"Good advising may be the single most underestimated characteristic of a successful college experience." – R.J.Light

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Why do I need an Academic Advisor?
How do I get a tutor?
Is it important to get to know professors? What are office hours for?
Can I take a semester off from school and return?
How many units do I need to be a FR, SO, JR, SR?
What jobs, internships, and opportunities are available for this major?

Registering

How do I find out what classes are available?
What does “R” stand for in the class schedule?
Where do I get a catalog?
When do I register for classes?
How do I sign up for classes?
Will I be dropped from a class if I stop going?
Why can I not sign up for classes?

Major

Do I have to have a major?
I can’t decide what to major in.
How do I declare a major?
Can I change my major?

New Student

How do I choose my classes?
How many courses should I take my first semester?
How do I get a “portal account”?
How do my AP test scores count?
What happens if I don’t take the ELM or EPT?
I have taken the ELM and the EPT - now what?

Transfer Student

How do I know what requirements I have already satisfied?
What is the Upper Division General Education Pathway?

Graduation Requirements

What requirements do I need to fulfill in order to graduate?
How many units does it take to graduate?
What is the Cultural Diversity requirement?
How do I calculate my GPA?
What is a Degree Progress Report?
What GPA do I have to maintain?
How do I apply for graduation?

General Education

Why am I taking General Education classes?
What are the GE requirements?
What is the General Education Pathway Program?
Can I get D grades in GE courses?

Dropping/Withdrawing From Courses

How do I drop classes?
What is a serious and compelling reason to drop a course?
What happens when I withdraw from all my courses?
What is the difference between dropping and withdrawing?

Incomplete and Repeating Courses

What is the policy on repeating courses?
What does an “I” grade mean on my transcript?
What does an “IC” grade mean on my transcript?
How long do I have to complete an Incomplete?

Probation & Disqualification

What is Academic Probation?
What is Academic Disqualification?
What do I do if I am disqualified?
How do I get reinstated?

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General Questions

Why do I need an Academic Advisor?

Advisors guide you in formulating your educational plans, and help you to translate your goals, interests, and career aspirations into an effective education. Your advisor will help you understand the academic requirements that give structure to your study. If you are an undeclared student meet with an advisor regularly to plan each semester's academic program and to explore how your interests can lead to the choice of a major and even a career.

How do I get a tutor?

Tutoring and study skills workshops are offered by the Student Learning Center. Their office is located in SSC 340.

Is it important to get to know professors? What are office hours for?

It is always useful to get to know your professors. Professors keep office hours, and the times and locations will be on your syllabus, usually distributed on the first day of class. Office hours are a good time to discuss ideas generated in class, to clarify assignments, and to share common enthusiasms with professors. Eventually, you may well be asking professors for letters of recommendation, and strong, specific letters require that your professor know you as well as your work.

Can I take a semester off from school and return?

Yes, you can take up to two semesters off with a Planned Educational Leave (PEL). The semester you return you simply register for classes along with current students. If you leave for longer than two semesters or did not file a PEL then you need to reapply to the university through the Admissions Office (SSC 130). If you are receiving financial aid, be sure to discuss the implications with a financial aid counselor (SSC 250).

How many units do I need to be a FR, SO, JR, SR?

Freshman status requires 0-29 units
Sophomore status requires 30-59 units
Junior status requires 60-89 units
Senior status requires 90 or more units

What jobs, internships, and opportunities are available for this major?

The Career Center (SSC 270) can help by providing information on numerous jobs available for any given major. You are also encouraged to get experience prior to graduation through internships and volunteering.

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Registering

How do I find out what classes are available?

Classes can be found in the class schedule which can be purchased at the bookstore, viewed on-line, and through your portal account for real-time viewing of availability.

What does “R” stand for in the class schedule?

“R” represents Thursday in the class schedule

Where do I get a catalog?

The University catalog is the essential tool for your college career and can be viewed on-line.

When do I register for classes?

Find your registration period by viewing the registration timetable or check your student center within your portal for your enrollment date.

How do I sign up for classes?

