Frequently Asked Questions
Academic Advising Questions
WHY DO I NEED AN ACADEMIC ADVISOR?
Your academic advisor is a one-stop resource and personal advocate for your success while here at NC State. He/she is knowledgeable about your specific degree program/major, and is here to help you navigate through the process of being a student. Your advisor is also knowledgeable about university policies and programs, and activities and clubs within the College of Education. He/she can help you identify specific resources both on and off campus that may be helpful to you.
Additionally, your advisor is a good point person for questions about preparing for graduate school or job interviews, and he/she can also serve as a reference as you apply for scholarships, extracurricular opportunities, and special academic programs, so visit with your advisor often and make sure he/she has the chance to get to know you! Your advisor is also the only person who can release your advising hold for registration, so you will certainly need your advisor as you prepare to register for classes each semester.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM MY ADVISOR?
You can expect your advisor will treat you with respect as an adult. In all of your conversations and sessions, your advisor will maintain the utmost confidentiality in accordance with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and university regulations. You can also expect your advisor will be your primary source of information regarding all program, department, and university requirements and policies, and he/she will monitor and accurately document your academic progress through your first two years here at NC State.
Additionally, your advisor will assist you in working with and developing professional relationships with your faculty and instructors, and will encourage and assist you in developing and defining clear, realistic educational and personal goals. Expect your advisor to be accessible for meetings during his/her office hours by appointment, telephone, and email, and expect that he/she will serve as a general resource for your academic and personal success during your time here as a student in the College of Education.
WHAT IS EXPECTED OF ME FROM MY ADVISOR?
Your advisor will expect you to take ownership of your education. Although he/she is here to help you, you and only you determine your success at NC State. You will also be expected to make regular contact with your advisor throughout the semester, especially if problems arise. The sooner your advisor knows about a particular situation, the more likely he/she is to be able to help you with it. Keep your advisor informed of your academic progress, and always be truthful – the more honest you are, the better we are able to assist you. Your advisor will also expect you to check your email on a regular basis, as this is the primary means through which he/she will communicate with you outside of advising sessions. Finally, your advisor will expect you to maintain your own notes and records of your academic progress, in addition to the records he/she keeps. Keep in mind that you are responsible for the actions (or inactions, as the case may be) that affect your educational goals and progress.
HOW DO I COME PREPARED FOR AN ADVISING APPOINTMENT?
In order to be prepared for your advising session, you should at the very least bring something to write on and to write with so that you can take notes or jot down any information that your advisor shares with you. It may be helpful to keep a folder with all advising-related materials that you can bring to each advising session, so that you and your advisor can collaboratively review what was discussed at previous sessions. Depending on the nature of your session, you will also want to bring with you any necessary forms and paperwork. For example, if it is an advising session in preparation for registration, it is helpful to bring with you a copy of your degree audit, as well as a tentative list of courses that you plan to enroll in as well as alternates.
WHEN/HOW OFTEN SHOULD I MEET WITH MY ADVISOR?
You will be required to meet with your advisor at least once per semester, during the pre-registration period (mid-semester) so that you can go over your intended schedule and your advisor can release your advising hold. If you’re in your first semester at NC State, you should also expect to meet with your advisor at the beginning of the semester. Prior to each of these meetings, your advisor will contact you via email with instructions for scheduling an appointment. While these are the minimum required times to meet with your advisor, we certainly hope that you will come see us much more often! We are here every day to assist you with schedule conflicts, course/instructor issues, questions about academic policies and procedures, and any other issue related to your success here at NC State. The more often you meet or communicate with your advisor, the more helpful your advisor can be to you.
HOW DO I FIND OUT WHO MY ADVISOR IS?
The easiest way to identify your advisor is to log into MyPack Portal and view your degree audit. Your advisor’s name will be listed in the top left part of your degree audit, underneath your name and student ID number. To access your degree audit, first go to MyPack Portal. Once logged in with your unity ID and password, click on the red “For Students” tab. Under the heading “Academics,” you will see the subheading “Degree Progress/Graduation.” Click on the “Degree Audit” link. Once you’ve identified your advisor, you can find his/her contact information using the NC State directory. If your advisor is located in the Student Success and Advising Center, you can also visit his/her advising page for contact information and valuable resources.
HOW DO I SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH MY ADVISOR?
It’s easy to schedule an appointment with your advisor. In fact, you are encouraged to meet with your advisor often since he/she is the most reliable resource of information, planning, and support for you. Your advisor can be contacted via email or telephone to set up a time convenient for the both of you. Drop-in visits are fine, but scheduling an appointment will ensure that your advisor isn’t in a meeting or with another student. If your advisor is located in the Student Success and Advising Center, you can visit his/her advising page for contact information.
Degree (Major) Requirements and Academic Policy Questions
HOW DO I USE THE DEGREE AUDIT?
