The Aspire 4-Year Plan
The My Aspire Plan: your guided pathway to a degree that delivers.
The My Aspire Plan (MAP) is your integrated 4-year career and life navigation tool. The MAP tracks your progress through The Aspire Program and demonstrates and makes meaning of your on- and off-campus experiences.
You’re going to do amazing things at Carthage, so let the MAP help you design your path toward career readiness and a successful life.
Your MAP is more than just a list of checkboxes to complete each year. It helps you to be intentional about your Carthage experience and uncover how your experiences are connected.
As you progress through the MAP, you will:
- Create a developmental ePortfolio
- Develop key competencies desired by your future employers (and potential graduate/professional schools if your path includes continuing your education)
- Be prepared to interview and showcase your “best-of” moments
- Earn points toward incentives with some friendly Firebird competition through the leaderboards
The combination of micro-learning experiences and portfolio features of MAP will help you to eventually prepare for interviews and to develop your professional portfolio. (Professional portfolios are compilations of your “best of” moments that are presented according to the expectations for careers and continuing education you plan to pursue.)
Students gain valuable skills through all facets of the Carthage experience and we want to help you find and get connected to events, courses, workshops, and opportunities to help you develop the skills and mindset you’re desiring. This is why MAP leverages opportunities available to students from across academic departments, The Aspire Center, and campus-wide programs in order to provide a structured learning experience that will develop students’ career readiness.
The Aspire Center developed a list of nine competencies that reflect the top skills employers and graduate/professional schools most often seek from graduates that are also the key ingredients in developing skills in entrepreneurship, leadership, creativity, and career development.
MAP organizes these competencies, to make it easier for students to see their progress and translate their most meaningful educational experiences into the language employers expect.
- Vision and Purpose
- Creative and Critical Thinking
- Intercultural Development
- Reflection and Growth
- Digital Fluency
- Collaboration and Teamwork
- Fired Up: Get Connected
Try Something New
Participating in events and experiences both on- and off-campus is a pivotal part of getting connected (and having FUN!) at Carthage. Be curious and take a chance to explore new opportunities — you never know where they might lead!
Searching for an internship, career, graduate school and other experiences is more than simply scrolling through job board websites and blindly applying. Set yourself up for success by creating a plan, using your networks, and understanding the recruiting processes for your specific industries.
Intercultural Development Plan
The Intercultural Development Plan (IDP) walks you through building your personal action plans after completing the IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory) through a comprehensive four-step developmental process.
Having an entrepreneurial mindset can help all students regardless of their future career life goals. This achievement is the first phase in which you’ll explore and identify ways to build an entrepreneurial mindset.
Telling Your Story
The ability to clearly articulate your experiences and how they connect to your obtained skills can help future employers and leaders have insight to how your skills match with their needs.
Nearly 80 percent of jobs are not posted which means the relationships you make have an impact on your career and life trajectory. Gain insight on making, managing, and maintaining your relationships.
Building Professional Documents
Create a package of professional documents in order to set yourself up to secure future opportunities. By completing this achievement, you’ll create a resume, cover letter, and necessary online profiles.
Do you have a job? Are you in a student organization? Have you done research? Be sure to track your experiential learning moments so you can have everything in one place when creating your professional resumes!
Consider your MAP to be your Fitbit as you navigate The Aspire Program. For instance, you know you should exercise, but a helpful nudge and some competition can take you from thinking about exercising to actually doing it.
With every experience you complete in MAP, you earn points and level up through competency development.
As you level up, you can earn incentives and unlock additional Achievements! You can also view the MAP Leaderboard to see how your fellow Firebirds are progressing.
Current incentives include:
- VIP early access to CAB’s BINGO
- Stickers for each Achievement
- Fidget Popper
The Aspire 4-Year Plan
What does a typical student plan look like through The Aspire Program?
- Develop your iAspire Plan.
- Consult with your registration specialist and academic advisor(s) to shape your academic plan in relation to your goals and interests.
- Participate in Aspire’s first-year programs, including The Aspire Conference, to meet faculty, peer mentors, and key alumni, and get to know your Aspire career specialist.
- Build or update your Handshake profile and resume in consultation with your Career Specialist and career ambassadors.
- Participate in at least one additional developmental opportunity related to The Aspire Program’s key goals. Students have access to curricular and co-curricular options to explore careers/areas of study and test curiosities.
- Try something new — take at least one course or participate in other new activities; then, reflect on your learning to determine whether to keep engaging in those experiences or try other new options.
- Consider taking the Career Planning and Preparation course or another great course that expands your perspective or helps you explore options for a major or minor.
- Participate in sophomore leadership and interest discernment activities.
- Develop a list of professional directions (as best you know them) and the relevant skills that may be required to pursue those options.
- Identify an emerging team of mentors and engage with your Aspire Career Specialist to determine the support you need to secure a meaningful experiential learning opportunity.
- Participate in at least one additional developmental opportunity related to The Aspire Program key goals to hone your career readiness, entrepreneurship, creativity, and leadership skills.
Continue to build your skills and understanding of the world of work through the following activities:
- Secure at least one additional experiential learning opportunity related to your desired career options. This should provide an extended immersion experience. Examples include an internship, research opportunity, study abroad, job, or other experience that extends an entire summer or semester.
- Participate in The Aspire Conference, the intergenerational professional development conference for personal development, and offer insights to underclassmen and peers. Development experiences for upperclassmen will focus on polishing and articulating skills, as well as transition skills.
- Contact at least three professionals in your fields of interest to receive direct feedback on your preparedness for life after Carthage.
- Consider taking the Life After Carthage course, usually offered in J-Term.
- Engage in mock interviews to prep for job/internship searches or graduate/professional school interviews.
Prepare for your graduation and life after Carthage with the following activities:
- Actively apply for employment, graduate/professional school, fellowships, or other opportunities.
- Continue to update your iAspire Plan and draft post-graduate professional development needs.
- Continue to follow up with your Aspire Career Specialist and mentor network after you graduate to update your plans.
- Celebrate success and build resilience as you apply what you’ve learned to the challenges and opportunities of transitioning into Life After Carthage. Maintain contact with your Career Specialist and others in your support network; alumni retain access to The Aspire Center services and resources after graduation for help when you need it.
- After you graduate, consider mentoring current students through The Aspire Network and continue to develop and maintain relationships with your support network.
All students will consult with their Aspire Career Specialists to develop and update their personalized iAspire plans throughout their time at Carthage. Transfer, international, and adult students are likely to have particular special considerations, such as accelerated timelines and/or outside commitments that may require creative approaches to facilitate desired plans.