Initialize your portal account (if you have not done so), and then follow the directions on the Step-by-Step Guide to Registration website.

Will I be dropped from a class if I stop going?

It is always the student’s responsibility to drop a class. If a student stops going to a course the instructor will not drop them from the course. The outcome will most likely be a Withdraw Unauthorized “WU” which affects the GPA the same as an “F”.

Why can I not sign up for classes?

There are several possible reasons for not being able to sign up for classes. First, if it is not during the Add/Drop Period, double check if it is your scheduled registration period. Second, check on the Portal under Student Information to see if there are any holds on your account. Third, has the tuition deadline passed and you haven’t paid your fees? These are all possible reasons for not being able to sign up for classes. For further information come in or call Academic Advising.

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Major

Do I have to have a major?

Yes. In order to graduate with an undergraduate degree, you must choose and complete a major.

I can’t decide what to major in.

A list of majors is available in the University catalog. Career Planning and Placement offers interest inventories to see what majors correspond with your interests, and Academic Advising can help with your choices.

How do I declare a major?

To declare your major you need to print out the Undergraduate Plan Change form, and then get the major advisor and department chair signatures. The form is turned into the Office of the Registrar located in Student Services Center 110.

Can I change my major?

To change your major you need to print out the Undergraduate Plan Change form, and then get the major advisor and department chair signatures for the new major. The form is turned into the Records Office located in the Student Services Center 220. However, if you have already applied to graduate, please contact Evaluations at 898-5957 before you turn this form in.

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New Student

How do I choose my classes?

Summer Orientation is the optimal way to get advising and help with choosing classes from faculty and peer advisors. If you are not able to attend the Summer Orientation or are entering the University during the spring semester, then Academic Advising and advisors within your major can help design your schedule.

How many courses should I take my first semester?

Four academic courses (a total of approximately 12-14 units) are recommended for the first semester. However, note that in order to graduate in four years a student does need to average 15 units or more a semester.

How do I get a “portal account”?

You initialize your account by going to the Portal Login page and clicking on new student account.

How do my AP test scores count?

CSU, Chico grants credit toward its undergraduate degrees for successful completion of examinations of the Advanced Placement Program of the College Board. Students who present scores of 3, 4, or 5 will be granted up to 8 semester units (12 quarter units) of college credit. The number of units and how they meet specific academic content requirements are specified in the University catalog.

What happens if I don’t take the ELM or EPT?

As an incoming freshman you have to take the ELM and the EPT unless you are exempt by SAT scores.

I have taken the ELM and the EPT - now what?

If you scored high enough you can go directly into the General Education level of English or Math. To see what class you place into refer to the Mathematics and Writing requirements in the catalog.

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Transfer Student

How do I know what requirements I have already satisfied?

By the sixth week of the first semester of attendance all transfer coursework will be viewable in the Degree Progress Report within the Student Center of the Portal. To find out how transfer credit may meet major requirements, students need to talk with a major advisor.

What is the Upper Division General Education Pathway?

The Upper Division General Education Pathways are comprised of three upper-division courses (one natural science, one arts/humanities, and one social science course) that offer an integrated learning experience across the University's academic disciplines.

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Graduation Requirements

What requirements do I need to fulfill in order to graduate?

The Requirements for the Bachelor's Degree are detailed in the University catalog. To see how your coursework has met the requirements you can look at your Degree Progress Report within the Student Center of the Portal.

How many units does it take to graduate?

The number of units needed to graduate depends on the type of bachelors’ degree that you want to earn:

Bachelor of Arts Degree 120-124 units
Bachelor of Science Degree 120-128 units
Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree 132 units

What is the Cultural Diversity requirement?

You must complete a minimum of two courses that focus primarily on cultural diversity. At least one course must be in United States Diversity (USD) Studies and at least one in Global Cultures (GC). A complete listing of courses that meet the Diversity Requirement can be found in the University catalog.

How do I calculate my GPA?

To calculate your Grade Point Average (GPA) you divide your Grade Points Earned by Units Attempted. There is also a GPA calculator to see how your current classes could affect your GPA

What is a Degree Progress Report?

