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Based on its experience with the number of program changes and drop-outs, ETH Zurich is introducing a new counselling and guidance program called the Academic and Career Advisory Program, which will start in the Department for Mechanical and Process Engineering. This program is meant to meet students' needs for information and guidance both before and during their studies by differentiating their needs into modules. The first module will help potential students select a course of study. The intention is to align their expectations with the reality of an academic program. Potential applicants to the various programs will be invited to attend workshops which will include both information and discussions offering advice on the course of study. The second module is intended to enable a successful completion of the study program. It will cover topics such as study content, exams and tests, motivation, mobility, financing, connections to industry and internship opportunities. The third module is devoted to the student's transition to professional life.
ETH Zurich will test the Academic and Career Advisory Program starting in the winter semester 2005/06. The program will initially be introduced in the Department for Mechanical and Process Engineering and next year in a second department as well. The pilot project will extend over a four year period and will be headed by Prof. Reza S. Abhari, delegate of the Rector. To optimise the program, it will be evaluated every year. The long-term goal is a counselling and guidance program for all ETH students. The Academic and Career Advisory Program is being primarily financed by a generous contribution from Dr Branco Weiss.
Only about 70% of the students who start at ETH Zurich successfully complete their studies. Federal surveys as well as various surveys at ETH Zurich have shown that students do not feel they are informed well enough before they begin their studies. Their ideas about studying do not necessarily correspond to the reality that they find at ETH. The surveys also indicated a great demand for more information and counselling, in particular, for career counselling near the end of their study program. For example, students are very interested in making their entrance into the work world more professional. They want to have the necessary practical work experience and be able to conduct their job search in a timely and goal-oriented manner.
The Academic and Career Advisory Program pilot project will endeavour to form close cooperative relationships with important partners. Secondary school students will have the opportunity to request an individual counselling session at ETH Zurich, in addition to the existing - and successful - information events. The program will complement the cantonal academic counselling program and extend its reach with detailed information specific to the student's choice of a main study area. The project organisers also want to build up the connections to industry and to future employers of ETH graduates.
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