What’s Your Plan? SAM & Your 4-Year Plan The Hidden Curriculum, Episode 9 | Class of 2024

What's your Plan?

  1. Student-Advisor Meeting (SAM): Annual, required meeting with your Academic Advisor (typically in the Spring semester)
  2. 4-Year Plan: A 'living' document that helps you organize and plan your remaining years at Rensselaer so you are able to take full advantage of each semester, graduate on time, and not miss any requirements.

How are they connected?

As a second semester first-year student, you are required to submit a thoughtful draft of your 4-Year Plan during your SAM to your SoE Hub Advisor. This is all part of your preparation and transition to work with your faculty advisor in your sophomore year.

Our consistent goal is to support you in becoming an independent and confident student who is aware of their academic responsibilities and requirements. This is another step you don't want to miss in building awareness of all you can take advantage of at Rensselaer!

Part One:

Student-Advisor Meeting

What are the Requirements of SAM?

Each advisor has a different expectation of what they want you to accomplish for your SAM Meeting. This can be based on their experience with your major, or based on previous (and unique) conversations that you have had together. Keep this in mind as you are preparing for your SAM and be certain that you read all emails from your Academic Advisor as you get closer to registration.

What will all Academic Advisors expect of you:

  1. A well-developed 4-Year Curriculum Plan
  2. A list of courses that you plan to take in the next semester

It's that simple!

How to Prepare for Your First SAM?

As mentioned, all Advisor's have different expectations for you to resolve your SAM requirement. In the SoE Hub, your advisor will reach out to you with the options, but each of us will want to meet with you "in-person" - either in a group session or a one-on-one meeting.

Check your email from your SoE Hub Advisor to see what options will be available to you this spring!

It is important to understand that this first SAM is where we help you prepare for all future SAM meetings with your faculty advisor. With your SoE Hub Advisor, you will want to accomplish the following:

  1. Select or schedule your SAM Meeting EARLY (check your email for more)
  2. Develop a draft of your 4-Year Plan (focus on your first 3 semesters)
  3. Create a list of courses that you should take in the Fall 2021 semester
  4. Prepare questions: future semesters, research, co-op, Arch, Study Abroad, working with your faculty advisor, etc.

And, that's it!

Don't worry! You do not have to create your 4-Year Plan alone. Later in this episode, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide to creating your 4-Year Plan using a template that we have created and updated for you - all you have to do is personalize it!

Looking for a little more advice? Try your best to read and understand all of your major's curriculum requirements! You will need to do this once you transition to your Faculty Advisor, as they will expect you to have full ownership of your 4-Year Plan. Your SoE Hub Advisor will provide feedback during your SAM to help build on your understanding.

What happens if you do not meet your SAM Requirement?

One, you will not be able to register for your Fall 2021 Classes!

Until you connect with your Academic Advisor, and they approve of your curriculum planning, you will have a Registration Hold. This is called a SAM Hold. Your Academic Advisor is the only member of campus who can/should remove your SAM Hold.

Why? As stated in the video, the objective of the SAM is to ensure that each student has time every Academic Year with their Academic Advisor to review your curriculum requirements. You have a personal relationship with your assigned advisor. This allows them to best advise you and provide feedback on the courses that you need to take, and when you should take them. Your advisor is also equipped to cover the unique requirements of your specific major.

In the SoE Hub, we take this very seriously.

Two, beyond a SAM Hold preventing you from registering for Fall courses, you are also risking your ability to graduate on time.

Our goal is for every first-year student to transition from The SoE Hub with a functional 4-Year Plan and a clear understanding of their graduation requirements. We put the right Major Template for your Cohort in your hands, and support you in the development of a 4-Year Plan.

Thanks to the required SAM Meeting, SoE Hub Advisors have been able to save students from issues such as...

  • Stopping students from following another cohort's requirements (never, EVER Google your Major Template - seriously!)
  • Caught missing requirements from developed 4-Year Plans
  • Incorrect plans to fulfil HASS requirements

To summarize, take full advantage of your SAM meeting to avoid silly mistakes and delay your graduation.

We are here to help put you on the right track. You need to take ownership, understand the responsibility, and be organized to make it work. This is the beginning of a partnership between you and your advisors. Your first SAM is the perfect place to start!

When can you Schedule your SAM?

Now! Today!


If you know that you will want a one-on-one appointment to meet the requirements of your SAM, you can schedule your appointment today. Choose a day/time in March, or late February and add that appointment to your personal calendar to stay organized.

Remember, it will be very hard to schedule, or reschedule the closer we get to Spring registration! You may remember how busy your SoE Hub Advisor was last Fall...

Please note! Some SoE Hub Advisors will offer alternatives to a one-on-one meeting for this spring's SAM. If you are interested in a group SAM meeting (a great way to meet more students in your major), pay attention to your email! They will send you the details shortly.

NOTE: By scheduling your SAM appointment today, you are giving yourself a several week deadline to work on your SAM requirements. This will allow you to develop a thoughtful and informed 4-Year Plan, rather than rushing the night before. It's in your best interest to take your time with this! Set goals, realize all the possibilities, and know that your SoE Hub Advisor will have your back! Give yourself time every week to work on it (as needed).

Now - how do you create your 4-Year Plan...?

Part Two:

Your 4-Year Plan

Why make a 4-year plan?

Your 4-year plan is an effective tool in planning your path to graduation. It allows you to see what you have completed, what courses you still need to take, and various course options for different elective requirements in your major. By getting the basics laid out early on, you set yourself up to use your future faculty advisor meetings for more detailed discussions!

How do I get started?

The SoE Hub website has all of the information you need to get started! First, download the Class of 2024 spreadsheet that has all of the major templates and several dual templates for your cohort. From there, the website and the video below give you all the tips and tricks you need to build a successful first draft!

And that's it!

Please complete the short quiz below to demonstrate that you've completed Episode 9.

The School of Engineering First-Year Advising Hub

3306 Ansell Lounge, Jonsson Engineering Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute