Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The information below is intended to help incoming students get started on their academic path at L&C.
If you have questions, would like to review your options, or discuss potential schedules, we encourage you to email your advisor in the College Advising Center or make an appointment (not sure who your College Advisor is? Check your Lewis & Clark email for messages from them!). You can also get in touch if you run into any problems during registration.
To learn more about housing, new student trips, health insurance, or arriving on campus, please check in with New Student Orientation.
Your first year is a time for exploring possible majors, as well as different subjects that sound interesting to you. Of the courses you take in college, roughly 1/3 will fulfill General Education requirements, another 1/3 will be in your chosen major, and the final 1/3 are electives that allow you to explore and broaden your horizons. We encourage students to work on all three of these areas each semester.
Rather than “getting all my requirements out of the way first,” students should create a schedule that involves one or two General Education courses (e.g., your Core 120: Words or Core 121: Numbers course, and a language course), a course that explore a possible major, and at least one course “just because” it sounds interesting, captures your imagination, or speaks to your passions. Some classes that you take “just because,” or to explore a major, might also fulfill a General Education requirement.
Students considering Math, Science, or Environmental Studies majors, as well as prospective Music majors, should get started on specific course sequences in their first semester.
We recommend taking 15 to 17 credits. You will automatically be enrolled in one course, Core 120: Words or Core 121: Numbers. Apart from that, we recommend registering for three more classes: a course that explores a possible major, something new and interesting, and a General Education course. Be sure to check out advice for Music and Math, Science, or Environmental Studies majors, if you are considering studying one of those fields.
A typical load for Lewis & Clark students is four, 4-credit classes each semester—if you do that, you’ll complete 128 credits (the total you need to graduate) in four years. However, some students take 17 or 18 credits per semester if they are taking a lab science and/or activities, while some students will have 12 or 13 credits if they have been advised to allow themselves extra time to adjust to the academic expectations at L&C. 12 credits is the lowest you can go to be a full-time student, so one nice thing about registering for 16 is that you have a little bit of a buffer to withdraw from a class during the add/drop period (the first two weeks of the fall semester) if you feel overwhelmed.
You may not take more than 19 credits in your first year. Give yourself time to become acquainted with campus, to adjust to the expectations in your courses, and to get involved in the Lewis & Clark community.
Many professors expect you will spend two or three hours on average outside of class for every one hour you spend in class. Different types of work are challenging for different students and the workload in any course may vary from week to week. Nonetheless, most students find they need to devote more time to study outside of class than what they were accustomed to doing in high school.
The College Advising Center can help you decide what load is right for you. The Office of Student Accessibility is another good source of advice and academic support for students with learning differences.
After you have identified courses that interest you, be sure to make note of when they meet so that you can create a schedule of courses that don’t conflict.
Academic buildings at L&C are close together, so don’t worry if you only have a 10 minute break between classes - that is usually plenty of time to get from one class to another.
We generally recommend spreading courses across your week so that no one day is completely open or completely booked. Homework and other assignments are often spread more evenly throughout the week with this type of schedule. However, some students prefer to cluster their courses (i.e. back-to-back classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays). With this type of arrangement, you would need to carefully manage your time on non-class days, since you’ll likely have multiple assignments due on the same day in different classes.
It’s not always possible to design your dream schedule. You may have to prioritize class availability and/or fulfill a certain interest or requirement, over your ideal schedule. While your schedule may not be exactly what you want, you can make any schedule work with preparation and planning.
Try to keep in mind how the work you’ll be doing in your classes will fit together. When possible, we suggest picking courses that offer a variety of different kinds of “brain work” that strikes a balance between reading- and writing-intensive, quantitative problem solving, world language, or creative courses. You might love one particular subject, but too much of one thing is usually a bad idea! Remember, you will be registered for one reading and writing intensive course already if you are taking Core 120: Words, or one quantitative course if you are taking Core 121: Numbers.
As you prepare to register, it is important to have a list of backup courses, so that if a particular course is full when you are ready to register, you will have another course in mind. It is also useful to have backup courses so that you have a few different schedule options in case some of the courses you are interested in are offered at the same time.
We recommend having a list of 5 to 6 backup classes. Your backup list can consist of other courses to consider within majors or minors you are interested in exploring, alternative sections of the same class, classes that fulfill General Education requirements, or classes that allow you to try out something completely new and different. You also might want to consider registering for one these hidden gems.
If you are having trouble crafting your schedule or finding backups, please email your advisor in the College Advising Center or make an appointment (not sure who your College Advisor is? Check your Lewis & Clark email for messages from them).
In order to explore or pursue some majors at Lewis & Clark, you must start on the path in your first semester of college. That is because courses in the Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Environmental Studies are very sequential. Many introductory science classes are offered only in the fall, so this fall is an ideal semester to prepare for those courses.
If you are considering a major in Math, Computer Science, Biology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Chemistry, or Physics, you should take one or two math or science courses in your first semester.
If you are considering a major in Environmental Studies, you should take one or more introductory or breadth courses in your first semester.
