Students required to MAP education goals

Transfer Center counselor Sara Nieves-Lucas reviews My Academic Plan (MAP) online procedures.

Transfer Center counselor Sara Nieves-Lucas reviews My Academic Plan (MAP) online procedures. (Photograph/ Emilie Christensen)

As of fall semester, 2014,  Saddleback and Irvine Valley College students at the end of their third semester or who have completed 15 units, whichever comes first, must begin outlining their educational goals through a counseling program called, My Academic Plan (MAP).

Students at California community colleges this fall must have a computerized comprehensive academic plan approved by a counselor, according to Senate Bill 1456, a.k.a. the Student Success Act, and new regulations under the California Student Success and Support Program.

MAP is Saddleback’s online goal management tool that allows students to identify courses required to complete a certificate, an associate degree, or transfer to a four year university. After choosing their desired academic goals, students are able to pick from a list of courses available to reach that goal. The program then assists students in charting selected classes according to what the semester offers.

A student can begin a MAP by logging into MySite and opening the tab labeled “My Academic Plan” on the left hand side. From there, students can see an overview of previous plans or create a new one. Video tutorials are embedded into the site to help guide students through the process.

Every fully matriculated student should have a First Semester Plan completed in his or her account, said Transfer Center counselor Sara Nieves-Lucas. This can be accessed under My Plans and added into a comprehensive MAP.

“Counseling has set up a number of ways to help students complete their plans,” said Penny Skaff, counselor, matriculation coordinator, and co-chair of the Saddleback Student Success committee. “Saddleback is now offering MAP workshops weekly, sometimes with multiple workshops in one day, and these are being facilitated by counselors,” Skaff said.

Workshops are also available for students who are undecided in their major or who do not yet know their exact goals.

A completed academic plan can be approved at a MAP workshop, or students can make an appointment to have it reviewed and locked by a counselor.

After completing either 15 degree applicable units, or a third semester, students without an approved plan will receive a Comprehensive Planning (CP) hold by email or text. This notification will let students know that they need to meet with a counselor for academic planning. Registration dates will be delayed for students who haven’t completed a plan and had it locked by a counselor.

“Part of the student success mandate requires that students make an ‘informed’ education plan,” Skaff said. “Four year universities may change a requirement, so it’s important that the plan is reviewed and approved by a counselor to be sure that if there was a change in a requirement, we’ve caught it and shared that information with the student.”

The Student Success Act should also prevent students from unknowingly enrolling in classes that aren’t applicable to their chosen degree or are unacceptable for transfer.

“The Student Success Act is really holding students accountable to come in and talk to a counselor,” Skaff said, “and to utilize the resources available on campus to achieve success.”

Counseling appointments can be scheduled by calling (949) 582-4572 for Saddleback College and (949) 451-5319 for Irvine Valley College. Appointments can also be made online through the Saddleback and Irvine Valley College websites.