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First-year students

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 10:29am

Congratulations on taking the first step towards achieving your goal of an undergraduate degree!

In your first year at the University of Calgary you will face new, exciting, and sometimes daunting experiences. The staff at the Faculty of Arts is dedicated to helping you adjust to a new life as a first-year university student. As a first-year student, we expect that you take control of your academic success by becoming familiar with campus, your program requirements and keeping on top of any issues or concerns that may arise. In return, we'll be available to to help with anything you need during your university experience.

Important questions

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 10:56am

What do I want to do?

For those who knew they wanted to be a veterinarian since they were five years old, the choice of which undergraduate program to study is a relatively simple one. But for the vast majority of us who have multiple areas of interests and abilities, the choice of program may not be as straightforward. We know we want a bachelor's degree but what major is the best one for each individual?

There are many questions and factors to keep in mind when considering which major to complete in your undergraduate degree. Some examples of questions to consider are: What am I good at? What do I enjoy? What interests me? What are my future goals? Why do I want an undergraduate degree and what am I hoping to use it for?

There are many resources available to help you answer these crucial questions:

> Arts advisors at the Arts Students' Centre

> Career counselling sessions from the Wellness Centre

> Career planning resources from Career Services

I did not get my first choice of program! Now what?

You may have applied to the psychology program, but ended up in sociology, your second choice of major. This and similar scenarios are common, and requires some careful consideration. Whether you should pursue your desired major or whether you should consider a "plan-B" depends on many factors.

There are options and support available to you if you find yourself in this position. It is best for you to contact a program advisor to discuss your options.

Which courses should I take?

Programs at the Faculty or Arts are flexible and are designed to allow you to explore courses in a variety of areas that match your interests. However, in order for you to keep your program on track, there are certain prerequisite courses that you should take early on. These vary from program to program.

To find out which courses you need for the fall and winter semesters, please check out both the departmental website for your program and the First Year Registration and Planning Guide (even if you are not entering your first year, this registration guide will detail the required/recommended courses for your program that you should take). Another helpful tool is the First-Year Degree Guide.

Plan ahead and familiarize yourself with the courses required to graduate. Consulting your Degree Navigator and the academic calendar will show you all the courses required in your degree and allow you to plan ahead and complete the prerequisite courses early.

Take some time to consider courses you may wish to complete as breadth and electives (open options) later in your degree. This will prepare you to know in advance any prerequisite courses you should look at taking now. If you are transferring in to the Faculty of Arts, some of your transfer courses may already be working towards meeting breadth requirements.

Any questions about your course selections can be addressed to the program advisors at the Arts Students' Centre. It is also a good idea to confirm with an advisor your registration prior to the drop deadline of each semester.

REMEMBER! You can (and should!) register for both the fall and winter semesters on and after your initial registration date.

I have AP or IB credit. What does this mean?

If you completed AP or IB courses and the University of Calgary's Admissions Office has awarded you AP or IB credit, it will apply to your program as junior (200 level) transfer course credit. Some credit may have been awarded directly for University of Calgary courses, for example BIOL 233 or SPAN 201/203, while others may have transferred as generic junior credit, for example PHIL 2xx or HTST 2xx.

By using your Degree Navigator, you can see how your credit applies to your program. Often, it will work to meet some of your breadth or open option requirements.

AP and IB credit impacts your program in two important areas: your junior course limits and transfer course limits. It is highly recommended that students with incoming AP or IB credit meet with a program advisor at the Arts Student's Centre to discuss their program in more detail. 

AP and IB credit may impact which level of courses you can register in your first year. All arts students are required to complete 3.0 full courses of junior (200 level) credit prior to being able to register in senior (300 level and higher) courses. This means that students will not normally register in senior level courses until their second year. If you were awarded enough junior credit for your AP or IB courses, there is the potential that you may be able to register in 300 level courses in your first year. 

It is best to consult with a program advisor or departmental advisor prior to taking senior level courses in your first year.

How can I ensure I'm successful in my academic career?

Knowing and using the tools available to students will help you keep on the track to success! The following is a list of resources accessible to you at any time.

  • Program advising
    There are resources within the Faculty of Arts and the broader university community that provide one-on-one academic and program advising. Arts students have access to the Arts Students' Centre for program and academic advising and are advised to consult a program advisor throughout their program to ensure that they are on the correct track. If you have questions about particular content of your current or intended program of choice, you can contact your departmental undergraduate advisor (listed on department websites).
  • Managing courseloads and exams
    The workload of your first year can often come as a shock and surprise. Students can find themselves scrambling to complete assignments on time and consequently are not always able to achieve the grades they are capable of. The expectations required at the university level may become more apparent only after writing your first few exams and papers, sometimes with results less than anticipated.

    Preparation in advance of situations such as these will help ensure that you are successful in your first year. There are many workshops available for students on writing exams, dealing with stress, time management and more offered through the Wellness Centre located in Mac Ewan Student Centre. Many departments offer supplemental guidelines to writing essay papers that you should consult prior to submitting your papers. The Writing Centre offers writing tutorials and proof-reading support. Take advantage of these resources early in your program and be ahead of the game!
  • Degree Navigator 
    Degree Navigator is a web-based program that allows students to chart their progress through their degree programs. It will show you how your current registration works to meet requirements and also what is remaining.
  • Academic calendar 
    During the months before the start of a new academic year, the academic calendar is available online or to purchase in hardcopy from the 
    University of Calgary Bookstore. The calendar lists all university regulations, important dates, programs and course offerings and, importantly, it defines the rules and regulations surrounding your degree program. It is always recommended to confirm your understanding of your degree requirements with a program advisor at the Arts Students' Centre.
  • Know important dates
    There are certain dates throughout the semester that are of extreme importance to keeping you on the right track. Such dates include the last day to drop a course without penalty, the last day to pay fees, the last day to withdraw from a course, etc. These important dates are listed in the academic calendar and can also be found on the Enrolment Services website.

    Perhaps most important is knowing the final examination period and confirming the date of your exams. The final examination period is listed in the calendar and your particular course exam dates are found through the Arts Students' Centre. * 

    Note: It is the student's responsibility to know their exam date, time and location and to plan accordingly to be available and prepared.

Can the university guarantee that I can graduate in four years?

The answer is YES!

Faculty of Arts students are eligible to apply for the Graduation Guarantee Program. This program is essentially an agreement between you and the University of Calgary wherein you are guaranteed to be able to graduate within four years of starting your program.>Any questions about the program can be addressed to a program advisor at the Arts Students' Centre.

Who should I contact to answer my questions?

  • Most questions that relate to program requirements, registration problems, academic review and changes in programs should be addressed to the Arts Students' Centre.
  • Questions relating to fees, student awards, transcripts and related matters should be addressed to the Enrolment Services.

If you are uncertain where to go, arts students can consider the Arts Students' Centre their "go to" place for information and advice.


Talk to an advisor

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Arts Students' Centre

Advisors at the Arts Students' Centre are standing by, ready to help with any questions you might have about admissions, your degree, graduating, and anything in between.

> Meet with an advisor

Social Sciences 102
University of Calgary
2500 University Dr. NW
Calgary, Ab T2N 1N4 Canada

403.220.3580 (general) (advising)

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