Review the academic policies and associated student advicescenarios below. 

Then check your campus’ student handbook.

If you anticipate participating in any of these experiences in the near future, then check in with your academic adviser before making that final decision.

Academic Policies


Add/Drop occurs usually during the first week of classes each semester.  It is a limited period of time in which you can adjust/change your academic class schedule. This tool allows you to “shop around”, so to speak, to make certain you have the class schedule that meets your academic and personal needs.


The Pass/Fail option gives you the opportunity to assess the academic demands of your current class schedule and which course you can designate as a Pass/Fail possibility.  In most cases, with receiving a pass grade, you earn graduation credit.  If you fail the selected course, then you receive a grade of “F” which does count in lowering your GPA.  Each U.S. college and university has different rules governing student use of the Pass/Fail option.

Course Withdrawal

The Course Withdrawal option allows students having either academic and/or personal difficulties to withdraw from a course completely, receiving a “W” grade for that course. Beware. There are financial as well as academic consequences in selecting this option.  Nevertheless, it may be a beneficial given the particular circumstance. However, it does requires very careful consideration before making that final decision.

Degree Audit

Known by different names at different campuses, the “invaluable degree audit” tracks, in detail, your academic progress. It is updated every semester. It also tracks and monitors your degree requirements including graduation credits earned, courses completed, grade point average, major required courses, transfer credit, and course electives.

Information Literacy

Use of the above tools can enhance your grade point average. However, information literacy practice can expand your academic and digital ability to search and use effectively the wealth of information resources you encounter as a student. Information literacy skills include analytical and digital capabilities critical for any student to flourish in today’s academic and workplace environments.

 Lana W. Jackman, Ph.D.

Lana W. Jackman, Ph.D.

Academic and Career Adviser to the Future Stars (You!)

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Student Sample Experience

Add/Drop Scenario

You realize during the first week of classes that you registered for Algebra 001 when your math placement test stated Algebra 101.  You check the Registration Schedule and notice 2 sections of Algebra 101 are available in the morning and 1 section is available in the evening.  You double check with your busy academic adviser via email. The Add/Drop deadline is in 2 days.  You get an email confirmation and then, following the Add/Drop registration instructions, you changed classes. 

Pass/Fail Scenario

Several weeks into the semester, you discovered that the “easy” elective, astronomy, that you added to your schedule is turning out to be not so easy. It’s really more demanding than you had anticipated, elevating your stress levelsnot to mention the other work in your GenEd courses.  You investigate the restrictions of your school’s Pass/Fail policy and, alas, you can designate the course as Pass/Fail.  You complete the sign-up requirements before the Pass/Fail deadline.

Course Withdrawal Scenario

You’re carrying a full academic course load your second semester – 15 credits (5 courses).  You just completed your midterms and learn that you received a grade of “D-“in a biology course.  You did well in your other courses. You’re worried that this course will pull down your grade point average (gpa) The biology course only has a midterm and a final. You’re also a financial aid recipient and you have to abide by the federal government’s “satisfactory academic progress” regulation.  Withdrawing from the course may be an option, but you’re not sure about the financial and/or academic consequences.  There is also a deadline to withdraw from a course.  Time to have a conversation with your academic adviser.

Degree Audit Scenario

During your first semester, you just realized that every semester,  you’ll receive an updated degree audit listing your major and graduation requirements, courses completed, grade point average, and other available course/program options. This audit will be quite helpful to you with deciding your course schedule for each semester and monitoring your academic progress. You noticed that your grade point average for your first semester was listed as 2.75.  Yet, you received all “A”s and “B”s on your first semester’s grade report.  Which means that your GPA should be listed as 3.5. Time to pay a visit to your academic adviser and the Registrar’s Office.

Information Literacy Scenario

You’re unfamiliar with the subject matter in a course you’re taking to satisfy a social science graduation requirement.  You have to write a 20 page research paper on a topic of your choice.   You’re unsure about what topic to select because you really are having hard time understanding the lectures and the subject matter overall. Also, the language of the assigned text book is just not helpful, often confusing, as is the corresponding course information resources packet. What to do…get thee, ASAP, to a campus reference librarian and discuss your project and how best to accomplish it!

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