Advising FAQ

Below is a list of questions students frequently have about advising. These questions focus on a topic under one of the following categories: Advisors, Appointments, Majors and Minors, Policies and Procedures, and Miscellaneous.

Advisors

Appointments

Majors and Minors

Policies and Procedures

Miscellaneous


Advisors

Why do I need an advisor?

Your faculty advisor is the person who releases the Universal Advising Hold (UAD) so that you are able to register for courses. You are required to see your advisor because he or she teaches classes in your major and knows your major well. Your faculty advisor will also help you graduate in a timely fashion by making sure you fulfill your General Education requirements and take 120 credits. Faculty advisors can also be good sources of information on internships and careers.

How do I find out who my advisor is?

To learn who your advisor is, you’ll want to go to MyRIC. Once you’ve logged on, there are a couple of ways to determine your advisor. One is to start on the home page and click on “Appointment with Advisor” (see below).

Next, if you have been assigned an advisor, you should see that person in the appropriate box (see below, this student has not yet been assigned an advisor).

Another way to determine your advisor is to select Student Center from the home page.

You will see a screen that looks like this, where, in the bottom right-hand corner, you’ll be able to see whether or not you have been assigned an advisor (or advisors) and who it is.

When I go on MyRIC it does not say who my advisor is, it just says OASIS. Who do I see?

If MyRIC lists OASIS as your advisor, that means you’re either an Exploring Major (formerly undeclared) or an Elementary Education-Intended (ELED-IM) or Early Childhood Education-Intended major (ECED-IM). The Academic Advisement Information Center (AAIC) in OASIS has advising staff available to meet with you, but be sure to call (401) 456-8083 first to set up an appointment. For more information go to: http://www.ric.edu/oasis/aaic.php.

What if I don’t have an advisor?

If you’ve recently declared a major or changed your major, it may take some time to be assigned an advisor. You can be proactive about getting an advisor by speaking with the department chair and asking for one.

What if I have more than one advisor?

Students with double majors (for those planning to go into secondary education, see below) will have an advisor from each department. While either one can release your UAD, it’s best to schedule appointments with both so that you discuss your progress in each major.

Students wanting to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education to teach grades 7 to 12 will also have a major in a particular discipline (e.g. Biology, History, English). These students will have two advisors, one in Secondary Education and one in the discipline the student has chosen. They must meet with both advisors.

Can’t I just go to OASIS for advising?

Because faculty in your major are knowledgeable about the discipline and opportunities in it, once you declare a major, you will be assigned an advisor in that major. The professional advisors at the Academic Advising Information Center at OASIS work with Exploring (previously Undeclared) and Elementary Education-Intended and Early Childhood-Intended students.

Do I really have to meet with my advisor?

First and second year students and transfer students should meet with their advisors in person. While it is best that all students do so, there may be circumstances that prevent you from meeting with your advisor. Depending on your advisor, you may be able have him or her release your Universal Advising Hold (UAD) after you discuss your plan of studies over the phone or via email.

Can I change my advisor? If so, how?

Technically, yes; however, please understand that some advisors have such heavy advising loads they may not be able to take on additional advisees. The best thing to do if you want to change your advisor is to speak to the department chair for your major.

Appointments

How long before registration should I schedule my appointment?

This may depend on your major and your advisor. Advisors with lots of advisees may start meeting with students a month or more before registration opens. Others may schedule all their appointments the week or two before registration. What’s important is that you schedule your appointment before registration opens. If you meet with your advisor after that, you may have a difficult time registering for the classes you want or need.

How do I schedule an appointment with my advisor?

