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You and Your Advisor:
Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Advising
  2. Issues You Should Discuss with Your Advisor
  3. Issues of Particular Importance to Freshmen
  4. Issues Important to All Students
  5. Issues Specific to International Students
  6. Issues Specific to Student Athletes
  7. The Honors College and Achieving Academic Honors

IV. Issues Important to All Students

A. Dropping Classes / Withdrawing
Click numbered boxes to open and close answers.

1. How do I add, drop or withdraw from a class?
First, talk to your instructor. Then, talk to your advisor about your reasons for making the any class change. If your advisor agrees, obtain a drop/add form from the Registrar's office, fill it out and have your advisor and the professor who teaches the course sign it before returning it to the Registrar's Office. You have not officially dropped the course until you bring the form to the Registrar's Office. If you do not turn in a signed drop form by the deadline, you will remain registered in the class and will fail it because of excessive absences or incomplete work. Refer to the Academic Calendar for add/drop/withdraw deadlines.

2. Is there a fee for dropping/withdrawing from a course?
If you make changes to your schedule after the last day to add classes, the Registrar may charge a $5 fee for each form submitted.

3. How long do I have to drop/withdraw from the course without penalty after I've started it?
You may drop a course during the first three weeks of the semester without academic record. After this time, you may drop a class without academic penalty until one week after the mid-term grading period. Your transcript will reflect a W if you drop a class during this period. The last date for dropping a course without penalty is listed in the University calendar.

4. Are there exceptions to the drop/withdraw rule?
Yes, all regular students must carry a minimum of twelve credit hours. You cannot drop a class if it would reduce your hours to below 12.You may not drop (or withdraw) from a course in which you have already received a grade. If a final grade of F is reported for any reason, the grade of F stands. Withdrawal from a course after the official drop period, failure to turn in the drop form, or simply stopping attending class will result in a grade of F. Under extenuating circumstances, a student may appeal to the Vice President for Academic Affairs in order to withdraw officially from a course and receive a grade of W for the course.

B. General Education/Overlapping Requirements
Click numbered boxes to open and close answers.

1. What are General Education courses?
General Education courses (Gen. Ed., GE) are a group of courses from a variety of disciplines that are required of all students.

2. Why do I have to take all of these General Education courses?
Chowan University is a liberal arts college. Liberal arts schools have a different approach to education than technical and vocational schools, which teach specific skills for a specific workplace (how to repair an automobile, how to install electrical fixtures, how to drive an 18-wheeler, etc.). A liberal arts curriculum is designed to develop student’s broader intellectual understanding as well as to provide knowledge in a specific discipline or major. The philosophy underlying Chowan University’s General Education requirements is that no area of study exists in a vacuum. In order to succeed in a rapidly changing world, you must possess knowledge and skills beyond those expected in your area of specialization and must have the intellectual ability to adapt to changes in any workplace.

3. I’ve heard that students should finish their General Education requirements first, and then take major courses. Is this a good idea?
It is not a good idea for you to take only General Education courses before entering courses in your major fields of study for several reasons. First, certain majors, such as Education or Graphic Communications, require students to complete courses on a specific schedule, starting in the freshman or sophomore year. Second, mixing up General Education courses with your major courses allows you to experience courses outside your planned major which might influence your choice of degree. Third, taking courses within your major fields of study gives you the opportunity to begin networking, an important aspect of job hunting.

4. Are the General Education requirements the same for all majors?
Yes, however, one or more of the General Education courses may satisfy requirements for your major. For example, all Chowan University students must take one math course as part of the General Education curriculum. Math majors will take many math courses during their academic career. These will satisfy the General Education requirement.

5. How do I find out what the General Education requirements are?
The General Education requirements are listed in the Chowan University Catalog. The page number is listed in the index under “Requirements for a Baccalaureate Degree.” Be sure to use the catalog for the academic year that you entered Chowan University. You may also want to check the requirements for your intended major for any exceptions (refer to “Bachelor of Arts” or “Bachelor of Science” in the index of your catalog).

C. General Education/Overlapping Requirements
Click numbered boxes to open and close answers.

1. What is my GPA (Grade Point Average) and how is it calculated?
Your Grade Point Average (GPA) is an indication of your average academic performance at Chowan. Quality points are awarded based on the grade you earn in a course: each "A," for example, earns 4 quality points times the number of credits the course is worth. Earning an A in a 3-credit course gives you 12 quality points; a “B,” 3 times 3 credits, or 9 quality points. Your GPA is calculated by dividing the total number of quality points you have earned by the total number of credits you have taken. You can find your current GPA on your “My Grades” page of your Campus Web account. Transfer courses and Perspectives do not count toward your GPA. You must have an overall average of at least 2.0000 to graduate from Chowan (higher for some majors). Chowan does not round up GPA calculations: a GPA of 1.999 does not meet the 2.0000 requirement.

2. When can I take a grade of Incomplete ("I") for a course?
If you are unable to complete a course during the semester for certain reasons (e.g., documented illness), you and your professor may petition the Provost to have an Incomplete issued instead of a final grade. If you receive an "I,” you have until the end of the following semester to finish the coursework and receive a final grade. (Do not register for that course in the following semester!) If you do not complete all work by the deadline, the Incomplete will automatically become an "F" at the end of that semester.

