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College Advising Center

FAQ

The information below is intended to help incoming students get started on their academic life.

If you have questions, would like to review your options, or discuss potential schedules, we encourage you to contact the College Advising Center at cac@lclark.edu or make an appointment. 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

Creating a Schedule

What courses should I take?

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 a 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. 

In mid-June, additional spots will be opened in many courses that first-year students typically take, such as math, chemistry, biology, and a variety of introductory courses in subjects such as history, politics, and psychology. 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. 

How many courses should I take?

We recommend taking 15 to 17 credits. When the first round of registration opens on July 28, you’ll already 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 here. 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 semester. 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. Student Support Services is another good source of advice and academic support for students with learning differences.

What makes a “good” schedule?

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 are 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, and one quantitative course if you are taking Core 121: Numbers. 

Should I have backups? How many?

As you prepare to register, it is important to have a list of backup courses, so that if a particular course is full when it is your turn 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 4 to 6 backup classes before registration opens on July 28. Your backup list can be comprised of other courses to consider within majors or minors you are interested in exploring, 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 contact the College Advising Center at cac@lclark.edu or make an appointment.

I’m thinking about being a Math, Science, or Environmental Studies major. What should I know?

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 Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Environmental Studies are very sequential. Many classes are offered only in the fall, so if you wait, you could be set back an entire year.

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

I’m interested in studying Music. What should I know?

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 over the summer.

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.

 

General Education

What are General Education requirements?

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

•  A global perspectives course

• 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/activity

The requirements and courses that fulfill them are listed in the College Catalog under General Education Requirements.

When should I take General Education classes? How can I see what GE classes are offered in the fall?

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:

1.  Go to webadvisor.lclark.edu.  

2.  Log in using your WebAdvisor User ID and password. Select the Students menu.

3.  Under the Registration heading, select Search for Sections.

4.  From the Term drop-down menu, select CAS - Fall 2020.

5.  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). 

6.  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. 

I’m not interested in a Math or Science major. What kind of courses would you recommend I take to fulfill these general education requirements?

Student fulfill the Scientific and Quantitative Reasoning requirements by taking at least one course that includes a lab component (from the Category A: Science Lab course list) and two courses that include mathematical and quantitative reasoning (at least one selected from Category B: Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning list and the other selected from the Category B or the Category C: Quantitative Reasoning list).

The Biology and Chemistry departments both offer courses specifically designed for students who wish to meet their Category A: Science Lab requirement (SQR A) without majoring in a science or environmental studies: BIO 100: Perspectives in Biology, CHEM 100: Perspectives in Environmental Chemistry, and CHEM 105: Perspectives in Nutrition.

The Mathematics and Physics department also offers several classes designed with nonmajors in mind to fulfill the Category B: Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning requirement (SQR B): MATH 103: Perspectives in Mathematics, MATH 105: Perspectives in Statistics, CS 107: Perspectives in Computer Science. The Physics department regularly offers PHYS 106: The Physics of Music and PHYS 110: Great Ideas in Physics.

Students in Economics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology/Anthropology, and Rhetoric and Media Studies may fulfill the Category C: Quantitative Reasoning (SQR C) requirement through a class required in their major. All other students may take another course in the SQR B category or may consider ECON 100: Principles of Economics, ECON 103: Economic Statistics, or PHIL 101: Logic.

Note: Students who earn and receive credit for a 4 or 5 on the AP Statistics exam are not eligible to also earn credit for MATH 105: Perspectives in Statistics, ECON 103: Statistics, or PSY 200: Statistics I.

To register for many of these courses (and any course in the SQR B category), 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.

How do I sign up for Words and Number (Core 120 or 121)?

Words and Numbers is a two-semester sequence for first-year students. All sections of Core 120 and Core 121 are held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and, generally, class times are 1:50 - 2:50pm. However, there are a few sections taught at other times to resolve schedule conflicts with other classes.  

Although there are common texts read by all sections of E&D in the fall, each section is unique in its theme and additional materials. The E&D preference form allows you to choose your top 6 preferences. The preference form will open on June 1st. We strongly recommend filling out the form as early as possible.  If your preference form has not been received by June 24th, you will be assigned to an open section.

By July 10th, you will receive an email letting you know which section you have been assigned to, and will be automatically registered for fall E&D. 

 

Placement Exams, Advanced Placement, and College Credit

What if I have AP/IB credit?

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 equivalencies. It also explains the elective credit Lewis & Clark grants for AP and IB scores.

AP and IB scores and high school transcripts showing grades from your senior year are typically not received by the college until mid- to late-July. To see if your scores have been received by L&C:

1. Log into WebAdvisor using your L&C username and password.

2. Click Students.

3. Under the Academic Profile Heading, select Test Summary for SAT/ACT, AP/IB scores, and the results of your placement exams.

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?

How and when should I take the placement exams?

L&C requires incoming students take two placements over the summer: 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.

I took a college classes in high school. Can I get credit at L&C for them?

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.  

 

Miscellaneous

What if I have a disability or learning difference?

Lewis & Clark is committed to serving the needs of our students with disabilities and learning differences. Professional staff in the office of Student Support Services are available to ensure that students receive all of the benefits of a comprehensive selection of services, including advice on academic strategies for success.

Student Support Services is also available over the summer to help with any kind of disability: learning, physical, or psychological. You can reach them by phone at 503-768-7192 or by email at access@lclark.edu.

How do I find out what books I’ll need for my classes?

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 2018 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 (book 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 an changes you make to your schedule during the first two weeks of the fall semester, which is the add/drop period. 

Questions? Check out L&C Bookstore’s FAQ.

I won’t have internet access during registration! What should I do?

Please contact the College Advising Center at cac@lclark.edu, 503-768-7600, or make an appointment.

Want more helpful tips? Check our our Video Library.