The degree audit is a personalized tool that lists every requirement that is part of your major/degree program and the courses that you can take to meet those requirements. It also helps you measure your progress towards degree completion by indicating the semester during which you fulfill each requirement. Requirements you’ve completed are marked with green checkmarks, courses you’re currently enrolled in have yellow diamonds, and requirements you still need to complete have red Xs.
Your advisor may expect you to use your degree audit as a planning tool by utilizing the degree planner feature within MyPack Portal and planning out your prospective schedule for future semesters. He/she will talk to you about how to update your degree planner. Registration & Records offers online tutorials for using the degree audit and degree planner.
WHAT IS THE SEMESTER-BY-SEMESTER DISPLAY?
The semester-by-semester display (also known as the eight semester display) allows you to view an example sequence of courses you should take each semester and year for a particular major. A semester-by-semester display is available for every major in the College of Education. The semester-by-semester display is only one of several useful tools that you should use to plan your semester course schedule and your progress toward degree; you should use it in conjuction with your degree audit and degree planner, both available through MyPack Portal.
HOW DO I CHANGE MY MAJOR?
Changing your major is a process that MUST be initiated by talking with your advisor! Each department within the College of Education, as well as the various departments within colleges across NC State, has an individual and unique transfer process, and it is imperative to meet with your advisor first to make sure that you meet the requirements to transfer to the new major of your choice, as well as to receive pertinent information about the transfer process and the name of the appropriate contact individual within the new major. Adding or updating an “Intended Major” within your degree audit does NOT officially change your major; it is for use as a planning tool only.
Before meeting with your advisor to discuss a change in major, you should research your planned major. Good places to start are the major or department’s website (which you can find using the search feature on NC State’s homepage), the intracampus transfer requirements for your planned major, and the degree audit (available through MyPack Portal) and semester-by-semester plan for your planned major.
HOW DO I TRANSFER CREDITS FROM ANOTHER INSTITUTION?
Before registering for a course at another institution, always check NC State’s transfer course equivalencies website and speak with your academic advisor to ensure that the credits will transfer to NC State and determine how they will count toward your degree. After you complete the course, have an official transcript sent from the institution where you took the course to NC State’s Admissions Office. To receive credit at NC State, you must complete the class with a grade of “C” or better; the grade you receive will not be calculated into your NC State GPA.
AS A TEACHER EDUCATION STUDENT, CAN I HAVE A MINOR?
Since teacher education majors are professional degrees with relatively detailed requirements, it is difficult for students to complete a minor and graduate within four years. However, depending on your teacher education major, desire to extend study, or willingness to enroll for summer sessions, a minor could be a possibility. College of Education students are encouraged to consult with their advisor if interested in the possibility of declaring a minor.
If you are interested in adding a minor during your time at NC State, you’ll want to visit the minors website to find the minor that interests you and learn what its requirements are. Minors typically add 15 to 18 additional hours (5 to 6 additional classes) on top of your degree requirements. However, most minors allow up to two courses to count toward both your minor and your major, assuming that the minor courses fit into your major’s degree requirements.
WHAT IS THE GRADE EXCLUSION POLICY?
You can apply the grade exclusion to up to two courses. You must have earned a final grade of C- or below in each course excluded under the Grade Exclusion Policy. Courses taken for credit only (receiving a final grade of S or U) are not eligible for grade exclusion. When a course is excluded under this policy, it will still appear on your transcript with a notation that it was excluded from GPA calculation; it does not remove the course from your transcript. You should also be aware that while using the grade exclusion does raise your NC State cumulative GPA, many graduate schools and employers will recalculate your GPA to include to excluded course(s). Excluded courses cannot count toward your degree requirements or as free electives. You should consult with your academic advisor in making the decision to elect a course to exclude under this policy.
To request a grade exclusion, you will need to complete the Grade Exclusion Form and have your academic advisor sign off on it. There is no deadline for submitting the form, but all grade exclusions must be posted before you apply for graduation. Be sure to read the Grade Exclusion Policy carefully for full details.
Course Registration (Enrollment) Questions
WHEN CAN I REGISTER FOR CLASSES?
Registration and Records sets the general dates for student registration. The date and time you can register depends on the number of semester hours you have completed as well as your participation in any student programs such as SAY, Teaching Fellows, Scholars, Athletics, etc. To determine when you will be able to enroll, go to MyPack Portal and click on the red “For Students” tab at the stop, then choose “Enrollment” and “Enrollment Dates.”
HOW MANY CLASSES SHOULD I TAKE EACH SEMESTER?
The typical academic load for teacher education students is between 15-18 credit hours each semester. Depending on your major and class standing, this can range from 4 to 6 courses per semester. Staying on track with your degree audit and degree planner and discussing scheduling options with your advisor are the best ways to ensure that you are making adequate progress toward earning your degree. If your personal circumstances require you to take fewer than 15 hours in a semester, be sure to consult with your advisor regarding your plans for catching up on your coursework in order to stay on track for graduation; options may include summer courses at NC State (in-person or distance courses) or courses taken at another institution. Also, remember that you must take a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester to be considered a full-time student; dropping below 12 credit hours can have negative implications for your financial aid, scholarships, health insurance, eligibility for on-campus housing, and more.
