Year Guides

Freshman - 30 credits or less
Sophomore - 31-60 credits
Junior - 61-90 credits
Senior - 91+ credits

Steps to a Liberal Arts Degree

It's important to know what to expect and to be able to plan accordingly to ensure timely graduation. The CLA Year Guides provide benchmarks students can follow to connect to critical resources and people on campus, to learn about degree requirements and exploratory courses, and act through engagement opportunities and organizations on campus.



During Your First Year:

Academics

  • First Year Experience - Fulfill your CLA First-Year Experience requirement by completing both CLA 1001 and 1002.
  • Freshman Seminars - Enroll in a Freshman Seminar, or take a course that sounds interesting to you.
  • Academic Advising - Meet with your academic advisor once during each semester of your first year.
  • Prerequisite Major Courses - Take prerequisite courses that will help you to narrow down the selection of your major, and to prepare you for entry into the major.
  • GradPlanner & APAS - Complete your GradPlanner for at least two semesters out, learn how to read your APAS, and develop an understanding of UofM and CLA course requirements.
  • Visit Faculty - Make an effort to visit at least one faculty during office hours each semester to get to know your professors and to answer any questions you might have about your courses.

Career Preparation

  • Visit CLA Career Services - Get to know the friendly and knowledgeable staff and check out the many resources, workshops, and courses.
  • Develop a Resume - Develop a first draft of your resume during your first year.  This will help you to determine the skills and experiences you will need to develop during your four years of college to build a competitive resume.
  • Register for GoldPASS - Register an account on GoldPASS and submit your first-year resume to begin exploring job and internship opportunities

During Your Sophomore and Junior Years:

Academics

  • Declare Your Major - You will need to declare a major by the time you have completed 60 credits.  You may declare your major earlier, though you will want to check the departmental websites for more information on specific major declaration requirements and procedures.
  • Departmental Advising - Once you have declared your major, you will be paired with an additional departmental advisor who will work closely with you to select courses and answer questions directly related to your major.
  • Academic Degree Requirements - Make sure you are knowledgeable of all course requirements for your major and for CLA. These requirements include:
    • Liberal Education Requirements - Be sure to take courses that are meeting your liberal education requirements.  Be sure to start completing these requirements early, as you may need room in your schedule later on for your upper-level major courses.
    • Second Language Requirement - All students must complete a fourth-semester, college-level language course of at least four semester credits, or pass the Language Proficiency Exam (LPE).
    • 48-Upper Level Credit Requirement - All students must complete 48 credits of upper-level coursework, and some BA degrees also require completion of 18 credits of upper-level coursework outside of your major.  Make sure you are well informed of your major requirements.
  • University Honors Program - If you have above a 3.5 GPA, you may be interested in the University Honors Program. 
  • Double Majors and Minors - Work with your advisor to determine whether a second major or minor will fit into your course schedule, and if you choose to add a second major or minor, be sure to officially declare through the department.

Career Preparation

  • Find Your Career Pathway - Explore a variety of career or graduate school paths that match your strengths, values, and interests.
  • Career Classes & Workshops - Enroll in one of several career courses & workshops offered by CLA Career Services.
  • Internships - Get career related experience, learn about a career field, build your resume, and establish references for future job applications by applying for internships during your sophomore, junior, and/or senior years.  Internship scholarships are available!
  • Informational Interview - Conduct an informational interview with a professional in a career that interests you.  For assistance in making a contact, visit CLA Career Services.
  • Develop Relationships with Faculty & Staff - When you begin applying for jobs and graduate programs, you will need references and letters of recommendation.  Begin establishing these relationships early so these professionals can be well positioned to provide insight into your skill sets and aptitudes.
  • Join a Student Group - Consider joining a student group, not just for fun, but related to your career interests.  If you’re already a member in one, is there a way you can take a more active role?

During Your Senior Year:

Academics

  • Reach 120 Academic Credits - You must complete 120 total credits, and fulfill all course requirements for your major(s) and minor(s) prior to your expected date of graduation.
  • APAS Review - Check your APAS to make sure you have fulfilled all requirements needed for graduation.
  • Apply to Graduate - Don’t forget to submit your application to graduate!

Career Preparation

  • Finalize Your Resume - Visit CLA Career Services for help developing a final, polished draft of your resume that will maximize your competitiveness in your upcoming job or graduate school search.
  • Practice Interviewing - Prepare for those upcoming interviews by participating in mock interview sessions.
  • Attend the CLA and University of Minnesota Job Fairs, Employer Information Sessions, and Employer Interviews - Be proactive in finding your first professional job!  Meet with employers from around the Twin Cities and surrounding areas throughout your senior year.
  • References and Letters of Recommendation - When asking for letters of recommendation, be sure to ask people with plenty of advance notice, and be sure to let people know if you are listing them as a reference.
  • Join a Professional Association - You often can get a steep discount  on membership while you’re still a student, and more importantly, you can connect with professionals in your field to aid in your job search.  Ask your professors and classmates for suggested associations.