Notice-Choose-Tell asks students to 'step back and think'

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“What’s my Union story?” That is the question that planners of a new app – Notice-Choose-Tell – want students to ask of themselves.

NCT is a web-based application designed to help students through a process of self-reflection to make more intentional, meaningful and informed choices about their Union education.

The app, which has been in the pilot phase for the past year, was launched last week to upperclass Union Scholars. It will open to other students on Nov. 7.

Brina Dillon ’15, a biology major from Freeport, Maine, was among the students who piloted the app, which she called an opportunity to “step back and think about the whole process instead of just the classes I’m required to take.”

What makes Union so special – its broad range of offerings across liberal arts, sciences and engineering – can also be daunting for the student trying to forge a path, Dillon said. “It can be overwhelming, but it’s nice to have this app to reflect on the decisions you make about academics,” she said.

Dillon, who also took a minor in psychology and a term in Australia, found herself in an anthropology class, something that might have happened earlier with the NCT app, she said.

Darcy Berger ’15, who also participated in the pilot, said, “Though I am a passionate sociology major, I discovered that I could have thrived in other areas such as anthropology, psychology, and political science if I was given the chance to start my undergraduate career over again.”

NCT uses a series of prompts to get students to take note of their strengths and weaknesses (“Notice”), and to consider options that are best suited to them (“Choose”). Lastly, students are asked to share their experience through a “Tell” that is forwarded to an adviser or other campus mentor. Students can also offer a favorite “Tell” to other students as inspiration.

The “Tell” is designed to help students develop the skill of articulating their self-realizations and the process behind the choices they have made. “We strongly believe that this skill is invaluable in helping students not just communicate with their advisers but will also help them later with applying for jobs and graduate school,” said Therese McCarty, vice president for academic affairs.

“We wanted a tool that would make students stop and think, not just do,” said Brian Cohen, director of advising. “Our ethos here at Union is that everything connects to : first year preceptorial, the major, common curriculum courses, terms abroad, and senior capstone experiences. Together they make up a student’s ‘Union story’. NCT is a means of getting students to explore those connections.”

The development of Notice-Choose-Tell was supported by a grant from the Teagle Foundation. Members of the NCT steering committee are Therese McCarty, Brian Cohen, Lorraine Cox, Michael Hagerman, Doug Klein, Suzie Benack, Megan Ferry, Steve Schmidt, Mark Wunderlich, Ellen Borkowski and Blair Raymond. To see the app, go to: