Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FAQs & MYTHS
- I don’t have any questions, so do I need to go to my instructor’s office hours?
- I’m having trouble in my class, what do I do?
- Why haven’t I gotten credit for my AP/SAT/IB test scores?
- Why do I have to take ENGL 105 when my friend tested out of the English requirement when he/she attended?
- What is MATH 129 PL?
- If I receive a poor grade in a class, can I retake the course?
- If I don’t begin taking courses for my major in my first semester, I will not be able to graduate in four years.
- As a first-year student, I don’t need to worry about understanding the curriculum right now. I can wait until later to learn more about it.
- My chosen major has to relate directly to what I want to do later in life.
- My friend (or family member) is/was a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, so they can explain the curriculum and the courses I need to take.
- I don’t have any AP, IB, or SAT credit, so I might not be able to graduate “on time.”
- I should only take courses that fulfill General Education requirements and not register for any electives.
- If I have a lot of AP/IB credit, it is OK for me to take higher-level courses.
- I was a good student in high school, so my established study habits will work fine at UNC-Chapel Hill.
I don’t have any questions, so do I need to go to my instructor’s office hours?
It is a good habit to go to office hours of each of your instructors. Your instructor can help you formulate ideas for a paper or think about important concepts to review for a test. Not only can you ask questions about the class, but you may learn things not shared in class. “Don’t be just a PID.” Make sure your instructors know who you are.
I’m having trouble in my class, what do I do?
Your instructor should always be your first source when you are experiencing any academic difficulty. Go to his/her office hours for assistance. If after speaking with your instructor you still need academic assistance, speak with your academic advisor. It is not unusual to experience some difficulties in your first semester. It takes time to adjust to the expectations and rigor of college-level courses. Take advantage of the many free resources on campus: the Writing Center, Learning Center, Peer Tutoring, etc. They can help with test taking skills, time management and more. Check out the list of student resources on the Undergraduate Retention website.
Why haven’t I gotten credit for my AP/SAT/IB test scores?
By-examination (BE) credit for test scores will be posted for new students during the first week of September. The credit is listed under the “Transfer Credit” tab in your ConnectCarolina Student Center. If you do not see them there by mid-September, then go back to the Student Center tab; scroll down and click on “View my test scores.” Verify that your scores are posted. If they are not posted, contact the Office of Admissions in Jackson Hall to verify that they received your scores. You may have to resend them. Admissions will accept official copies of the scores sent to you.
Why do I have to take ENGL 105 when my friend tested out of the English requirement when he/she attended?
In the Fall of 2012, the University instituted a new policy for all new students to take one semester of ENGL 105: English Composition and Rhetoric. Students cannot be exempted out of it by any test scores. Transfer students may fulfill this requirement with a course equivalent to ENGL 105 transferred from another institution. Students who entered UNC-CH before Fall 2012 are subject to different rules for this requirement.
What is MATH 129 PL?
MATH 129 PL is awarded based on certain scores on standardized tests such as the ACT, SAT Subject Test in Math, and the AP Calculus examination. (See the 2014-2015 Academic Advising Guide.) MATH 129 PL does not award academic credit and cannot be used to fulfill any curricular requirement, including the Quantitative Reasoning and the Quantitative Intensive General Education requirements. Instead, MATH 129 PL designates that the student has met the prerequisite for MATH 231 (Calculus of Functions of One Variable I). Students with MATH 129 PL may enroll in MATH 231.
Note: Students who entered UNC-CH in the fall of 2012 were awarded MATH 130 PL which can be used to fulfill such curricular requirements. However, the UNC-CH Department of Mathematics changed that policy for students entering the University in Fall 2013 and thereafter. Instead of MATH 130 PL, students will be awarded MATH 129 PL as noted above.
If I receive a poor grade in a class, can I retake the course?
Students may not repeat passed courses unless a higher grade is required to continue to the next level. Regardless, UNC-CH does not have any kind of grade replacement policy. If you receive a letter grade for a course and then take it again, both grades will count towards your cumulative grade point average. However, you may receive credit hours only once for a course.
MYTHS and FACTS
If I don’t begin taking courses for my major in my first semester, I will not be able to graduate in four years.
Most Arts & Sciences majors are not meant to be started in the first year. In fact, your first year is a great time to begin exploring different academic disciplines by fulfilling your General Education Requirements.
Note: Exceptions to this are professional school majors, science majors, Art and Music that have prerequisites that should be started in your first year. Please refer to the charts on pages 49-51 in the Advising Guide for more information on those majors and their prerequisites.
As a first-year student, I don’t need to worry about understanding the curriculum right now. I can wait until later to learn more about it.
It is essential that you learn the requirements of the UNC-CH curriculum as early as possible. Remember that you have only eight (8) semesters, plus summer school, to finish your degree. Waiting to understand the requirements could severely limit your options. To learn more about the UNC-CH curriculum visit the Undergraduate Curricula website.
My chosen major has to relate directly to what I want to do later in life.
In many cases your career plan will change over time, and your major will not directly relate to it. Employers are less concerned about your exact major than they are about your skills and experience, including your co-curricular activities. Visit Career Services for more information.
My friend (or family member) is/was a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, so they can explain the curriculum and the courses I need to take.
The UNC-Chapel Hill curriculum was completely revised in 2006. Therefore, if you are a new student, a friend or relative’s experience will probably not apply to you. In addition, policies and requirements may change from year to year. The Undergraduate Bulletin is the most reliable source of information about current course requirements and academic policies. It is your responsibility to become familiar with these resources and the information included in them.
I don’t have any AP, IB, or SAT credit, so I might not be able to graduate “on time.”
Any UNC-CH student who averages 15 credit hours per Fall/Spring semester (i.e., 30 hours per academic year) can finish in the eight full time semesters allowed. AP, IB or SAT credits can provide flexibility, but are not essential to graduating “on time.”
I should only take courses that fulfill General Education requirements and not register for any electives.
Remember, electives are your friends! They help you reach the required number of hours of at least 120 for graduation. It is smart to create a balanced schedule that includes classes that fulfill General Education requirements as well as electives. See page 44 in the Advising Guide for more information.
If I have a lot of AP/IB credit, it is OK for me to take higher-level courses.
We do not recommend this in your first semester at UNC-CH. Higher level courses may assume knowledge and research skills you have not yet developed. Talk with advisors at New Student Orientation about better alternatives.
I was a good student in high school, so my established study habits will work fine at UNC-Chapel Hill.
This may or may not be true. Most students experience challenges in the transition from high school to university academics. You should be prepared to adjust your study methods to address the increased rigor and new demands of college coursework. Do not hesitate to take advantage of resources such as The Learning Center, The Writing Center and Peer Tutoring (see pages 61-62 in the Advising Guide). Check out the list of all academic resources on campus here.