Newly Admitted Students

Welcome to the College of Charleston!

Welcome to the College of Charleston and the Academic Advising and Planning Center. During your first year at the College, with a few exceptions, you will be working with our staff of professional academic advisors. On average, students are expected to see their advisor at least once per semester, but certainly more in-person or electronic contact is encouraged. Many newly admitted students have questions about an average course load, important things you need to know, how college is different from high school, and what exactly is academic advising.

For more information, select your admissions population:

Preparing for Orientation Advising

As a new student at the College of Charleston, you will meet with an academic advisor during new student orientation. Use this list to prepare for your orientation advising meeting.

Academic Advising During Orientation

Advising and Registration are part of the two-day campus orientation process, which occurs in a number of Orientation Sessions over the summer for students enrolling for the Fall semester or January for students enrolling for the Spring. New students are advised in the morning of Day 1. New students are advised by professional academic advisors with the support of a trained Peer Advisor. Advisors cover graduation requirements, general education requirements, the rigor of college and other information essential information in small group advising sessions. Students are provided with personal placement scores already available to the college at that time and will chat briefly with an advisor about their specific questions or concerns. Students are given homework to complete overnight in preparation for the registration process. Welcome to college!

Day 2 consists of actually registering for the fall courses (Summer orientation) or spring courses (January Orientation). Before registering, student homework will be checked. No homework= No Registration. Again, this is in a small group environment and will be held in a computer lab. The same advisors from Day 1 will be with students on Day 2. All students must check out of the computer lab with their assigned advisor. The advisor will check the student’s schedule for appropriateness based on their discussions from Day 1 and Day 2. Students can make changes to their semester schedule after orientation is over, but it is strongly encouraged that students check in with their academic advisor when making changes.

Prior to arriving for orientation, new first-year students (excluding transfers, Honors, and Athletes) are expected to complete the “Orientation” section of the Academic Advising course in OAKS (the College of Charleston's online course delivery system). Prior to the registered orientation date, access information for the OAKS course will be sent to students via email. Students will use the OAKS platform for their classes at the college, and the Academic Advising course will lay a strong foundation for the orientation experience as well as allow students to familiarize themselves with OAKS. The content of this course will take approximately an hour to complete. It does not need to be completed in one sitting, but failure to complete this work in advance will only increase student frustration and delay their registration process.

The registration session has two required parts: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Both sessions are with the same professional advisor to help students get the most personalized help possible. In the morning, the content and materials from the Academic Advising OAKS course will be reviewed and students will have an opportunity to ask questions about what they learned. If students do not complete the work on the course, they will not be able to register. In the afternoon of their orientation day, students will register for their fall courses (Summer orientation) or spring courses (January Orientation).The classes they register for will be based on the information students learned from the OAKS course as well as content covered in the morning session. Before the student is permitted to leave, the advisor will check the student’s schedule for appropriateness based on their discussions during the day. Students can make changes to their semester schedule after orientation is over, but it is strongly encouraged that students check in with their academic advisor when making changes.

Note to parents: Parents are not permitted in the advising or registration rooms for any reason. Our advisors are highly trained and will work closely with your student during our time with them. Remember, you students’ best interest is also ours. Talk with your student in advance of their orientation day about communicating any concerns, questions, or learning challenges. For many students, this may be their first effort in self-advocacy. Besides, parents need to focus on learning information that is pertinent to their new role.

Math Placement

Information about Math Placement is available from the Department of Mathematics.

Foreign Language Placement

Common Questions

Visit the Academic Advising and Planning Center's Student Resources page for academic planning tools, campus resources, and answers to commonly asked questions.

What is the Average Course Load?

The College of Charleston requires students to achieve 122 credit hours upon graduation. Typically, it takes most students at least 8 semesters to complete a degree. This averages to 15 credit hours per semester for six semesters and two semesters with 16 hours. This excludes any consideration for AP, IB or dual enrollment credit upon entering college. This average also does not consider if a student is thinking about a possible Maymester or summer school experience. Your academic advisor will discuss with you when you come for new student orientation about what is the best option for you. Students must be enrolled in 12 hours to be considered a full-time student. On average, students enroll between 14-17 credit hours per semester.

Important Things You Need to Know Now

  • Explore each tile available to you in MyPortal. There is a wealth of information there that will help you become acclimated to the College and be an invaluable resource once you’re on campus.
  • Read your email. ALL official communication comes through your campus email address. This includes important information from our office, New Student Programs (Orientation!), the Treasurer’s Office (your tuition bill!), Residence Life and Housing, and Dining Services among many others.
  • If you’re not sure what to do, do something. Call what you think to be the most appropriate office or get online to find out the answer. Not asking for help doesn’t get your question answered or help you be successful as you prepare to come to college.

What Exactly is Academic Advising?

Academic advising and planning helps you learn how to successfully navigate the many opportunities and responsibilities of your college education. This is achieved through regular interaction between you and your academic advisor. You will talk about who you are, your personal and academic goals, and challenges and begin to strategize a plan. You will be assigned an academic advisor who will work with until you declare your academic major.

During the academic year, you will meet with your assigned advisor at least once per semester. This is a one hour appointment dedicated solely to you. Please review the Academic Advising Dialogue to see what happens in that one hour appointment. Our Advising Syllabus will also give you useful information about the academic advising process, as well as important advising deadlines.

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