Although there is a way to schedule an appointment in MyRIC, it only works if your advisor has created a schedule in MyRIC. You can check to see if he or she has done so by selecting “Appointment with Advisor” on the MyRIC welcome page, then by clicking “make an appointment with my advisor” on the next page (See screenshots under the frequently asked question above, “How do I find out who my advisor is?). If you don’t see anything don’t worry! Advisors typically send an email to students or hang a sign-up sheet on their door so that students can schedule appointments. If it’s a couple of weeks before registration begins and you haven’t heard from your advisor, you should probably call or email him or her to make an appointment. Also, if you’ve declared a major but still don’t have an advisor, contact the department chair of your major.

How do I prepare for my advising session? Should I bring anything with me?

The best way to prepare is to: 1) look at your department’s academic plan or webpage or the on-line College Catalog (http://www.ric.edu/recordsoffice/catalog.php) for the year you were admitted to RIC to see what is expected of majors; 2) look for courses using the course bulletin, or the class search or browse function in MyRIC and write them down, making sure that you have any necessary pre-requisites and that the times of the classes don’t conflict; 3) make a list of questions you have for your advisor. It would help if you brought any academic plan handouts you’ve been given by your advisor at a previous meeting. Also, if you write your proposed schedule down on paper, that saves time in your appointment. Different advisors may ask you to bring other documents along, for instance, your degree progress report (transcript).

My advisor requested that I bring a copy of my transcript (sometimes called Academic Advising Report) with me to our meeting. What’s that, and how do I find it?

Your transcript details your academic progress to date. There are actually two types of transcripts to choose from once you’re in the Student Center of MyRIC: the Academic Advising Report (AAR) and the RIC WEB Unofficial Transcript. If your advisor doesn’t specify one, you might want to ask. You can find both types of transcripts by going to MyRIC then Student Center and then go to the pull-down menu, “other academic…,” to the left of your schedule.

Pull down and select “Transcript: View Unofficial” and make sure you click the double arrow to the right. At this point, you will then be given the choice of selecting either the AAR or, if you pull down on the menu, the RIC Web Unofficial Transcript. Choose the format you want, click “go” and that will pull up your transcript. You can print a copy by right-clicking your mouse, selecting “This Frame” and then “Print Frame.”

What if I miss my advising appointment?

Make sure to add an appointment to your calendar to help you remember, but if you miss it, email or call your advisor as soon as possible to reschedule. Many advisors have so many advisees they can’t easily reschedule. If you know in advance that you can’t make an appointment, be sure to let your advisor know. 

Majors and Minors

I’m in a major and worried I can’t succeed in it. What do I do?

Sometimes students have planned on a certain career their entire life, and then they get to college, start taking classes in the major, and realize they don’t like it. Or, perhaps a professor or an advisor encourages them to think about a different major. This is a tough situation, but if it happens, it’s probably time to learn about other careers and the best way to pursue them. You need to talk to someone, whether that’s your advisor, a trusted professor, a counselor (http://www.ric.edu/counselingctr/), or someone from the Career Development Center http://www.ric.edu/careerdevelopment/). In fact, you might want to talk to several people to get multiple perspectives. The thing is, the longer you stay in a major that’s not for you, the longer it will take to graduate; talking to others should help you determine a new path.

I have 45 credits and must declare a major, but I don’t know what to choose. Who can help?

Understand that many college students have a difficult time settling on a major. It could be that they like too many subjects, or it could be that they aren’t sure which major will best help them pursue a career. If you haven’t found any subject that you really connect with, or you don’t see how a major you like can lead you to a career, call (401) 456-8083 to set up an appointment with an OASIS advisor. For more information go to: http://www.ric.edu/oasis/aaic.php.

You should also go to the Career Development Center (CDC). The CDC has all kinds of resources to help you figure things out (http://www.ric.edu/careerdevelopment/).

What can I do with a major in (fill in the blank)?

