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The Randolph Plan

The Randolph Plan is a way of looking at the undergraduate degree program, or a methodology for the journey from Orientation to Commencement. It is a process for addressing short- and long-range personal, educational, and professional goals.

It is our goal to provide students with the resources and guidance that will enable them to chart a degree program that is coherent, strategic, and uniquely tailored. Students work with a faculty advisor and staff members in career development and in student affairs to create their own versions of The Randolph Plan, mapping out their plans, using interests, values, and goals as the basis for decisions about the curricular and co-curricular programs at the College-the major, minor, course electives, internships, vacation jobs, volunteer work, leadership commitments and extra-curricular activities.

The overview of The Randolph Plan that follows describes the goals and events of the undergraduate academic experience at the College and shows the parallel processes taking place from the perspectives of staff involved in career development and in the co-curricular life of students at the College.

First-Year: Academic Exploration and Career Assessment

In the first year, the academic focus is on acquisition and honing of basic skills and competencies and the exploration of a wide variety of disciplines. Academic policy requires all first-year students to take courses in four different disciplines in each semester. The emphasis on General Education Program requirements complements this exploration and competency development. Students begin to identify strengths and weaknesses and to explore interests, a vital experience in preparation for the decisions to follow.

In the career development process, the first year is a time of self-assessment, a time for students to get to know themselves and to begin to identify interests (what they like to do), skills (what they do well), and values (what things are important to them). Thus, a first-year student is encouraged:

  • to begin to identify career goals through readings, informational meetings, and assessment administered by career development staff;
  • to become familiar with various career options and assess possible interest in those fields through observation and an examination of information in the career development library;
  • to explore academic disciplines, preparatory to establishing a major, which are of greatest interest and support to possible career choices;
  • to become involved in campus activities which reflect interests and to begin to accept responsibilities in organizations in order to establish a track record of achievement that is attractive to employers and graduate schools; and
  • to develop a work-in-progress resume.

Sophomore Year: Academic and Career Exploration

In the sophomore year, there is continuing focus on competency and skills development and on exploration in course selections through further attention to requirements. Each student declares a major at the end of this year. Practically speaking, this emphasis on competencies and skills, interests, and exploration makes it possible for students to have earned prerequisites for several major options and prerequisites for minors and supporting programs that can enhance the major and support career goals.

To meet career development goals, the sophomore year is a time for the student to gather information and continue self-assessment. Activities should include:

  • reviewing, revising, and/or reaffirming interests, skills, and values in an effort to evaluate assets and liabilities;
  • accepting leadership roles on campus to expand a track record;
  • continuing to explore possible areas of career interest and learning what preparation is needed for certain fields under consideration, particularly through informational interviewing, where the student can talk with a person successful in that field and learn more about how one prepares for it, what it involves, and what the current possibilities of employment and advancement in it are;
  • trying out a career field through a summer internship; and
  • continuing to develop a work-in-progress resume.

Junior Year: Academic Specialization and Career Experimentation

The academic focus in the junior year is on specialization. While there is still attention to requirements, students begin to see them in a different way, discovering that although they may seem to divert attention from high-level interest courses, they can contain content that will serve as enrichment and background to the major, require skill development that will improve competencies in the major, and provide knowledge and exposure that will make the major more marketable in the chosen career field.

The College's academic program offers students the option of declaring a minor and, in some majors, to emphasize areas of study within the major discipline in the form of an emphasis.

The student in the junior year should focus more seriously on the career fields of the greatest interest. The student is encouraged:

  • to participate in Experiential Learning (Internships), working with the Internship  Coordinator to select possible sites, and to define projects that will provide an opportunity to try out career fields;
  • to evaluate what background and skills are important for the career field of interest and then to set goals for acquiring the courses or experiences that will enhance employability in these fields;
  • to become involved in leadership capacities in organizations and committees;
  • to attend seminars and workshops relating to career decision-making; and
  • if graduate school is an option, to begin researching those graduate schools that best fit the student's needs and goals and to determine entrance requirements and required tests as well as deadlines for application. Graduate school information and catalogs are available in the career development library, along with test booklets for all major pre-professional tests.

Senior Year: Academic Specialization and Career Decision-making

Specialization continues throughout the final year, and the Senior Program serves as the "capstone" for the specialization. See the Senior Program. During the senior year, the student clarifies goals and commits to achieving those goals.

The course of action taken depends on whether the student has chosen to seek employment or to pursue graduate study; many seniors continue to consider both for at least part of the final year. The senior seeking employment:

  • prepares a search campaign, targeting employers, making contact with them, and learning to interview through career development workshops, resource information, and mock interviews which may be videotaped and discussed;
  • writes a senior resume in an individual or group session with career development staff;
  • opens a credential file for recommendation letters supporting employment or future graduate/professional school application;
  • participates in CHALLENGE, an eight-college liberal arts job fair that provides access to employers interested in employing students with liberal arts degrees;
  • accesses current job openings through the Internet, the Job Hotline, job bulletins to which staff subscribe, and alumnae/alumni job referrals; and
  • interviews and evaluates offers.