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University College gives students direction

November 30, 2007

Mention University College to members of the ASU community, and chances are that the mention will elicit a return stare that isn’t exactly blank, but isn’t quite informed about the many services offered by the college.

“A lot of people don’t realize what University College is,” says the college’s dean, Gail Hackett.

At a relatively young 3 years old, University College continues to evolve into an innovative academic endeavor that encompasses many functions. Primary amongst them is aiding students who are searching for a major.

University College students who are looking for what they want to do in life are described as “exploratory” rather than “undecided” to accurately reflect their academic quests.

“Currently, we have almost 5,000 students,” Hackett says. “Our goal is to help those students get into a major that is a good fit for them.”
University College, which is located on all four ASU campuses, provides the right tools for career exploration through academic and career advising.

“Advisers are highly trained, and they understand all the majors in the university,” Hackett says.

Students also can take major exploration courses through the college, such as UNI 194, that offer the opportunity to learn decision-making skills. They also can obtain assistance exploring major and career options, and take the Kuder Career Planning System, located online at, to discover how their interests, abilities and values relate to different majors and careers. Anyone with online access and an ASU ID can use the Kuder system.

“Some students have chosen a major, but they aren’t sure if it is the major for them,” Hackett says. “The Kuder online tool can help them clarify whether they are in the right major. Other students may have decided to change majors but aren’t sure what to change it to.”

Comments from students who participated in a UNI 194 survey conducted this year said that the course “was very informative,” “provided us with many tools and methods of evaluating different careers” and “gave us experience interviewing a pro in our field of interest, which was very good.”

Students who don’t get into their first choice of major and need to decide on something else also benefit from using the Kuder assessment.

Sometimes students need to clarify how their feelings and attitudes relate to a chosen course of study and career.  

“A lot of students need help understanding their own interests, abilities and values,” Hackett says.

And college is the perfect place to do that where young people can explore different careers as they mature.

“You need to come here to explore your options,” Hackett says.

The Kuder tool even compares interests and passions of people who are successful in occupations to those interests of the individual who is taking the test.

“It takes you beyond the obvious,” Hackett says.

Once students have a good idea of where they want to go, they can link to specific ASU majors online at

And an online eAdvisor – located at the Web site – can point students to specific courses and other information required for a major. University College officials frequently also refer students to Career Services, especially for help with résumés, interviews and other job search skills.

Besides aiding students in the search for a major, University College fosters a seamless transition from community college to ASU through its alliance partnership with the Maricopa County Community College District, and its transfer advantage partnerships with Central Arizona College and Yavapai College. These programs help students transfer credits, explore options and succeed in the transition from community college to the university environment. The Transfer Articulation Office in University College offers additional services to students in the process of transferring to ASU.

University College also encompasses Academic Community Engagement Services, which connects students to the world outside of ASU through volunteer programs such as Service Learning. Students gain valuable experience in their fields of interest, while the community benefits through their volunteer services.

The School of Extended Education within University College has been streamlined, but its focus remains the same: offering distance and online courses and support for academic units interested in expanding online offerings.