Chapter 4: Career Exploration & Pathways

Advisement & Registration

Career and advisement resources

To complete this activity, visit the Advising and Transfer Services and Career Services, or use information about these services provided on the MCC website.

  • Where is Career Services located?
  • Explain three services provided by Career Services. Explain the services and how they might help you.
  • Where is the Advisement and Transfer Services office located? How can you arrange to meet with an advisor?
  • Identify at least three services specifically provided by the Advisement and Transfer Services. Explain these services and how they can help you.


Academic Advisement is an important part of your college experience. Once you are enrolled in college, going through the advisement process can help you turn your goals into reality. Meeting with an advisor ensures your program, major, school and pathway match your goals. Advisors can help you understand your degree requirements, discuss your goals and dreams, and help you create a clear path to reach them. Check in with an advisor at least once a semester to make sure you are taking the proper classes and are on track to graduation.

As you begin your academic career, it’s helpful to consider the following questions:

  • What courses should I take?
  • What are my career options?
  • How long will it take me to complete my academic goals and begin my career?
  • Are my scheduled courses financial aid compliant?
  • What are my options for transferring to another college?
  • What careers are available to me with a certificate or Associate’s degree from MCC?
  • Will my credits transfer to another college?

An advisor can help you with all of these questions and more. Keep in mind research shows that students who work with academic advisors achieve higher grades and have a better understanding of what they need to graduate.

Student Responsibilities for Advisement

The following is a list of student responsibilities MCC expects from each student before and during the advisement process:

  • Become an active participant in your career decision-making process.
  • Get good grades.
  • Come prepared with a list of questions that you want to ask your advisor.
  • Plan course selections according to major requirements and educational goals.
  • Be prepared with accurate information and relevant materials (Degree Works worksheet, audit sheet, transfer credit information, et cetera).
  • Determine ahead of time your outside commitments and how these will affect scheduling your classes.

Advisor Responsibilities

The following is a list of responsibilities MCC expects from each advisor during the advisement process:

  • Promote activities that examine career goals.
  • Be aware of the career and transfer programs available at the College.
  • Be knowledgeable about program requirements.
  • Know the success of the program graduates.
  • Refer students to campus resources.
  • Know information about courses at the College.

Keeping Track of Your Degree Requirements

You can make sure you are meeting your program goals by talking to an advisor or reviewing the completion of your degree requirements on your own. Academic planning tools can ensure that students are taking classes they need to graduate and are making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward graduation. At MCC, this degree planning tool is called Degree Works.
Degree Works Graduation Planning System

Here is some information about Degree Works for MCC students:

  • Degree Works has an easy-to-read worksheet that displays student information, such as school, program, major, grade point average, placement test scores, and academic standing.
  • Degree Works takes the guesswork out of what to register for. Students can easily see what requirements are still needed in order to complete a degree or certificate and which requirements have already been satisfied.
  • Degree Works provides students and advisors a tool to plan together for degree completion.
  • Degree Works offers a “What If” feature to see how completed coursework would apply to a different program.
  • Degree Works could provide seamless transfer opportunities in collaboration with SUNY’s student mobility initiatives.
  • Degree Works can help students and advisors map a semester-by-semester plan.
  • Degree Works can be accessed online, any time!

Accessing Degree Works

The following are directions and a video on how to login into Degree Works.

If you are an MCC student:

  1. Sign into myMCC using your full myMCC username and password
  2. Click on Degree Works
  3. You are now on your Degree Works worksheet!

Using Degree Works

The Degree Works Worksheet has three main areas:

  1. Student Information: Look here to review and confirm your pathway.
    • Student M Number, Name, Program, Major, School, and Pathway
    • Student Type, Admit Term, GPA (need at least a 2.0 to graduate), Academic Standing (Warning, Probation), Advisor Name
    • Advisement Key, Course Placement, and Advisement Location
  2. Overall Degree Requirements 
    • General program notes, credits earned, and credits required
    • A space listing any pre-requisites needed for the current program listed in Degree Works. Note that this block may change if you complete the “What If” analysis to explore other programs.
    • A green checkmark indicates the course is complete
    • A red circle indicates the course still needs to be taken
    • A blue half-circle indicates the course is in progress
  3. Detailed Course Requirements
    • Semester sequence provided
    • Specific courses listed in each area
    • Click on a course for a description and the current class schedule

You will also notice a section listing preparatory courses and courses that do not count toward your certificate or degree.

