Academic Advising

FAQ

COMMON QUESTIONS FOR FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS

HOW DO I FIND OUT WHO MY ACADEMIC ADVISOR AND FACULTY ADVISOR ARE?

Academic advisors are assigned by major. Visit the advising Welcome page to learn which advisor you are assigned to. Faculty advisors are also assigned by major and are listed in the Student Academic Advising Handbook.


HOW DO I DECLARE OR CHANGE MY MAJOR?
 

Students must make an appointment with their academic advisor to change their major form and to re-evaluate their degree audit.  NOTE:  Some programs require an application and acceptance process and have specific GPA requirements prior to admittance. Be sure to discuss this with your academic and/or faculty advisor.
 

HOW DO I DECLARE A MINOR?  

Students may earn a minor in a field outside their major by completing five to seven 3-credit or 4-credit courses as designated by the department offering the minor. Students should meet with their academic advisor to officially declare the minor before the end of their junior year.
 

HOW MANY COURSES SHOULD I TAKE?  

Full-time, undergraduate day students generally take five 3-credit or 4-credit courses per semester. In addition, freshmen students will register for the Student Success: Campus to Community 1-credit course, and some students may register for a 1-credit writing tutorial. Most full-time students normally take between 15 and 17 credits per semester.
 

WHAT HAPPENS IF I ONLY TAKE FOUR COURSES?  

In order to have a lighter load, some students choose to take four 3-credit or 4-credit courses, rather than five courses. In order to be considered full-time, students must take 12 or more credits of coursework per semester. A reduced course load of 12 credits is a viable option for students who need to be full-time but also have additional time-consuming commitments. NOTE: In order to graduate with a bachelor's degree in the traditional four-year timeframe, you need to successfully complete five 3-credit or 4-credit courses each semester or you will need to take courses during summer sessions.

WHY SHOULD I REGISTER FOR A WRITING TUTORIAL?   

A typical writing conference lasts about 30 minutes. At the beginning of each session, the student and the consultant discuss aspects of their writing and decide on a focus for the time available.

Among other things, students may choose to:

  • Brainstorm in order to uncover new ideas 
  • Discuss problems to get started
  • Work through revision possibilities with a draft-in-progress
  • Address documentation of outside sources for papers
  • Go over rules of grammar and style
  • Get help on editing and proofreading techniques

HOW OFTEN DOES EACH CLASS MEET?  

A 3-credit course meets for 150 minutes (a total of 2 ½ hours) each week. Some classes meet three times a week for 50 minutes each time, such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 to 10:50 a.m. Others meet twice a week for 75 minutes, such as Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. Four-credit classes involve either longer class sessions or the traditional 2 ½ hours of class with additional lab time required.
 

MAY I CHOOSE TO COMPLETE MY DEGREE ON A PART-TIME BASIS DURING THE DAY?

Yes! For a number of reasons, many students elect to pursue their degree on a part-time basis, meaning they are enrolled in less than 12 credits of coursework.  If a student will be attending part-time, their Academic Advisor will assist them in adapting their schedule to  degree requirements and to their personal schedule of other commitments. Part-time students do not have the option of living on campus in the residence halls.
 

WHAT DO THE LETTERS AND NUMBERS MEAN BEFORE AND AFTER THE COURSE TITLES, SUCH AS PSY101A (General Psychology)?

Undergraduate courses at Rivier University are designated first by a discipline, then by a level of difficulty. PSY represents Psychology and BUS is Business, etc.  Following the discipline designation (PSY), there is a course number representing the level of difficulty, which can be a 100-level, 200-level, 300-level or 400-level course. 100 and 200-level courses may be considered introductory and appropriate for first-year and sophomore students. The 300 and 400-level courses are more advanced courses and more appropriate for junior and seniors; therefore, 300 and 400-level courses often have prerequisites (see next question). Finally, there is a letter following the level-of-difficulty number which indicates a specific section of that course (A, B, C, D, E, etc.). The letter represents that the course is offered at various times or has various instructors. The letters are not associated with any difficulty or rigor of the course.
 

