We understand that there is a lot of confusion when entering into college. For that reason, CCAS has compiled a list of frequently asked questions to make your transition to, and participation in, life at UW-Madison. Please take a look at the questions for the category that you fall into. If your question is not answered here feel free to Contact Us.
We wish you the best of luck at UW and hope to help with your success at this university.
What if I receive my AP credits after I have attended SOAR?
Generally, when you leave SOAR, you should have a pretty good idea about how your final AP scores will affect your fall course schedule (if at all). If you still have questions, or need more clarification once you receive your AP scores, contact your advisor. They will be able to help you determine if any schedule changes need to be made.
When will I find out who my assigned advisor is?
If you met with the Cross-College Advising Service at SOAR, the person you met with will probably be your assigned advisor. In some cases, we need to shift advising assignments around, so you may not be assigned to the person you worked with at SOAR and will be assigned to another CCAS advisor. Before school starts you will receive a letter from CCAS informing you who your academic advisor is and providing you with important contact information. This information is also available in the Student Center in your MyUW portal.
What if I receive my AP credits after I have attended SOAR?
Generally, when you leave SOAR, you should have a pretty good idea about how your final AP scores will affect your fall course schedule (if at all). If you still have questions, or need more clarification once you receive your AP scores, contact your advisor. They will be able to help you determine if any schedule changes need to made.
Can I contact my advisor over the summer?
Yes. CCAS advisors are available over the summer to assist you with any advising questions you may have. Since CCAS advisors are at SOAR during the summer, email may be the best way to reach your advisor. You can find your advisor’s email address at the CCAS website or using the Search function (clicking on People once you’ve entered your advisor’s name) on the UW-Madison homepage.
- If you already know the change you would like to make and there is space in the class you’d like, you can “Swap” or “Drop” classes using these enrollment functions in the Student Center of your MyUW portal.
- If the class you’d like is full, we suggest the following:
- call the department and ask about possible openings or wait lists;
- go to the professor’s office hours or send the professor an email to inquire about the possibility of getting into the course;
- attend the class and talk to the professor
If you have questions about making changes, you can either schedule an appointment with your CCAS advisor or utilize drop-in advising, which we offer at most of our advising locations through the first drop deadline.
Choices and decisions regarding your course schedule must be strictly your responsibility. However, we caution you against enrolling in a class after the first week that you have not been attending, or enrolling in a class for which you may not be prepared. In all cases, it is imperative that you check in with the professor of the class you added to find out what you missed.
When do I register for the spring semester? Who will help me?
You will have your enrollment date and time listed in your Student Center. You will not be allowed to register for classes until that time, but you can do a lot to prepare. For first-year students, the enrollment period is usually during the last week of November or the first week of December. Online registration allows you to register on your own time and in the place of your choosing. Unlike at SOAR, there will not be an advisor with you when you register; however, your CCAS advisor is available to assist with any questions you may have about the registration process or your class selection. Keep in mind that advising offices are very busy during the enrollment period, so you will want to call ahead to schedule your advising appointment. We encourage you to make an appointment as close to your actual registration time as possible.
When should I see my advisor?
You should connect with your advisor when you have a question about your academic choices on campus. There may be times when you are feeling perplexed by the overwhelming opportunities presented to you on campus or generally unclear about what you're supposed to be doing. This is a good time to connect. As a general rule, it is best to see your advisor early. The registration period is the busiest time of the semester for advisors and it can be difficult to get an appointment. Try to evaluate your classes and assess how your semester is going in October, and come see us before the busy period starts. Plan ahead. If your question is a quick one, you can send your advisor an email. No matter what the reason for seeing your advisor, don't let any situation get out of control.
Where can I go for help identifying my interests?
The Exploration Center for Majors and Careers (EC) is a part of CCAS. We have lots of resources there to help students identify their unique interests and skills. To find out more, call for an appointment (265-4497) or drop by 6 Ingraham Hall. We invite you to come in and browse.
What if I don't get into any of the classes I really want?
First of all, you should know that it is nearly impossible to make a ‘bad‘ choice. When you are initially selecting the courses for your fall schedule, we will encourage you to pick courses that look and sound interesting to you. There are hundreds of courses across a wide range of disciplines that will fulfill some sort of requirement for you. With that kind of selection, you are nearly guaranteed to find many courses that would be good choices (and possible interest areas or majors!). If you follow this rule, your list of ’classes you want‘ will be long and plentiful.
In addition, you should be able to get into courses necessary to begin sequences you may need, such as language, mathematics, and chemistry. If not, there are departmental contacts in these departments to assist you. You may also want to contact specific departments especially if you are having trouble getting into courses that are prerequisites for majors you’re considering.
Do I need to take the second half of a 2-part course?
If you took Chemistry 103, or a similar course that has a ‘second half,‘ don’t automatically assume that you need to take the next course in the sequence. This decision will depend on the academic options you are considering and how you are doing in your courses. If you find yourself unsure about what to do, connect with your advisor.
How do I find spring course options?
The best resource for ‘browsing‘ courses is the Course Guide. Keep in mind that not all courses are offered every semester, so you may see some courses that are not offered in the semester you are considering. In addition, the Class Search is usually updated about a month before the registration period begins, so you can spend some quality time looking at your options. Keeping an open mind about the courses you’re interested in and focusing on disciplines that fit with your strength areas are the two best things you can do for yourself.
Is it bad to be undecided?
Statistics from the National Resource Center for the Freshmen Year Experience show that 20-25% of students are exploring majors and 50-60% of declared majors change their major once they’re in college. In addition, 1/3 of incoming freshmen at UW-Madison are undecided students assigned to Cross College Advising Service.
What could I do with a major in ________________?
The real answer: Anything you want and are qualified to do! As far as choosing a major goes, you'll want to pick something you want to read, write, research, and talk about for the next few years. If you want to explore various career paths, it may be helpful to gain experience in these areas via internships, volunteering, and student activities.
I want to major in ___________. Will I get a job?
Employability has more to do with your combination of skills, experience, and achievement than with the actual major. In many cases, employers have no preference towards particular majors (with specific exceptions like accounting, teaching, and engineering). They're looking for a unique blend of attributes to fill their needs. Your best strategy is to develop as many of your talents, skills and interests as you can.
How important is my major in the career process, really?
That can depend on the employer and what they're looking for. Usually, your undergraduate major is only a small part of why you get a job. For example, someone who wants to be a Journalist can major in Journalism, but could just as easily study Political Science, English, Communication, History, Philosophy, or Biology. In addition, undergraduate majors do not dictate what you can study in graduate and professional school, for the most part (though there are some prerequisite courses they will want you to have).
What happens once I have decided on a major?
Generally speaking, you'll be assigned to the Cross-College Advising Service until you decide upon and declare, or get accepted into, a major. If you change your mind after you select a major, or need information that you think CCAS can help you with, you should feel welcome to connect with our office.