At the bottom of the worksheet, students and advisors can see notes from previous advisement appointments. Students can also access a GPA calculator to explore the grades necessary to meet a certain GPA goal.

What-If Analysis

The What-If feature is particularly useful if you are thinking about changing programs or if you are working on prerequisites to get into a program. Follow these steps to use the What If feature in Degree Works:

  • Click What-If
  • Select the catalog year
  • Select the program
  • Select Process What-If

The student worksheet will now show all the requirements for the major selected.

The following video may help you become more familiar with Degree Works:

Student Degree Works Introduction

Degree Works is constantly adding new and exciting features to help students navigate their roadmaps to graduation, and students who check their Degree Works Worksheet often will be able to use these updates to their advantage.

Major Changes

The major change process at MCC is completed at the Advisement Center or online. When students change their major, they may be assigned to a new advisor and be required to take additional courses to meet their new graduation requirements. These changes may also impact their financial aid. As mentioned above, students can use the “What If” feature in Degree Works to see what courses they would need to take if they do decide to change their major.

Major change applications are accepted through the third week of classes of the current term, and some high-demand degree programs have specific admission requirements, deadlines, and procedures. Checking the online catalog and working with an advisor can help students make these important decisions; however, research shows that the best course of action is to commit to a major early and to see it through to completion.

Steps for Transfer Planning

Although you may be just starting on your college journey, it’s never too early to start planning for transfer. You want to make sure you are taking the correct courses at MCC for your next school. The steps and resources below can help you begin the transfer process.

Research Transfer College and Universities

What best suits YOU? Consider public vs. private, location, size, majors, cost, setting (urban, suburban, rural), sports programs, religious affiliation, etc.
Useful websites: SUNY Program Search, College Navigator, and College Board.
Look for transfer admission requirements, GPA needed, curriculum outlines, application deadlines, contact people, housing, scholarships, etc

Connect with 4-year Colleges and Universities

Attend transfer college fairs, engage in college information sessions, and visit campuses.
Get a feel for the personality of the campus. Go to an open house. Meet with an admissions counselor and the academic department. 

Choose Optimal Courses to Take at MCC

Are there specific courses needed to be admitted into your major or college? What MCC courses will they accept? Choosing courses with transfer in mind is extremely important. With a bit of planning, you can set yourself up for a smooth transfer. Below are just some of the resources that can help you.

Apply to Transfer

When you are ready, you will:  1. apply, 2. request all transcripts be sent to the 4-year college, and 3. apply for financial aid.

If you graduate from MCC before you transfer, you can apply to up to seven SUNY institutions for free when you use the SUNY application. (And it is short and easy to fill out!)

The Transfer Services website has lots of information that will help!

Keep in Mind:

  • Only your credits will transfer; not your GPA. However, you need a strong GPA to get accepted and to get scholarships!
  • Most colleges have a maximum number of credits they accept from a two‐year college. This varies by institution but is often 60-66 credits.
  • AP/IB/CLEP credit will need to be evaluated by the transfer institution. There is no guarantee you will be awarded credit even if MCC gave you credit. Make sure to check.
  • Although you may be just starting on your college journey, it’s never too early to start planning for transfer. The steps and resources below can help you begin the transfer process:

Transfer planning

  • Investigate two schools to which you could possibly transfer after MCC.
  • Write a reflection explaining why you chose those two schools, or compare and contrast what you learned about them.
  • Add to your reflection by discussing if you are in the best program at MCC for transferability to one or both of the colleges you explored.

Advisement Keys

MCC has a policy that students in Liberal Arts and Business who have a GPA below 2.0 are required to seek advisement. Some majors also use an advisement key, which means students need to see an advisor to register for classes. Students can check with the department in which their major is housed if they are unsure if they have an advisement key.

MCC’s online catalog

The following are links to the first three sections of the MCC College Catalog and Handbook. These sections provide information on everything from academic programs to course descriptions to general education requirements, all of which are helpful as you create your academic plan.

Using the Online Catalog find your academic program, course descriptions for courses you are planning to take next semester (note the prerequisites if any), the start and end date of the term, and general education courses you will need to take for MCC and/or SUNY.


