Contact Info

Advising Development Program
E-mail: sowallace@ship.edu
Phone: (717) 477-1627
FAX: (717) 477-4065

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Quick Answers to Common Student Questions

Who will be my academic advisor?
How often should I see my advisor?
What if I am not satisfied with my advisor?
How many courses should I take each semester?
How many courses can a student schedule each summer term?
How are students scheduled for their classes?
How many courses must a student register in to be a full-time student?
What happens if a student carries only three courses (9 credits)?
What happens if a student becomes ill and cannot complete the semester's coursework?
Is class attendance mandatory?
What if a student is late for class?
What grades must I make to remain in good academic standing?
What is academic probation? and, how do I stay off of it?
What should I do if I am placed on academic probation?
Can students take courses at another university to improve their GPA?
If a student gets a "D" or an "F" grade in a course at Shippensburg University, can he/she repeat it at another university?
Should students always repeat courses when they have earned "D" or "F" grades?
What grades do I have to earn to make the Dean's list??
How much time should I devote to study?
When are undeclared students required to declare a major?
What are minors?
Do I have to take a foreign language?
Who is eligible for the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade option?
Who can take an online course?

Who will be my academic advisor?
When you declare a major, you are assigned a faculty advisor within the academic department. Until you declare a major, you are assigned an advisor through the Office of Undeclared Students. If you change majors, you will be assigned a new advisor. If you do not know who your advisor is, or if you want to change advisors, see the chair of your major academic department. If you have not declared a major, go to the Office of Undeclared Students in Horton Hall 112. Your advisor will be identified on the SIS.

How often should I see my advisor?
That depends on two things: your needs as a student and the advising plan you and your advisor design. There is a high correlation between students who are academically successful and those who work with their advisors. You should meet with your advisor at least on the following occasions:

  • At the beginning of each semester to set up your advising plan
  • Whenever you encounter any problems that affect your academic performance
  • When it is time to schedule classes for next semester
  • Whenever you are thinking about dropping or adding a course

What if I am not satisfied with my advisor?
Advising is a process in which a relationship must be developed between you and your advisor. The goal is for you and your advisor to work collaboratively to develop meaningful educational plans that are compatible with your goals. For that goal to be achieved there needs to be a "fit" between you and your advisor. If there are barriers to you working effectively with your advisor, you should first talk over the situation with your advisor. If the barriers cannot be resolved and you have declared a major, contact the chair of your major department to discuss the situation. If you are undeclared, contact the Assistant Dean of the School of Academic Programs & Services. You may request to be assigned to a new advisor.

How many courses should I take each semester?
Most students take five courses (15 credits) each semester. There are times, however, when a student may be encouraged to take four courses (12 credits). Reduced loads may be desirable for students who participate in one or more sports, students on academic probation, students who have learning difficulties or students who work. Students can schedule a maximum of 18 credits without incurring additional fees. It is important to remember that graduation is the goal and not a race. The key is for you to determine the best course load for you.

How many courses can a student schedule each summer term?
Students can take a maximum of 6 credits overall during any one term except for Term 3. This includes both courses through Extended Studies and the University. During Term 3, students are permitted to take one F2F course and one online course or two online courses but not two F2F courses since the F2F courses are only three weeks in duration. Exceptions would be granted by the respective dean.

How are students scheduled for their classes?
The Registrar's Office schedules classes for all first-semester students. For the most part, students take general education courses necessary for graduation. After the first semester, students may schedule their own classes through the Student Information system. Students are required to consult with their academic advisor prior to scheduling.

How many courses must a student register in to be a full-time student?
To be classified as a full-time student, you must enroll in a minimum of 12 credits during the fall and spring semesters.

What happens if a student carries only three courses (9 credits)?
A student who carries less than 12 credits is classified as a part-time student. This part-time status could impact the student's financial, residence hall, and/or NCAA eligibility. Financial aid and NCAA regulations are complex, so if you have questions it is best to consult with the Financial Aid Office or the Coordinator of Student Athlete Support.

What happens if a student becomes ill and cannot complete the semester's coursework?
Students may request a medical withdrawal from the university with a "W" grade in their coursework, or they may request an "I" grade (incomplete). This request is made through the dean's office and is possible if: 1) the student was enrolled in the university for the majority of the semester; and 2) the documentation of the medical condition warrants a medical withdrawal.

Is class attendance mandatory?
You will hear various truths and myths in answer to this question, depending upon whom you ask. Some professors will require attendance and others may not. However, it is important to understand that there is no substitute for attending class. Various professors may factor class attendance in the final grade, or they may have a policy that after so many absences a student automatically fails the course. Professors will often present material in class that won't be found in textbooks, and it's up to you to obtain that information. There is a university policy that if a student misses the first day of class (in any semester) the professor may elect to drop the student from the course. A high correlation exists between class attendance and academic success. Put simply, if you want to pass, go to class every day. If you must miss a class period, be sure to contact your professor.

