Success From First Year to Last Year

Office of Student Affairs

Weyerhaeuser Room 119
651-696-6220
651-696-6630 fax

First Year

  • Spend your first year exploring the curriculum. Learning about new fields and broadening your horizons is at the heart of a liberal arts education. It is also the best way to confirm your intended major or to find one that you did not know existed before coming to Mac. Most courses meet general (divisional) distribution requirements, so you’ll also be making progress toward graduation while you’re exploring.
  • Be bold and adventurous in selecting co-curricular involvements. From student organizations on-campus to service opportunities off campus, there are dozens of ways to find your niche and get connected with the Mac community.
  • Spend some time reflecting on what you are learning about yourself and your experiences. Share your insights with your academic adviser, your professors, and student affairs professionals. They can often point you in the direction of opportunities and resources that will make your time at Mac meaningful.

Second Year

  • Talk with faculty members in the fields you are considering as majors. Major declaration is required in April of your sophomore year and you’ll want to be making well-informed and strategic choices during both fall and spring pre-registration.
  • Review your degree evaluation at 1600 Grand to determine your progress on college-wide graduation requirements and decide how to complete these requirements while also completing the requirements for a major, minor or concentration.
  • Talk with your adviser about study abroad plans. Study abroad applications are due annually in March and require major declaration. You’ll also want to make sure that you have adequate language preparation for the programs you are considering. Careful planning is key to having a successful study abroad experience.
  • Deepen your co-curricular involvements and consider taking on a leadership role. Surveys done of undergraduates nationwide suggest that it is the integration of academic and co-curricular activities that leads to a meaningful college experience. Internships are often good ways to bring these different types of interests into focus.

Third Year

  • Establish a solid relationship with your major adviser. That person will be in the best position to recommend courses that match your interests as well as point you in the direction of research opportunities and internships.
  • Start to make plans for what you will do after you graduate. Most graduate and professional schools require you to complete special entrance examinations (the LSAT, MCAT, GRE, etc.) and students who plan to enter graduate school immediately after graduation will take these tests early in their senior year. Those considering full-time work will want to begin, or intensify, the search process. In either case, a trip to the Career Development Center is a wise move.
  • Consider applying for national scholarships. Applications for the Beinecke (graduate study in the arts, humanities or social sciences), Truman (careers in public service), Goldwater (science research) and Udall (environmental policy) are due in the junior year. Make an appointment with the Director of Academic Programs to discuss the opportunities and the process.
  • Consider undertaking an honors project. Most departments require that project proposals be submitted in the spring of the junior year. Consult your major department chair regarding the GPA eligibility guidelines and application process.

Fourth Year

  • Make sure that you have filed your Intent to Graduate form with the Registrar’s office and make an appointment to review your degree requirements. Updated major and minor plans of study that reflect the courses taken to complete requirements also need to be submitted at this time.
  • Solidify post-graduation plans, whether that is full-time employment, graduate school, travel or community service. Make more trips to the Career Development Center!
  • Consider applying for national scholarships. Applications for graduate study in the UK (Rhodes and Marshall), independent research and travel (Fulbright and Watson) and positions as junior research apprentices (Carnegie Peace Fellows) are due early in the senior year. Make more trips to the Academic Programs Office!

People and Web Resources

Academic Programs Office
215 Weyerhaeuser:  meaning of a liberal arts degree; graduation requirements; major decision making; academic difficulty; national scholarships; honors program.

Campus Life
2nd floor of Campus Center:  student organizations; Program Board; integrating curricular and co-curricular experiences; honing leadership skills; student travel grants.

Career Development Center
Kagin Commons:  major decision making; connecting majors with careers; job search; graduate school process and test information.

Civic Engagement Center
Markim Hall:  community based learning and work; reflecting on being an engaged citizen; integrating curricular and co-curricular experiences; honing leadership skills.

Internship Program
Kagin Commons:  career exploration; identify interests and develop skills; apply theory and learning from the classroom; network with employers and professionals.

MAX (Macalester Academic Excellence) Center
Kagin Commons:  time management; study skills; subject specific tutoring; assistance with writing papers in all subjects and all levels; tutor training; assistance with graduate school test preparation and  applications.

Registrar’s Office
77 Mac:  AP/IB/A-level exams and corresponding credits; graduation requirements; registration; transcripts/enrollment verification; academic calendar; college catalogs; class schedules; final exam schedules.

Residential Life
Campus Center or your hall office: Hall Council involvement; exploring your role and responsibility in your community; building relationships; communicating across difference; apply to be an RA.

Student Affairs Office
119 Weyerhaeuser; disability services; conflict resolution; ombudsman services; Macalester College Student Government (MCSG); student rights and responsibilities; responding to racial and sexual assault; student leaves of absences or permanent withdrawals.

Study Abroad - International Center
Markim Hall:  information on study abroad programs; study abroad advisors; cross-cultural departure and re-entry considerations.