Newly Admitted Students

Welcome to the College of Charleston!

Welcome to the College of Charleston and the Academic Advising and Planning Center. During your first year here, you will likely be working with our staff of professional academic advisors. Students are expected to see their advisor at least once per semester, but more in-person or electronic contact is certainly encouraged. Many newly admitted students have questions about an average course load, how college is different from high school, what academic advising is exactly, and other things they need to know..

For more information, select your admissions population:

  • First Year Students, if this is your first college enrollment since completing high school.
  • Transfer Students, if you completed any coursework after high school graduation.

Preparing for Orientation Advising

As a new student at the College of Charleston, you will meet with an acadmic advisor during new student orientation. Use this list to prepare for your orientation advising meeting.

Academic Advising During Orientation

Advising and Registration are part of the campus orientation process, which occurs in a number of Orientation Sessions over the summer for students enrolling for the Fall semester or January for students enrolling for the Spring. This process usually occurs over two days. New students are advised in the morning of Day 1, by professional academic advisors. Advisors cover graduation requirements, general education requirements, the rigor of college, and other essential information in small-group sessions. Students are provided with personal placement scores already available to the college at that time, and will chat briefly with an advisor about their specific questions or concerns. Students are given homework to complete overnight in preparation for the registration process. Welcome to college!

Day 2 consists of actually registering for the fall courses (Summer orientation) or spring courses (January Orientation). Completion of the homework the night before will make for a vastly calmer, smoother, less stressful experience, and it is encouraged in the strongest possible terms. Again, this is in a small group environment and will be held in a computer lab. The same advisors from Day 1 will be with students on Day 2. All students must check out of the computer lab with their assigned advisor. The advisor will check the student’s schedule for appropriateness based on their discussions from Day 1 and Day 2. Students can make changes to their semester schedule after orientation is over, but it is strongly encouraged that students check in with their academic advisor when making changes.

Prior to arriving for orientation, new first-year students (excluding transfers, Honors, and Athletes) are expected to complete the “Orientation” section of the Academic Advising course in OAKS (the College of Charleston's online course delivery system). Access information for the OAKS course will be sent to students via email. Students will use the OAKS platform for their classes at the college, and the Academic Advising course will lay a foundation for the orientation experience as well as allow students to familiarize themselves with OAKS. The content of this course will take approximately an hour to complete. It does not need to be completed in one sitting, but failure to complete this work in advance will only increase student frustration and delay registration.

Parents are not permitted in the advising or registration rooms for any reason. Our advisors are highly trained and will work closely with your student during our time with them. Remember, your students’ best interest is also ours- and it lies in developing the autonomous self-advocacy that's neccesary for collegiate success. Talk with your student in advance of their orientation day about communicating any concerns, questions, or learning challenges. Parents should instead focus on learning information that is pertinent to their new role.

Math Placement

Information about math placement is available from the Department of Mathmatics.

Foreign Language Placement

If you have a CofC login, click here for more information about language placement: if not, this has essentially the same information, formatted less nicely.

What is the Average Course Load?

The College of Charleston requires students to achieve 122 credit hours upon graduation. Typically, it takes most students at least 8 semesters to complete a degree. This averages to 15 credit hours per semester for six semesters and two semesters with 16 hours. This excludes any consideration for AP, IB, or dual enrollment credit upon entering college. This average also does not consider if a student is thinking about a possible Maymester or summer school experience. Your academic advisor will discuss with you when you come for new student orientation about what is the best option for you. Students must be enrolled in 12 hours to be considered a full-time student. On average, students enroll between 14-17 credit hours per semester.

Important Things You Need to Know

  • Explore each tile available to you in MyPortal. There is a wealth of information there that will help you become acclimated to the College and be an invaluable resource once you’re on campus.
  • Read your email. ALL official communication comes through your campus email address. This includes important information from our office, New Student Programs (Orientation!), the Treasurer’s Office (your tuition bill!), Residence Life and Housing, and Dining Services among many others.
  • If you’re not sure what to do, do something. Call what you think to be the most appropriate office or get online to find out the answer. Not asking for help doesn’t get your question answered or help you be successful as you prepare to come to college.

What is Academic Advising?

Academic advising and planning helps you learn how to successfully navigate the many opportunities and responsibilities of your college education. This is achieved through regular interaction between you and your academic advisor. You will talk about who you are, your personal and academic goals, and challenges and begin to make a plan. You will be assigned an academic advisor who will work with until you declare your academic major.

During the academic year, you will meet with your assigned advisor at least once per semester. This is a one hour appointment dedicated solely to you. This meeting is dedicated to identifying your values, strengths, interests and abilities, recognizing the challenges & competing demands you face, establishing goals, and developing a plan to meet them which includes your next semester's course load. Our Advising Syllabus will also give you useful information about the academic advising process, as well as important advising deadlines.