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College of Arts and Sciences

Find Success in College

Tips for success

  • Enjoy learning! Be curious, ask questions. Get all you can out of YOUR Education.
  • Listen to what other successful students say.
  • GO TO CLASS. GO TO CLASS. GO TO CLASS. GO TO CLASS... You’ll be amazed what you’ll learn there!
  • Use a planner every day to write down assignments, important appointments, tests, homework, etc.
  • Plan to study 2-3 hours minimum outside of class for each hour in class. That means 24 – 36 hours for a full 12-hour load.
  • Recognize that a full-time course load = a full time job (12 hours in class + 36 hours study time = 48 hours per week!)
  • Don’t try to work full-time and carry a full-time course load!
  • Seek help early, the very first time you don’t understand a concept or you get a grade that doesn’t satisfy you.
  • Meet with your instructors: they want to help you learn.
  • Meet with your advisors: they want to help you.
  • Practice common courtesy during lectures by turning off cell phones and putting away newspapers.
  • Respect the need for balanced nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep.
  • Use the Undergraduate Catalog and Course Schedule to plan for the future. See our academic toolbox to learn how to use them.
  • Check your K-State email account daily.

Resources you should know about

The three major online tools you will use daily are Webmail, K-State Online and KSIS.

Webmail is your K-State email. Your professors will contact you through webmail if they cancel class or need to get in touch with you for any other reason. Financial Assistance will email you through Webmail to updates on your financial aid status. The Cashier’s Office will email you using Webmail to tell you what your tuition bill is and how to pay it. The bottom line? Always check your email on a regular basis.

K-State Online
K-State Online is used by your professors and instructors to give you access to class syllabi, additional readings, assignments, and often your class grades. You may take quizzes or tests for a class on K-State Online from home and may use the program to keep track of message boards for your classes. It is always a good idea to check K-State Online for every class.

KSIS is K-State’s student information system and is the one-stop online resource for students to enroll in courses, change schedules, check financial aid status, view semester grades and more. Here’s a list of just a few of the things you can do through KSIS:

  • Find your adviser
  • View/Print your schedule
  • View enrollment dates
  • View degree progress (DARS)
  • View any holds on your account
  • Purchase athletic tickets
  • Enroll in classes
  • Purchase K-State yearbook (Royal Purple)
  • Search for classes
  • Purchase parking permit
  • Add a class
  • Update your personal information
  • Drop a class
  • Apply for graduation

K-State Resources:
Advising Resources
K-State Healthy Decisions

Exploring Majors:

  • EDCEP 120 Academic and Career Decisions - This one-credit course introduces you to various majors and career options.
  • EDCEP 202 Career and Life Planning - This two-credit course addresses individual concerns about career and life decisions.
  • Majors Fair – This is the one time of year when all departments and colleges are represented in the same place. Located in the Student Union Ballroom, Oct. 9, 2013.
  • Academic and Career Information Center – ACIC houses extensive information about majors and careers. You may also take the DISCOVER assessment test to help you learn your own strengths and interests.
  • Counseling Services – Counseling Services offers assessment testing for potential life direction, as well as many other types of assistance. 
  • Talk to your advisor and your instructors! Do not hesitate to discuss your interests with your advisor or your professor. Most faculty are thrilled to hear that someone likes a class or might be interested in their major.

Additional Resources:

  • Student Access Center – A resource for students with disabilities for assistance with enrollment, transportation, handicapped parking or other academic concerns.


Frequently Asked Questions   

Academic Difficulties
What GPA do I need to avoid Academic Probation or Dismissal?

The Undergraduate Catalog provides detailed information regarding Academic Probation and Dismissal at http://catalog.k-state.edu under the choice for “Grades.” 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 goals and realistically determine what minimum GPA will allow accomplishment of those things. Simply remaining in “good academic standing” may not prove sufficient by itself.

You should read the entire policy carefully and ask your advisor to help clarify anything you do not understand, but there are two primary things that first semester Freshmen need to remember:

1) If you earn less than a 2.0 GPA this semester, you will be placed on academic warning.

2) If you earn less than a 1.0 GPA this semester, you will be dismissed.

How many retakes are allowed and do they erase the existing grades?

Students may retake courses in order to improve the grades. For the first five courses that are retaken, the original grade is noted as retaken and removed from the grade point average.

Although there is no limit to the number of times a course may be retaken, a student may retake a course with subsequent removal of the prior grade from calculation of the grade point average only once for each course, and for a total of five courses during the student's academic career at K-State.

Three things to keep in mind:

1) The retake grade will always be used in the grade point average computation regardless of whether it is higher or lower than the original grade. Before attempting a retake, you should think carefully about the realistic likelihood of doing better in the course the second time. You should also consider the number of credit hours involved. Retaking a 4-credit hour course will affect the GPA far more dramatically than retaking a 1-credit hour course. You should, of course, also consider whether this is a required course for your degree program.

