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Helping First Year Students Make Critical Career Decisions

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.287.1 - 4.287.9

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Paper Authors

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Heidi Diefes

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William LeBold

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William Oakes

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3453

Helping First Year Students Make Critical Career Decisions

William K. LeBold, Heidi Diefes, William C. Oakes Purdue University

Abstract Beginning engineering students often need various degrees of help in making academic, career, and personal decisions that are likely to have a profound affect on their lives. Faculty, counselors, and staff responsible for first year engineering programs can play a critical role in helping students make these decisions. In this paper, we describe some of the programs developed at a large university (Purdue) to help beginning engineering students make academic, career, and personal decisions. Assessment data is presented on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various programs. I. Introduction Academic advisement has consistently been criticized as one of the weakest services provided in higher education and engineering education: “...advisement is one of the weakest links in higher education.”1 “...academic advising is scandalously poor in higher education...advising of engineering students is worse than most.”2 “...quality of counseling, academic counseling and career guidance were rated the lowest of 30 undergraduate factors evaluated.”3 To improve its advising efforts, the Department of Freshman Engineering at Purdue University has developed a suite of courses and services to meet the diverse needs of its 1500-2000 beginning-engineering students. These programs and services are described below. II. Purdue University Courses and Services Day on Campus Purdue students and their families participate in a Day On Campus program the summer before they begin their freshman studies. The daylong visit to campus includes a Freshman Engineering orientation meeting and an individual advising interview. During the orientation meeting, 70-100 students and their parents are provided with general information about Purdue's engineering program and resources. Particular attention is given to the first year plan- of-study and the requirements for admission into the engineering professional schools. In the Purdue system, engineering students are admitted into a single department, Freshman Engineering, and then matriculate to the engineering professional schools after completing the freshman requirements.

Diefes, H., & LeBold, W., & Oakes, W. (1999, June), Helping First Year Students Make Critical Career Decisions Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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