Registration is the system that keeps track of the courses you take at Hesston. The registrar supervises all of this activity and your academic advisor will help you understand it. But you must take an active role. Always read carefully any email or campus mail sent from the Registrar’s Office. After all, it is your record that is being formed and you want it to be accurate.
What are credits?
The credit (or hour) is a standardized unit of measure used to quantify the number of hours a course meets each week. In general, for each hour of credit, there is one 50-minute class meeting per week for 16 weeks. Thus, a three-credit course like College Writing I meets for 150 minutes each week in either three 50-minute or two 75-minute periods. Additional credit is given for laboratory experiences, usually one hour of credit for a two- or three-hour lab. Introductory Chemistry, for example, is a four-credit course. There are three hours of lecture per week plus a two-hour lab. Some courses meet twice as often, but for only half of the semester. For example, PhEd 210 Fitness Concepts is a one-credit course. It meets two hours per week, but only for eight weeks of the semester.
Nearly all colleges and universities use this credit system of measure. At Hesston the hours are semester hours because of our semester calendar. A few schools operate on a quarter system. Their hours are quarter hours. To convert between the two systems, multiply quarter hours by 2/3 to get the equivalent number of semester hours.
How many credits should I take each term?
Full-time status at Hesston is defined as 12 to 17 hours per semester. To complete the 60 credits needed for graduation over a two-year period (four semesters), you must take an average of 15 credits each semester. However, there are good reasons to deviate from this norm.
You should take 16 or 17 hours per semester if:
- you have good study habits,
- you earned a good GPA in high school (like a 3.50 or better), and
- you completed the recommended courses for college-bound students.
Note that there is an overload charge for hours beyond 17.
You should reduce your load to 12, 13 or 14 hours per semester (at least during your first term) if:
- you struggled in high school, or did not take college prep courses,
- you have been out of school for a number of years, or
- you will be employed a significant number of hours while you are a student.
These are all legitimate reasons for taking a lighter load. This means that you may need to take heavier loads later, extend your period of study at Hesston to two and a half years, or take a summer course or two along the way.
The general standard is that for each hour of time spent in class, you should spend two to three hours of preparation time outside of class. You should think of a three-credit class as a nine hour per week class. The actual amount will vary with your abilities, your academic background and your motivation. But if we trust the ratio as a guideline, a full-time student taking 15 credits can expect to spend a total of 45 or more hours each week on course work including in-class lectures and labs and out-of-class preparation.
Can I take fewer than 12 hours?
Yes, and that may be in your best interest. But if you take fewer than 12 credits, you are classified as a part-time student. You are not eligible to live in campus housing; you are not eligible to participate in varsity sports; and your financial aid will be reduced to match the number of hours you take.
Can I change courses after the term begins?
You may, within limits. See “Registration” in the Academic Life section of the catalog for details. To make a change, visit your academic advisor to review your plans. If a change is appropriate, your advisor will file the change online with the Registrar’s Office. Refer to the campus calendar on my.hesston.edu for the specific drop/add period dates. You may add a course to your schedule during the drop/add period only. If you drop a course during the drop/add period, it will not appear on your record. If you drop a course between the end of the drop/add period and the time the course is 60 percent complete, it will remain on your record with a non-punitive grade of W. You may withdraw from a course after it is 60 percent complete only if you are earning a passing grade.
Tuition charges and financial aid awards are based on your enrollment at the end of the second week of the semester (the end of the drop/add period). In general, you are expected to maintain the same level of enrollment throughout the rest of the semester. But sometimes it just doesn’t work. Be aware that there are several consequences. First, there are no immediate consequences with respect to financial aid. However, there may be long-term implications as you will have already used up some of the assistance available to you. That reduces the amount available to you later. Second, you must make satisfactory academic progress to continue as a student at Hesston. Review the “Satisfactory Academic Progress” statement in the catalog. Notice that you must complete 22 credits each academic year of full-time study to maintain academic eligibility.
What happens if I stop going to a class?
You gain nothing by disappearing. First, if you are tempted to stop attending because you are having trouble with the class, face the problem squarely and visit with the instructor. He or she will welcome that. If you are uncomfortable approaching him or her directly, ask your advisor for help in addressing the problem. Instructors often contact advisors, the registrar, Student Life or others if students stop attending class. Your absence will be noticed.
Sometimes it is necessary and appropriate to withdraw from a class after the formal drop/add period. To do so, visit with your academic advisor. Note in the catalog that you can withdraw from a course without penalty up until the time a course is 60 percent completed. (See the Campus Calendar for actual dates.) Failing to withdraw in a timely manner has serious consequences. If you stop attending, but do not formally withdraw, you will be given whatever final grade you have earned, usually an NC (no credit, failing). Please also refer to the “Administrative Course Withdrawal” section in the Hesston College Catalog.
What do I need to do if I need to miss class because of a college-approved group activity?
Students participating in group absences must
- initiate contact with each instructor whose class conflicts with the absence. This must occure by the last class period prior to the absence.
- complete and submit all assignments on or before the due dates for classes that will be missed.