Registration, the next step after advisement, is when you choose the days and times you would like to take classes and then create your schedule. After you have talked to an advisor, you will register for classes either with an advisor or on your own. If you are registering on your own and are unsure where to begin, MCC has many resources to guide you through the registration process.

Students can access some of these resources by clicking on the following links:

Advisement Centers at MCC

How to Register at MCC

MCC College Catalog- Registration

Schedule Planner

Schedule Planner is a feature at MCC that allows students to enter the courses they need for the next semester and then see all possible combinations of those classes in order to choose the best possible schedule for their particular circumstances.

Follow these steps to get to Schedule Planner:

  1. Log into myMCC by going to
  2. Click on the Student tab
  3. Click on the My Account sub-tab
  4. Go to the Records and Registration channel and click on Schedule Planner

Then, select courses and compare schedule options to find the one that best fits the classes you want to take, when you want to take them.

Step 1: Select Add Course to search for the courses you want.

Step 2: Narrow down your schedule options.

  • Select Add Break to identify the times you do not wish to take classes.
  • Select Options next to each course to see instructor names and specific types of sections (for example, Honors, Online).
  • Select the Advanced Options tab to add Class Padding if you want to space out classes (for example, if you need time to travel between campuses).
  • Use the Instruction Mode Filter if you only want to see online, remote, or on-campus classes.

Step 3: Select the View Schedules tab, then Generate Schedules to create all possible schedule options.

Step 4: Select View at the bottom of the page to see detailed schedule information.

  • Use the back and forth arrows at the top of the page to scroll between schedule options
  • Click the lock icon next to a class section to require that all schedules include that class. This is a good way to reduce the number of schedule options, select a specific professor, location, or class meeting time
  • Click the heart icon at the top of the page to flag favorite schedules so you can come back to them later.

Step 5: When you find the schedule you want, select Send to Course Cart at the top of the page to view a course summary and Register.

You might be asking yourself, “Do I need to pay for the courses immediately when I add them to the cart?” By adding courses to the cart you are registering for the courses. You will not need to pay immediately for the courses added to the cart, but a bill will be generated after you register due at a later date.

Look for the Letters

As you create your schedule, keep your eye out for specialized course sections that offer a high-impact learning experience. Some of those exciting learning opportunities are listed here along with the code you would see on the master schedule:

CL:  Collaborative Learning courses provide active, cooperation-based academic environments that emphasize learning the language, skills, and processes of the discipline through collaborative engagement with peers and professors. Students in CL courses work and solve problems as part of a group of interdependent individuals and sharpen their own understanding by listening to and reflecting on the insights of others, especially those with different backgrounds and life experiences.

LC: Learning communities are programs that enroll groups of students in a common set of courses. These communities often explore themes or driving questions, share common assignments, and/or offer field trip experiences. Students in learning communities report feeling more connected to their peers and to the College.

SV: Service-Learning courses combine civic engagement with academic coursework in a way that benefits both the student and the community. Students can receive a special diploma of distinction if they complete 200 hours of service-learning courses with a 2.0 or higher.

UR: The UR-designation identifies courses that incorporate Undergraduate Research, Scholarly Inquiry, and/or Creative Activity (URSICA) by providing an active, inquiry-based learning environment and by emphasizing the language and processes of research/creative activity in the classroom. Students in UR courses complete assignments such as lab reports, research projects, portfolios, interviews, and/or presentations.

WR: Writing-Intensive courses offer students the opportunity to explore course content through both formal and informal writing. Students can choose to receive a special writing-intensive designation on their degree by completing 30 credits of WR courses with a B or higher average.

HON: Honors Institute courses emphasize rigor, personal connections with professors, lively classroom discussions of globally important issues, and preparation for transfer to a four-year college. The Honors Institute grants two certificates that students can earn with their degree: the Advanced Studies Certificate and the Advanced Studies Certificate with Thesis.

OER: Open Educational Resources courses have eliminated or reduced course material costs by offering students an alternative to purchasing traditional, high-cost textbooks. The course materials are available online for free and/or at a low cost through the bookstore.

General Education Courses

English, History, Mathematics, and Science are the core courses within general education. General education courses help to provide students with a well-rounded education because each discrete discipline informs the other areas of study and provides a framework for students to acquire 21st-century skills. Students who want to obtain an Associate’s degree will need to fulfill general education requirements for SUNY and for MCC.

