AcademicsWhat courses do I need to take in my first year?
Every first-year student is required to complete an Inquiry Seminar and one of the following communication sources: IOC 100 or IWC 100 during their first semester. During their second semester, every first-year students are required to complete the remaining communication course (either IOC 100 or IWC 100). During their first year, students should complete the wellness course (PED 111). The rest of the courses taken should be electives that will introduce you to your major fields of interest and general education areas. If you have made a special vocational choice such as pre-medicine, elementary education, nursing or music, your program will be more prescribed.
Course selection is discussed in detail in the Concordia College Catalog. If you have not made a specific vocational choice, you will receive assistance in selecting a program by which you can explore areas of interest. However, the final choice of sources is yours, so please give thought to your options.
What is a course?
It is a unit of measure that occupies approximately one-fourth of a student’s class time for a semester. For transcript purposes, classes are assigned 4 semester credit hours or partial credit of 1 or 2 credit hours.
What is a normal course load?
Usually first-year students take four full courses and physical education (17 credits) each semester. Your course load should be 12 credits, but should not be more than 17 credits (excludes music lessons and ensembles). Your progress can be hampered by a course load that is too heavy. If you are receiving a Minnesota Grant, you must be enrolled in at least 15 credits each semester in order to receive full funding.
How much time should I expect to study?
You will probably have about 14 hours in class per week, plus three or four hours in laboratory if you are taking a course requiring a laboratory experience. It is generally expected that students plan two hours of study outside of class for each hour in class. Therefore, students can expect to study approximately 28-36 hours per week in addition to time spent in the classroom. One way of looking at your college experience is that your full-time job is to be a student. If you are putting at least 40 hours of work in each week to classes and studying, you will likely be a successful student.
Do I have to start my major the first year?
No, you do not. You can begin with a general program if you wish, and explore areas that interest you most. If you have chosen a tentative major, you will most likely take at least one course in that area. To get a detailed answer with respect to the major area that you may have in mind, consult your faculty adviser. It is a good idea to test your interest and ability in the probably major as soon as possible. Some programs are best started early, such as nursing, pre-medicine, elementary education, social studies education, and music.
Are there preprofessional programs at Concordia such as premedicine?
By making wise choices among the courses offered, you can prepare yourself for a variety of professional careers. For example, many of our graduates go to medical school, dental school, law school, seminary and other educational pursuits. You and your adviser can discuss possible programs if you are considering graduate study.
What tests will I have to take at entrance, and why?
Before you were accepted to Concordia, you most likely took the ACT, the SAT or the PSAT. You will take a language placement test (Computerized Adaptive Placement Exam – CAPE) if you have taken a language in high school and are planning to continue the same language in college.
Concordia College believes knowledge of world language and culture is essential because it increases communication and critical-thinking skills, and students will gain heightened cultural awareness. All students are required to take the equivalent of one year of world language at the college level (111/112), and it is highly recommended that students continue their language studies beyond the first year.
All entering students who have previously studied a world language are required to take the placement test before registering for a world language course. The results of this test will assist in placing you in the course most appropriate for your level of language ability. It is advisable to begin your college language study in your first year; placement test results are only valid for one year. If you place into the second-year level or beyond and do not wish to continue the study of a world language, you are required to take an oral and written proficiency examination.
There is no need to study for these tests. They are designed to see how much you learned from your language studies in high school. Although not graded, the results provide information to help construct the best study program for you.
Who is my adviser?
Your adviser is a faculty member who will help you with decisions about your plan of study and career goals. You will meet with a faculty member during Summer Orientation and with your assigned adviser during Fall Orientation.
Do I have to choose a major before I start college?
Definitely not — your college work will give you an opportunity to explore your interests and abilities and help you make career decisions. Everyone, at one time or another, could benefit from career counseling. Stop at the Career Center in Academy Hall and ask for career exploration information and interest inventories that may help you reach your decision.
Is my summer course registration final or may I make changes later?
You have the opportunity to make changes in your course registration in August. Speak with your adviser about the reasons for changing your schedule, and he or she will assist you. However, you should know it may be more difficult to make changes at that time because classes fill as other students register during the summer.