Because most students go to college with the aim of using their education to enter a career, it’s not surprising that students (and their parents), often ask this question. While career paths in some majors are relatively obvious (nursing, teaching, accounting, etc.), students pursuing a degree in say, history or philosophy, don’t always see how their major will help them get a job. But guess what? Students who majored in history and philosophy at Rhode Island College have gotten jobs! Speak to your advisor or other professors about the kinds of professions people with your major go into. Go to the Career Development Center to meet with a counselor (http://www.ric.edu/careerdevelopment). Go to alumni events sponsored by your department. Whether you major in philosophy, nursing or biology, your RIC education is providing you with the kinds of analytical, communication and life-long learning skills employers want.

For many students, not being accepted into the school they had planned on can be devastating. Some students try again, but it can be a very frustrating and costly process; the result is rarely different. If you didn’t get into the school/program of your dreams, it’s important you realize that you have other options. You may want to discuss other options with your advisor, or you make want to go to OASIS for advice. If you have another area of interest, make an appointment with the department or program chair to discuss what this major will entail. If you’re totally unsure what to do next, it might be time to schedule an appointment with a career counselor at the Career Development Center (http://www.ric.edu/careerdevelopment/). And remember, the Counseling Center (http://www.ric.edu/counselingctr/) is there if you need help coming to terms with your emotions.

I realized RIC doesn’t have the major I want. Now what?

You have a few choices. If you know, for instance, that you want a Physical Therapy degree when you leave college, one option is for you is to transfer to a school that offers a degree in Physical Therapy. But, for instance, in the case of Physical Therapy, you cannot become a PT with a Bachelor’s degree alone. You would need to go to graduate school. So, you could choose to remain at RIC and continue with a major in a related field. It’s probably best that you consult with your advisor and the Career Development Center (http://www.ric.edu/careerdevelopment/) before making the decision to transfer. Another possibility is to do a Student-Designed major. For more information, go to: http://www.ric.edu/academics/specialPrograms.php

Can I have more than one major or minor?

Yes! Depending on your primary major, it may be possible for you to have more than one major or minor! It’s all about understanding how many credits your major will consist of as well as the basic number of credits for your General Education Requirements. Given that you must have completed 120 credits to graduate, if you plan wisely, having multiple majors or a major and multiple minors (or even multiple majors and minors) is definitely doable. Your advisor can help you with this.

Policies and Procedures

How do I change, add or drop a major or minor?

To change, add or drop a major or minor, you’ll need to go to the department of the major or minor you want to add, drop or change to. For example, if you want to drop your Political Science minor and add an Economics minor, you’ll need to go to the Political Science department to drop the minor and to the Economics Department to add the minor.

When do I actually get to register for classes?

In MyRIC, go to Student Center.  In a blue box on the right hand, look for where it says “Enrollment Dates” and then click on “details.”

This will take you to the date and time you are able to register for classes.

How do I know what courses I need to graduate?

The online College Catalog (http://www.ric.edu/recordsoffice/catalog.php) will walk you through the General Education Requirements as well as the requirements of your major(s)/minor(s). Make sure you select the catalog for the year you entered the College. Of course, your advisor is there to help you with this as well.

I’m not sure if I’m under the old or new General Education program. Is there some way to know for sure?

Usually. If you entered before the fall of 2012 OR if you entered fall 2012 or after with 24+ credits from RIC or a school with which we have an articulation agreement (CCRI, URI, Bristol CC, Quinebaug Valley CC), you are under the old General Education program. Otherwise, if you began RIC fall 2012 or later, you are following the new General Education program. One way to double-check is to look at your transcript. If it says you have a Second Language Requirement, a First Year Seminar and a Connections course to fulfill, you have been placed in the new General Education program. If your transcript includes Core 1-4 requirements, you’ve been placed in the old General Education Program. You can learn more about the two Gen Ed programs by going to http://www.ric.edu/advising/. Please note: occasionally, the information on the transcript is incorrect. If you think there is a mistake with your transcript or you are still uncertain, talk with your advisor or your department chair.

On my transcript, it says I need to fulfill my College Mathematics Competency (CMC). What does that mean?

