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Counseling and Advising Center

Develop an Educational Plan

What is an Educational Plan?

An educational plan is a roadmap that will guide you to reach your educational goal within a reasonable timeline.

There are two types of educational plans:

  • An abbreviated student educational plan is a one to two term roadmap that guides you at the beginning of your college education. This plan completed in Counseling 200 and gives you a good start.

  •  A comprehensive plan is a roadmap from beginning to the completion of your educational goal. It identifies the courses required to reach your academic goal whether this is getting a certificate, obtain a degree, and/or transfer.  A comprehensive plan also identifies prerequisites for the classes you need to complete your goal and the terms when you plan to take your courses. You should develop a comprehensive educational plan before the end of your first year.

Why Do I Need a Plan?

An educational plan gives you a visual picture of what you need to accomplish term by term and a timeline for how long it will take to meet your academic goals.

It is important to know what is required of you as you progress toward your degree, certificate, or college transfer. 

Students who are successful generally develop a plan that allows time for outside commitments such as work and family.

Design a Plan that Works for You

To get started, follow these tips:

  1. As a rule of thumb, plan your course load based on number of hours that you work.
    • if you work 40+ hours a week, take only 3 to 6 units;
    • If you work 30 hours a week, take only 6 to 9 units;
    • If you work 20 hours a week, take only 9 to 12 units;
    • If you work fewer than 20 hours a week, you might succeed with 12 to 15 units per term.

  2. Complete requirements in reading, writing, and mathematics as soon as possible.

  3. Take skill-building courses like mathematics and composition in consecutive terms so you do not forget the background material you have learned.

  4. For structured programs (e.g. professional-technical), follow the program outline as closely as possible. Courses are recommended in a sequence because they build on each other in regards to knowledge and/or skills.

  5. Double check the catalog to assure that the course is offered in the term you have it scheduled.

  6. Check which courses have prerequisites and assure you take prerequisites first.  If a course has a prerequisite that you have not taken, that means you are not prepared to take it.  If you register in a class without having completed its prerequisite(s), you will be dropped from the class. 

  7. Choose general education electives based on your career choice and/or personal interest, not on what is easy.

  8. Your academic counselor/adviser is your best resource for educational planning.

  9. Take a high interest course every term to keep you enthusiastic about college and learning.

Counseling & Advising Center

Student & Community Services
2nd Floor,  Room 201

Phone: 408.864.5400


Last Updated: 10/14/13