Transition Academic Programs

Explore Program Resources

Explore Program Resources

Explore Program Resources

Explore Course
This semester-long, non-credit course focuses on providing students with the opportunity to explore their strengths, best majors, and mental resilience skills through experimental activities, discussion, and personal assessments.

Explore Workshops
Provides students with the foundational structure on conducting appropriate major exploration at TAMU. Our workshops are the FOCUS 2 and Next Steps in Major & Career Exploration with Career Center and Counseling Psychological Services.

Individual advising
Students participating in Explore Programming are directly connected with Explore Peer Mentors and Advisers. Students are helped individually to conduct further introspection on strengths, major exploration, and mental skills needed to be successful at TAMU.

Group Advising
Students interested in a specific industry could participate in group advising which will meet periodically throughout the semester. Major tracks covered in group advising include:
Health, Business, Arts, Education, Science/Engineering​

Field Trips
Once a semester, a one-day field trip to a company in the Central Texas area (Austin, Houston, Waco, BCS) is organized for students to gather information on the company and get the first-hand experience on what it's like to spend the day at the company.

Lecture Talks
Former students come to campus for a Lecture Talk to speak on their career journey and answer questions about how TAMU prepared them. Students will get a look at what life after graduation is like and hear valuable advice from a professional who has succeeded greatly at their company.
10 Study Habits of Successful Online Students

10 Study Habits of Successful Online Students

1. Set up a comfortable workspace free of distractions (this includes your phone!)

2. Have a regular sleep schedule, try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

3. Stay in contact with your classmates (remotely), so you can help each other out.4. Update your calendar with your new syllabi revisions for Spring 2020 semester and set reminders for yourself on upcoming assignments/tests.

5. Do NOT procrastinate, online classes are as demanding as in-person classes, deadlines might be even more stressful so start your assignments with time.

6. Write down a daily routine and follow it! Use your planner.

7. If you have morning classes, try to wake up a bit earlier to prepare for your day.

8. Dress up for class or do something that you know will motivate you.

9. Do NOT take your work to bed!

10. Stay active, being home all day can be detrimental for your mental/physical health. Go for a walk, do some yoga, maybe find a new hobby other than your full-time gig of being a TAMU student




 
How to Prepare for Final Exams I

How to Prep for Final Exams I - Source:  Sierra Tishgart, Heather Schwedel, Elizabeth Kiefer; Teen Vogue
 
1. Understand your goals.
Understand why you want to do well on your tests and try to take the most out of what you are being taught.
 
2. Prioritize the tests that matter the most.
You know your strengths, try to give each test the priority it needs.
 
3. Clarify the content and format of your exams.
Ask your professors for the exam format. If they are not providing a study guide, ask what your focus should be while studying.
 
4. Aim to begin studying at least one month in advance.
“Cramming is toxic.” Now that we are at home, try to review a little after every class so that when you need to study, it's just a review.
 
5. Create an action plan.
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.: Outline pages 1-25 in bio textbook
12 - 12:15 p.m.: Snack Break
12:15 - 1 p.m.: Diagram the parts of a cell
1 - 1:30 p.m.: Read through all your notes
A bonus? You can give yourself permission to be done for the day once completed.
 
6. Take as many practice tests as you can.
Look at the provided practice tests and take them a couple of days before your test. Then if you have any questions you can email/zoom your prof and resolve them.
 
7. Remove all distractions and avoid multitasking.
For the time you are studying, put your phone away and avoid watching shows while studying!
8. Read out loud.
It's one of the oldest and lo-fi study hacks, but also one of the most effective, as it forces you to focus on every word. So read your notes out loud!
 
9. Take five-minute breaks every hour.
Take a walk, stand up from your desk, do some stretches.
 
10. Play classical music while you study to concentrate better.
Try some Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven or Mozart to give you a boost!
 
11. Build up your endurance.
Build up mental endurance by pushing past your comfort zone. Maybe you're used to learning 10 flashcards every day, but what if you learn 15 instead?
 
12. Use apps to help you.
Quizlet, Focus Keeper, CamScanner are all good apps for studying from home!
13. Try memorization techniques.
A tip? Associating hard-to-recall nuggets with familiar spaces (this is called building a memory palace).
 
14. Fuel your brain with healthy snacks.
Fruit and nuts are particularly good choices during crunch time.
 
15. Know when to stop studying.
Usually within 12 to 24 hours of the test, it's time to stop studying. However, for last-minute studying, flashcards can be a good resource.
16. Get a good night's sleep.
Eight hours is the ideal!
 
