Frequently Asked Questions

(click on the question)

GENERAL:
Who is my advisor?
What does an advisor do?
What if I don’t like my advisor?
Where do I find out who my advisor is?
I really like my FYS111 advisor. Why do I have to change?
When can I talk to my professors or advisor in their offices? What are “office hours”?
What is PowerCAMPUS Self-Service?

REGISTERING AND SCHEDULE CHANGES:
Where are the courses listed for next semester?
How and when do I register for classes?
What if I don’t like my schedule?
How do I withdraw from a class, and what happens to my grade?
When is the last point in the semester that I can drop or add a class?

MAJORS, MINORS, ETC.:
How do I declare or change my major?
What happens when I change my major?
I want to double major, or pick up a minor. Who will my advisor be?

Academic Issues:
What is a syllabus, and why do I need it?
What is a credit hour, and what does it mean in terms of time commitment for me?
What does a D mean?
What are midterm grades?
Why am I on academic probation?
How long is it going to take me to get my degree?
Can I take classes at other schools over the summer?
Can I take a course over again after failing it? How does it affect my GPA?
Can I take a course again if I want a higher grade?

PROSPECTIVE/NEW /TRANSFER STUDENTS:
When and how do I get my schedule for my first semester?
Who will my advisor be?
How do I find out what courses will transfer in?
Can I retake a course I've transferred in for credit if my grade wasn't good the first time around?
How many courses should I take my first semester?
What is SOAR?
What if I don’t go to SOAR?
What if I don’t like my schedule? How do I change it?
I’ve already decided on a major—why isn’t my advisor in that department?

Question not answered here?
Check out our academic catalog, the other links under “Academics” on the college website, or contact us.
 

Answers

GENERAL:

Who is my advisor?
If you are a freshman in FYS111 (First-Year Seminar I), your advisor is your FYS111 instructor, regardless of whether you have declared a major or not. Once you declare a major, in the spring of your freshman year, after the drop/add period is over, the registrar will ask the department chair of your chosen major discipline to assign you to a faculty advisor in the major department.

What does an advisor do?
Beginning with the most concrete service they provide, an advisor must physically authorize you to register in our registration system, POWERcampus Self-Service, before you can register for your classes. But you should see your advisor as much more than that. S/he can help you learn how to navigate the sometimes confusing university landscape, including which classes to take when, what extracurricular activities might work for you, internships, scholarships, careers, etc. And if they don’t immediately know the answers, advisors do know where to go to get them, and they can help you problem solve and put you on the right track to what you need.

What if I don’t like my advisor?
If you are in FYS111 and you are not getting along with your instructor, technically, s/he does need to authorize you to register in Self-Service and discuss classes with you. You can always speak to faculty/staff you DO feel comfortable with as unofficial advisors, but your FYS111 instructor needs to register you. If you are assigned to an advisor in your major that you do not get along with, talk to the department chair, who can authorize a change of advisor with the registrar. Make sure this is truly what you want or need to do, however. Overlooking brief disagreements over grades or something else can ensure a strong relationship with an advisor who otherwise might be absolutely the best choice to work with you.

Where do I find out who my advisor is?
Log on to the Self-Service system (with your student ID and logon password you got during SOAR), and go to your current schedule. Your advisor is listed at the bottom of that page (or, if you are in FYS111: First-Year Seminar I, your advisor is your FYS111 instructor).

I really like my FYS111 advisor. Why do I have to change?
Your FYS111 advisor probably likes you a whole lot, too! However, it is very important that once you decide on a major, you are advised within that major: the faculty who teach in your major discipline know the requirements, are experts in their field, and can assist you as you move towards graduation and making graduate school or career choices. If you are unsure about whom to talk to in a major department, or if you are still undecided, talk with your FYS111 instructor, ands/he will help you work through some of those decisions and put you in touch with the right people.

When can I talk to my professors or advisor in their offices? What are “office hours”?
Faculty are required to hold what are called “office hours” each semester. During that time, they will be in their offices and available to meet with you. Usually you can also make an appointment, contact the faculty member by phone, or send an email. Faculty at Mars Hill generally consider working with students one of the most enriching parts of their job, but do not assume that they are constantly “on the job”—faculty teach, conduct research and scholarship, serve the institution in a number of capacities, have families, and are not always going to respond to an email within five minutes! Pay attention to those office hours (listed on office doors and on syllabi), because those hours are set aside explicitly for you.

What is PowerCAMPUS Self-Service?
“Self-Service” is our online registration system. You will use this to register for classes, check your grades, and keep up with your academic plan (progression towards graduation). Your advisor must authorize you to register in the system before you can register for next semester’s classes, and your professors will post midterm and final grades in Self-Service, too.