WHAT IS A PREREQUISITE?  

A prerequisite is a course or courses that must be completed before  certain other courses. For example, ENG115 (First-Year Writing Seminar) is a prerequisite for any other college level writing or literature course. Similarly, FR101 French Language and Culture I is a prerequisite for FR102 French Language and Culture II because FR102 builds upon the knowledge gained in FR101.
 

SHOULD I TAKE ELECTIVES IN MY FIRST SEMESTER?  

Because of the structure of our Core curriculum, we discourage freshmen students from selecting electives in their first semester, unless there is a need to take an Introduction to Writing or Math I course to prepare for our core courses. Many students prefer to keep their elective slots free to pursue a minor or to take courses that hold special interest to them or provides them with additional knowledge or skills related to their career.
 

WHAT IF I TOOK AN AP EXAM OR IB CREDITS IN HIGH SCHOOL?  

You should have any AP scores or IB credits sent directly to the Office of Academic Advising so they can evaluate them for possible transfer credit. You should also let your academic advisor know you have AP credit or IB credits immediately so that you are not scheduled to take a class for which you may be eligible to receive AP credit. 

WHAT IF I TOOK A RUNNING START COURSE FOR COLLEGE CREDIT WHILE I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL?  

Please inform your academic advisor immediately if you have taken a course for credit through a Running Start program as it could have an impact on the courses you have been enrolled in for the fall semester. You should also contact the college or university through which you received the credit and have them send an official copy of your transcript directly to your academic advisor. Once your advisor receives the transcript, it will be evaluated for possible transfer credit into your degree program. 


 MAY I CHANGE MY SCHEDULE AFTER ORIENTATION?  

Changes to a schedule may be made any time during the summer and until the end of the first week of classes. The process of adding or dropping courses is called add/drop and can be performed until the end of the first week of classes. To change your schedule, contact your Academic Advisor for assistance.


 

ACADEMIC INFORMATION 

HOW DO I CALCULATE MY GPA?  

To determine a student's academic status, the University uses a grade point system. Each grade has an associated numerical value (grade points) which are displayed below. For example:

Grade
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
F

Grade Points
4.00
3.67
3.33
3.00
2.67
2.33
2.00
1.67
1.33
1.00
0.00


Grade points are computed by multiplying the course credit by the numerical value of the grade earned. For example, a three-credit course completed with a grade of C carries 6.00 grade points (3 cr. x 2.00). The grade-point average (GPA) is obtained by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of credits attempted.

Sample report card and final GPA:

COURSE

GRADE

HOURS ATTEMPTED

HOURS EARNED

TOTAL GRADE POINTS

Writing

B

3

3

9.00

Religion

C

3

3

6.00

Algebra

F

3

0

0.00

History

B-

3

3

8.01

Spanish

C+

3

3

6.99

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

 

15

12

30


Divide the total Grade Points (30) by Hours Attempted (15) to equal a semester GPA of 2.00.

To calculate your overall GPA, add up all of your semester GPAs, and divide by the number of semesters added.


IF I FAIL A COURSE, CAN I REPEAT IT?  

If a course is failed it may be retaken but only at Rivier. The failed course cannot be taken at another institution and transfer it in as transfer credit. When a failed course is retaken at Rivier, grades for both attempts will show on the Rivier transcript, but only the new grade will be calculated in the GPA, even if that new grade is lower than the failed course grade. 


HOW DO I REQUEST A COPY OF MY TRANSCRIPT?  

Copies of transcripts may be requested from the Registrar's Office. Requests may be made in writing by emailing asktheregistrar@rivier.edu or by stopping by the Registrar's Office, located in Adrienne Hall, 2 nd floor. For more information regarding obtaining transcripts, use the link below.

Click here for the Registrar's Office page on Transcripts.
 

HOW CAN I GET A COPY OF MY DEGREE REQUIREMENTS?  

A degree audit is located in the MYRIV portal. It can be accessed and printed from there. To obtain a paper copy or a blank program audit sheet stop by the Office of Academic Advising. Complete degree requirements are also listed in the Undergraduate Course Catalog, available online here.
 