17. Naturally energize yourself the morning of the test.
Do something that's going to make you feel alive and positive and will build up your energy level and confidence in the 24 hours before the test.
How to Prepare for Final Exams II

How to Prep for Final Exams II

1. Map out your testing schedule.
Try to write down a detailed schedule of when and what you are going to study. This will motivate you to study and to see the bigger picture of what you need to accomplish.

2. Utilize your creativity.
Make studying interactive so you don't dread study time. Find different ways to study. You can rewrite your notes in colors, type them out, watch videos, add some pictures to your flashcards, quiz yourself! Get creative.

3. Study in a Zoom group.
There are a lot of benefits to it. You can hold each other accountable, compare notes, quiz each other. You will also feel more confident when taking your test!

4. Pace yourself.
Studying in 30 to 45-minute intervals with a 5-minute break in between can keep you alert throughout your progress. Use a timer to keep track. During your breaks, get up and loosen up your body or have a quick snack to fuel your brain.

5. Optimize your study space.
Eliminate potential distractions, listen to some music, have a well-lit space set up. Stay away from your bed, disable your Netflix account on your computer, and get on with it.

6. Avoid cramming or pulling all-nighters.
It not only makes the knowledge harder to retain over time but also tends to add unnecessary stress that can be mitigated through proper planning.

Source: STUDY STRATEGIES FOR FINAL EXAMS, Elite Educational Institute


 
The Ultimate Guide for Choosing a Major

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing A Major

Pick a major
1. What do you like?
  • List 10 things you love!
  • Make a list of strengths and weaknesses.
  • Connect your interest to majors and careers by using the catalog.tamu.edu
2. What are your career goals?
  • Do you want an Associate, Bachelor's, Graduate Degree?
  • We recommend you go to Professional School Advising for a meeting.
3. Talk to Advisers and Professionals
  • Go to your TAP adviser and ask questions that give you insight into the major of your interest.
  • Make an appointment with the Career Center.
  • Research questions to ask your advisor to get the conversation started.
4. Backups
  • It's important to have two backup majors in case your primary major does not plan out.
Can't decide on a major?
1. It's okay to explore with the Explore Program!
  • Explore Program gives you the opportunity to attend lecture talks, field trips, and courses to support your major exploration process.
 
2. Volunteer and Find Internships
  • You’ll get a great understanding of what day-to-day life in the profession is like.
Want to change majors?
1. Do it!
  • Most students change majors at least once, it's ok to change your major
  • The most important thing is to make sure you're happy and clear about your priorities for your life.
Source: College Board
4 Tips for Choosing a Major

4 tips for choosing a major

1. Talk to people who work in careers that interest you.
Shadow someone who works in a field you may like. Read about the career. Get to know their interests and if they line up with yours. Try one of our Explore Lecture Talks!

2. Take an Interest Inventory Assessment.
This will help you identify possible areas of interest. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers! Also, don't forget about the Focus2.

3. Enroll in an introductory course.
You could enroll in an intro course for the major in your first or second semester. It will help you learn more about the discipline of your choosing or you could join Explore's UGST 181 course.

4. Utilize career-finding resources
Don't forget about our university's resources! Go to your TAP academic advisor or the Career Center. They can give you access to additional information on the change of majors process and career resources.

 
 
Selecting a Major Doesn't Have to Mean Choosing a Career

Selecting a Major Doesn't Have to Mean Choosing a Career

Calculating a Major's Transferability
The Transferability Score is represented relative to the average score of 1.82. Majors with transferability scores greater than 1.82 are considered to have a wide range of career options.

Highest Paying Majors
The blue shows the early career median pay, while the green shows the mid-career median pay.
However, within the sample, only about 23.4% of majors have transferability scores at 1 or below- which suggests extremely restrictive potential career paths.

STEM Majors?
While STEM degrees do have a relatively wide breadth of jobs, it’s important to keep in mind that the estimated salaries are heavily influenced by the relative commonness of various job titles.

Figuring Out the Next Steps
Of course, money isn’t everything when choosing a degree. According to a survey conducted by UCLA, 9 out of 10 college students believe that it is important to find a major that is intellectually stimulating, “no matter how practical” it is.

So...
Get to know yourself. Choose a major that will challenge you and teach you things about yourself you didn't know so that when the time comes, you know what career path to take. Remember, your major doesn't equal your career!

