Frequently Asked Questions
If you have questions or suggestions for this list, contact Alison Wheatley.
- Do I need to complete all the basic requirements before I can take classes for my major?
Not really... but many major courses do have prerequisites. This forces you to complete selected basics before you can "get at" the major stuff. However, there is no need to complete all your basics before starting anything else. You should start exploring your major and completing major requirements (if possible) as soon as you have the prerequisites.
- Do I need to take ENGL 100: Expository Writing I during my Freshman Year?
You can take ENGL 100 anytime you choose. It does not affect whether you gain sophomore status. Your class status never depends upon having particular courses. The only caveats are:
ONE... you cannot take ENGL 200 (itself a prerequisite to some other courses) until you have completed ENGL 100 and completed thirty credit hours.
TWO... getting ENGL 100 early may help you better succeed in other writing-intensive courses down the road. Developing good writing skills is an important aspect of academic success and one key element in getting a well-rounded education.
- Who is my advisor? How do I make an appointment to see him/her?
If you are in Open Option or one of the Interdisciplinary majors, see Advising information. Other students should contact their department office. That office should know student/advisor pairings and the office hours for those faculty members.
- Can I enroll without my advisor?
Your advisor must "lift your flag" in iSIS in order for you to enroll.
- During enrollment, do I have to see my advisor if I already know what classes I want?
You can sign an Advising Waiver if you want your "enrollment flag" lifted without an advising appointment. However, it is typically better to meet with us. Maybe we can point out some additional or alternative options (better now than later) or maybe we can just assure you that everything looks great. Seems like a Win / Win situation really.
- Which classes are easy?
Such a short question... such a complicated answer. Advisors rarely give straight answers to this question. Here is why:
First, the answer relates more to you than the classroom. What is your learning style? What are your study habits? What subjects are strongest for you? All these things determine whether you find the class "easy" or not. Some students would rather take Calculus than Shakespeare. Others readily prefer Agricultural Economics to both. Some students like large lectures. Some like small groups where discussion is encouraged. Many people have varying preferences regarding how they are graded... essays, multiple-choice quizzes, attendance, et cetera. See what we mean? "Easy" is very subjective.
Second, the question is shortsighted. We realize that difficult and challenging courses are not exactly fun. But they DO exercise lots of brain cells. You learn complicated and important things in demanding classrooms. On the contrary, you learn very little in "blow-off" courses. They are called that precisely because your grade does not depend on proving mastery of a substantial subject area. Sad but true. So when you ask "Which classes are easy?" you are really saying that you are not interested in learning anything too valuable or working too hard next semester. Fair enough. But why attend K-State then? Our goal is to help you get the most from your college education... not the least.
Just remember that the ability to integrate and master complicated subject areas is what employers like about college graduates, particularly K-State graduates. If K-State had an "easy" curriculum, your degree would mean nothing and employers would turn up their noses. They want the knowledge behind the degree... not the piece of parchment. If you have trouble finding "blow-off" courses, be glad. That means K-State is a quality university!
And we should also make one final distinction. While we find it difficult to recommend "easy" courses, that does not mean we will knowingly recommend courses for which you aren't adequately prepared. We will not. We look for courses that will benefit you... not courses that will sink you. Yes... we expect you to work hard at K-State, but we certainly want that work to translate into academic success.
- Will my GPA transfer from JUCO?
Your GPA does NOT transfer from any Junior Colleges or Four-Year Universities. Only the credits will transfer. Your GPA is only based on grades earned at K-State. Some programs may use the grades from other schools in their particular admission criteria, but otherwise your GPA is a tabula rasa when you enter Kansas State University.
One important corollary is that, if you do poorly in a K-State course, you should NOT plan on retaking that course somewhere else. If you retake it any other institution, it will not replace the K-State grade. That class will continue hurting your GPA forever. Do your retakes here for maximum benefit.
- How many credit hours is considered full-time
You typically need twelve credit hours to be considered full-time. If you have specific concerns related to insurance, financial aid or housing however, you should really consult with the appropriate office for details. Policies and individual situations can vary. Beyond your official status as a full-time student, students normally take anywhere between twelve and sixteen credit hours each semester. If you are thinking about taking more or less than that, consider talking to your advisor. He or she can help you weigh the pros and cons.
- What kinds of jobs can I get with Major X?
The answer to this question is mostly open-ended. Most majors leave the door open for many different career paths. Your skills, resourcefulness, ambition, luck and experience also play important roles in finding and keeping jobs. An informal survey of people you know regarding educational backgrounds and occupations should quickly confirm the flexibility of most degrees.
Nevertheless, your major may still open some doors wider than others. The Academic and Career Information Center in the basement of Holton Hall is an excellent resource for researching those possibilities. The Open Option program also offers some valuable links that might help you answer the job question . Finally, remember that people are often your best resource. Talk with your advisor, faculty members and others associated with certain majors or careers. They can provide insights and anecdotes that may assist you in the decision-making process.
