Most students quickly become familiar with the classroom buildings as they find their way to classes and labs, but they may be less aware of how to find faculty and departmental offices. Printed in the directory section of this handbook are the building and room number, telephone number, and chair's name for each academic department on campus.
Topics on this page:
Departments and Professors
Semesters and Credit Hours
Registration for Classes
Add/Drop and Late Registration
Withdrawals from Class
Withdrawals from the University
Staying in School
The Academic Record or Transcript
Academic Requirements for Receiving Financial Aid
Credit by Exam
Usually, other faculty offices within the department will be located in the same building and general vicinity as the departmental office, but there are some exceptions. Inquire in the departmental office about the location of a specific faculty member's office if you have difficulty finding it.
Normally, faculty members post on their office doors regular hours when they are available to see students, and most are willing to schedule additional times if the student is unable to come during the posted hours. You should feel free to contact faculty members in their offices to discuss progress, any particular problems you're having in one of their classes, your concerns about career and professional plans, or any matters of mutual concern.
The University of West Georgia, along with the rest of the University System of Georgia, moved to the semester system effective Fall of 1998. A normal academic year of study consists of two semesters plus a shortened summer semester.
The credit value of a course is determined by the number of hours it meets each week. For example, a course with three 1-hour lecture sessions per week is a three-semester-hour course. As a rule of thumb in accounting for credit hours, it takes two hours of laboratory to equal one hour of lecture, as is the case with a 4-hour science course which has three 1-hour lectures and one 2-hour lab each week.
A full course load for undergraduates is considered to be 15 or more hours, but since most of the classes at West Georgia are worth 3 credit hours, a typical first semester freshman takes a course load of 12 hours giving the student the first semester to adjust to the demands of college level courses. Often a second semester freshman then feels ready to attempt 15 hours of course work.
The West Georgia Undergraduate Catalog contains a complete statement of academic policies and procedures, courses required for each program of study, retention and graduation requirements, and many more essential items of information for the successful student. It is a very important book to have, study and follow.
The University Undergraduate Catalog can be viewed on the University Admissions web page at www.westga.edu/admiss. New students should keep a copy of this year's catalog for reference during their entire stay at West Georgia. Students are evaluated for graduation based on the requirements in the Catalog of the year they begin their studies (provided it is not more than six years ago) or any year thereafter if they so choose. Those restless nights, it's guaranteed to put you to sleep when nothing else will!
Best advice: Attend class every time it meets, and be sure to attend the first class day each semester. If students don't attend the first day and haven't been in touch with the professor to explain why, they may be dropped to make room for others who need it. Since classes and professors differ greatly, you should be certain you understand the attendance requirements for each course you're taking. Some professors lower grades for excessive absences, and they may even drop a student who cuts frequently.
Students who have declared majors are advised by faculty in that department. Contact your academic department to determine specific advisement procedures in your area. All academic departments are listed in the directory section of this handbook.
Those who have not declared a major are advised by faculty volunteers and professional staff in the EXCEL Center. Students with Learning Support requirements or College Preparatory Curriculum deficiencies are advised by members of the Learning Support Department. Advanced Academy students and joint-enrolled high school students are advised by the Coordinator of the Advanced Academy. Honors students may be advised by a member of the Honors Program Committee. eCore students may seek advisement from the eCore Advisor.
Students should see their advisors prior to registration each semester. In fact, most undergraduates are required to see their advisors each registration period in order to remove advising holds and allow them to register.
Registration for classes is the process of selecting the courses you wish to take, arranging these into a schedule to fit available time slots, signing up for these classes according to the prescribed procedure and paying fees. You should see your advisor several weeks before registration begins. The Class Bulletin, under public access on Banweb, lists all courses being offered. The Scoop, the student guide to each semester, gives step-by-step instructions for completing all registration procedures.
Continuing students may advance register for classes before a semester begins. For students who advance register, there is an advance fee payment deadline each semester, approximately ten days before the beginning of the next semester. Those who have financial aid, athletic grants, and scholarships normally have to pay only what is owed after these awards are credited to their accounts. Advance registration schedules are canceled if the advance payment deadline isn't met, and those affected must register during late registration when a late registration fee of $75 is charged.
See The Scoop for complete details on how to advance register, and pay fees, or contact the Enrollment Services Center (678-839-6438), for answers to particular questions.
You may change your class schedule or register late during the drop/add period for each semester, but this is not a particularly easy thing to do. Class availability is usually limited. A late fee of $75 is charged to anyone who waits until the drop/add period to register. See The Scoop for complete details on how to drop or add courses and late register.
Students can use Banweb rather than going to the Enrollment Service Center (ESC) for many services. Students can register for courses, adjust their schedules, change their addresses, print copies of their class schedules and transcripts, and view their grades. See The Scoop for information on accessing Banweb.