First of all, please understand that the CMC (formerly known as the College Mathematics Requirement) is NOT the same as the Math Gen Ed requirement. All RIC students must fulfill the CMC, and should do so by the end of their first semester (or by completion of 15 credits). If you don’t, you’ll be placed on Academic Probation. First-year and transfer students who scored 480 or above on the Mathematics section of the SAT (or 20 or better on the ACT Mathematics sub-score) have automatically fulfilled the CMC  (also, transfer students who received transfer credit for a course similar to 010, 177 or higher, will have met the CMC). If you didn’t receive such a score or take the Mathematics Accuplacer Examination prior to orientation, you should do so as soon as possible (The Accuplacer Exam is administered by OASIS at least six times per semester.).  Please go to: http://www.ric.edu/oasis/mlc.php for more information. A satisfactory score on the Accuplacer exam will fulfill your CMC. If you do not receive a satisfactory score (you may take the exam twice), then you have to take Math 010 until successful completion.

I know I need to fulfill the Second Language Requirement, but I’m not sure how. What should I do?

If you have not taken or are not proficient in a second language, you’ll need to complete RIC language courses 101 and 102 or higher in one of the languages offered by the Department of Modern Languages. If, however, you speak a second language or have taken a second language and are proficient, there are eight other ways you can fulfill the Second Language Requirement. For a detailed list of these, go to: http://ric.smartcatalogiq.com/en/2014-2015/Catalog/General-Education/Second-Language-Requirement. If you still have questions, talk to your advisor or the Chair of Modern Languages.

Can I take a required course at another school and receive credit at RIC?

Yes, but you have to make sure it will be accepted. To do this, you need to go to the department chair of the major the course falls under for approval before taking the course. For more detailed information, go to: http://www.ric.edu/recordsoffice/faq.php#Q13 (top FAQ).

I think I should get more credit for classes I transferred in from my former school. Now what?

  • To see how your credit transferred to RIC, first, look at the “Transfer Credit Report” on the “Academics” menu on MyRIC.
  • If the course(s) in question do(es) NOT appear on your transfer credit report (i.e., it did not transfer as an elective or anything else), Admissions would require an updated copy of your transcript to post missing courses. No form is required.
  • If the course(s) in question is/are on your transfer credit report, but you want to appeal how they transferred, what you do next depends on the course:
    • If you are seeking credit for a general education requirement, contact Associate Dean for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Joan Dagle (jdagle@ric.edu), for a review of the course description. Make sure you provide you student ID number and explain what it is that you trying to do.
    • If you are seeking credit for courses in your major, contact your academic department chair to review the course description and/or syllabus. He or she will determine whether credit should be awarded.
    • To see how RIC accounts for transfer courses from CCRI and URI, follow this link: http://www.ritransfers.org/how-courses-transfer/#equivalencies

MyRIC is telling me I do not have the prerequisites for a course, but I do. Who can help me?

The chair of the department offering the course can help you with this, unless the course in question is Connections (new Gen Ed) or Core 4 (old Gen Ed). In this case, you should contact Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Joan Dagle, at 456-8106.

How do I get into a closed class during the first two weeks of the semester?

There’s no guarantee you can, but, if the class has an online waiting list through MyRIC, get on it. If not, contact the instructor of the course or the administrative assistant for the department the course is in. If possible, attend the first class or classes and explain to the instructor why you’re there. All you can do is ask.

I’ve been hearing about the “Add/Drop Period.” What is it?

The first two weeks of class is known as the Add/Drop Period. See the Academic Calendar for the specific date: http://www.ric.edu/academics/academic_calendar.php. You may add yourself to or remove yourself from classes during this this period. You will not receive a W (for Withdrawal) on your transcript if you drop a class during this period.

How do I withdraw from a class? Can I get my money back?