3. Is it okay to receive a grade of "D"?
In general, "D" grades are acceptable in general education core courses and will count toward your graduation requirements. However, each department may set its own standards for courses in the major, and for some majors, you will have to repeat a course in which you have earned a "D." Making a “D” in a course that is not offered often can affect your ability to graduate when you planned. Consult the catalog listing for your major and talk with your advisor to see what specific requirements apply to you.

4. Can I elect to take a course Pass/Fail (or Credit/No Credit)?
No. All Chowan courses are graded, except certain music labs and Perspectives. You do not have the option of taking any graded course as Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit.

5. Can I audit a course?
Regular students may audit courses, if space is available, with the permission of the instructor and the Provost. Once you have registered to audit a course, you cannot change to taking it for credit. See the University catalog for additional details (see index under Auditing Policy).

6. How do I receive credit for courses that I have taken at other schools?

Official Transcripts from Prior Schools: You must have an official transcript showing final grades for all work attempted (no "work in progress" or “incomplete” grades) sent to the Registrar's Office by the schools you have attended in order to attend Chowan. If you do not, you may be dismissed from the university. The Registrar will evaluate your transcript and send a copy of that evaluation to you and to your advisor. That evaluation will show what courses have been accepted for credit at Chowan and how they have been applied to general education requirements. Some courses may show as "general electives" that actually will meet specific requirements in your major. Talk with your advisor about whether this is true for any of your transfer courses. There is no specific upper limit on the number of credits you may transfer to Chowan from other colleges and universities.


  • Upper Division Requirement: A student must complete at least one-half the credit hours required for graduation at an accredited four-year college or university. This means a minimum of 61 credits (more in some majors) must be earned at a four-year school (Chowan or elsewhere), not at a junior college or a community college. Only 61-65 community college credit hours (depending on the major) may actually be counted toward your degree, no matter how many you have earned or transferred to Chowan.
  • Residence Requirement: The last 25% of the credit hours required for the degree must be earned in residence at Chowan: 31-33, depending on the major. The total number of transfer credits that may be used toward your Chowan degree cannot exceed 91-97 (depending on the major).
  • Transfer courses are accepted for credit, but not for grade. This means your GPA depends on your Chowan courses only, not on anything you may have transferred to Chowan from another college or university.

7. What are Academic Standing and Satisfactory Academic Progress?
In order to continue as a Chowan student you must attain and remain in Good Academic Standing by meeting the minimum standards of the Satisfactory Academic Progress chart in the university catalog. Refer to Academic Progress in the index of your catalog. After each semester at Chowan, you must have earned the minimum number of credits and minimum cumulative GPA (see chart in Academic Catalog) in order to be in good standing. If you do not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement you will be placed on Academic Probation. You regain good standing by meeting the requirements in the next semester. If you do not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement two semesters in a row you will be academically suspended from the University.

8. What do Warning, Probation, and Suspension mean?
  • If you meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress minimums (GPA and credits earned), but your cumulative GPA is below 2.00, you will receive an Academic Warning. This is just what it says: a warning that you must improve academically in order to meet minimum graduation requirements.
  • Can I stay on Academic Warning beyond the next semester? Yes, you can stay on Academic Warning for your first five semesters without losing good standing. Beginning in your sixth semester at Chowan, Academic Warning disappears and anything below 2.0000 causes Academic Probation.
  • If you fall below the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards you will be placed on Academic Probation. You will then have one semester to catch up to the minimum academic progress standards, or face academic suspension.
  • If you are already on Probation and then fall below the minimum academic progress standards for a second consecutive semester you will be placed on academic suspension and ordinarily must leave the university for at least one semester. (Consult the university catalog for details and appeal options.) If you have been academically suspended from Chowan and re-enter in a subsequent semester, you will be on Academic Probation and will have one semester to regain Good Academic Standing.

9. What are the requirements for graduation?

Each degree offered at Chowan has specific requirements for graduation, listed in the catalog. Because these requirements may change from year to year, you have the option of graduating under the requirements of the catalog in effect the year you began at Chowan, or the catalog in effect the year you graduate. You may not choose to graduate under a catalog between those two years.

  • Keep a copy of your entering catalog and make a notation when you complete each degree requirement.
  • Talk with your advisor each semester about what courses you need to take next in order to meet your specific degree requirements.
  • If you switch catalogs, work closely with your advisor to compare the requirements changes between catalogs both in your major and in the General Education requirements, so that you don’t find yourself missing required courses as you approach graduation.
  • Near the end of your junior year (two full semesters before graduation), have your advisor request a pre-graduation work-up from the Registrar's Office, to make sure everyone agrees on your remaining requirements. Do this again the following semester.
  • You must apply to the Registrar's Office and pay a graduation fee in order to graduate. If you don't apply, you won't get your degree! You should fill out and file the application form in the Registrar's Office the first week of your last semester at Chowan.
  • You must take the last 25% of your coursework at Chowan. This means you cannot transfer work taken elsewhere back to Chowan to meet that last course requirement.

10. Can I repeat a course?
Repeating courses for credit is permissible and, in some cases, required; for example, if you fail a course or make a D in a course in your major area of concentration. The last grade earned becomes the official grade for the course. However, transcripts record final grades for all work attempted; the final grade for a repeated course will have an R beside it. Only the final grade will be figured in your GPA. You may take a maximum of six repeats without their being counted as work attempted for calculating your GPA. Thereafter, all repeated courses are counted as work attempted. To take one of these 6 repeat options, you must make a written request on the appropriate form in the Office of the Registrar.

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