WHAT ARE THESE DIFFERENT MARKS ON MY TRANSCRIPTS?  

A "W" on a transcript indicates a withdrawal from a course after the add/drop period, which is the first week of class. This mark has no impact on a GPA. However, if you fail to give official notification for withdrawing from class before the published deadline, you will receive a grade of "NF" (Administrative Failure/No Official Notification).

An "I" indicates an incomplete. If for some reason a student is unable to complete some part of the course requirements, the professor may allow the student an extension to complete the work, as long as the request is reasonable and made before the final examination date.


    

ACADEMIC DIFFICULTY

WHAT IS ACADEMIC PROBATION?  

Students are placed on Academic Probation when their cumulative  grade point average falls below 2.0, which is the minimum standard of academic achievement at Rivier University. Students are required to meet with the Associate Vice President for Student Success and/or their Academic Advisor to discuss strategies for successfully raising their grade point average to a 2.0 or higher. Once strategies for success have been identified, the student is required to sign an Academic Progress Plan to ensure their participation in, acknowledgement of, and commitment to fulfilling recommended strategies for success.

Students who fail to meet the 2.0 grade point average for two consecutive semesters may be in jeopardy of being dismissed from the university and losing their eligibility for financial aid.
 

WHEN WOULD A STUDENT BE ACADEMICALLY DISMISSED FROM RIVIER?  

After two consecutive semesters of failing to achieve a 2.0 cumulative grade point average, particularly if evidenced by a cumulative grade point average of 1.0 or less, students are academically dismissed from the university. In many cases, students have the right to appeal their academic dismissal by meeting with the Associate Vice President for Student Success (AVPSS), who may elect to permit the student to continue in their program of study at the University. Continuation will be based upon the student meeting the terms of conditions established by the AVPSS. Students who appeal and are given the opportunity to continue need to immediately contact the Office of Financial Services, as they may no longer be eligible for financial aid.
 

HOW CAN I AVOID ACADEMIC DIFFICULTY OR FAILURE?  

There are many academic support services available to students, which can be accessed through the Office of Academic Advising, or the Learning Commons, which include the following:

  • Academic Advising
  • Writing & Resource Center
  • Writing consultation and tutoring services
  • Content tutoring
  • Peer mentoring
  • Supplemental instruction
  • Success skills development (e.g. time management, reading comprehension)
  • Counseling Center
  • Disability Services
  • Career Counseling

WHAT IS A PEER MENTOR?  WHAT STUDENTS ARE ASSIGNED A PEER MENTOR AND HOW CAN I GET ONE?  

Peer Mentors are upper-class students who are assigned to new freshmen to serve as a student resource helping freshmen navigate and adjust to college life. Peer Mentors are assigned to Student Success: Campus to Community courses, which all freshmen take in their first year. For more information regarding the Peer Mentoring Program, please contact the Writing & Resources Center at 603-897-8580 or schedule an appointment by using your MyRiv account to schedule through TutorTrac or email: TTrac@rivier.edu.


 

EARNING ALTERNATIVE CREDITS

CAN I TAKE COURSES OFF CAMPUS DURING THE SUMMER?  

Many students take courses during the summer for various reasons or due to having failed or dropped a course. Some students are able to take the course(s) at Rivier University during the summer through an online or on-ground offering. For students who need or desire to take courses at another institution, it is required that they first meet with their Academic Advisor to discuss how off-campus courses are requested and approved. Students must provide a course description to their advisor for approval before signing up for any classes at another institution, as off-campus course credits can only be transferred into Rivier with prior approval from their academic advisor or faculty advisor, and with an earned course grade of C or better. Only the credits awarded for an approved course will transfer into a student's program; not the grade. Therefore, a student's cumulative grade point average (GPA) is not affected by off-campus courses. (*Nursing students wanting to take courses off-campus should contact their Academic Advisor, as special conditions exist in the nursing program which may prevent off-campus course credit transfers.)
 

HOW DO I GET PERMISSION TO TAKE SUMMER COURSES OFF CAMPUS?  

