FRESHMAN REGISTRATION AND FAMILY ORIENTATION
So, how can I prepare?
Give some thought to this................ you are going off to college for the first time. You are not only adjusting to college level academics, but you are away from home for the first time, being totally responsible for yourself (when you study, when you get up, how you manage your time). We would all like you to earn your undergraduate degree in four years but not if it might be at the expense of giving up your dreams for the future. A sound first-semester schedule will allow you to explore your intellectual interests and gain a sense of yourself as a potential scholar, but there is no one formula that works for everyone. Your faculty advisor will help you make these choices, but you should come to the registration session well prepared with interests, ideas, questions, and a tentative list of courses you would like to take.
If you are a new first-year student, we urge you not to take on too much your first semester. Most students find that college work requires more time and effort than high school courses. If you had good study habits in high school and understood how to manage your time effectively, you have a leg up on many first year college students. If your skills in these areas are debatable, give yourself a semester or two to acclimate to this new, demanding environment. If you are worried you are not as well prepared as you should be, start with 14-16 credit hours your first semester. This will give you the freedom to drop or withdraw from a course if you find your schedule too rigorous and still complete the minimum 12 credits. Twelve credits are required to be considered a full-time student at the undergraduate level. A first year student may take up to 18 credits per semester but the maximum load wouldn’t be recommended for most first semester students. It would be a good idea to keep your class load at average until you can gauge your readiness for the intensity of college level course work.
To understand credit-to-work-load-expectations a little better, consider this: Enrolling in a three credit course means you will be in class for approximately three hours per week. But remember, as a general rule, in order to be successful you’ll need two hours of study time each week for every credit hour you take. In other words, that three-credit-hour class is actually going to take up to nine total hours of your time each week.
As your advisor works with you in the afternoon, she/he may assume you are completely sure of your major and that you want to complete the degree in four years. This is YOUR schedule they’re helping you build. Make your feelings known. Ask questions! There are opportunities to catch up in another semester or to take a summer course. YOU make the decision about how much you can handle. One poor semester academically could affect the opportunities you have in the future.