The Four-Year Plan


The Four-Year Plan

As part of the major declaration process second-year students are required to submit to the Registrar a four-year plan of study. However, many advisers work with their students in the first or second semester to create a tentative four-year plan. Following is a list of questions you may want to have your advisees consider as they formulate their plan. 1. Does your course plan meet all the requirements for graduation as listed under "Academic Requirements" of the Grinnell College Academic Catalog? That is, does it meet the following requirements:

  • Satisfactory completion of Tutorial?
  • Satisfactory completion of a major?
  • Completion of at least 124 credits?
  • No more than 48 credits in any department?
  • No more than 92 credits in any division?
  • A maximum of 8 credits in practica courses?
  • A maximum of 16 credits in other Music/Theater performance courses?
  • Eight full-time college semesters?
  • At least six semesters in residence at Grinnell?

2. Does your plan contain the elements of a liberal education, as described under "Education in the Liberal Arts" of the Grinnell College Academic Catalog? That is, does it include courses in all of the following areas:

  • Improving your command of English prose?
  • The study of a language other than your own?
  • The study of mathematics to enhance quantitative reasoning skills?
  • The study of the natural sciences?
  • The study of human society?
  • The study of creative expression?

3. Will your plan qualify you for induction into Phi Beta Kappa (assuming a high GPA, of course)? That is, does it meet the following requirements as listed under "Academic Requirements" of the Grinnell College Academic Catalog?

  • At least three semesters' study of a modern foreign language OR two semesters' study of a classical language OR proficiency beyond such level as demonstrated by your educational history?
  • Completion of Math 123-124 or 131 (calculus) OR completion of a higher-level math course?
  • At least 12 credits of study in each of the three divisions with no more than 8 of the 12 divisional credits in one department?
  • At least 4 credits of a laboratory science?

4. Does your plan include a broad selection of introductory (100-level) courses during the first and second years, while generally avoiding such courses during the third and fourth years? 5. How will you enhance your program of study? Have you considered choosing an interdisciplinary concentration under "Courses of Study" in the Grinnell College Academic Catalog to give structure to your courses outside the major? Will you choose to spend a semester doing off-campus study? Will you pursue a MAP or other independent study? Will you plan an internship? 6. What might life look like for you after graduation and what can you do now to enhance those experiences? Do you have a specific career path in mind? Do you expect to attend graduate or professional school? Or, in lieu of this, consider challenging your advisee to ponder and consider "Big Questions"* in the context of his/her four-year plan:

  • Who do I really want to become?
  • How do I work toward something when I don't even know what it is?
  • What do I want the future to look like - for me, for others, for my planet?
  • What constitutes meaningful work?
  • What do I really want to learn?
  • When do I feel most alive?
  • Where can I be creative?
  • Where do I want to put my stake in the ground and invest my life?

* from Big Questions, Worthy Dreams: Mentoring Young Adults in Their Search for Meaning Purpose and Faith, by Sharon Daloz Parks, 2000. A portion of the Four-Year Plan form is below. Copies of the form are available from the Academic Advising office, Rosenfield Center 3rd Floor. One form per student is also provided in each advising folder given to the First-Year Tutorial instructors.

General Requirements:Maximums:First Year Tutorial  

  • 32 credits in major (48 Gen. Science, 36 Music, 36 English, 36 Theatre)
  • 124 credits to graduate
  • 2.0 cumulative grade point to graduate
  • 92 credits in one division
  • 48 credits in one department
  • 8 practica credits (max. of 4 PE 100 & 101)
  • 16 performance (Music 120, 122, 220, 221, 420;Theatre 104, 204)
  • 8 credits internship (in 2 internships)
  • 16 credits of D grade
  • 18 credits from summer school
  • 12 credits of independent in one department (Plus-2's, 297, 299, 397, 399, 499)

DIVISIONAL CREDITS HumanitiesSocial StudiesScience1st Year   1st sem.   2nd sem.   Sub-total   2nd Year   1st sem.   2nd sem.   Sub-total   3rd Year   1st sem.   2nd sem.   Sub-total   4th Year   1st sem.   2nd sem.   Sub-total   

Note: The purpose of this sheet is to assist the adviser and student in their planning of a program of courses well balanced in terms of divisions. Many times students are not aware that they are over-emphasizing a certain discipline. This worksheet may help to remind them that breadth is an important aspect of their education.