Talk to your Academic Advisor if you are planning to take summer courses at another institution. You will be required to submit the course title and number and the official course description to make sure the course meets Rivier's standards and your degree program requirements. The Academic Advisor will make sure that it is presented for course approval to the program coordinator and/or divisional dean. After the course is completed, you must request an official transcript from the other institution be sent to Rivier before course credit will officially be granted. NOTE:  For most programs, transfer credit is only awarded for courses in which a grade of C or higher is earned. Check with your Faculty or Academic Advisor to determine if there are any varying requirements regarding taking off-campus courses or transfer credit grade requirements.
 

HOW DO I TRANSFER IN CREDITS THAT I HAVE TAKEN OFF CAMPUS PRIOR TO ATTENDING RIVIER UNIVERSITY?

To transfer college course credits that you have already taken at another regionally accredited institution into your program at Rivier, you must contact the Registrar's Office at the university where the course(s) was taken and request an official transcript be mailed to the Registrar's Office at Rivier University. Once received, the transcript will be evaluated by an academic advisor to determine that the course and the grade earned for the course meets Rivier's transfer credit requirements. Typically, the grade earned must be a C or higher to be considered for transfer, although some courses (i.e. nursing requirements) require at least a B. If you have earned credits in high school or other programs, such as AP course credits in high school, Dual Enrollment courses, Running Start courses, ACE, military or professional training courses, or CLEP exams, you are still required to contact the institution or organization at which the courses or exams were taken and request official copies of the transcripts be sent to Rivier University. NOTE: Transfer credit should be earned and applied prior to your junior year, as the last 30 credits you earn towards your degree must be completed at Rivier University.
 

WHAT IS A DIRECTED STUDY?

A Directed Study is an opportunity for a student to complete a course's requirements without attending the class. A student can request a directed study under two conditions: 1) The course is needed as a graduation requirement and is not being offered prior to the student's anticipated graduation date; 2) the student is interested in pursuing a special topic course that Rivier does not offer. Students must meet with their Faculty Advisor to discuss this option. Together, the Faculty Advisor and student determine assignments and meeting times in order to check on progress being made in the directed study. All Directed Study courses must be approved by the department coordinator and divisional dean.
 

CAN I TEST OUT OF COURSES IN CONTENT AREAS IN WHICH I AM ALREADY PROFICIENT?

There are two options by which a student may be exempted from taking certain courses while still earning credit for them. Those options are:

1) The Challenge Examination is a one-time examination used to determine knowledge and proficiency in a specific content area or course. The exam is created by the Rivier discipline expert or course instructor, and is designed to be an equivalent to a specific course offered in Rivier's curriculum.  The method of examination varies, but to earn credit a student must score a grade of C or higher. No retakes are allowed, and it is the student's responsibility to prepare for the exam. Students should contact their Academic Advisor, if interested, to discuss procedures, guidelines and fees.

2) The College-Level Examination Program ® (CLEP) is an alternative way to earn college credits by testing out of certain courses offered. CLEP is a way to save money and time by showing your proficiency in courses that you would otherwise take at Rivier.  To earn credit, the test score must be at, or above, the 50th percentile for most exams, but see your Academic Advisor for the specific requirements. *NOTE: You cannot take a CLEP exam for credits during your last year at Rivier. For information on which tests are offered, where, costs, study guides and other details, visit the College Board website.
 

HOW CAN I DO AN INTERNSHIP FOR CREDIT?  

Internships are a great way for students to gain experience in a field and start building professional skills and networks, while building a resume as well. Students interested in doing an internship should set up a meeting with the appropriate Faculty Advisor. Requirements, procedures and awarding of credits vary by department, and often an internship can be used as elective credits. Internships are typically performed during the fall or spring semester, but can also be done over the summer break. Visit the Career Services Office for more information on internship options.
 

HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT STUDYING ABROAD?  

