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Four-Year Plan for Success

First Year

  • Meet with your academic advisor before registration for each quarter. This could be your faculty advisor or one of the advisors in either the Mustang Success Center or the COSAM Advising Center. Be sure to understand your degree requirements for your major and the expected academic progress requirements.
  • Join a club in an area of interest through the ASI website.
  • Explore possible career options though Career Services.
  • Attend a Resume/Cover Letter Workshop given by Career Services.
  • Begin to work on your resume.
  • Research and apply for a summer job or internship. Internship deadlines are usually between January and March, so start thinking about this in Fall or early Winter quarter.
  • If interested in Study Abroad: Start planning early (at least six to nine months in advance). Determine your academic goals and financial needs for study abroad. Attend a mandatory Study Abroad 101 Workshop. Go to 'Find a Program' on the Study Abroad website to explore program options.
  • If you are interested in a health profession, start gaining experience in your chosen field. Consult with a Health Professions Peer Advisor in Building 53, Room 211 who can provide you with advice on course prerequisites and validation of your application timeline. Check out the Health Professions website.

Second Year

  • Meet with your academic advisor every quarter.
  • In fall quarter, plan your coursework for the coming year.
  • By spring quarter, determine your concentration (if applicable) with your advisor. Then send an email from your Cal Poly email account with the following:
    • To:
    • Subject line: Last name/declare concentration
    • Body: your full name, major, catalog year (eg. 17-19), EMPL ID and concentration you intend to pursue.
    • This will allow your degree progress report to be updated with the appropriate coursework.
  • Meet with your career counselor to further define your career goals. Career services is in the process of hiring a dedicated career counselor for COSAM. Once someone has been hired, they will hold drop-in advising in the COSAM Advising Center once a week, or will be available by appointment in Career Services.
  • Join a campus organization related to your major or your career goals. Here is a list of College of Science and Mathematics Student Organizations.
  • Update your resume.
  • If you are interested in a career in research, become involved in a research experience in your major. Check with your department office to find out about opportunities.
  • If pursuing a health career, continue strengthening your pre-health professional school application and further develop your relationship with the Pre-Health Advisors.
  • Participate in a volunteer/community activity with Student Community Services.

Junior Year, Winter Quarter

  • Fulfill the Graduation Writing Requirement. Note: You must have completed 90 units to attempt this requirement.
  • See a Health Professions Advisor for application advising.
  • Begin soliciting letters of recommendation if interested in a health profession.
  • Apply for a summer job/internship/research fellowship or Co-op.
  • Meet with academic advisor to review six quarter plan to graduation.
  • If applicable, prepare (study) for health profession entrance exams.
  • If applicable, begin researching schools and narrowing your choices.

Junior Year, Spring Quarter

  • Discuss graduate/professional school and career options with academic advisor/career counselor.
  • Begin working on personal statement if applying to professional school.
  • Find out requirements for senior project from your department and begin talking to faculty about possible projects.
  • Prior to reaching 75% degree completion, review your Degree Progress Report (DPR) for remaining degree requirements. Meet with your academic advisor if you have any questions about course scheduling remaining requirements.
  • Schedule professional school entrance exams.

Junior Year, Summer Quarter

  • Begin senior project planning. Enroll if eligible -consult with your advisor.
  • Meet with your academic advisor regarding course planning and remaining degree requirements.
  • Participate in summer job / internship / research experience.
  • If career goal is health profession school, finalize application.
  • If interested in graduate school, begin researching possible schools to apply to.

Senior Year, Fall Quarter

  • Review your graduation plan with an academic advisor and plan out remaining classes and requirements left to take.
  • If interested in graduate school, take the Graduate Record Exam. Determine if you need the general or subject-matter GRE.
  • Enroll in senior project (capstone) course.
  • If applying to graduate school, solicit letters of recommendation.
  • Apply to graduate school.
  • Pre-health profession students, schedule a mock interview with the COSAM Advising office once you have been offered an actual interview.
  • Begin preparing for the interviewing process for health profession schools.

Senior Year, Winter Quarter

  • Continue working on senior project if needed.
  • Check with academic advisor during registration period for spring to ensure all requirements for graduation are accounted for.
  • Update resume and cover letter.
  • Research employers, salaries and hiring trends for your major through Career Services.
  • Complete applications for graduate school if applicable.
  • Submit your resume to Mustang Jobs. Login to Mustang Jobs through the Cal Poly Portal.
  • Pre-health professions students, continue interview process.

Senior Year, Spring Quarter, Graduation

  • Complete senior project and turn in to faculty advisor early enough to allow him/her to read the final paper before the end of the quarter.
  • Interview for appropriate jobs.
  • Check with academic advisor to ensure that all paperwork is submitted for your degree (concentration forms (if applicable), course substitutions, etc).
  • Visit grad center in the University Book Store to prepare for graduation ceremony.

Summer Quarter, After Graduation

Remember: The graduation ceremony is just that -- a ceremony. You do not officially graduate until you have completed all requirements. After grades have been posted in your final term, you will receive notification from the University if you are missing a requirement to complete your degree. Once you have completed everything and your degree has been awarded, you have 60 days to contest any grades or mistakes on your transcript.

Congratulations, You are now a Cal Poly Graduate!

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