Your Degree Progress Report shows how courses you have taken apply toward general University requirements, including total units for graduation, upper-division units, residence units, graded units, cultural diversity requirements, general education and major coursework requirements. The Degree Progress Report can be viewed within the Student Center in the Portal.

What GPA do I have to maintain?

In order to avoid academic probation and/or disqualification, you must attain: at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA), which includes both transfer and CSU, Chico work; at least a 2.0 in courses required for the major, and at least a 2.0 in all work taken at CSU, Chico. Some majors may have additional GPA requirements, they are described in each major program description.

How do I apply for graduation?

You will need to complete a graduation application. All graduation paperwork including application, clearance forms and fees are due approximately one year before graduation!

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General Education

Why am I taking General Education classes?

While the major course of study provides in depth study of a discipline and prepares students to make a living, General Education creates a common intellectual experience that prepares students for a rich and satisfying life. General Education helps students discover the connections among various fields of knowledge and fosters an appreciation of the natural world and the many diverse expressions of human imagination and ingenuity, today and in the past.

What are the GE requirements?

The general education requirements are detailed in the General Education Planning Sheet. To receive additional help with understanding general education, picking courses that can explore possible majors, and double counting courses in GE and your major go to the Academic Advising Office.

What is the General Education Pathway Program?

The General Education Pathway Program offers students an integrated learning experience across the University's academic disciplines and the opportunity to earn an interdisciplinary minor in one of 10 subjects.

Can I get D grades in GE courses?

A D grade is considered passing with the exception of the following areas within GE Foundations that must be passed with a C- or better:

Area A1 – Oral Communication
Area A2 – Written Communication
Area A3 – Critical Thinking
Area A4 – Mathematics

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Dropping/Withdrawing From Courses

How do I drop classes?

Check your Student Center to ensure that all requested changes are reflected accurately. Drop individual classes in the Student Center via the Portal. After Add/Drop Period, a Class Drop Request is required to drop a class.

What is a serious and compelling reason to drop a course?

The following situations are typical of those for which “serious and compelling” is appropriate justification for approving withdrawals, dropping, and changes of grade option after the fourth week of classes:

  • An extended absence due to a verifiable accident, illness, or personal problem serious enough to cause withdrawal from the university; for example, a one- to two-week absence with a doctor’s written excuse.
  • An extended absence due to a death in the immediate family. This applies to absences exceeding a week due to family affairs that must be attended to by the student.
  • A necessary change in employment status which interferes with the student’s ability to attend class. This change in employment status must be verified in writing by the student’s employer.
  • Other unusual or very special cases, considered on their own merit.

The following situations would not fall under the intent of “serious and compelling”:

  • Grade anticipated in class is not sufficiently high, or student is doing failing work.
  • Failure to attend class, complete assignments, or take a test.
  • Dissatisfaction with course material, instructional method, or instructor.
  • Class is harder than expected.
  • Pressure of other classes, participation in social activities, or simple lack of motivation.
  • A change of major.

What happens when I withdraw from all my courses?

Students who find it necessary to withdraw from CSU, Chico beginning with the first day of classes in a term are required to follow the official withdrawal procedures. Failure to follow formal withdrawal procedures may result in the assignment of failing grades in all courses and the need to apply for readmission before being permitted to enroll in another academic term. Information on withdrawal procedures is available from the Office of the Registrar, SSC 110. You may also want to apply for a Planned Educational Leave at the same time.

During the final three weeks of the semester, you are normally not eligible to withdraw and receive W grades, except in the case of “serious illness or accident” when assignment of an Incomplete is not practical. Under no circumstances will you be allowed to withdraw if you have taken final examinations.

What is the difference between dropping and withdrawing?

Dropping refers to a single course whereas withdrawing refers to all courses one is enrolled in.

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Incomplete and Repeating Courses

What is the policy on repeating courses?

For the most current policies on repeating courses see the Repeating Courses section of our University catalog.

What does an “I” grade mean on my transcript?

