Cyber Orientation 2 - Academic Planning & Resources

This is the second in the series of Cyber Orientation emails.  Their purpose is to provide you with important information and reminders as you prepare to matriculate at St. Lawrence on Sunday, August 25th.  The theme of this email is Academic Planning, Resources and Course Registration.  This email briefly outlines the registration process, points you to the relevant sections of the New Student Guide & Forms [NSG&F] website (www.stlawu.edu/class) and other locations on the SLU website, and discusses resources available to help you succeed academically. 

Fall Course Registration Process

Fall course registration for first-year students is a four-step process.  The following is just a heads up to what you should be doing this summer.  You will find a detailed discussion of each of these steps on the NSG&F by following the Fall Course Enrollment and Registration link in the section called “Planning Your Education.”  

As you know from the mailing you received earlier this month, most of you have been placed into half of your schedule already—your First-Year Program course and one other course.  These placements were based on the forms you submitted in June. There are only a few of you who did not complete the forms and as a result do not have a second course. If you are on the pre-health careers track, you may already be enrolled in three courses: FYP, Biology and Chemistry.  Please note that these three courses can be considered a full load for entering first year students, though you may also choose to take a fourth course, if you are so inclined.

For those with one or two courses, these placements were the first two steps in the fall course enrollment process.  We are now onto the third step—“Creating a Working List”—and it is time for you to start becoming familiar with the Academic Planning and Registration (APR) System.  

You will use the APR system to register for the remainder of your course schedule.  You can find detailed instructions for how to login and use APR on the Registrar’s site as well as on the InfoTech website for new students.

You will actually register for the rest of your courses during Orientation, after you meet with your advisor to discuss these courses and your academic plan more generally.

Over the summer, you should be investigating what courses you might take by reviewing the Distribution and Graduation Requirements and Academic Departments/Programs and Courses information on the NSG&F and looking at the “Course Listings” on APR (see instructions on finding a course in APR).  

Then, using these resources, you should be creating a “working list” of courses.  The working list you create over the summer will be the starting point for your conversation with your advisor during Orientation.  Include lots of possible choices to discuss with your advisor; you can never have too many options on your working list. At this point in time, you will not be able to add courses to your request list, due to something called an “advisor hold.” Do not be worried that you cannot put classes on the course request list at this point in time.  You will be the first group of students to register during the days of orientation [August 26th and 27th], and as soon as you have discussed your plan with your academic adviser, the hold will be lifted and you will be able to move courses from the working list to the request list.

In summary, here is what you need to be doing over the summer to prepare for the on-campus advising and registration process in August:

Transfer and AP Credits

If you have not already done so, you should send transcripts for any possible transfer credits and/or your AP exam scores from College Board to the Registrar’s office ASAP. Check here for further information: http://www.stlawu.edu/registrar/content/49

Textbooks for your classes:

Though you will not have a complete fall schedule when you arrive at SLU, most of you will have FYP plus one or two other courses on your schedule. If you wish to get information about what textbooks might be required, you can check the Brewer Bookstore textbook ordering page: http://www.brewerbookstoretext.com/Textbook_Main.asp

Please note that all FYPs require students to buy and use The Little Seagull Handbook, a style manual from Norton Publishing. However, many FYPs do not use traditional textbooks and will often post readings on our campus online course support system.

Academic Resources

Academic planning is not just about the courses you take but how you make the most of your college experience.  College is quite different from high school, and even the best students often struggle with time management and higher expectations.  Therefore, we have a number of offices to help you with reading, writing, speaking, quantitative and test-taking skills as well as time management.  

You will find information about all of these resources in the “Academic Resources” section of the NSG&F; you should also visit the Office for Academic Advising Programs website.  

Here I highlight just some of the other resources available to you:

  • Our Academic Support program works with students who wish to improve their grades by getting help with time management, study skills, test-taking skills and the like.  We also have peer tutoring available.  All of these services are free.
  • The Office of Academic Services for Students with Special Needs assists students with documented learning disabilities or other special needs.  If you have a learning disability or other academic special need, you should get in touch with this office, if you have not done so already.  You can call them at (315) 229-5104. As a reminder, if you are a student with a disability and have NOT filled out the student information form, please do so as soon as possible.  The information you fill in on this form will be sent directly to the Office of Special Needs.  They will contact you once they have your completed form.
  • The CSTEP and McNair Programs are intended to increase the number of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged undergraduate and graduate students who complete educational programs leading to a licensed profession or a career in mathematics, science, technology, or health-related fields—in the case of CSTEP—or a Ph.D. in the case of the McNair program.  If you plan on following one of these directions, and you are a New York State resident [for CSTEP], and you think you might fit the criteria, you should check out this program.
  • The WORD Studio provides assistance for students in all stages of writing and speaking projects, from brainstorming ideas, to learning correct citation techniques, to rehearsing speeches to thinking through organization and style issues. Feedback on poster and PowerPoint design are also available.   All of these services are free. 
  • The Peterson Quantitative Resources Center is also available for support in any course that has mathematical, statistical or computational content.  Among their free services are drop-in one-on-one tutorials and study rooms equipped with computers.  
  • During your time at St. Lawrence, you will definitely want to consider as part of your academic planning one or more internship opportunities.  At St. Lawrence you also have the opportunity to obtain credit for one or more of those experiences.  The Director of Career Connections can help you to learn more about internships for credit, as can the information on the Independent Study/Internship website.
  • You should also check out the I’m New @ SLU page to learn more about technology—and how to use it well—at St. Lawrence.  Please note that a more detailed cyber orientation message, focusing on IT resources, will be coming to you shortly.

You are about to matriculate at a school with a wealth of services available to you.  Start taking advantage of what SLU has to offer by beginning your academic plan now and investigating the resources available to you.

See you soon!

Rebecca