Frequently Asked Questions for Parents & Family Members Of New First Year Students
Once your student turns 18 they become the owner of their educational records. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) ensures that a student has the decision to allow others to know their academic information. This means that advisors are not able to speak with a parent about the particulars of your student’s academics unless your student gives you access, or you register with the University to see those records. You can register for FERPA access through your student’s pre-orientation page on their Sakai site. We encourage you to have a conversation with your student about FERPA and decide together about granting access to their records.
Students should review all materials sent by the University that explain the curriculum, academic policies and procedures, and important information for their safety and wellness. After their Orientation students should continue to load their shopping carts with 40 or more classes and develop different schedule options so they are well prepared to be flexible during their registration window. (See also information below on Shopping Cart)
In May, your student should have filled out an academic interest survey provided by UNC. The University will enroll incoming first year students in up to six credit hours for their first semester according to their academic areas of interest, and for courses that will meet general education requirements. Students should look at these classes, read the course descriptions for them in the course catalog https://catalog.unc.edu/ and determine if they would like to take those classes in the fall. Students may swap or drop one or both of these classes during their registration window in July and/or when open enrollment begins on July 29.
A shopping cart is part of the student registration system. A student will select classes of interest to put in their shopping cart where they are held until the student is ready to enroll. Placing a class in the shopping cart does not reserve a seat for your student, it just allows your student to gather all their classes of interest into one place. When the student’s registration window opens the student will enroll from the classes that are in their shopping cart. A student needs to fully prepare for their registration by putting 40 or more classes in their shopping cart. This can be a combination of 20-30 different classes along with multiple sections of the same class. Students will learn how to search for and load their shopping cart during their Advising workshop on Day 2 of Orientation. After Orientation, a student will need to continue to search for classes, load their shopping cart and develop different schedule options for their fall semester before their registration day in July.
Students will begin loading their shopping carts during their live Zoom Advising session on Day 2 of their Orientation. They can continue to add classes to their shopping cart through August 16th.
Initial registration times are assigned according to the dates your student is participating in New Student Orientation. Registration times cannot be changed. Equity in registration is achieved through holding an equal number of seats in first year classes and releasing them for first year students immediately in advance of each registration period.
If your student’s registration day is prior to receiving AP scores for 2020, they can either wait to enroll in a particular course in August or can make an educated guess about their placement for a particular course. If the AP class is needed as the prerequisite for an upper level class, they will need to wait until their scores are sent to UNC and applied to their academic record before they can register for the class. It is important that your student has requested their test scores be sent to UNC Undergraduate Admissions so the scores can be applied as soon as possible to their record which may help avoid delays in registering for their desired classes. Students may make changes to their schedule beginning July 29th at 10am when the registration system reopens for all students. Editing student schedules may continue in August up through the first two weeks of classes. Most students make changes to their courses in August to fine tune their schedules.
Internet service is required to register for classes online. Your student will have a 28-hour window of time to complete the initial enrollment. Please contact New Student and Carolina Family Programs email@example.com if internet access is a problem.
To be enrolled as a full-time student your student should be enrolled in between 12 and 18 credit hours. The credit limit in the first phase of enrollment in July is 17 hours. On August 3rd the credit limit is raised to 18 hours. We recommend that all students be enrolled in five academic courses (15-18 hours) by the end of the first week of classes. Enrollment in at least 15 credit hours gives students the flexibility to withdraw from a class in the first two weeks with no negative implications, should they choose to do so.
It is the desire of the University to give your student a good start on their registration process. As such, UNC has pre-enrolled your student for up to six credit hours for their first semester with courses appropriate to their areas of interest and those that will fulfill general education requirements. Your student is not obligated to keep the two courses and can drop or swap them for other classes on their registration day. Registration can be stressful for some students so by registering your student in two classes, they are halfway to being enrolled full-time. We recommend that they complete their full-time enrollment to a minimum of 12 credit hours before swapping out the pre-enrolled courses to maintain full-time student status.
Your student can see a list of classes that are appropriate for first-year students in the Course Registration Guide on the Class of 2024 Sakai page (items #7 and #8 under Tips for Success). Students can also search for classes in ConnectCarolina, this process will be reviewed and discussed in the Advising Zoom session on Day 2 of Orientation. Students can access the Registrar’s video series that walks them through how to search for classes through this link: https://registrar.unc.edu/guide/registration-video-series/ .
Some classes at UNC (according to departmental preference) have a waitlist for students wanting to enroll. Students can see in the registration system which classes have a waitlist and often times can place themselves on the waitlist. Students on a waitlist will be automatically placed into the course as other students drop that course from their schedule. Students may add themselves to one waitlist in the first wave of registration in July. Students can also continue to monitor the class by keeping it in their shopping cart to see if the status of the class has changed to open. Often a class that has been previously closed will open as the semester draws closer because other students begin to drop classes as they modify their schedules.
After your student’s initial 28-hour enrollment period the registration window will close. It will reopen on July 29 and will remain open for student to add classes to their schedules through August 16th.
Students have eight semesters plus summer terms (if desired) to complete all degree requirements. A student’s first semester should be balanced with general education requirements, exploratory major and minor classes, and electives. There is no “perfect schedule” or required set of classes a student must have to complete most majors on time. We ask students to be flexible with their first semester schedule knowing that as they progress through their academic career, they will be able to access classes they could not access in their first semester.
Students may enroll only in the level of foreign language that is indicated from a placement test or from an AP or IB placement score (whichever is higher). If after the first couple of classes a student feels they are in the wrong level of the language they should speak with their instructor. Instructors may support a change in foreign language placement after they speak with a student.
Your student will meet with academic advisors during New Student Orientation. Many of their questions will be answered through the orientation materials and during the orientation sessions. An advisor will email feedback about the student’s first draft fall schedule prior to the fall term. Beginning in the fall semester we encourage students to meet with an advisor by appointment, through daily drop in advising, or through our online Chat system.
Your student will receive the name of their assigned academic advisor early in the fall semester. Advisors are paired with students according to their stated area of academic interest. Your student may meet with that advisor or one of a group of advisors who have expertise in the student’s area of the curriculum. We have a team of experienced and caring advisors ready to support your student in planning to achieve their academic and life goals.
In the first year it is possible for your student to take introductory courses in their major and others that will fulfill major requirements. A combination of pre-requisites and courses in the intended areas of study, general education classes, and electives make the best first year schedule. Additionally, we recommend that students take only one quantitative course and one lab course during each term of the first year.