REGISTERING AND SCHEDULE CHANGES:

Where are the courses listed for next semester?
The schedule of classes for next semester is built by the department chairs early in the previous semester and is posted in our online registration system well before the early registration period (usually during October and March). Once the schedule is posted, you can look on self-service at what will be offered. Many programs also advertise their next semester’s classes, so talk to faculty, too.

How and when do I register for classes?
Registering for next semester’s classes occurs during “early registration week,” which occurs around the midpoint of each semester (it will be scheduled well in advance and you will know about it!). You register according to your current class standing (not what you will be next semester), with seniors registering first, and so on. You will usually register for classes in your advisor’s office, after having discussed your program of study and requirements, next semester’s course offerings, etc., with him or her. Your advisor must “authorize” you to register in self-service before you can do anything, and such things as “stops” from a variety of offices (Financial Aid, Business Office, Infirmary) can delay registration.

What if I don’t like my schedule?
There are opportunities to make schedule changes, often for the remainder of the semester after early registration, and into the first week of that semester’s classes. Any adding of new courses after the first week of classes is prohibited, but you can drop a course through the scheduled drop period, the first 20 days of classes, always keeping in mind your total credit hours, of course. Dropping below 12 credit hours means dropping below full-time status and will generally put financial aid, athletic eligibility, and other key aspects of your academic progress in jeopardy.

How do I withdraw from a class, and what happens to my grade?
You withdraw from a class by filling out the appropriate form with the registrar’s office (2nd floor Blackwell Hall) and having the instructor of the class you are withdrawing from sign that form. Withdrawal occurs when you want to drop a class after the scheduled drop period ends (approximately 20 days into a class). The withdrawal date usually falls on the day after fall or spring break. If you withdraw, a grade of “W” will be recorded, which carries no GPA weight. If you withdraw after the withdrawal date, an “F” will be recorded for the class. There are certain key classes you cannot withdraw from: English composition (ENG100, 101, 111, 112, 113) and FYS111.

When is the last point in the semester that I can drop or add a class?
The scheduled drop period ends approximately 20 days into the semester and will always be available and advertized on the university calendar. The last day to add a class is five days into the semester (two for a summer class). All schedule changes must be made with your advisor’s authorization.

MAJORS, MINORS, ETC.:

How do I declare or change my major?
You use a form you get from the registrar’s office (2nd floor of Blackwell Hall), which usually needs some key signatures. Once the registrar processes the form, your new major will show up in self-service, and you will be assigned a new advisor in your new major as soon as possible.

What happens when I change my major?
When you declare a new major, the registrar’s office will ask the department chair of your new major area to assign you to a new faculty advisor in the major. You should meet this person as soon as you can, if you do not know him or her already.

I want to double major, or pick up a minor. How do I do it, and who will my advisor be?
You go to 2nd floor of Blackwell Hall and get the necessary forms and the necessary signatures. Once the registrar processes the change(s), self-service will reflect them. However, your advisor in self-service (“advisor of record”) will usually be the original advisor in your first major. That individual will still be the only one responsible for authorizing you to register and approving your schedule. However—you need to find someone in the other major who can serve as an unofficial “co-advisor” for you, so you do not fall behind in your other major or minor programs. If you are unsure with whom to talk in your other major or minor, discuss this with your advisor, and s/he can recommend someone, help you set up an appointment, etc.

ACADEMIC ISSUES:

What is a syllabus, and why do I need it?
The syllabus is distributed (or it may be online) on the first day of class. It is essentially a contract between you and your course professor, outlining the course policies, requirements, reading schedule, grade breakdown, etc. You need to familiarize yourself with every syllabus you get, and don’t ever assume that course policies will be the same in different courses. Your professor uses the syllabus each and every day class is taught, and if you lose it, ask for a new one immediately!

What is a credit hour, and what does it mean in terms of time commitment for me?
Classes are assigned a credit hour number based on approximate number of contact hours per week (i.e., time spent in the classroom/lab, etc.). Most courses are 3 credit hours and meet for approximately three hours a week: 50 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; 75 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays; three hours once a week, etc. Other classes, particularly those in the sciences that include lab time, are assigned four or five credit hours. Some classes in the fine arts or athletics meet for only one hour a week and are assigned one credit hour’s worth of credit. Your schedule is built on credit hours, not number of classes taken. 12 credit hours (four 3-credit hour classes) is considered full-time status. NOTE: this only covers in class time! You can assume two hours of outside work at least for every hour spent in class.

What does a D mean?
A “D” (D-, D, or D+) is technically a passing grade at Mars Hill University. HOWEVER: continually passing courses with a “D”, particularly in your major, will jeopardize your chances of graduating with your degree, as the standard for graduation is a 2.0 cumulative G.P.A., and any D grade carries only a 1.0 weight.

What are midterm grades?
Midterm grades are posted in self-service to give students an idea of what their current grade in the course is. Faculty are not required to post midterm grades, and some faculty will only post them if the student’s current grade is unsatisfactory. These are an indicator of current progress, NOT a firm grade. You should always discuss these grades with your professors and advisors if you receive an unsatisfactory/not passing midterm grade.