Below are the current requirements for students entering MCC in the 2022-2023 academic year:

The State University of New York (SUNY) General Education Knowledge and Skill Areas

In addition to Mathematics and Basic Communication, students must complete five additional knowledge and skill areas.

  • Mathematics*
  • Basic Communication*
  • Natural Sciences
  • Social Science
  • American History
  • Western Civilization
  • Other World Civilizations
  • Humanities
  • The Arts
  • Foreign Language


Competencies (both are required)

  • Critical Thinking (Reasoning)
  • Information Management

MCC’s General Education Learning Outcomes

(AH) Arts & Humanities: discuss various aspects of cultural expression.
(GLO) Global Understanding: examine global issues from various perspectives.
(HW) Health and Wellness: apply physical fitness principles and practices to a personal wellness plan.
(QL) Quantitative Literacy: apply quantitative analysis to solve discipline-based problems, analyze patterns and trends, or evaluate data.
(SCI) Scientific Reasoning: apply discipline-specific scientific reasoning to argument or analysis.
(SSD) Social Science and Diversity: analyze domestic political, economic, or social issues from various points of view.

(BCO) Speaking: engage in effective oral communication in a discipline-based context.
(BCW) Writing: write effectively in a discipline-based context.
(CT) Critical Thinking: engage in discipline-based inquiry or problem-solving.
(IL) Information Literacy: apply research techniques to locate and utilize valid sources of information.
(TL) Technological Literacy: use technology in discipline-specific ways to further educational or occupational goals.
(VE) Values and Ethics: express the application of personal, educational, or professional values to ethics-based decision-making.

Below are the requirements for students entering MCC during the 2023-2024 academic year:

SUNY General Education Knowledge and Skill Areas

A minimum of 7 out of 10 categories of knowledge and skills are required for AA-, AS-, and all baccalaureate-degree programs. The following four are specifically required for all undergraduate degree programs:

  • Communication (written and oral)
  • Diversity (equity, inclusion, and social justice)
  • Mathematics (and quantitative reasoning)
  • Natural Sciences (and scientific reasoning)

In addition, a minimum of three of the following six are required for AA-, AS-, and all baccalaureate-degree programs:

  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • The Arts
  • US History and Civic Engagement
  • World History and Global Awareness
  • World Languages

SUNY Core Competencies

Both are required for all undergraduate-degree programs

  • Critical Thinking and Reasoning
  • Information Literacy

The following will be incorporated into all MCC degree programs through a course with this attribute or through infusion into a program-level course:

  • Global Understanding
  • Technological Competency

Here is SUNY’s General Education Statement:

SUNY General Education (GE) is a system-wide framework applicable to all SUNY undergraduate degree programs that addresses the fundamental goals of higher education, including proficiency with essential skills, familiarization with disciplinary and interdisciplinary ways of knowing, and enhancement of the values and disposition of an engaged 21st century global citizenry.

Certainly, there are many things for students to consider when choosing the academic pathways that best meet their transfer and career goals, and MCC has many resources to help them navigate these important processes. Explore the technologies available to help with advisement and registration, and never be afraid to reach out to find the answers to your questions and concerns. MCC’s faculty and staff are dedicated to student success and willing to help you get on and stay on the best path for you.

Preparing for advisement

Using self-reflection, Degree Works, and the MCC website, answer the following questions:

    • What is your career goal?
    • What’s your School at MCC?
    • Who is your School Specialist?
    • What’s your major?
    • Who is your advisor?
    • What are two or more questions you could ask your advisor?
    • What is a pre-requisite? Find a course in your certificate or degree that has a prerequisite. List the course and the pre-requisite.

Create an academic plan

Utilize Degree Works and other course resources to discuss the following related to your academic plan:

  1. Your current program at MCC
  2. The program you plan to graduate from at MCC
  3. Your academic advisor
  4. Your goal GPA for this semester
  5. The date you plan to graduate from MCC
  6. The GPA you plan to have at graduation
  7. Review the course descriptions of your courses next semester to help you mentally prepare. What course are you looking forward to taking? Why? What course do you think will be most challenging? What is your plan to overcome challenges?
  8. At least two academic strategies from COS 133 you will use moving forward (Describe in detail.)
  9. Three goals related to achieving your academic plan
  10. Three action steps to achieve those goals
  11. The resources you will utilize to achieve your academic goals



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

College Success Copyright © by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.