After the Drop/Add period has ended, you may withdraw yourself from a course until the Last Day to Withdraw (approximately ten weeks into the semester). See the Academic Calendar for the specific date: http://www.ric.edu/academics/academic_calendar.php. There are no refunds after the Drop/Add period unless you withdraw from all courses.  Depending on the date of withdrawal, there may be a partial refund based on the college refund policy.  See details at:  http://www.ric.edu/bursar/refunds.php. Withdrawal from all courses can also affect your financial aid as explained here:  http://www.ric.edu/financialaid/faq.php#Q12.  

Refer to the Academic Calendar for specific dates: http://www.ric.edu/academics/academic_calendar.php. Please note: this does not apply to students involuntarily called to military service.

After the final day to withdraw has passed, it may still be possible to withdraw from a class due to extenuating circumstances (not a bad grade), but you can’t withdraw yourself. Instead, you’ll need to see the instructor of the class or the chair of the department in which the course is offered. You will not receive a refund for withdrawing from a course. If, at any time during the semester, you stop attending class and don’t talk to your instructor, be prepared to receive an F for the course. More information on options and procedures for withdrawing from a course is available from the Records Office or the Office of Student Life.

Help! I failed a class and my GPA is going to suffer. Is there anything I can do?

If you want to improve your GPA, the only way to do this is to repeat the course; you MUST do this at RIC. You can only repeat a course once, the only exception being if the the Academic Standing Committee approves your petition to take it a third time. For details about repeating a course, see: http://www.ric.edu/recordsoffice/faq.php#Q10.

How do I apply for graduation and when should I apply?

It is easy to apply for gradation on-line.  Log into MyRIC, select Student Center (top left), look for the “other academics” drop down menu, select Apply for Graduation and follow instructions from there.  If you have earned 90 or more credit hours and may be considering graduating within the next several semesters, go ahead apply to graduate now.

  • Apply for May/Spring graduation if ALL requirements will be completed by the end of the spring semester.
  • Apply for August/Summer graduation if you will have no more than nine (9) credits outstanding at the end of the spring semester and you will have all requirements completed by the end of the summer. You will be allowed to participate in the May graduation ceremony.
  • Apply for January/Fall graduation if you will have ALL requirements completed at the end of the fall semester. You will be invited to participate in the following May graduation ceremony.

I plan to transfer out of RIC after my first year. Who can help me with that?

If you come into RIC thinking you’re going to transfer out after a year, give it a chance! You may be surprised to discover all that RIC really has to offer. But, if you know you want to go elsewhere, it’s up to you to determine whether and how the classes you took here will transfer to the particular school (or schools) you’re considering. Typically, it’s best to take General Educational Requirements because most colleges expect students to take courses in math, lab science, literature class and so on. Your advisor can help you select Gen Eds.

I’m confused about my financial aid. How do I figure that out?

Every student has a financial aid counselor. To learn who yours is, go to: http://www.ric.edu/financialaid/financialaidcounselor.php. The Financial Aid office also has a helpful list of FAQs at: http://www.ric.edu/financialAid/faq.php

Miscellaneous

I’m not doing well in a class/ afraid I’m going to fail a class. Where can I get help?

A great place to start is to talk to your instructor. He or she may be able to work with you during office hours. Your instructor may recommend OASIS (Office of Academic Success and Information Services) and its specific resources.  OASIS has all kinds of resources available: there is tutoring for a variety of courses/majors such as math, biology, chemistry, languages and psychology. There is also an on-line tutoring service, Smarthinking, which may be accessed through the OASIS website. If you need to improve your study skills or want help preparing for testing such as PRAXIS CORE and the HESI, you should make an appointment. Don't forget you can go to the Writing Center to discuss concerns with any phase of writing for any class. All services are free of charge.

What if my advisor makes a mistake?

Advisors are people, too, and do make mistakes. You may want to address this concern with your advisor or the department chair. Please remember, the advisor is there to help, but ultimately you are responsible for knowing and following your academic plan.

Page last updated: Tuesday, October 20, 2015