There are more than 21,000 undergraduate students at IUPUI, each with a unique background and experience. Hearing other students’ stories and their strategies for success can help in navigating and making the most of your college career. Highlighted below are a few of the many successful IUPUI students.
Student Success Stories
This month we will be celebrating a former exploratory major and University College student, Birdie Ratliff!
Birdie Ratliff is a junior who started at IUPUI as an exploratory major. She wanted to attend IUPUI because it wasn't too far from family, but also not too close. Since she was unsure what she wanted to major in, the advisors at orientation recommended exploratory. This was right for her because she was able to explore different fields and majors to determine which major best suited her.
Birdie took many different courses during her freshman and sophomore years before changing her major. She discovered what courses and fields she liked or disliked. After frequent meetings with the University College exploratory advisors, she discovered sustainable management and policy. She is very eco-friendly and cares about recycling and saving the planet so she felt like this could be the perfect major. Some careers she’s considering include working for the United States National Parks Service or for city parks. She even has an internship with Keeping Indianapolis Beautiful where she will help with community gardens and tree plantings.
Birdie’s main strategies for success are time management and prioritization. Planning out coursework and study time helps with accomplishing important assignments and tasks on time. She also attends study groups regularly for her courses. Hearing other people’s perspectives and learning processes can help with better understanding of content.
Birdie suggests meeting with the University College exploratory advisors frequently because they are very helpful with the exploration of majors and even with discovering majors you might not know exist. A common misconception of starting as an exploratory major is that you won’t finish on time; however, Birdie didn’t change her major to sustainable management and policy until the end of her sophomore year and has the opportunity to graduate a semester early. Don’t be scared to explore majors if you’re not sure what you want to do yet. Birdie even said, “I don’t think I would have found my major if I didn’t do exploratory.”
In celebration of National Transfer Appreciation Week, October 21–25, we are celebrating transfer student and former University College student, Chica Ketterman!
Chica Ketterman is a sophomore who transferred to IUPUI in 2018 from Los Angeles Valley College, which is located in the San Fernando Valley, California. She also attended an art school in California before discovering her passion for science and engineering. Chica moved to Shelbyville, Indiana, to work in the engineering field. Previously living in Indiana and having her mom living here helped make the transition less difficult. She came to IUPUI to earn a degree in mechanical engineering technology so she can continue her engineering career.
When Chica attended Los Angeles Valley College, she was majoring in physics. However, after taking some courses and exploring career options, she felt that physics was too broad of a major and couldn’t see herself finding a career that she would be passionate about. When she moved to Indiana, she starting working in the engineering field and was able to visualize herself continuing this career. She came to IUPUI wanting to graduate with a mechanical engineering technology degree. Her long-term goal is to get out of Indiana and work from home doing freelance engineering.
The biggest challenge Chica faced was working full time while taking classes full time. She admits that she is still working on her academic strategies, but that prioritization has been the most helpful. Chica's University College academic advisor, Rachael Carmichael, helped Chica work on her prioritization and time management skills. She also believes that having a good support system, like her mom and friends, is very important.
A lot of the advice students hear is to get involved, but this can very difficult for those who work full time. Chica’s advice for new IUPUI transfer students is “don’t be afraid to ask questions and network by making friends with motivated students and teachers.”