Source:  Sudarshan Sampath, PayScale
Major Does Not Equal Career

Major ≠ Career
Your degree is a prerequisite for the competitive workforce; the topic is irrelevant.
Even though your job most likely will require a bachelor’s degree, it probably won't matter what field it's in. According to recent research, 62% of recent college graduates are working in jobs that require a degree, yet only 27% of college graduates are working in a job that even relates to their major.
 
Certain fields yield higher incomes, but your major does not need to align with the industry.
You don’t have to study English to be a writer, you don’t have to study business to be a consultant. The real world doesn’t care about your degree as much as your work ethic and attitude.
 
Your experience, be it on the job or off the job, is what people notice.
Take advantage of Jobs for Aggies to pursue interesting internships, get involved in student organizations, and volunteer for causes you are passionate about.
 
Think soft skills, not major topics.
95% of employers are looking for candidates whose skills translate into out-of-the-box thinking and innovation, as many of the jobs being filled today come with challenges that are more complex than in the past.
 
You're a better performer when you're aligned with your purpose.
Purpose gives you unprecedented energy. If you major in a field you’re truly interested in, you will give it the effort, attention, and enthusiasm that translates into success.
 
Your network matters way more than your college major.
If no one knows who you are, no one will care how smart you are. This is why it is so important that people who truly want to be successful put just as much effort, if not more, into networking as they do into their studies.

Source: Ashley Stahl, Six Reasons Why Your College Major Doesn't Matter 

 
How to Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses (Part 1)
How to Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses (Part 2)

How To Identify Your Strengths And Weaknesses, In 4 Steps

1. Create two lists
Your first list should be centered on your career and life goals, maybe call this list “Skills Needed to Succeed.”  You could include things like “an understanding of the market,” “public speaking,” “website development,” or “product expertise.” Make it specific. Then highlight the skills you already have, and put a star on the ones you need to work on.

Your second list requires you to be completely honest about yourself. This one will be where you write down your strengths and weaknesses. If you need help with this, let the Explore Program know and we will help you get started.

2. Talk to people you trust
Try thinking of three to five people whose opinions you trust, and who have had the chance to live or work with you for an extended period. You could also ask a professor or TAMU adviser who knows you well.
Tell them that you want to learn how to achieve your goals and that in order to be successful, you’re trying to take stock of your strengths and weaknesses. Ask them what it is about you that they think will contribute to your success. Then, ask them to tell you the weaknesses you have that may cause you to fail.

3. Take a personality test
Personality tests are another useful resource to help you identify strengths and weaknesses. TAMU's Career Center or CAPS could help you with taking a personality test.

Here are some recommendations:
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
    • Measures you within a framework of four areas: energy, decision-making, taking in information, and approaching the outside world.
  • DISC Personality Testing
    • Corporate-level personality test.
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0
    • Geared toward helping you understand the unique talents you have to offer the world.
4. Try new things
One problem with identifying strengths and weaknesses comes when you have a lack of experience, which is most of our students in TAP. In some cases, you might look at your list of weaknesses and notice that it mostly boils down to “I don’t know, I’ve never tried.”
Try painting, cooking, investing, running, or an online course on a computer science language. Then ask yourself if you enjoyed the experience. Add on to your lists what strengths and weaknesses you learned you have!

What did you learn about yourself?

Some of your strengths represent the absolute best you have to offer. Others may need to be further developed. Finally, some likely won’t be integral to your success. Some of your weaknesses will be glaring. You will need to address them and improve upon them before you’ll be able to succeed. Others may simply be irrelevant to your overall objectives.

It’s okay that you’re not going to be great at everything. Instead, improve what you can and bring people alongside you who have strengths that balance out your weaknesses.

Source: Bplans.com by Jonathan Michael

 
Top 10 Majors for Prospective Law Students
Top 10 Majors for Prospective Law Students

This list is based on 2 main types of data: the number of students admitted to law school (last year) with a certain major, and the average LSAT score of the students (out of 180) with that major.
 
1. Political Science
Admitted Students: 9,612
Average LSAT Score: 158.3
Why? Political Science offers an invaluable framework for the laws you will be studying in graduate school
 
2. Psychology
Admitted Students: 2,960
Average LSAT Score: 152.6
Why? This field blends history, reading, writing, and quantitative analysis together, making graduates in this field well-equipped to approach law from almost any angle.
 
3. Miscellaneous
Admitted Students: 2,904
Average LSAT Score: 151.2
Why? The fact that this category has the third highest number of students accepted shows that you can successfully apply to law school from any major.
 
