Exploratory Studies (EXPS) at West Chester University (WCU) is a comprehensive academic program designed to meet the needs of students who wish to explore their options in order to find an “appropriate” major of interest. Our program provides students the opportunity to explore the different majors through collaborative academic advising, guided and individualized assessment of personality, interests, strengths and abilities. Exploratory students work one-on-one with specially trained faculty academic advisors who understand the different curriculum tracks and university requirements. Our faculty will help you decide what courses to take based on your interests and these requirements.
EXPS students typically make up 25-33% of each WCU’s first year entering cohort. About 30% of EXPS students change their major by the end of their first year. Our students declare majors and minors in all the colleges at the University.
Who are Exploratory Studies Students?
Students accepted into Exploratory Studies might fit one of four broad categories:
- Students who have applied to other majors at West Chester but have not yet been accepted into that major.
- Students who have two or three possible major interests and need to narrow down their choices before entering their chosen major.
- Students who may have no idea what they want to major in, in part because they have limited knowledge about what their options are.
- Students who have been accepted into other WCU majors but change their minds and transfer to Exploratory Studies to begin the process of deciding upon and earning entrance to their desired new major.
In all these cases, our faculty and staff work with students to evaluate their academic goals, explore their interests and advise students to take courses for their desired major and then change their majors after they have met the entrance requirements for their desired major.
The mission of Exploratory Studies at West Chester University is to promote the smooth transition and integration of undeclared students into the university. Exploratory Studies fosters student success through collaborative relationships between academic advisors and students.
Exploratory Studies Program Goals
- Provide support to admitted students through orientation, explanation of general education curriculum, major requirements and academic policies and procedures.
- Provide support for students to explore their academic interests through guided and individualized self-assessment.
- Assist and empower students to successfully transition from Exploratory Studies to their chosen majors after they have met their major entrance requirements.
- Monitor students’ academic progress and proactively intervene to enhance their success.
Exploratory Studies Student Learning Outcomes
- Students will accurately identify WCU’s general education and major requirements, academic and course policies and procedures, and their personal goals and vocational interests.
- Students will use exploration of their academic interests, career interests or goals to decide upon a major consistent with those goals and interests.
- Students will follow policies and procedures, including those for degree requirements and academic standing policies, registration policies and deadlines, resource availability, etc.
- Students will select and schedule for appropriate coursework that meets requirements, continues degree progress, keeps options open, and fits interests.
- Students will transition from Exploratory Studies to their chosen major of interest after they have met the entrance requirements of their desired majors at the completion of 45 credits.
- Students will use available academic support services and other campus resources to support their learning and enhance their success at the university.
Academic Advising Expectations and Responsibilities
In Exploratory Studies, academic advising is seen as a collaborative educational process whereby students and advisors work as partners in meeting essential learning outcomes, ensuring student academic success, and outlining the steps for achieving the students’ personal and academic goals, and career aspirations. This partnership is intended to garner the resources that will enable students to realize their academic potential by way of deciding and declaring a major field of study. The student-advisor relationship requires participation and involvement of both the advisor and the student over the student’s entire educational enterprise at the university. To ensure the success of this partnership the student and the advisor shall have the following clear responsibilities.
Exploratory Studies Advisors responsibilities are to:
- Treat you with respect and as an adult and listen carefully to your questions and concerns.
- Be accessible for meeting with you during office hours, by appointment, telephone, or email.
- Encourage and guide you to define and develop clear and realistic educational goals.
- Provide a safe space in which to share your thoughts, aspirations, concerns, and interests.
- Maintain confidentiality of each student’s record.
- Effectively communicate the curriculum, graduation requirements, and university and college policies and procedures through use of the catalog and degree reports.
- Monitor and accurately document your progress toward meeting your degree requirements.
- Assist you in gaining decision-making skills and in assuming responsibility for your educational plans and decisions.
- Assist you in making course and major decisions.
- Encourage you to work closely with your professor/instructor.
- Provide educational resources and referrals when appropriate.
- Encourage you to participate in extra-curricular activities and events.
Exploratory students are expected to:
- Be courteous and plan ahead. Schedule regular appointments early each semester and cancel or reschedule only if necessary. Simply not showing up for an appointment is unacceptable.
- Come to appointments prepared with questions and/or topics to discuss.
- Learn how to interpret the catalog and university policies, procedures, and regulations.
- Develop an understanding of General Education requirements as it pertains to your intended major.
- Keep a record of your academic progress and goals.
- Learn to utilize the MyWCU student record system and regularly check your account.
- Avoid making final academic decisions suggested by friends without consulting/communicating with your advisor.
- Learn to stay organized and effectively manage your time.