Welcome Parents and Families/FAQs
Welcome Parents & Families of First Year Students!
This is an exciting time in your student’s life, but it can also be overwhelming, for both students and their families. Our Family Orientation will provide you with the information you need to stay connected and informed. As your student transitions into this new environment, please offer your support and encourage your student to seek out campus resources. That’s why we’re here!
Please utilize the links below for important information for parents and families:
- Information for Families
- Concern for a Student
- Suggestions for Families
- Course and Schedules
- Advisor Types
- How Can I Help my Student Get Ready for Fall?
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.
To make registration a smooth process, students should check their Student Center on ConnectCarolina for holds that may prevent enrollment. Here is a guide for how to check for holds: https://registrar.unc.edu/guide/planning-for-registration/remove-holds-during-registration/
After attending New Student Orientation, students should continue to pre-load their shopping carts on ConnectCarolina with 40 or more classes. It is also helpful for students to develop different schedule options so they are well prepared to be flexible during their registration window. (See also information below on Shopping Cart.)
Students should review all materials that explain the academic curriculum, policies and procedures, and other important information sent by the University.
By mid-May, your student should have completed their First-Year Pre-Registration Survey provided by UNC. The University will register incoming first-year students in up to seven credit hours of fall classes that will meet First-Year Foundations requirements in the IDEAs in Action Curriculum (https://ideasinaction.unc.edu/first-year-foundations/). Students will be assigned seats in these classes mid-May – June 15 according to their survey responses. Students may swap or drop one or both of their pre-registered classes during their registration window in July and/or when open enrollment begins on Friday, August 5.
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 adding classes of interest to their shopping carts on ConnectCarolina during their group advising session on Day 2 of New Student Orientation. Students may continue to add classes to their shopping cart until the fifth day of classes.
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.
It is important for your student to send their test scores to Undergraduate Admissions so their scores can be applied to their student record as soon as possible. This may help avoid delays in registering for desired classes.
If your student’s scores have not yet been applied to their record, they can either wait to enroll in a particular course in August, or they can make an educated guess about their placement for a particular course. If the AP/IB credit is needed as the prerequisite for an upper-level course, students will need to wait until their scores are sent to UNC and applied to their academic record before they are able to register for the course on ConnectCarolina.
After the initial 2-day enrollment period, all first-year students may change their course schedule beginning Friday, August 5 (when the registration system reopens for all first-year students). Students may continue to edit their course schedule in ConnectCarolina until the fifth day of classes.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The credit limit will be raised to 18 hours on August 5.
We recommend that all students enroll in at least five academic courses (between 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 and still be classified as a full-time student.
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.
All incoming first-year students must complete the First-Year Foundations course requirements during their first year at Carolina: https://ideasinaction.unc.edu/first-year-foundations/
Your student may review a list of recommended introductory major-related courses on their “Class of 2026” Sakai page.
Students may also search for classes on ConnectCarolina. This process will be reviewed and discussed during the group advising session on Day 2 of New Student Orientation.
For a step-by-step review, students can access the Registrar’s video series on how to register for classes: https://registrar.unc.edu/guide/registration-video-series/.
If a course appears to be closed, that means all seats have been filled. 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. Students may continue to monitor a closed course by keeping it in their shopping cart on ConnectCarolina to see if the class status changes to open.
Some courses have a waitlist option for students wanting to enroll. (Options may vary by academic department.) In ConnectCarolina, students may view which classes have a waitlist and can place themselves on the waitlist if spots are available. Students who have signed up for 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 (up to four total credit hours). For more information, see: https://registrar.unc.edu/guide/waitlists/.
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 have the opportunity to speak with an academic advisor when they attend their group academic advising workshop during New Student Orientation. Many of your student’s questions will be answered during New Student Orientation.
After course registration, an advisor will email feedback about the student’s first draft fall schedule prior to the fall term.
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.