4. History
Admitted Students: 2,657
Average LSAT Score: 156.2
Why? Both the critical thinking and writing skills that this major cultivates can be leveraged in law school.
 
5. English
Admitted Students: 2,564
Average LSAT Score: 155.3
Why? Learning to synthesize a lot of content and becoming sensitive to careful word choice will make you a stronger applicant and a better lawyer.

6. Economics
Admitted Students: 2,373
Average LSAT Score: 158.9
Why? Economics offers the perfect blend of quantitative and qualitative experience. This field prepares you to be an effective lawmaker and advocate for sound monetary policy.
 
7. Criminal Justice
Admitted Students: 2,220
Average LSAT Score: 145.9
Why? No field of study gives you more exposure to law prior to law school. If you want to get as much experience as possible, it’s a great fit.
 
8. Philosophy
Admitted Students: 1,858
Average LSAT Score: 157.5
Why? In this field, you wrestle deeply with logic and reasoning as you consider questions about knowledge, existence, and other fundamental concepts.
 
9. Arts & Humanities
Admitted Students: 1,496
Average LSAT Score: 154.2
Why? This group of majors tends to be fairly writing-heavy and attracts students with the focus to spend hours reading.
 
10. Sociology
Admitted Students: 1,327
Average LSAT Score: 150.7
Why? Both the critical thinking and writing skills that this major cultivates can be leveraged in law school.

Pick a field that interests you and work hard in it. Since just about every industry needs good lawyers, your field-specific knowledge may become quite valuable as you further specialize your legal practice.
Source: Veronica Wickline, Applying to College, Career Advice
Choosing your Undergrad Major When You Want an MBA

Choosing Your Undergrad Major When You Want an MBA

Based on Earnest's data, this is a hypothetical MBA class of 500 students with the degrees earned by each member. Nearly half—or 245—majored in business, with the most common specialties being finance, accounting, or marketing.

Liberal arts majors made up the next largest cohort, with 120 students in the class of 500 having a background in the social sciences, humanities, or fine arts. Engineering and science majors made up a smaller share of this typical MBA class, with fewer than 100 students coming from these backgrounds.

Top MBA Program Statistics
Current class profiles of the nation’s top business schools show that the most selective programs tend to admit relatively fewer business majors.

What Undergraduate and Graduate Majors Studied Before an MBA Program?
MBA admissions officers seek to build classes with diverse skill sets, applicants with backgrounds other than business are often more in demand.

There’s No ‘Best Major’ for Getting Your MBA!

For undergraduates who are considering a top MBA degree program in the future, you might want to resist the urge to major in business as a default. If a STEM or liberal arts degree fascinates and challenges you, consider choosing it as a major. In addition to broadening your horizons, you just might improve your chances of getting into a top MBA program.

Source:  Catherine New, Earnest
Med School?

Med School?
If you want to go to medical school you probably have wondered: “What is the best major for medical school?” and, “What are the best pre-med majors to prepare for medical school?” Below is the data from the best majors to go to medical school.

Acceptance Rates (%) to U.S. Medical Schools by Primary Undergraduate Major, 2019-2020
 
Major Total Applicants Acceptance Rate (%)
Biological Sciences 30,693  41%
Humanities 1,678  46%
Math & Statistics   344 47%
Other   8,754  39%
Physical Sciences  4,937 48%


Based on the GPA data, students who major in Physical Sciences or Math and Statistics may be higher academic achievers in general. These achievement differences may explain to some extent their higher admissions rates.

Average GPAs for Matriculants to U.S. Medical Schools by Primary Undergraduate Major, 2019-2020
 
Major GPA Science GPA Total
Biological Sciences 3.67 3.73
Humanities   3.63 3.72
Math & Statistics 3.70 3.72
Other 3.65 3.74
Physical Sciences  3.70 3.73

According to this data, there are three major groups—Humanities, Math and Statistics, and Physical Sciences—that enjoy higher admissions rates than others. These are the only three groups that get into medical school at a rate greater than 45%.

So, what is the best pre-med major?

You should select a primary major that highly interests you and one that will allow you to achieve at a high level academically. Don’t select a certain tough major simply because it will “look good” on your applications.

Source: Shemmassian, The Best Pre Med Majors to Get Into Medical School (2020)

 
5 Ways to Spend Your Summer Break

5 Ways to Spend your Summer Break
 
1. Take a college class or two.

Summer is a great time to take college classes to earn more credits or to improve a Grade Point Average. Some students use the summer to take classes near their home so they can complete prerequisite courses or to give themselves more flexibility in their fall and spring schedules. Summer classes are often popular and fill up quickly, so be sure to stay on top of deadlines and required forms.
 