An “I” signifies that a portion of required coursework has not been completed and evaluated within the prescribed time. Incompletes (I) will be assigned only in cases where instructors conclude that a clearly identifiable pattern of course requirements cannot be met for unforeseen reasons.

An incomplete must be made up within one calendar year from the end of the term for which it was assigned whether or not you maintain continuous enrollment. Failure to complete the assigned work will result in a grade change from “I” to “IC” or “NC”, depending on the grading method for the course.

It is your responsibility to bring pertinent information to the instructor and to reach agreement on the means by which you will satisfy remaining course requirements. The conditions for removal of the incomplete shall be put in writing by the instructor and given to you with a copy placed on file in the department office. A final grade is assigned when the work agreed upon has been completed and evaluated.

You are NOT to re-enroll in a course in which you have received an incomplete, “I”, grade. If you do, the “I” reverts to an “IC” or “NC”, depending on the grading method for the course

What does an “IC” grade mean on my transcript?

The “IC” symbol may be used when a student who received an authorized incomplete (I) has not completed the required course work within the allowed time limit. The “IC” replaces the “I” and is counted as a failing grade for grade point average computation (it is the equivalent to an “F”). You have one year (two semesters) to complete all work for a course in which you received an “I” grade.

How long do I have to complete an Incomplete?

You have up to one year after you were assigned the incomplete grade until it turns into an “IC”.

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Probation & Disqualification

What is Academic Probation?

You are placed on academic probation any time either your cumulative or CSU, Chico grade point average falls below 2.0. The Academic Senate has recommended that you limit your course load to no more than 14 semester units until you are removed from probation. If you are on academic probation, you are required to meet with your academic adviser no later than the end of the second week of classes each semester until you attain clear standing. You are also strongly encouraged to meet with a staff member in the Office of Advising and Orientation. You will be removed from academic probation when both your cumulative grade point average in all college work attempted and your CSU, Chico grade point averages are 2.0 or higher. To see what grades it will take to attain clear standing, use the GPA Calculator.

What is Academic Disqualification?

You become subject to academic disqualification while you are on academic probation. Disqualification is a consequence of failing to earn enough grade points based on what your class level will be at the end of the semester and the number of units you have attempted. If disqualified, you will not be allowed to continue in the university unless you are reinstated.

If your Chico or cumulative grade point average is less than 2.0, you should check whether your grade point deficit makes you subject to disqualification as follows: First, determine the number of grade points you would have if you had a 2.0 grade point average by multiplying the number of units you have attempted by two. Next, subtract from this number the number of grade points you have actually earned. The result is your grade point deficiency. Use the GPA Calculator to view your grade point deficiency.

To determine if you will be disqualified, check the scale below. If you entered the semester on probation and your grade point deficit is equal to, or greater than the deficit listed for your class level, then you are subject to disqualification.

Grade Point Deficiency below 2.0 GPA by Class Level:

Freshman-Sophmores (0-59+ Units) - 15 or More
Juniors (60-89 Units) - 9 or More
Seniors (90 and above Units) - 6 or more

Most disqualification actions are taken at the end of the spring semester. Notification to students affected is made as soon after the end of the semester as possible. Disqualified students may take self-support courses through Continuing Education but will not be allowed to enroll in courses taught under the Open University program except with special permission.

You may also become subject to academic disqualification while not on academic probation if your cumulative grade point average falls below 1.0, and the cumulative grade point average is so low that in view of the student's overall educational record, it seems unlikely that the deficiency will be removed within a reasonable period.

What do I do if I am disqualified?

When disqualified you should immediately consult with an Advisor at Academic Advising to go over your options. Some of these options include taking courses through a Community College to help raise your cumulative GPA and show academic progress. You are still able to take CSU Chico courses through Open University just not as a continuing student.

How do I get reinstated?

You may seek academic reinstatement after one year (two semesters) has elapsed since disqualification. The Petition for Reinstatement is your first step in the appeal process for reinstatement to the University. The petition instructions include strategies you should consider, as well as suggestions for the content of your letter of intent. In addition to petitioning for reinstatement you will also need to re-apply to the University with a standard. For application information contact the Office of Admissions.

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