After the add/drop period, if a student must withdraw from a class, this course will remain on the student's record for the semester, and a grade of W, indicating withdrawal without penalty, or a grade of WF, indicating the student was failing at the time of withdrawal, will be entered on the record. Up to the midpoint of each semester is a sort of grace period, and the student who withdraws during this time automatically receives a W for the course. After the midpoint of the semester, the grade of WF is automatically assigned unless the college dean approves an exception based on unusual or emergency circumstances beyond the student's control. At any rate, be certain to withdraw officially if you cannot complete a course because otherwise you may be given an F. A student can withdraw from a course on Banweb or in the Enrollment Services Center (ESC).
If you find that you must completely withdraw from the university during the course of a semester, you can either withdraw from all your courses on Banweb or contact the Enrollment Services Center in Parker Hall (telephone 678-839-6438, campus ext. 96438). If your reason for leaving is lack of funds, check with the ESC in Parker Hall first. They may be able to help.
Just don't stop attending class. You must officially withdraw or you will have all Fs for the semester. Who knows, you might even be due a refund. (The undergraduate catalog explains the refund policy in detail.)
Here's hoping it will never happen to you, but those whose academic performance falls below standards prescribed in the catalog are placed on "Academic Probation" or may receive notice of "Suspension" or "Dismissal." See your catalog (Undergraduate Academic Policies) for complete information on requirements for staying in good standing.
By all means, if you realize you are getting behind in your work or are having problems studying, ask for assistance. The first person to turn to is your professor in a particular course, but you may also want to talk with your faculty advisor. If you are a first year student, seek assistance from the EXCEL Center, in the UCC. The EXCEL Center offers free tutoring, academic advising, peer mentoring, and referrals to other departments at the university, if needed. You also should pay a visit to the Counseling and Career Development Center in Row Hall. Here you will find computerized assistance in building study skills and professional counselors who may be able to help you individually or in a small group to develop better study skills and habits. The EXCEL Center staff can also help you get connected to other resources on campus.
The Registrar's Office maintains permanently for every student who has ever been enrolled at West Georgia an academic record including personally identifying information about the student, every course the student has taken and the grade earned, semester and cumulative grade point averages, and a few special notations such as Learning Support requirements, degrees earned, etc.
A printed record is commonly known as a "transcript" and it is a copy of this academic record which is sent to other institutions, agencies, and employers when the student requests that a transcript of his/her record be sent.
You have the right to review your educational records maintained by West Georgia, except for certain types of confidential information which are defined by law and by institutional regulations. For a listing of what records are kept where and by whom and a full explanation of how to review these records, see Appendix H in this handbook. You'll also find in this section how to "challenge the content" of your records as well as safeguards built into the record-keeping system to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of your records.
If, after getting your grades, you're not satisfied with them and believe that the professor made a mistake with yours, go to the professor immediately. It may have been a simple clerical error. If there is a dispute, try and work it out with the professor. If that fails, see the department chair and, if necessary, the college dean. After following these steps, if you are not able to resolve the issue, you may appeal the grade to a faculty committee. See Appendix E for details of the appeals procedure. All grade appeals must be in writing and follow the appropriate channels.
eCore students' grade appeal forms can be found on the eCore website in the area addressing student services.
In addition to completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, students must meet several major academic requirements to remain eligible for aid. For example, students must maintain a minimum GPA based on their attempted hours. Also, students must complete 67% of the courses they attempted in a semester.
There is also a limit on the total number of hours for which students may receive financial aid. All programs of study have specified course requirements and total number of hours for completion.
See Appendix G for specific details of how all of these policies may apply. You may contact the Enrollment Services Center in Parker Hall or call 678-839-6421 (96421 campus extension) should you have questions.
The Advanced Placement (AP) Program is available through many high schools and enables a high-school student to earn college credit in a variety of subjects. Usually these courses are equivalent to college freshmen/sophomore-level courses such as American Government, American History, Composition, and so forth. College credit will be awarded based on standardized exams administered at the high schools in mid to late May.
High school students who earn AP exam scores of 3 or higher (on a scale of 1-5) on most exams and who submit official score reports to West Georgia's Admissions Office will automatically receive credit for coursework. Scores of 4 or higher are required to receive credit for some courses.
The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is offered at West Georgia by appointment and allows persons to earn college credit by achieving appropriate cutoff scores on nationally standardized exams. Exams available cover a range of courses including math, history, government, literature, and sciences. Test registration information is available through the Testing Office (678-839-6435).
As with AP testing, CLEP is a great way to earn college credit. Not only will a person save time by not having to take a course containing material s/he already knows, but s/he will also save money by not having to pay for a college class. Thus, CLEP enables a student to move through his/her freshman and sophomore years at a faster pace.
Departmental Exams. A few of the academic departments at West Georgia also offer the opportunity for credit by examination. The English Department, for example, allows persons who feel confident about their writing skills to write an essay evaluated by a departmental committee. If a passing credential is earned, the person will be allowed to exempt English 1101 and/or 1102, depending on the score. The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures also allows students to exempt certain introductory foreign language courses. To receive credit by examination, the student must pay a fee of $6/credit hour.
Test dates vary, so interested persons should contact the departments (English 678-839-6512; Foreign Language 678-839-6515) for details.