic planning and to find out what you can be doing to make the most of your time at Western. You can find your advisor's contact information in Web4U on your first quarter advising sheet or by meeting with an advisor in the Academic Advising Center (AAC), OM 380.
  • You can also ask questions and offer comments during class. Visit your professor during office hours to ask questions about the material, about the best ways to study for their class and - if you are interested in majoring in that subject - about the major or careers in that field!
  • Explore potential major interest areas through the GURs – ask AAC advisors for tips!

Attend every class; complete all assignments; maintain a good GPA

  • Attending every class and completing all assignments is the foundation for a good GPA.
  • A good GPA keeps more opportunities open! Many majors at Western require a strong GPA for admission to the major; graduate schools also have GPA requirements for admission, and even employers will consider your GPA during the hiring process.
  • Develop effective study habits now to achieve and maintain a good GPA. For help with developing strong study skills, schedule a one-on-one appointment with a Study Skills Coach in the Tutoring Center, WL 280, or check out the study skills materials provided on the TC website.
  • Be aware of your late-course withdrawal privileges, and important dates and deadlines. See the Academic Policies page for more information on these.

Connect with the Tutoring Center to develop your study skills and to succeed in GUR courses

  • The Tutoring Center, WL 280, offers tutoring in math and science GUR courses, as well as individual coaching in study skills, time management, and test taking. They even provide tutor-assisted study groups or help to create your own study group!
  • Even the best students benefit from tutoring in all of these areas!

Identify areas to get involved in campus life

  • Join a club! Be a part of Associated Student (AS) programs!
  • Attend fun and educational events on campus!
  • Getting involved and making connections is an important part of having a full college experience, connecting with others, learning about yourself, and having fun!
  • Research shows that students who get involved actually do better academically.

Begin to identify interests, abilities, and values to explore potential majors and careers

  • Being aware of your personal interests, skills, and values can help you to identify a major that is right for you.
  • Think about what you enjoy doing in your spare time; what classes you like and what you like about them; what skills and abilities you have; and what you are passionate about.
  • Check out Choosing a Major for more help in this process.

Attend Career Fairs, Internship/Volunteer Fair, International Fair, and Majors Fair

  • Every quarter the Career Services Center organizes events to help you explore majors, research career and internship opportunities, and connect with employers.
  • Even if you're not ready to apply for jobs or internships – and may not even have selected your major – these events are a great way for you to begin gathering information about career and international opportunities. It's also a way to start networking with employers, which will come in handy when you start your job search process!
  • Here are a few great questions to ask to get you started.

Sophmore Year~Connect

Seek advising to stay on track with GUR progress and major declaration by 90 credits

  • There are many majors and combined majors offered at Western, each with its own major declaration requirements and process. Some require the completion of courses prior to declaring, while others may require a particular GPA or a portfolio.
  • Be aware of the major declaration requirements in the areas you are exploring. You can find this information by visiting department websites or in person, or by reviewing the Programs of Study in the Academic Advising Center, OM 380.
  • Programs of Study are 2-page condensed descriptions of each major offered at Western, including what the study of that topic is, related careers in that field, who to contact for information, how to declare and what the credit and course requirements are.
  • If you were a high credit (45+) Running Start student when you entered WWU, you may want to start this process earlier.

Use the "What-if Analysis" of the online degree evaluation to monitor GUR completion and progress toward degree requirements in possible majors

  • The Online Degree Evaluation is a valuable tool for evaluating coursework which fulfills degree requirements such as GURs and major prerequisites. The report is generated through Web4U and shows how Western courses, transfer courses, and courses in progress apply toward degree requirements.
  • Please note that the Online Degree Evaluation is not intended to replace academic and faculty advising, but to help you to be aware of requirements and track your own progress.

Talk with advisors and faculty in academic departments that interest you

  • Advisors and faculty in are happy to provide you with additional information about courses and potential careers.
  • Sample questions to ask:
    • What are the courses typically like?
    • What skills and interests would a student need to be successful in those courses?
    • What areas of concentration are available in the major?
    • What are the major declaration requirements for acceptance into the major?
    • Are there any prerequisite courses I should be taking?
    • What are typical careers related to this major?
    • What internship and/or research opportunities are available?
    • How can I explore this major further? Are there courses you would recommend taking to explore this major?

Take courses in a variety of disciplines; explore study abroad options

  • Students are often surprised at their interest in subjects they had never before considered; use your GURs and elective credits to explore a variety of subjects. This is a great way to investigate possible major and minor options!
  • If you think you might like to study abroad, start researching options early to be sure you apply within deadline dates and make the best use of your time abroad. You can find information about study abroad programs in the Education Abroad office.

Take career-related assessments, such as the MBTI and Strong Inventory, to guide academic and career decisions

  • The Career Services Center offers career-related assessments to help you choose majors and careers to explore based on your interests and personality characteristics.
  • These career-related assessments are free to students and interpreted in a one-on-one appointment with you by a career counselor.

Become more active with student clubs and organizations

Attend Majors Fair and other career-related events to gather information

Become active in community service to make professional connections

  • Identify community service projects or organizations that you value and/or are related to your career goals and get involved!
  • Volunteer your time and skills. This is a great way to develop job skills that will prepare you for internship opportunities.
  • You will also begin to make professional connections that could support your internship and/or job search process later on!
  • Check out Western's Center for Service Learning for ideas!