When will first-year students and transfer students get their first grades?
Early in November you will receive midsemester grades. This is our way of reporting your progress to you and to your parents, unless you have been declared an independent student. The midsemester grades are not part of your permanent record. Suppose, for example, you are taking history and receive a midsemester grade of B. This means you are doing very well and your prospects of receiving a high grade at the end of the semester are good. On the other hand, if you receive a low midsemester grade, it would be appropriate to consult your instructor or to get special help. Make arrangements to see a counselor in the Academic Enhancement and Writing Center in the lower level of Fjelstad Hall if you are having difficulties.
Are my grades sent home?
Parents are perhaps most concerned during the first semester about your adjustment to college life. A midsemester progress report is sent to you and your parents during your first semester at Concordia. Final grade reports for the semester go to you at your home address, to your adviser, and to the Office of Student Affairs. Students are asked to share these reports with their parents.
What is Concordia’s grading system?
We use letter grades — A, A-, B+, and so on. We assign points to grades as follows:
Grade points per course
IP In Progress
S Passing Grade (S-U course)
U Failing Grade (S-U course)
Grade Point Average (GPA): This is a measure of the average level of the student’s work. The grade points earned in a single course are determined by multiplying the numerical equivalent of the letter grade (above) by the number of semester credits for the course. The grade point average is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned in all courses by the total number of semester credits attempted. We exclude S/U courses when calculating GPA. A grade point average of 2.0 is the same as a C average in letter grades and is the minimum required for graduation.
What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?
In accordance with federal regulations and in order to maintain satisfactory progress toward a degree, undergraduate students must meet minimum academic progress requirements. A student whose status is determined to be unsatisfactory is not eligible to receive financial aid unless certain criteria are met. Read the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. If you have any questions, you can contact the Financial Aid Office.
If I am having academic trouble, what can I do?
Here are some of the most important tips:
- TALK WITH YOUR ADVISER AND YOUR INSTRUCTORS. They are willing to help you. Feel free to approach them; they want to know if you’re having problems. Don’t deprive yourself of the important help they can give you.
- FIND A PURPOSE. It sounds ridiculous to say, “Now I’m going to become interested in my work.” But it is a simple fact that the most important element in learning is interest, and that comes from understanding your purpose.
- CULTIVATE GOOD STUDY HABITS. Systematic, regular and disciplined study is essential. Remember that no one can put you in a chair with a book and make you study; you must discipline yourself.
- ATTEND ALL CLASSES. Almost invariably, the student experiencing difficulty is the student who is skipping classes.
- VISIT THE ACADEMIC ENHANCEMENT AND WRITING CENTER. The staff in the center is available to help you assess your study skills and work on strategies to improve your academic performance. They can also direct you to other resources and sources of help on campus. The Academic Enhancement and Writing Center is located in the lower level of Fjelstad Hall.
- TALK WITH OTHER STUDENTS. Often they can help you solve a problem or help you with a difficult situation.
- REMOVE DISTRACTIONS. If other involvements — movies, weekend trips, games, clubs or work — get priority over studies, you can’t expect to make progress.
- One frequent distraction is money problems. If you are having trouble in this respect, we invite you to consult the Business Office or the Financial Aid Office. They are happy to counsel you on financial problems.
We do not have a system of “excuses” for class absences; no one can grant an “excuse.” Many instructors do require written documentation if students wish to make up missed exams, etc. We are concerned that you get the best education possible here at Concordia. Therefore, we are interested in your class attendance. Our system has the following basic principles:
- Every class absence, no matter what the reason, is an academic loss. No one is “excused” from an assignment regardless of the reason for the absence.
- The student is expected to exercise self-discipline and good judgment; class attendance is monitored. One who does not attend classes regularly must expect that grades will be seriously affected.
- You should inform your instructor ahead of time if you need to be absent for good cause. The initiative rests with the student to arrange for appropriate makeup work for classes missed. Illness or family emergency that requires you to miss classes for an extended period of time should be reported to the Office of Student Affairs.