Students who wish to enrich and expand their educational experience through study abroad for a summer, semester, or year should discuss their plans in advance with their Department Chair and Academic Advisor, and then arrange a meeting with someone from the Office of Global Engagement. While Rivier does not directly sponsor any study abroad program, many excellent options are available. Students planning to spend their junior year abroad are encouraged to initiate necessary arrangements early in their sophomore year in order to be assured of a place in a foreign study program of their choice. Students are responsible for all planning and arrangements, including financing, housing, transportation and other personal expenses.  Approval is needed from the program coordinator or divisional dean to ensure courses taken through study abroad fulfill Rivier's requirements.


 

REGISTRATION AND WITHDRAWAL

HOW WILL I REGISTER FOR CLASSES FOR THE NEXT SEMESTER?  

All students receive online registration information each semester before the priority registration period begins through their Rivier email account. Students can access their degree audit in their MyRiv account to determine what courses are still needed to complete their degree program requirements. Students meet first with their Faculty Advisor, to select major courses, and then with their Academic Advisor to select core courses and general electives, in order to complete their schedule, and then complete the process by registering online.
 

CAN I DROP, ADD OR WITHDRAW FROM A CLASS DURING THE SEMESTER?  

The first week of classes is the "add/drop" period. Students can drop a course and/or add another course during this timeframe. If a student wants to add or drop a course from their schedule, it is important to contact or meet with their academic advisor to discuss the impact of this decision before using their MyRiv account to add or drop a course. After the first week of classes, and prior to the last date to withdraw from a course, dropping or withdrawing from a course will result in a "W" showing next to the course, in the place of a grade, on your transcript. The "W" mark has no impact on a student's GPA. Students should check the academic calendar to be aware of add/drop and withdrawal dates. NOTE:  Students should contact their Academic Advisor if they are thinking about adding, dropping or withdrawing from a course(s), as it may impact their ability to complete their degree program on time, or it could result in a loss of financial aid eligibility.
 

HOW DO I TAKE A LEAVE OF ABSENCE OR WITHDRAW FROM THE UNIVERSITY?  

To take a leave of absence or withdraw from the university, students must contact their Academic Advisor to fill out the required paperwork, so that all parties that need to be informed are aware they will be leaving. A leave of absence, which is for a short defined period of time, or a withdrawal from the university may impact a number of areas of a student's campus experience, such as financial aid, housing, ability to complete internships, practicums or clinicals, ability to continue in the program, etc. Billing, payments and refunds are also impacted. Tuition refunds are given based on the date of notification and according to the outlined refund schedule found in each semester's course schedule. NOTE: Nursing majors who take an LOA must be readmitted to the program. Readmission is based upon whether or not there is a space-available.
 

HOW DO I NOTIFY THE UNIVERSITY/PROFESSORS IF I NEED TO LEAVE TEMPORARILY FOR AN EMERGENCY?  

If an emergency occurs and a student needs to leave campus and miss classes, they should notify their Academic Advisor and professors as soon as possible.  Students may be required to provide documentation at the discretion of their professors or other administrators, especially if an absence causes them to miss exams or due dates for assignments, or if absences are excessive, placing them in jeopardy of the Habitual Non-Attendance policy. Each professor will determine how and if coursework that is missed will be permitted to be made up, and will determine the timeframe in which the work needs to be completed. If the absenteeism is excessive due to circumstances beyond the student's control, such as a major illness, the student and instructor may need to discuss the practicality of receiving an incomplete grade.


 

PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES

WHAT KINDS OF JOBS CAN I OBTAIN WITH MY MAJOR?  

Staff at the Career Development Center are more than willing to help you:

  • Discern career and vocational goals
  • Assess strengths and weakness regarding job skills and interests
  • Find out about job opportunities that will meet financial, personal and career goals
  • Determine types of internships that best fulfill program and personal requirements
  • Identify and select a career path that best meet personal goals
  • Take advantage of service and volunteer opportunities
  • Maximize the benefits and engagement aspects of the Employment Promise Program
  • Develop strong skills in interviewing techniques
  • Excel in resume writing
  • Familiarize students with the career paths there are for graduates in each of the majors Rivier offers.
     

Visit the Rivier University Career Services webpages for more information.
 

 


 

 

 


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