Junior Year~Experience

Continue maintaining a good GPA (particularly if graduate school is an option)

  • You will begin taking upper division courses in your major now, which means you will be faced with more in-depth material, bringing with it greater expectations and challenges.
  • Adjust your study and time management habits to meet these new expectations. Be sure to ask your professors about the best ways to study for their class and prepare for tests early in the quarter. If it is a subject you are particularly interested in, ask what resources they would suggest for further research.

Continue to build relationships with advisors and professors, especially in your major

  • Developing relationships with faculty and staff on campus can be a great way to make sure you are aware of graduation and major requirements to stay on track, valuable resources, academic policies, and opportunities to get involved!
  • You can develop these relationships by meeting regularly with your faculty advisor to check in on your academic planning and success, and to find out what you can be doing to make the most of your time at Western.
  • Ask questions during class and offer comments in class discussions. Visit professor's office hours in your major and talk about career opportunities in the field!

Take a leadership role

  • Become a leader on campus or in the community. Take a leadership role in campus clubs and organizations, or community organizations you are passionate about.
  • Leadership roles are a great way to develop skills attractive to employers, such as: communication, teamwork, organization, professionalism, dependability, passion, and creativity.
  • For more information on leadership development and opportunities on campus, check out Western's Leadership Advantage program.

Join and attend student professional organizations

  • Joining a professional organization as a student has great benefits, such as: cutting-edge information about your field of interest, networking opportunities, access to conferences and publications, and—best of all—you may have access to research opportunities and career posting! (Not to mention, it looks great on a resume!)
  • Find professional organizations related to your major or field interest by selecting the 'links' option on Career Services Center's "What can I do with a major in…?" web page.

Seek out a relevant internship to match career interests

  • There is no better way to develop employable skills, expand your resume, and network with potential employers than to complete an internship related to your career interests.
  • Internships provide great opportunities to discover what you might want from a future career.
  • To research internships, search the Career Services Center's Internship listings, attend any quarterly career fair, check with your major department for postings, meet with a career counselor, and check postings through professional organizations. Alternatively, create your own internship!

Connect with the Career Services Center for help with resume writing and interview skills

  • Having a strong resume that highlights your skills in reference to your objective is a very important step in the job search process.
  • Next, you need to know how to market yourself and impress an employer in an interview!
  • Career Services Center offers workshops and one-on-one appointments to help you with these job search elements. They even offer mock interviews to help you practice your skills and see yourself on video! Just call for an appointment, or register to attend a workshop.

Network with career professionals at career fairs and other events

  • Getting a job can often be about who you know. Make sure you are networking or 'getting to know' career professionals that may lead to job opportunities.
  • The Career Services Center offers workshops to help you learn the skills of networking and how to prepare for networking at career fairs.
  • Check out the Career Services events calendar to identify your networking opportunities

Senior Year~Prepare

Continue to use the Online Degree Evaluation to stay on track for graduation

  • The Online Degree Evaluation is a valuable tool for evaluating coursework which fulfills degree requirements, such as major, minor, GUR and university requirements. The report is generated through Web4U and shows how Western courses, transfer courses, and courses in progress apply toward degree requirements.
  • Please note that the Online Degree Evaluation is not intended to replace academic and faculty advising, but to help you to be aware of requirements and track your own progress.

Do a research project with a professor or complete a second related internship

  • Many professors on campus are working on research projects in exciting fields!
  • Talk to professors/departments within your areas of interest to find out what opportunities are available. Or develop and complete your own research project with a faculty mentor!

  • Develop and create a portfolio to showcase your experience and qualifications

    • A portfolio is a great way to organize your accomplishments and show evidence of your skills. Portfolios will be a great asset for any job interview, both as a way for you to reflect on your experience and to illustrate your previous experience for the interviewer.
    • Collect and neatly organize papers, projects and documents that are reflective of your skills, accomplishments, and understanding of your major, as well as items that show your ability to do the job in question. This can be a well-written paper, a research report, or write-up about a class project or an award, among many other things.

    Take advantage of Career Services Center programs and services to design an effective job-search strategy

    Career Services Center, OM 280 offers various job-search related workshops to help you with resume writing, interview techniques, networking, and finding a job in a tight market, among others. Sign up for one today!

    Research and apply to graduate/professional schools early

    • This can be an exciting but challenging task. Tackle it early and work on it in pieces over time.
    • The Career Services Center offers assistance with researching, planning, and applying for graduate school.

    Request references from professors, supervisors, and former employers

    • You are likely to need references for graduate school or job applications after you graduate. Always ask permission to list someone as a reference. If requesting a letter of reference, always allow at least 3 weeks for the writer to complete the letter.
    • Help those writing letters of reference by providing them a description of the graduate program or job you are applying for. Remind professors of grades and paper topics you completed as part of their courses. Remind supervisors of responsibilities you held, and special projects or extra training you completed. Be prepared to provide a few points about what you would like them to address in your reference letter, if asked.

    Complete the Degree Application Process

    • Student need to apply for graduation 2 quarters prior to their intended graduation quarter.
    • Find details about the process and the application in the Registrar's Office, OM 230.

    Academic Tools & Resources

    Registrar's Important Dates

    Math Placement Assessment (MPA)

    Western's Majors and Minors (Programs of Study)

    Pre-Professional Pathways

    GPA Calculator

    Online Advising Videos

    General Univ. Req. (GUR)

    GUR Checklist

    Viking Advisor:
    Registration & Planning Guide

    Transfer Course Equivalency Guide

    University Catalog

    Upper Division Courses with Easier Access

    Update your Academic Interest

    Page Updated 11.13.2017