The Exploratory Studies Program provides the context for students to explore, discern, and develop vocational identity and purpose. Many students apply to or enroll in a college or university with an underdeveloped sense of what it is they wish (or feel called) to do in their lives. Students are often forced into a major too early by simply focusing on their interests and desires, which, in many cases, are uninterrogated and underdeveloped. Many of those students who lack vocational identity or purpose are (often unintentionally and with all good intentions) pushed into majors that do not fit their vocational or intellectual goals because they are unable to articulate that vocational purpose during the admission process. These students, then, are attrition risks or require a great deal of university resources to explore and change to new majors. With the increase in first generation college students and the increased recruiting opportunities afforded to athletics programs by their NCAA membership, the Exploratory Studies Program would allow traditionally under-prepared students to better navigate the major selection process with guidance from faculty and staff.
This program would feature a freshmen/transfer seminar class structured around finding meaning and purpose. Students who enter the exploring program will be given an opportunity to explore different vocations via one day vocational experiences in different industries and career fields. Exploring students will be provided with academic advising in small groups which enables the advisor to engage the students in conversations specific to their vocational interests and help them to select a major and identify a career path. Additional features of the program include a retreat focused on finding purpose and vocation, a speaker series bringing in those who have traveled down different vocational pathways and can speak on topics of identity, purpose, passion and vocation.