- How do I declare a major or change majors?
Fill out a Change of Curriculum form in the College with which you are currently affiliated. For example, if you switch from Animal Science to Secondary Education, you start that paperwork in the College of Agriculture Dean's Office. You will receive more detailed instructions when you start the process. Just remember that K-State policy requires a 2.0 GPA to move between Colleges, and some programs impose additional restrictions and/or criteria.
- How do I declare a minor?
Declare your minor with the department/academic unit that offers that minor. Even if you complete the right courses, nothing appears on the transcript unless you file with them. Consult their Department Office regarding the correct paperwork.
- How many retakes do I get AND do they erase the existing grades?
You get FIVE retakes during your K-State career and you can only use one retake for any single class. For example, you only get to retake Introduction to Archaeology once for a replacement grade... even if you still have three retakes left overall.
A retake replaces the old grade in figuring your GPA. Once you have retaken FIVE courses, you can still take more over again, but the grades are averaged after that. For example, you take Descriptive Astronomy for the second time after retaking five other classes. Your "F" from the first time will be averaged with your "B" from the second time.
One final note: a retake does not make the original grade disappear from your transcript. The original grade is still shown in parentheses, indicating it has been superceded by the retake grade. The retake can improve your GPA but will not hide the fact that you got a "D" first time around.
- I just dropped this class that was killing me. Now I have less than 12 hours! How can I pick up some more hours? Do I need 12 hours to keep my financial aid?
There are several ways to pick up extra hours after Add/Drop has passed. Some campus courses do not start until later in the semester, including night courses through the Division of Continuing Education. There are also K-State courses at Fort Riley in which you can enroll for eight-week terms. Intersession courses are another way to add hours. You should visit with your advisor to determine if any of these options would work for you.
As far as financial aid, you should make an appointment with your Student Financial Assistance Advisor in 104 Fairchild Hall to determine exactly how your shortage of credit hours will affect your finances. MAKE NO ASSUMPTIONS. Just find out the right information and work from there. We will help you make a viable plan if at all possible.
- What does it mean to withdraw with a W?
W signals that you got out of the course after attending for quite awhile. Ws do nothing to your GPA. They indicate only that you withdrew. In that sense, taking the W is tactically superior to taking the F or letting your grades suffer in other classes. On the other hand, too many W s looks bad for graduate schools and employers. They signal that too often you got yourself in academic trouble, for whatever reasons, and bailed out. Many W s hurts you by raising questions and doubts about your academic fitness, dedication, dependability and/or time management skills. But in considering whether you should withdraw, remember that D s and F s raise questions too. In general (concerns related to full-time status aside) if you have dug your hole too deeply, it is better to take the W now rather than fail later. Withdrawing allows you to focus more on the other classes. It keeps you out of GPA trouble. One or two W s really won't mess up your life down the road. Just don't make it a habit.
- How do I figure my GPA? What do I need to raise my GPA?
For some detailed instructions on how to estimate GPA-type issues, consult Calculating Your GPA.
- What GPA do I need to avoid Academic Probation or Dismissal?
The Undergraduate Catalog provides detailed information regarding Academic Probation and Dismissal under Scholastic deficiencies. Beyond those minimum standards, however, many majors also demand substantially higher minimum GPAs to enter their programs. Overall, since GPA can also matter to employers and graduate schools, it is crucial to assess your goals and realistically determine what minimum GPA will allow you to accomplish those things. Simply remaining in "good academic standing" may not prove sufficient by itself.
- Which courses will transfer to K-State?
K-State accepts different courses from different schools. Introduction to Ethics, for example, will transfer from the University of Kansas but not from Highland County Community College. View the K-State transfer equivalency information provided by Admissions. Remember though that their list is not comprehensive. The fact that XYZ 110 from Emporia State is unlisted does not imply acceptance nor rejection by K-State.
We should also make one important clarification. Your College (Education, Engineering, et cetera) doesn't necessarily accept transfer courses just because K-State does. You should always check the equivalency with them. Individual majors also decide which transfer courses can count towards major requirements. IT IS POSSIBLE that K-State will accept the transfer hours while your College and/or Department will not.
Here are three examples. First, many departments expect you to take certain major courses at K-State regardless. Second, equivalents to Intermediate Algebra will transfer into K-State but not count towards graduation. Third, some courses will transfer into your College BUT only as free electives. Once again... always consult with your College BEFORE taking the course.
- How do I change my local or permanent address?
You can do it the old-fashioned way or electronically. Either visit the Registrar's Office at 118 Anderson Hall or change your address through the iSIS right here online. It is very important that you keep K-State informed about where they can contact you. Tales of woe that start with "I never got anything in the mail" and end with "Oh... I guess I better change that address" are far too frequent around this office.