2) A retake does not make the original grade disappear from your transcript. The original grade is still shown in parentheses, indicating it has been superseded by the retake grade. The retake can improve the GPA but will not hide the fact that you got a "D" first time around.

3) You must do your retakes here at K-State if you want to replace an original grade in your GPA calculations. Transfer courses will NOT accomplish this purpose.

What does it mean to withdraw with a W?

“W” signals that you withdrew from the course after attending for quite a while. A “W” does not affect your GPA, but only indicates that you withdrew from the course prior to the last date to withdraw. Any decision to withdraw should be discussed with your advisor.

What should I do if I have academic difficulty?

The first and most important thing to do is to meet with your instructor right away. The instructor is the best person to assist you in finding where the difficulty lies. They may suggest tutoring. Your advisor can also make referrals to other sources of assistance on campus.

Academic Plan (Major)
What is the procedure for declaring a major or changing majors? 

Go to the Deans’ Office in Eisenhower Hall 113 and request a change of curriculum form. It is important to understand that K-State policy requires a 2.0 GPA to move between Colleges, and some programs or majors impose additional restrictions and/or criteria.

What is the procedure for declaring a minor?

You declare your minor(s) with the department/academic unit that offers that minor. Even if you complete the right courses, the minor only appears on the transcript if you file with them. Consult the department office regarding the process to declare the minor.

What do advisors do?

Each student is assigned an advisor in his or her major department. Advisors offer information on courses and curricula, academic majors, as well as matters of policy and procedure at K-State. They also assist students if other issues are affecting academics, and connect students with other resources on campus.

When should I see my advisor?

You need to see your advisor at least once a semester to discuss course selection for the following semester and your long-range academic plan. You should also see your advisor if you begin having any difficulties in your classes that are not resolved by contacting your instructors. Your advisor can also direct you to campus resources to help with health or personal issues.

Can I enroll without seeing my advisor?

You cannot enroll until your advisor has lifted your advising flag in KSIS.

Should I take Expository Writing (ENGL 100) my first semester?

You can take ENGL 100 either your first or second semester. You should know that you cannot take ENGL 200 (itself a prerequisite to some other classes) until you have completed ENGL 100 and completed thirty credit hours. Furthermore, taking ENGL 100 early may help you better succeed in other writing-intensive courses. Developing good writing skills is an important aspect of academic success and one key element in getting a well-rounded education.

Do I need to complete all the basic requirements before I can take classes in my major?

No, but because many major courses do have prerequisites, you will need to complete certain basics before you can get too far into your major. 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.

Which classes are "easy"?

You will find that advisors rarely give a direct answer to this question, because 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? What type of assessment do you prefer? All these things determine whether you find the class "easy" or "difficult." These are very subjective terms.

How do I find my classes?

On KSIS, in your Student Center, you will your course schedule, which will give you the building code and room number of each class. Use the map at http://www.k-state.edu/maps to find the building location. It is a good idea to walk through your schedule the day before classes begin.

Contact Information
How do I change my local or permanent address?

You can either visit the Registrar's Office at 118 Anderson Hall or change your address through KSIS. It is important that you keep K-State informed about your address, phone number, and email address, so that your faculty, advisor, and department can contact you.

Course Load
What is a credit hour?

The amount of credit hours you will receive for a course is related to the amount of time you spend in class. Most classes are three credit hours, which generally means the course meets three times a week for 50 minutes, two times a week for 75 minutes, or once a week for 150 minutes. Lab sections meet at additional times, and lab credit is figured differently.

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, you should 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 12 and 16 credit hours each semester. If you are thinking about taking more or less than that, talking to your advisor can help you weigh the pros and cons.

What is a typical semester course load?

Full-time students register for 12-18 credit hours, with the “norm” being 14-16. However, first-time students are encouraged to take 12-13 hours their first semester. It’s important for you to “do the math” in relation to your graduation goals. If the degree required 120 hours, and you want to complete in four years without going in the summer, you will need to average 15 hours per semester. If you take 3-6 hours in the summer, then, obviously, you can take a bit less during the fall or spring. Many students find taking courses during summer a good way to decrease their stress load during the fall and spring.

Privacy Laws
Can my parents access my educational records?

Not unless you give your permission. All advising sessions and other university appointments are confidential in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). You may choose to grant your parents or other family member access to your grades and course schedules by giving them your KSIS password, or by signing a consent to disclose release form. The consent may include all interactions and information, or it may be restricted as you choose. Your advisor or the Deans’ office will have the release form.

Transfer Work
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 Community College. You may view K-State Transfer Equivalency Information provided by the Admissions Office at http://www.k-state.edu/undergradadmit/transferequivalency.html. Remember that their list is not comprehensive. Contact the Admissions Office in 119 Anderson if a specific course or institution is not listed.

You should always check the equivalency with your college. Individual majors also decide which transfer courses can count towards major requirements. K-State may accept the transfer hours while a college and/or department may not. Please consult the Deans’ Office.

Will my GPA transfer from another college?

No. 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 blank slate when you enter Kansas State University.