HOW DO I MAKE CHANGES TO MY SCHEDULE (ADD OR DROP A CLASS)?
Any changes that you make to your schedule during the registration period should first be discussed with your advisor to ensure that the changes won’t have negative implications for your degree progress. After talking with your advisor, you can add or drop a course by logging into MyPack Portal and accessing the enrollment (registration) system (click on the red “For Students” tab at the top of the screen). Registration and Records’ website offers multiple tutorials on how to perform various actions in the enrollment system. Please be aware that many classes have prerequisites, or they may be restricted to certain majors or classifications. For questions regarding a specific course, please contact your advisor.
I WANT TO GET INTO A CLASS THAT IS CURRENTLY FULL. WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
Retrieve the class information using the Class Search function in MyPack Portal: class time, meeting place, and instructor’s name. If you have time with your current schedule, attend the class and ask the instructor if he/she can add you. You can also search for the instructor in the NC State directory and contact the instructor with your request to be added. You will need to do this before the deadline to add a course with instructor permission; ideally, you’ll do it in the first week of class. However, keep in mind that the final decision regarding whether or not to add you to the class rests with the instructor.
WHY DO I HAVE TO MEET WITH MY ADVISOR BEFORE I REGISTER FOR CLASSES?
A registration hold (“Term Asvisement Required”) is placed on each student’s account before the registration period each semester. You will not be able to enroll in classes for the upcoming semester until the hold is removed. In order to have your registration hold removed, you must schedule an appointment and meet with your advisor in person to discuss your academic progress, your degree planner, and your schedule plans for the upcoming semester. Remember that having your registration hold removed is just a product of the advising process, not the reason for it. By getting to know your advisor well and speaking with him/her often, you can make sure you are prepared to make well-informed decisions while at NC State.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS AT NC STATE FOR BECOMING A TEACHER?
The undergraduate degree in teacher education prepares students for a professional career in teaching. As such, there are several detailed steps that must be carefully completed by students in stepwise fashion. From the beginning of the process, when you are accepted into the teacher education major, up until the end of the process, when you are awarded your degree and obtain licensure, it is important that you stay informed of professional education requirements.
HOW DO I TRANSFER INTO THE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION?
If you are interested in transferring into the College of Education, you must first make sure that you meet the requirements for the major you are interested in as detailed in the Intracampus Transfer Policy. If you are ever in doubt concerning the entrance requirements for a particular program, make sure to contact the Student Success and Advising Center academic advisor for the major you’re interested in. All programs require an application, and applications are reviewed three times per year (February 15, June 1, and September 15).
WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES?
The Disability Services Office (DSO) serves students with cognitive/learning, physical, and psychological disabilities, as well as students with chronic, temporary, and emerging medical conditions. The DSO is is committed to positive action to secure equal opportunity for all faculty, staff, and students. If you know you need accommodations, or if you feel like your academic performance isn’t reflecting your abilities, you should contact the DSO to learn more about how they can help you. Also, if you feel comfortable, you may want to let your advisor know about your disability, as s/he may be able to suggest some additional resources to help you succeed.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED ON CAMPUS?
There are many ways to get involved on campus, both within the College of Education and in the larger NC State campus community! Here are some places to start:
- Passport to Success – An opportunity to design targeted outside-of-the-classroom experiences that enhance what you learn inside the classroom; you receive a notation on your transcript when you complete the program
- College of Education student organizations – There are a number of student organizations for College of Education students, some major-specific and some College-wide
- International Programs local immersion opportunities – NC State and the Raleigh/Triangle area both offer excellent opportunities to experience diverse cultures and global communities without leaving the area
- Student Organization Resource Center (SORC) – Search all registered student organizations at NC State University and find the one that’s right for you
WHAT DO I DO IF I AM FAILING A CLASS?
If you are failing in a class, first think about what has contributed to this and ways in which you can improve. There are many resources on campus that can assist you with things such as time management, stress, study skills, and even learning to balance many responsibilities that come with being a college student; you can find many of these listed in our Guide to Campus Resources. If you are having difficulty with the subject and material, seek assistance from the Undergraduate Tutorial Center; spaces fill up quickly, so do this early in the semester.
You should also speak with your academic advisor as soon as you realize you may be in trouble. Academic advisors are a great support and can work with you to develop some strategies for improving your academic performance as well as point you toward helpful resources on campus. However, the longer you wait to talk with your advisor, the more difficult it will be for him/her to help you.
Your instructor can also be a great resource. Make an appointment to discuss what you can do to improve your grade. Usually, your instructor can provide great insight on how to improve your skill and understanding of the subject. This also shows the instructor that you care about your grade and progress in the class. If you need help guidance in planning how to talk to your professor, check out this worksheet.