2. Earn some money with a part-Time or full-time job.

Seasonal work for college students is a great way to earn money that can be used for college expenses. Jobs can also be great ways to network, build a resume, and learn real-world career skills. Jobs should start to become available, since most of our country is on track to reopening.
3. Participate in an internship.
 
Internships are a great way to get specific career experience and mentorship. Internships are often a little hard, more so now that most jobs have moved online. However, try to network on LinkedIn and search for "online internships."
 
4. Serve the community.

Spending time as a community volunteer is another way to spend the summer break and it has the bonus of doing something good for the community. If you have the means, donate to food banks, your clothes, and if you are capable, your time. During these trying times there is plenty of help needed, and not many volunteers. Consider being one! It is such a rewarding experience.
 
5. Develop skills.

Consider approaching the break as an opportunity to develop your skills. Do you need to work on time management and academic skills, or should your time be spent on interpersonal skill building, the kind that can be practiced on a job or from working with the community? Evaluate what you need and look for online resources that offer what you would want to work on. An excellent resource TAMU students have is LinkedIn Learning, you can find the link to it on your Howdy Portal.
 
Source: Higher Ed Parent; 7 Ways for Your Student to Spend the Summer Break
3 Ways You Can Make the Most of Summer Break

3 Ways you Can Make the Most of Summer Break
 
1. Get job experience
 
Tempting as it may be to kick back and relax during the summer, if you have an extended break ahead of you, there's a real opportunity to set yourself up financially and career-wise. You'll be more than grateful for it down the line -- especially when your friends who didn't work are struggling through their post-college job searches and you're getting offers left and right.
 
2. Explore Careers
 
Sure, when the year's last semester ends, you can just get a summer job. But consider spending the summer focused on exploring possible careers. Use the TAMU Career Center resources to explore different career paths, make an appointment with Explore Program adviser, look at the different Master Programs, take an aptitude test, and follow our Instagram page @tamu_explore!
 
3. Build your Network
 
First, identify companies you would like to work at. Once you have done that reach out to people who work there explaining that you are a college student looking to enter the field. It's OK to contact human resources or to email specific people if you can find that information. Basically, get yourself out there (figuratively, stay home!). If you meet people and keep in touch, those contacts may be the key to getting hired when you enter the job market.
 
Source: Daniel B. Kline, Selena Maranjian, And Maurie Backman; The Motley Fool
How to Prepare for Summer Courses

How to Prepare for Summer Courses
 
Set Goals for Yourself
One way to motivate yourself to do well in your summer classes is to make a list of goals for your classes. Don’t just keep it in your head–write your goals down and stick it on your mirror if you have to. Use these goals to keep yourself accountable while your class is happening and to make sure that you are on top of everything.
 
Be Prepared to Learn on the First Day
Summer classes do not work like regular classes. The first day is not a relatively easy syllabus day where you don’t learn anything. Because of the accelerated schedule that summer classes teach on, you’re going to be learning at least a chapter or two of material on the first day.
 
Seek Help Immediately (If You Need It)
If you don’t understand a concept, you need to go and talk to your teacher or professor on the day that you get confused on a concept and get it sorted out right then and there. Typically, there won’t be time later during class or before the exam for you to ask questions.
 
Don’t Wait To Buy The Textbook
If your teacher or professor gives you the textbook information for the course ahead of time, just go ahead and buy the book. In the best case scenario, you are prepared on day one and can keep up with the fast pace of the course.
 
Mark Your Calendar With All The Important Dates and Deadlines
The unfortunate thing about summer classes is that even though the classes don’t last as long, you have the same amount of exams as you would during the semester. This means that, for some classes, you will be having an exam every other week, perhaps even weekly.
 
Form a zoom Study Group
A great way to know that you’ve mastered a concept is to be able to explain it somebody else. An online study group would give you the opportunity to do just that. You get to test your knowledge by explaining concepts discussed in class to your peers, and they reciprocate in kind by explaining concepts that you struggle with and giving you the help that you need.
 
If You’re Retaking a Class, focus on the Areas You Had Trouble With
As you’re going through the material for the second time, put a lot of extra study time and focus on the concepts that you did not grasp the first time. Since you’re re-learning most of this material, you’ll be able to comprehend the easier concepts in no time.
 
Source: Sadhvi Mathur; 7 Strategies to Ace Your Summer Classes