To learn more about preparing for these majors, please consult our advice for Prospective Math, Science, or Environmental Studies Majors.
If you are considering majoring or minoring in music, you should to start by consulting the Music Department’s registration advice for new students. You also might consider taking the music theory placement exam.
There are many opportunities for students interested in music, and you do not need to be a major in order to enroll. The music department offers a wide variety of courses for non-majors, including (MUS) courses on the academic study of music and music performance (MUP) courses, which include music ensembles, group classes on various instruments, and private lessons.
If you want to! All students must take two semesters of PE/Well-Being before graduation. The wide array of classes that satisfy this requirement are offered at many levels and modes of engagement, including physical education courses, varsity sports, and dance and movement classes. You can see all options open to students in the fall by doing a “Course Type” search in WebAdvisor for CAS-GE: PHYS ED WELL BEING. Visit Lewis & Clark Athletics Physical Education to read class descriptions.
When putting together your semester schedule, you have the option to add a 1-credit PE or Well-Being course to the academic classes you will take each semester. If you are taking a standard academic courseload of 16 credits in a semester, enrolling in a PE or Well-Being course will take you up to 17 credits - which is perfectly fine and typical for LC students. The majority of PE/Well-Being courses are not graded; rather, students are granted credit for participation or no credit for lack of attendance/participation.
It’s up to you to decide if taking a PE/Well-Being course in your first semester is the right thing to do. If you reflect on your habits and believe that taking a PE/Well-Being course will be a positive thing to participate in during your first semester, registering for a PE/Well-Being is likely a good idea. Or, if you reflect and know that adding another item to your schedule in your first semester would be challenging, wait until the spring to add something additional to your schedule.
Are you joining a varsity team at LC? Be sure to register for your varsity sport when it is in season. Students on Varsity Football, Soccer, Volleyball, and Cross Country teams should register for their sport in the fall. Students on Varsity Softball, Track & Field, Rowing, Tennis, Swimming, Baseball, Basketball, and Gold should register for their sport in the spring. Consistently registering for varsity sports every year you participate will fulfill your general education PE/Well-Being requirement.
During registration in August, focus on your registration times on August 1 and August 3: students register for one 4 or 5 credit course on August 1, and two academic classes (plus any PE/Well-Being, Music Performance, or other 1 or 2 credit courses) on August 3.
Then, during New Student Orientation, you will meet with your pre-major Faculty Advisor. During this meeting, you will review your schedule with your Faculty Advisor, and they might have suggestions for changes. After this meeting, registration will re-open for a brief window of time to allow you to make changes. This is the third registration window listed in WebAdvisor.
General Education courses provide a foundation for learning at a liberal arts college. These classes can expand your perspectives and skills, and expose you to the fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Lewis & Clark College’s General Education requirements consists of the following:
- Core courses (Core 120: Words and Core 121: Numbers)
- World language course(s) taken through the 201 level
- A bibliographic research in writing course
- Four credits in global perspectives
- A historical perspectives course
- A culture, power, and identity course
- A natural sciences course
- Four credits in creative arts
- Two credits (taken in separate semesters) of physical education and well-being. The requirements and courses that fulfill them are listed in the College Catalog under General Education Requirements.
This short video provides a useful overview of General Education requirements, too.
The requirements and courses that fulfill them are listed in the College Catalog under General Education Requirements. However, not all courses are offered every semester. To find out which GE courses will be offered this fall:
- Go to webadvisor.lclark.edu.
- Log in using your WebAdvisor User ID and password. Select the Students menu.
- Under the Registration heading, select Search for Sections.
- From the Term drop-down menu, select CAS - Fall 2022.
- Narrow your search to GE courses by clicking on the Course Type field (in the lower right) and selecting, for example, CAS-GE CREATIVE ARTS. This will show you all courses offered at L&C in the fall that fulfill that GE requirement, not just those open to first-year students (you can click on a Course Title on the next page to see the prerequisites).
- Click Submit.
Students often assume that they need to finish all of their general education in one or two years, but that’s not necessarily true. As long as you continue to make steady progress on the requirements, so that they are not all left for the end of your time at L&C, you’ll be fine.
Student fulfill the Natural Science requirement by taking a course that acquaints students with methods of scientific inquiry and reasoning. Departments offer both lab and non-lab options to fulfill this requirement.
The Biology and Chemistry departments both offer lab courses specifically designed for non-major students to meet their Natural Science requirement: BIO 100: Perspectives in Biology and CHEM 105: Perspectives in Nutrition are offered in the fall, and CHEM 100: Perspectives in Environmental Chemistry is offered in the spring.
The Physics department also offers classes designed with non-major students in mind to fulfill the Natural Science requirement: PHYS 106: The Physics of Music and PHYS 110: Great Ideas in Physics are both offered in the fall.
To register for many of these courses, students must meet one of the following criteria: a) a score of 53 or above on the ALEKS exam; b) a score of 4 or 5 on an AP Calculus AB or BC exams or a score of 5, 6, or 7 on an IB HL Math exam; c) completing QR 101. You can read more about your options in our advice about Placement Exams.
