GPA Calculator

Before you go telling everyone that you are majoring in business, nursing, or social work, make sure you are in a competitive position for gaining admission to your program of choice.  The grade point average (GPA, for short) is one of the first things that an admissions committee will look at as they review your application.  The GPA is also used by graduate and professional schools, as well as many employers.  Think about it…how else are they supposed to distinguish between the hundreds of applications they receive.

If you don’t know how to calculate your GPA, now is the time to learn.  Thanks to the Department of Academic Advisement, you have some technology to help you out.  Click here to access the GPA Calculator.

GPA not as high as you would like?  Visit Academic Support Programs for suggestions on how to improve your academic performance.

Recreation and Leisure Services Major

Coming back to campus after a holiday break can be a challenge.  You are probably already dreaming about your next opportunity to be free from homework so you can focus on fun!  What if you could get paid to have fun and help others to have fun, too?  Students who major in Recreation and Leisure Services are preparing to do that.

In addition to helping people enjoy themselves through recreation activities, Recreation and Leisure Services majors learn about the educational components of recreation, as well as the contribution of recreation and leisure activities to an overall healthy lifestyle.  Students choose one of two tracks:  Church Recreation or Outdoor Recreation.

Examples of classes in the Recreation and Leisure Services major:

  • First Aid
  • Camp Counseling & Administration
  • Outdoor Adventure Activities
  • Leisure Services for Persons with Disabilities
  • Adventure Recreation Leadership
  • Principles of Church Recreation

Students with an interest in this major can click here to learn more.

Career Spotlight: Dentist

As you probably already know, dentists are healthcare providers who focus on the care of teeth and gums.  This is a growing profession that can allow someone with scientific knowledge and manual dexterity to apply those skills in serving patients’ dental needs.  Many aspiring dentists are attracted to the idea of operating a private practice, incorporating business management skills into their work.  According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, approximately “3 out of 4 dentists are solo practitioners.”

Most dental school applicants complete an undergraduate (Bachelor’s) degree prior to beginning dental school.  Prerequisites typically include coursework in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, biochemistry, calculus, and statistics.  Dental school usually takes four years, more if a student decides to pursue training in a specialty area.

A good place to begin if you are interested in a dental career is shadowing a dentist.  Make sure the environment is something you think you would enjoy, since the time spent in dental school and the financial resources needed to open a practice are significant investments.  Second, take rigorous math and science courses, as suggested by your prehealth advisor.  You will need to be able to excel in these courses to be competitive for dental school admissions.

The American Dental Association offers detailed information on preparing for a career in dentistry.  Noted on the Predental Timeline is to “consider alternative career plans.”  The path to a career as a dentist is difficult, and simply taking prerequisite courses does not guarantee admission to dental school.  If you would like assistance with exploring alternatives, please stop by the Career Counseling office in Room 132 of the Sid Richardson building to schedule an appointment with a career counselor.

Pass the pumpkin pie…and some career advice, please!

While you are feasting on your Thanksgiving favorites and spending time with family and friends, why not ask for some career advice while you are at it?  Relatives can provide a surprising amount of information on choosing and pursuing a career.  Here are a few questions to get the conversation going:

  • How did you choose your major?
  • What things do you like or dislike about your occupation?
  • What is a typical day like at your job?
  • Do you know anyone who works in the _____ industry?

You could gather some great career information and hear some interesting stories.  You might even uncover leads for information interviewing, job shadowing, or internships.  Don’t pass up the opportunity to learn from people with expertise on the world of work…even if they are your parents!

Vocation in Christian Ministry

Pursuing a vocation in Christian ministry is a definite journey.  Many who pursue this field may feel a particular calling or interest in this area.  If you are considering the ministry for your life’s work, but don’t know exactly what you want to do or how you wish to serve, you are very normal!  I am currently working on my Master of Divinity at Truett Seminary and many of us that are in the process of obtaining a degree there are also journeying to discover God’s plan for our lives.

One area to begin with is thinking about your natural talents and gifts.  I believe God instills certain gifts and abilities in each of us to serve Him and pursuing a vocation in ministry is yet another avenue to use those giftings.  Are you musically gifted?  Gifted in working with children?  Is finance your area?  Do you like to write?  What about speaking in front of groups?  These are just a few of multitudes of options for pursuing this field.  Churches offer a plethora of opportunities for full-time work in ministry, but they are only one example of environments for ministry to take place.

Seek out mentors you respect who can serve as spiritual advisors.  These people could include pastors or other church leaders or also people whose faith you greatly admire and respect.  Many times hearing about their journeys can help you see more about the path you are on.

Also, if there is a specific area tugging at your heart, see if you can spend some with people that work in that particular field.  Spending the day with someone doing what you may be interested in, can help you see if that spot is for you.  Also, be aware that your journey can change.  You may enter ministry in a certain capacity and journey into different roles as you go along.  This is all part of the process.

Above all, spend time with God.  As you stay connected with your Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, your path may be made even more clear and in your unknowing you will find rest.

International Studies Major

Students who are fascinated by other cultures and dream of traveling or living abroad might be intrigued by the International Studies major at Baylor.  Students take two core political science courses, as well as classes in Regional Studies and Global Issues and Institutions.  The major is truly interdisciplinary.  Students have much flexibility in choosing their major courses, which can come from 27 different course prefixes.  There are two versions of the major: General and Intensive.  Each requires advanced hours in a modern foreign language, and the Intensive version requires a study abroad experience or internship abroad.

The flexibility does not end with a student’s choice of classes to fulfill the major.  This degree can prepare students for a wide array of career possibilities.  Click here to read more about specific courses that can be used to fulfill the major, as well as relevant career options.

Career Spotlight: Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapy is a healthcare profession that focuses on helping patients with skills needed for day-to-day living and functioning.  These could be skills related to school, work, or home life.  Occupational therapists come from a wide background of academic majors, and they work with patients of all different ages.

The American Occupational Therapy Association has published responses from occupational therapy students about why they selected the career field.  The Occupational Outlook Handbook offers a detailed description of the occupation, and Baylor students can visit with a prehealth advisor in Room B.111 of the BSB to learn more about the prerequisites for graduate school in occupational therapy.  Common prerequisites are psychology, physics, anatomy, physiology, statistics, sociology, and chemistry.

Preparing for Finals Workshops

Achieving the career of your dreams can’t take place until you master the material you are learning right now.  Give yourself an edge going into exam season by attending a free Preparing for Finals Workshop, hosted by Academic Support Programs in the Paul L. Foster Success Center.  You can choose to attend on November 29th or 30th, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Room 075 of Sid Rich.  Participants are asked to bring all course materials for one course, meaning notes, syllabus, and textbook.  No RSVP needed.

Grade point average matters, so do yourself a favor and take advantage of this great opportunity!

No, really! Which majors are more likely to get me a job?

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post with the assertion that any major can lead to a good job.  Some of you may not have been content with that answer.  The media is full of horror stories of Ivy League graduates who can’t find jobs upon graduation.  I would caution that we don’t know how the person has approached their career development.  To play along, I wanted to share this link to a Wall Street Journal table of unemployment rates by college major.

Many of the undergraduate majors in the top ten list of those with the lowest unemployment rates are offered at Baylor:

  • Astronomy
  • Astrophysics
  • Nursing

Furthermore, Baylor majors could prepare students for graduate study or careers in other areas with low unemployment rates:

  • Actuarial Science
  • Educational Administration and Supervision
  • Pharmacology
  • School Student Counseling
  • Environmental Engineering

Follow the link above for additional ideas, plus salary data.