During your college search process, you’re likely running into more questions than answers. You’re not just trying to figure out where you want to go and what you want to study, you’re trying to figure out who you are meant to be and how your life will have meaning. What if all those big questions could be rolled into one simple one: Which university will help you figure you out?
At Concordia University Wisconsin, our mission is to know you – to recognize your unique gifts, talents, knowledge, and passions – and to help you develop and align them with what God calls you to do. We refer to this as your vocation. Your vocation extends far beyond your career ambitions (although they are important to us), and includes your future roles as friend, neighbor, spouse, and parent. In and out of the classroom, we are working with you to be ready, and our work begins on day one.
In the Classroom
Your CUW classroom experience starts with the Concordia Core This is a dynamic education experience that defines us as Concordians by fostering university-wide discussions on important topics and unifying our community as informed, curious, and Christ-centered citizens. The Concordia Core embraces the following six themes:
- Society and Culture
- Human Creativity and Expression
- The Natural World
- Human Beings and Being Human
- Communication and Language
Beyond the Core, our classes are taught by full-time professors with a mastery of the subject, or by professionals who are demonstrated experts in their areas of study. Classes are never led by teaching assistants. Class sizes are small so professors will know you and know when you have command of a subject, and when you could use a little extra help.
Outside the Classroom
To set you up for student and life success, advisors from our Center for Academic Advising & Career Engagement (CAACE) will be with you every step on your journey from freshman year to vocation.
As an incoming student you will be assigned an advisor based on your expressed area of study. Advisors are not only experts in the fields of study, but they are also plugged into the Concordia community to help you navigate your unique academic path to success. On the academic side, your advisor will help you map out your schedule, manage your course loads, and support your academic career with the goal to graduate in four years. On the career side, that same advisor will also prepare you for a meaningful life beyond Concordia with coaching, mentoring, relationship building, and exploring.
All sides of your preparation will be covered, because CAACE bolsters a holistic approach to caring for our students.
According to Stacy Tolomeo, assistant director of industry relations within the Center for Academic Advising and Career Engagement, “We are all helpers and want to see our students succeed. We won’t tell students what to do, however, we guide them to the right path or suggest multiple paths for them to explore based on knowing them and recognizing the things that make them unique.”
That means that they will get to know you, your strengths, aptitudes, experiences, gifts, passions, and abilities, and then they will help you align them with God’s plan for you.
If you’re not quite sure what you want to study, you’re not alone. According to Tolomeo, “even those who think they know what they want will often change their minds.”
“We’ll get your feet wet, we’ll guide you to explore options, and, this is important, we won’t let you get behind academically during this process,” Tolomeo further explains.
Tolomeo and her team encourage freshmen to engage early and often with advisors. They provide the following check list for you to accomplish during your first semester:
- Take a comprehensive assessment and then talk with your advisors about your results.
- Get involved in as many activities as possible to have as many unique experiences as you can.
- Enjoy your journey. “This is an incredible time in your life. Take full advantage of all that is available to you.”
There are so many resources available to you to explore. Tolomeo encourages you to check out student clubs and organizations, nonprofits, and study abroad opportunities, to get the full spectrum of offerings. “Students often change their original plans when they become exposed to all that Concordia has to offer,” she says.
Sometimes things change despite a student’s carefully laid plans.
Meet Karla Hiscocks, DPT ’23. Hiscocks enrolled at Concordia in an accelerated Physical Therapy program. This particular program is highly challenging and Hiscocks fell just short of meeting the required GPA. Her advisor not only helped her navigate a different academic path to get to her same goal, but she also spoke on her behalf with professors and program directors, mapped out a different, aggressive course schedule, and supported her every step of the way.
“My advisor, Rachel Dietrich, was amazing,” says Hiscocks. “There was a time when I was emailing her every single day and she was always so helpful and patient.”
With Dietrich’s help, Hiscocks was able to graduate in three years and then apply to get into the PT graduate program and get back on pace with her accelerated peers.
That is just one of many examples of how CUW’s advising team is fully invested in each and every student. You can expect that level of care and concern throughout your Concordia journey, as well.
“When students come to me I always start by telling them that they picked a great school,” says Tolomeo. “Our team is servant-hearted and experience great joy in helping our students find answers to their big questions. And we do it within four years.”
— Lisa Liljegren is assistant vice president of strategic communications within the Office of Strategy and University Affairs.
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