Note: Students with a qualifying AP or IB course equivalency in chemistry, biology, or physics will have fulfilled the Natural Science General Education requirement. The Advanced Standing section of the Lewis & Clark Catalog has a subject breakdown for both AP and IB course equivalencies.
Core 120: Words and Core 121: Numbers is a two-semester sequence for first-year students that can be taken in either order. All sections of Core 120 and Core 121 are held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and, generally, class times are 1:50 - 2:50 pm. However, there are a few sections taught at other times to resolve schedule conflicts with other classes.
Each Words and Numbers section is unique in its theme and materials. The Words and Numbers preference form allows you to choose your top 6 preferences. We strongly recommend filling out the form as early as possible. If your preference form has not been received by the deadline, you will be assigned to an open section.
Be sure your scores have been sent to Lewis & Clark. AP or IB exam credit may affect your placement in some subjects (for example, if you are thinking of pursuing the Psychology major, an AP score of 4 or 5 will allow to you go straight into 200-level Psychology courses). The Advanced Standing section of the Lewis & Clark Catalog has a subject breakdown for both AP and IB examination course equivalencies. It also explains the elective credit Lewis & Clark grants for AP and IB scores.
To see if your scores have been received by L&C:
- Log into WebAdvisor using your L&C username and password.
- Click Students.
- Under the Academic Profile Heading, select Test Summary for SAT/ACT, AP/IB scores, and the results of your placement exams.
Note: Students with a qualifying AP or IB course equivalency in chemistry, biology, or physics will have fulfilled the Natural Science General Education requirement.
If you have questions about whether test scores have been received, you can contact the Registrar’s Office.
For more useful tips, watch What if I have AP or IB credit?
L&C recommends incoming students take two placements prior to the start of their first semester: the ALEKS mathematical Proficiency exam and the World Language placement. (A third, optional, Theory Placement Assessment is also suggested for prospective Music majors).
To learn more about the placement exams, how long (or how to) prepare for them, or how many times you might take the placements, please consult our advice regarding Placement Exams.
In order to transfer credit for the college coursework you completed in high school, you will need to send all official transcripts from previously-attended colleges to L&C Registrar’s Office. Transfer credit is only granted for courses in which a C or above was earned.
You will have two advisors throughout your time at L&C: a College Advisor and a Pre-Major Faculty Advisor, both of whom are matched with you before the semester begins. You will receive an introduction to your L&C email address from your College Advisor in late May. Be sure to check your L&C email throughout the summer for helpful registration information
You can also contact the College Advising Center at any point prior to the start of the fall semester and beyond, for help with any questions you might have: email your advisor in the College Advising Center or make an appointment (not sure who your College Advisor is? Check your Lewis & Clark email for messages from them after May 25).
To create your L&C email address, follow these steps from Information Technology (IT): Account Creation - Step by Step Guide.
You will use your L&C username (i.e. lc22-xxxx) to set up an email alias (email@example.com) in WebAdvisor. This is a secondary email address on your google account. You will use your L&C username (lc22-xxxx) to log into most college systems and services, including WebAdvisor, Moodle and wifi access points. You will also select a password. This password will be used for all the systems listed above, including Gmail.
To log into your L&C email, go to gmail.com and enter in your username followed by @lclark.edu (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org) and password. The email alias (email@example.com) you created will become your default “From:” address when composing new messages, and will be the email everyone at L&C will use to contact you.
If you are having issues with your password, follow these directions to reset your password.
Still having problems? Please get in touch with IT for more help.
Lewis & Clark is committed to serving the needs of our students with disabilities and learning differences. Professional staff in the Office of Student Accessibility are available to ensure that students receive all of the benefits of a comprehensive selection of services, including advice on academic strategies for success.
The Office of Student Accessibility is also available over the summer to help with any kind of accommodations related to learning, physical, or psychological need.
The texts and materials you’ll need for each of your classes will be listed on the syllabus, which you’ll receive in class. However, you don’t have to wait to get the syllabus to find out what you’ll need for each class. If you visit the L&C’s College Bookstore, select the “Textbooks” link, and then choose either Start Comparison Shopping or Shop Bookstore Only. You can then select the Campus Term (L-C Bookstore CAS 2022 Fall), and choose the specific department, class, and section to see what your professors are requiring or recommending you have for that class.
The L&C Bookstore provides information about the exact textbooks and editions that your professors want you to have for their course. These books are available to purchase online or at L&C’s Bookstore, or you can try the Textbook Price Comparison Tool to view the L&C Bookstore prices alongside those from Amazon, Half.com, and others (textbook rentals are another good option).
Final pricing, rental titles, and the ability to place orders via our website are available beginning approximately four weeks prior to the start of the semester.
Keep in mind that your book list may change, depending on changes you make to your schedule during the first two weeks of the fall semester, which is the add/drop period.
Want more helpful tips? Check our our Video Library.