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The Associate in Arts Program both provides students with the opportunity to earn an associates degree, as well as a gateway that provides its students with access to the baccalaureate programs at the main campus in Newark. Faculty, academic advisors, and student life engagement coordinators all collaborate to support students’ academic goals and psychosocial development. Preparations for the transition to the Newark campus are provided every semester through coursework, advising, and programming. By taking an active role in academic advising and in Student Life activities offered at each AAP campus, every student can prepare to make an informed, smooth transition to Newark upon completion of the associates degree.
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All new students are required to meet with a faculty member or academic advisor to create their first semester schedule. During that initial meeting, the student is asked about their academic and career goals. As much as possible, the student will be scheduled for courses in their fields of interest.
All new students are required to complete a First Year Seminar. ARSC 116: Strategies for Academic Success provides first semester students in the AAP with the social and academic skills for university success; topics include resources, study skills, and major exploration. In addition, informational and community-building seminars are offered so students can learn more about their curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular resources, both through the AAP and in Newark. Students will use this information to create a two-year academic plan.
During their first year, students will collaborate with faculty advisors to continue discussing their professional and academic goals, and will create second-semester schedules that support those plans.
Information sessions about baccalaureate majors are offered at all AAP campuses in the spring and the fall. These sessions are provided during the lunch break (the “common hour”) to facilitate participation. The academic advising team will invite guests from Newark to give information about popular baccalaureate majors and academic resources. In an AAP student’s third semester, they’ll transition from their faculty advisor to a full-time professional advisor. Students will work with their new advisors to ensure that they are on track to complete the AA in two years, and will plan their fourth semester coursework accordingly.
In the fourth semester in the AAP, students solidify their plans for their transitions to Newark. Topics such as baccalaureate programs, campus housing, financial aid, extracurricular and co-curricular opportunities are discussed in a one-credit elective, ARSC 104: Sophomore Seminar, and through individual meetings with academic advisors. Students will declare their majors, create their four-year plans, and register for the first semester of their baccalaureate studies in Newark.
Whereas the academic advising program provides support based upon the student’s progress through the program, the Student Life Engagement Coordinators offer the same opportunities year-round to all AAP students, regardless of their progress towards their degrees. Each campus has a Student Life Engagement Coordinator who provides support to all AAP students. Group events, seminars, and activities are provided in the spring and fall semesters. In addition, the coordinators are available year-round to address individuals’ needs. These professionals provide opportunities for community building and fun activities, information regarding resources at the Newark campus, and preparations for the transition to Newark. Some of the most popular activities and informational sessions have included:
AAP alumni are invited to attend AAP Transition Day in August before the start of the fall semester. This event is part of Welcome Days, and is designed to support AAP alumni as they begin their baccalaureate studies at the Newark campus. AAP alumni are encouraged to take ARSC 121: AA Program Transition Seminar for a more detailed and supportive experience in their first semester in Newark.