DegreePlus Information for Students

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DegreePlus is a unique extracurricular program offered only at WCU!  Students tend to think their skills for success are only attached to their academic experiences. However, research has shown that students can enhance their skills when they get involved in extracurricular experiences outside the classroom.

DegreePlus is designed to give you opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities that can provide the transferable skills you need to reach your goals for employment, graduate school, professional school, and other post-graduate plans. Even more, Degree Plus focuses on skills which can enhance your self-awareness and interpersonal relationships for a lifetime.

FAQ

HOW DOES DEGREEPLUS WORK?

DegreePlus is a 3-level voluntary experiential program which uses extracurricular activities to help you obtain one or more transferable skills. (A transferable skill is a skill that can be used in any career, no matter what you choose to do.)  What's cool about DegreePlus is you can go at your own pace and complete as many levels and skills as you want.

SKILLS   (For 2017-18 we're only focusing on Professionalism. In Fall 2018, you may choose any of the skills)

  • Leadership
  • Cultural Responsiveness
  • Teamwork
  • Professionalism

So, here's how it works. You choose a Skill and begin Level 1. 

LEVELS

  • Level 1 - Attend five DegreePlus tagged events related to the skill.

Want more?

  • Level 2 - Attend DegreePlus Day in the Spring Semester where you engage in a group discussion with a mentor who helps you reflect on what you've learned about your skill so far. After the meeting you write a reflection paper about your experience The paper will be evaluated as Pass/Fail. Don't worry, you'll get a chance to improve it if you don't pass right away. When you pass you are ready for Level 3.

Ready to go on?

  • Level 3 - You will work on a project to help you integrate what you have learned about the skill. At this level you may use something you already are doing for academic credit, such as an internship or research. Or you could use your service learning, student employment, club/student organization work, etc., to demonstrate the skill. You present this capstone project at DegreePlus Day using a poster presentation, video, PowerPoint, etc. Be creative!

Congratulations! You've completed Level 3! Ready to focus on another skill? You may begin another skill at any time. It's up to you!

What are the skill areas of focus for DegreePlus?

The four DegreePlus skill areas are Leadership, Cultural Responsiveness, Teamwork, and Professionalism. For the pilot year (2017-18) we are focusing on Professionalism only. Beginning in Fall 2018, the remaining skills will be available.

Is participation in DegreePlus required?

No, participation in DegreePlus is not required, but it is highly encouraged.  WCU is focusing energy into this initiative because it can be of great value to you, so we want you to take advantage of it.  If you start DegreePlus and don't complete the three levels, we know you still will have gained some valuable experience. 

Why is this worth my time?

OK. We know you already have a lot to do at WCU. But, consider this --

  • Getting involved in the DegreePlus program can make you feel good about yourself because you are learning skills that will help you now and in the future.
  • DegreePlus adds to the value of your degree. When you let future employers or graduate/professional schools know what you've learned from DegreePlus, this sets you apart and signals that you want to do well in your work or field. 

But wait, there's more!

  • You also get an "experiential transcript." This is like your academic transcript, except it will include the experiences you have done in DegreePlus, as well as other valuable experiences at WCU, such as internships, service, athletic, club, and Greek leadership, etc. This is an important document for you to have as a reference to show you and others all you have accomplished at WCU!

WCU hopes that you see the value of doing DegreePlus for your future. But we also know that it would motivate you to accomplish each level if there was a "reward" at the end. In addition to the experiential transcript, WCU is exploring other ways to incentivize your participation, including a competitive opportunity for students who complete Level 3.

My schedule is really full. Is this going to require more work?

WCU is aware that students have unique obligations in their lives. You should always balance your extracurricular involvement with your other priorities, especially academics. One of the great things about getting involved with DegreePlus is that you can start and stop at any time in the process, so you are in charge of the pace.

Regarding extra work, be sure to look at the list of the DegreePlus extracurricular activities for Level 1. Some of them might be sponsored by a department in your College or a student organization in which you already are involved. For Level 2, you commit to attend a DegreePlus Day event and then write a reflection paper. If you can't make the Day due to classes or work, you can schedule a makeup session with your DegreePlus mentor. DegreePlus is built to be flexible. When you reach Level 3, you have the option to "double dip" by creating a capstone project using an experience you already are doing for academic credit, research, an internship, etc. You would be getting twice the benefit for doing one project.

The most important factor in weighing the time commitment is that DegreePlus can help you stand out from the crowd as you reach for a job, graduate or professional school, a fellowship, etc. It can make the time you spend earning your degree even more valuable.

I’m not on campus that much. Can I still participate in DegreePlus?

Yes, you can still participate in DegreePlus. There will be many opportunities at different days and times throughout each academic year. Additionally, DegreePlus is self-paced, so you can determine which events best fit into your schedule. If you have questions about how you can make it work with your schedule, contact the Associate Director of DegreePlus at hmnewbold@wcu.edu or 828-227-7133.

Why do employers care about my extracurricular activities?

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the top attributes employers look for on a candidate's resume are leadership, ability to work in a team, communication skills (verbal and written), problem-solving skills, strong work ethic, initiative, and analytic skills. While some of these can be developed in the classroom, they can certainly be enhanced through involvement in extracurricular experiences. When you speak to employers, you want to be able to verbalizes the experiences you have had that make you a good candidate for the position in addition to your degree. Participating in DegreePlus can help you do just that!

How DO I sign up for DegreePlus and when may i start?

While DegreePlus is available at any point throughout your time at WCU, we encourage you to get involved during your first year. By starting early, you have the time to develop your skill set and learn how to use it for your personal and professional development.

DegreePlus uses OrgSync to post events and manage experiential transcripts.
If you already have an OrgSync account, you just need to sign in and join DegreePlus. If you don't have an OrgSync account, please follow the steps below.

  1. Go to OrgSync
  2. Click Sign In with Campus ID
  3. Enter in WCU credentials (same as email login and password)
  4. Complete all fields to set up an OrgSync account
  5. Type DegreePlus in the Search Bar
  6. Click Join Now on the right side of the DegreePlus page

Hurray! You are now registered for DegreePlus! Whenever you want to return to DegreePlus, just log back into OrgSync and you will land on your OrgSync main page. You can find DegreePlus under My Memberships in the upper right hand side next to your name.

Please note:  WCU will provide a pilot program for DegreePlus in Fall 2017, with larger scale implementation beginning in 2018. For students who are not in the pilot, but want to get started during 2017-18, please contact the Associate Director of DegreePlus at hmnewbold@wcu.edu or 828-227-7133.

How do I find out Which events are DegreePlus?

Events or activities must go through an approval process to count toward DegreePlus.  Those events or activities will have a DegreePlus tag so you can see which skill is addressed.

Events on campus are advertised through OrgSync and the DegreePlus website. Sign in to OrgSync, then join DegreePlus. If you don't have an OrgSync account, you can find instructions on how to create an account under the section above titled How Do I Sign Up for DegreePlus and When May I Start?   

Is there any additional cost to participate?

There is no cost to participate in DegreePlus, just your dedication. However, some events that are tagged as DegreePlus opportunities may have an associated charge (e.g. Etiquette Dinner).

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