What if a student is late for class?
Sometimes circumstances will prevent a student from attending class on time. But being habitually late to class is both rude and inconsiderate. In addition, some professors deduct points for lateness. Good students come to class on time and well prepared.

What grades must I make to remain in good academic standing?
To remain in good academic standing, a student must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 ("C"). Some majors might require a higher GPA to satisfy program requirements.

What is academic probation? and, how do I stay off of it?
Academic probation means that your grade point average does not meet the university's standards for satisfactory academic progress. To remain in good academic standing, you must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 ("C"). If you fall below 2.0, you will be placed on academic probation. You can still schedule classes and return the next semester to give you a chance to raise your GPA. If you do not raise your GPA, you may be academically dismissed from the university. Making good grades should be your number one priority from the very beginning. Students on academic probation should consult with their academic advisor to design a strategy to improve their GPA and participate in the Learning Center's AIM Program to improve their skills for success.

What should I do if I am placed on academic probation?
Your immediate goal must be to improve your GPA. There are several steps you should take: (1) Be proactive; (2) Meet with your academic advisor to design a study strategy and discuss the possibility of repeating courses in which you made a "D" or "F"; (3) Participate in the Learning Center's AIM Program to develop strategies and skills that will help you to raise your cumulative grade point average (GPA); (4) Schedule courses that offer you the greatest potential for success.

Can students take courses at another university to improve their GPA?
No. Only credits, not grades, will be accepted from other institutions. Also, only courses in which a "C" grade or higher was earned will transfer. Approval for transfer credit should be obtained from the academic dean's office prior to enrolling for the course.

If a student gets a "D" or an "F" grade in a course at Shippensburg University, can he/she repeat it at another university?
No. "D" and "F" grades earned at Shippensburg must be repeated at Shippensburg.

Should students always repeat courses when they have earned "D" or "F" grades?
Not always. It depends on the student's major. However, it is strongly recommended that students who want to improve their grade point average should repeat the course as soon as possible. There are several things that students should consider before they repeat "D" grades.

  • Repeating a "D" may have a negative impact on the student's financial aid or NCAA eligibility. "D" grades have already been counted as earned credit for financial aid; therefore, repeating a "D" grade does not add credits toward the 24 credits students need each academic year to maintain their aid. This also applies to NCAA requirements for student athletes.
  • Students should be advised to repeat a "D" if GPA is a critical issue. However, keep in mind that improving a "D" grade to a "C" does not significantly improve a GPA. Improvement from a "D" to a B" will.
  • Students should also be advised to immediately repeat a "D" if their major/minor program requires a grade of "C" or better. While some majors accept "D" grades, others require students to repeat any and all "D" grades earned.

What grades do I have to earn to make the Dean's list?
A dean's list is published at the end of each semester to recognize students who earn at least a 3.3 or better. In addition, students who consistently perform at the highest levels are given special recognition at the end of each academic year.

How much time should I devote to study?
It is important to realize that the demands of college are much more intense than what may have been experienced in high school. To succeed in college, there is no substitute for commitment, hard work, and study. Studies have shown that college students who are successful spend 2-3 hours of studying outside of class for every one hour spent in class. Some courses, such as Calculus may require more than that. So, the student taking five (5) courses may expect to study at least 30 hours a week.

When are undeclared students required to declare a major?
Undeclared students must declare a major early in the third semester of their collegiate career. This will allow them to schedule courses in their majors and stay on track for a timely graduation.

What are minors?
An academic minor is a structured group of courses that can enhance a student's educational experience. I t usually consists of 18 to 21 credits from one or more disciplines outside the student's major. It is possible to have more than one minor but only six credits from one minor may count toward the fulfillment of another. SHIP offers approximately 30 different minors. Students should consult the catalog for details and consult with their advisor about declaring a minor.

Do I have to take a foreign language?
It depends. Students enrolling in B.A. degree programs must meet the modern language requirement. Students who have completed three years or more of any one foreign language in high school have met the language requirement. Other students may elect to take a foreign language as either a General Education or free elective course.

Who is eligible for the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade option?
Students who have completed thirty (30) or more credit hours with a minimum overall grade point average of 2.5 may schedule one course (three or four credits) per semester outside of the major or minor field of study under the Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory option. The maximum number of credits you may schedule under the option is ten (10) credits. To apply for this option, an original copy of the student's class schedule must be presented to the Registrar's Office within the first two weeks of the semester.

Who can take an online course?
Virtually anyone! Current students, visiting students, and others, are invited to register for online courses. Undergraduate Students must have a minimum of twelve (12) credits and a 2.0 GPA prior to registering for an online course. A previously failed course may not be repeated through an online course. Some courses have listed prerequisites, which are included in the course descriptions.

Online courses require extreme self-discipline. Students must log on and be prepared to read through many pages and comments. A great deal of time is spent visiting websites, reading articles, contributing to online discussions and chats, and preparing and submitting assignments. Completing online quizzes, exams and participating in online group projects are common. Students are strongly encouraged to click on the links "What computer knowledge and skills do I need?" and "How do I get started once I am registered?" to gain a thorough understanding of the online learning environment.