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Advising with the Co-Curricular Inventory

 

The Co-Curricular Inventory on the Advising Transcript

The Co-Curricular Inventory appears near the bottom of every student's advising transcript. Unlike the official transcript, the advising transcript is organized to show progress on meeting general education and major requirements. This sample advising transcript is for a senior who is majoring in Spanish with minors in Anthropology and Biology. 

Scrolling down to the Co-Curricular Inventory, we see that she has been active in DePauw's Civic Fellows program, has done a Winter Term in Service project in Ecuador, and has worked with the campus radio station for a semester. Each of these programs has a description. Currently, these program descriptions tend to focus on what the program is. As we develop the Co-Curricular Inventory we hope to focus these descriptions more on what students do on the experience, what they get out of it and how this might connect with their academic program. 

The Co-Curricular Activity Detail View

There is a link at the beginning of the Co-Curricular Inventory that provides a detail view. In this sample, we are just looking at the Winter Term in Service experience in Ecuador. In the detail view, several more levels of description are offered. The program description was of the Winter Term in Service program; now there is an activity description that focuses on this particular experience in Ecuador. Also, there is an area where the activity sponsor may enter comments on individual participants.

The Degree Qualifications Profile

At the bottom of the detail view are areas where we can note associations with learning outcomes articulated in the Lumina Foundation's Degree Qualifications Profile. We have prepared an indexing version of the DQP in our course database. For the sample activity, we have indexed one DQP outcome to the program itself and two to this particular activity. This indexing of DQP outcomes to programs and activities is meant to be suggestive rather than evaluative. The student might have met one or more of these outcomes through participating in the activity itself or the activity might be a step on the way toward meeting this outcome.

For example, it is unlikely that a student would meet the outcome from the Broad, Integrative Knowledge section of the DQP that we've indexed to this activity. But clearly this activity would expose students to an important "contemporary or recurring challenge"--i.e., providing health care in an under-served area--and the activity description includes the goal of students being able to "support their actions with practical intellectual arguments." 

Advising Scenario #1

This student has completed most of the courses required for medical school admission. Suppose you are advising her on her application. This student has strong academic credentials for medical school and the combination of Spanish, biology and anthropology is distinctive. The Co-Curricular Inventory adds important information about her commitment to service as well as experience in the medical field. What students often fail to realize, however, is that medical school applications ask them to do more than just document their experiences and credentials. They need to say what is meaningful about them, what skills they learned from them, and how the knowledge and skills might apply to their work as a physician.

The descriptions of the co-curricular activities and the indexed DQP outcomes provide some important hints for developing the application. Together they suggest that the student might focus on how the experience has helped her to understand complex political and social issues, to communicate with people from a different background, and to develop her advocacy skills. 

Advising Scenario #2 

Suppose this student has opted for an independent capstone experiences that brings together her study of Spanish, biology and anthropology. She is asking for help in designing the project proposal. Having the co-curricular inventory on the advising transcript encourages both students and advisors to make connections.

It happens that many of these medically oriented service projects are emphasizing preventative medicine and improved living conditions rather than direct medical care. This student may well have had an opportunity to draw on her biology and anthropology as well as her Spanish. In turn, this co-curricular experience may well suggest ways to draw these fields together in an academic capstone project.