Why am I on academic probation?
If you are placed on academic probation, it is because your grades and classes completed satisfactorily do not meet the standards for continuing students at Mars Hill University. If you do not meet the requirements in the semester you are on probation, you will be suspended. You can use classes taken over the summer, either here or elsewhere, to come off of probation. It is key at this point, should you find yourself on probation , to discuss your situation with your advisor so s/he can help you weigh your options.

How long is it going to take me to get my degree?
In order to graduate with a degree from Mars Hill University, students must earn 128 credit hours of major and general education requirements and a cumulative GPA of 2.0. At 16 credit hours per semester, this can be accomplished in four years. However—all majors are different. Some require more credit hours than others, and some may take longer than others. Always consult the university catalog for the academic year you began at Mars Hill for specific major degree requirements.

Can I take classes at other schools over the summer?
Yes, but you need to go to the registrar’s office (2nd floor of Blackwell Hall) for a permission form, and it is your responsibility to get the other institution to send your transcript and grade to us. However, the last 32 hours that count towards your degree must be taken at Mars Hill University.

Can I take a course over again after failing it? How does it affect my GPA?
If you earn a grade of F in a course, you may take it again—this is called our “repeat course policy.” The grade for each attempt will show up on your transcripts, but only the last passing grade will be calculated into your cumulative GPA. If you use this policy, you are ineligible for graduation honors.

Can I take a course again if I want a higher grade?
Only if you earned an F. If you earned a passing grade (D or higher), you cannot take the course again and have it replace the first grade in your GPA.


PROSPECTIVE/NEW /TRANSFER STUDENTS:

When and how do I get my schedule for my first semester?
You will register either during a SOAR (Summer Orientation Advising & Registration) session or during Gateway. You will work with a trained faculty/staff advisor who will discuss your academic placement, any transfer credits, any other commitments you might have in your upcoming semester, and generally work with you to ensure that you get the right schedule for your first semester here at the institution.

Who will my advisor be?
Your first-semester advisor, if you are not transferring in 28 or more hours of credit, will be your FYS111 professor. If you are considered a transfer student (with 28+ hours of previous college/university credit), the registrar will assign you an advisor in your major area, and you can find that information under your course schedule in self-service.

How do I find out what courses will transfer in?
The registrar’s office will do a transfer course assessment, and that will be included in your advising folder when you register during SOAR or Gateway.

Can I retake a course I’ve transferred in for credit if my grade wasn’t good the first time around?
Absolutely. In fact, if you are transferring in any Fs, we strongly recommend that you retake the equivalent course here at Mars Hill to help your G.P.A.

How many courses should I take my first semester?
That depends—there’s no real “one size fits all.” Aim for 15 credit hours (five 3 credit hour classes), but there may be other considerations: work, on or off campus; athletics; honor or service scholarships or programs; the results of your placement tests; your intended major. What should you do? TALK to an advisor at SOAR! Or contact the Director of Advising or a faculty member in your potential major.

What is SOAR?
MHU’s Summer Orientation, Advising, and Registration sessions. These occur beginning in April, and they are designed to introduce you to life at Mars Hill AND get you registered appropriately for fall classes. Among other exciting things, you’ll get your student ID, meet current students known as “Challengers” who will work with you in your FYS111 classes, learn about the academic structures of the university, and work one-on-one with a trained advisor to build a schedule that will work for your individual needs as an incoming, new MHU student!

What if I don’t go to SOAR?
We strongly recommend that ALL incoming students attend a SOAR session! If you don’t, you’ll miss a lot of essential information. If for some reason you do NOT come to a SOAR session, make sure you attend Gateway (the August event preceding the first week of classes) and register for your classes. Above all, TALK to someone here at the institution. Call a coach, your admissions counselor, a faculty or staff member, the Dean of Students. Don’t just show up on campus. You will be at a significant disadvantage.

What if I don’t like my schedule? How do I change it?
Your SOAR advisor will make every effort to help you build a schedule that works for you, but we recognize that things change over the summer before you arrive on campus in August, and that perhaps you’ll show up for your first class and realize this really isn’t for you and you want to drop it and add something else. Not a problem. See your advisor (your FYS111 instructor, or your major advisor—see self-service if you don’t know who that is). S/He will help you figure out what you need to do, authorize you to make the changes in our online registration system, and make sure you’re still doing everything you need to do to make satisfactory academic progress.

I’ve already decided on a major—why isn’t my advisor in that department?
If you are a brand new freshman, your advisor will always be your FYS111 instructor. The registrar’s office processes change of major and advisor assignment requests at the end of the first semester. If you came into the university as a declared major and the change of advisor is not made by the end of the first semester, speak with your FYS111 advisor and s/he will touch base with the registrar and check for you.