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New Student Orientation (NSO)

FAQ: Choosing Courses (First-Year Students)

How many courses can/should I take this fall?

In order to graduate in four years, you need to earn an average of 16 credits per semester to reach the required 128 credits. A full course load is three or four courses of 4 to 5 credits each, and you can also take one or two 1-credit courses as electives or to satisfy general education requirements (such as physical education/athletics courses.) You must be enrolled in 12 credit hours to be considered a full-time student. and the maximum number of credits you are allowed to take your first semester is 19.

What if I have a disability or learning difference?

Lewis & Clark College complies with all the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you have questions during the summer about any kind of disability- learning, physical, or psychological- you can reach Student Support Services by phone at 503-768-7156 or by email at

Should I take a course in my possible major?

If you are planning to major in music major or one of the natural sciences, it is important to start the first semester. These majors are highly structured, and many required sequence courses begin only in the fall. Prospective music majors must take the placement exam (see Course Placement tab at the top of this page) and register for the appropriate music theory course. For more information about majors, visit

What courses are open to first-year students?

First-year students may register for all 100-level courses and for 200-level courses that have an F in the section number (for example, RHMS 270 F1). Lewis & Clark reserves seats especially for first-year students in some classes. To see if a course has a prerequisite, click the “Registration” tab and scroll to step 2, item 9 under “Search for Courses with WebAdvisor”.

Do I have to take ALEKS Math Placement before I can take courses that list this as the prerequisite?

Yes, everyone must take the exam by June 16. For more information, click Course Placement tab above or

Should I register for a foreign language first semester?

Starting the foreign language general education requirement in the first semester allows increased flexibility in choosing courses throughout your education, but it is not required. This requirement is proficiency through the 201 level (third semester) of a language. The first semester (course number 101) of any language is typically only offered in the fall.

If I want to continue the foreign language I took in high school, how do I know what level to register for?

If you want to continue studying Chinese, French, German, Japanese, or Spanish, you should take the online foreign language placement exam by June 16. If you want to continue studying Arabic, Russian, Latin, and Classical Greek, view instructions online. Click on the “Registration” tab above for more information.

I’ve taken AP or IB classes and exams. How do they figure into my fall semester planning?

First, be sure your scores have been sent to Lewis & Clark (under the “Getting Ready” tab above). AP or IB exam credit may affect your placement in some subjects. The Advanced Standing section of the Lewis & Clark Catalog has a subject breakdown. Access this information here.

What do I do if my first choice courses are full when it’s my turn to register?

Lewis & Clark keeps course sizes small, so it is possible that you may not be able to take your first priority course every semester. Therefore, it’s important that you find alternatives and list them on the Registration Worksheet which you can download on the Registration tab above. If you are very interested in a full class, click the Registration tab for information on wait lists.

I’m still confused about what courses to take. Who can help me?

You will receive emails from the College Advising Center throughout the summer, but college advisors are also available for personal consultation. It is easy to get help by contacting the CAC at or 503-768-7600, or scheduling a phone appointment at

Where can I get more information?

See the College Advising Center webpage at


New Student Orientation (NSO)

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