Frequently Asked Questions
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Q: Must students attend class?
A: In all classes, students should attend. In many classes, just in order to pass the class, students must attend regularly and miss very few classes. Professors have different policies about class attendance; the specific policy for each course is stated in the course syllabus handed out at the beginning of the term. If a few excused absences are allowed, don't use them up at the start of the course and then lose points when an emergency comes along. Even if attendance is not required, the most frequent way to fail a course is to fail to attend.
Q: What do students do if they need to be absent from class?
A: According to The Maggie, "Students who are going to miss class should notify their professors of absences in advance. Students should then show each faculty member written statements from physicians, lawyers, etc., where such documentation exists. [...] Students have the responsibility for arranging in advance to make up missed work. The relevant organization (class, coach, etc.) should provide documentation in the form of a roster and time-schedule or itinerary."
If absences are for college-sponsored events, such as athletic events or field trips, the athletic department or faculty sponsor will notify One-Stop Student Services, and that office will send a memo to faculty notifying them of the excused absence. In such cases, students have the responsibility for arranging in advance to make up missed work.
If absences are for personal reasons, students are responsible for obtaining excuses. Students may bring to One-Stop Student Services documents showing hospitalization or other medical treatment, required court appearances, or death in the family to obtain an official excuse from classes. In other cases, students may make arrangements directly with their instructors, who may allow excuses or not at their discretion. One-Stop Student Services can help with these matters. Again, when excused for any reason, students have the responsibility for arranging to make up missed work.
Q: Will I graduate on time if I start in developmental classes?
A: Only if you plan ahead. Developmental courses don't count towards graduation so you need to take one additional 3-credit course some later semester for each developmental course you take. Summers are a great time to take these courses, either at MacMurray, or at your community college. Talk to your advisor about the timing of the courses to get 120 credits in 4 years. Don't forget the 60 hours rule! While College policy states that you can only transfer 60 credits into MacMurray from two-year colleges and have those credits count, students who started in developmental classes but are past 60 hours must submit a petition to the Committee for Academic Standards (DOC) in order to allow an additional course or courses to be transferred in for credit. There is no guarantee that your petition will be approved. Consequently, your best option is to plan ahead starting your first term to avoid having to file the form.
Q: How much time should be devoted to study?
A: Students should plan to spend two hours of study for each hour in class per federal guidelines on what constitutes a credit hour (credit hour definitions can be found in the catalog). For a normal class load of five courses (15 semester hours) this amounts to 30 hours of study each week or an academic work week of 45 hours. Not all courses are the same; some will require more and some may seem to require less, but beware of thinking you can get by with little work outside of class.
Q: How many courses do students take in a semester?
A: Four or five courses is the normal number. (Most courses are three semester hours; science courses with labs are four hours.)
An average load is 15 hours, and 12 is the minimum for a full-time student. In order to graduate in four years, students must take an average of 15 hours for eight semesters.
Q: What is an overload?
A: An overload is any schedule that has more than 18 hours of credit. Taking an overload requires approval of the Registrar.
Q: How do students change their schedules after registration?
A: There is a procedure called Add/Drop for this purpose. Forms are available in One-Stop Student Services. They require advisor approval and signatures of the involved faculty members. The deadlines to Add/Drop come early in the semester. The last day to Add is the end of the first week of classes, the last day to Drop is at the end of the second week.
Q: May students drop a class if they are failing?
A: Although the last days to Add/Drop are early in the semester, students have more than half of the semester to Withdraw from a class without academic penalty. (The difference is that Dropped courses do not appear on the permanent academic record, while Withdraw shows up on the academic transcript as W, WP for Withdraw while Passing, or WF for Withdraw while Failing.) The deadline for withdrawing is nine weeks after the beginning of the semester, shortly after students get midterm grades.
If at any time a full-time student drops below 12 hours, the student changes to part-time status. The student loses eligibility for intercollegiate sports and cannot remain in campus residence halls except with special permission of the Vice President for Student Life. Financial aid may also be affected.
Q: Do students need to enroll in Rhetoric and Values Conflicts?
A: Yes! This is the heart of our liberal arts curriculum and all full-time students at MacMurray must be enrolled in these required courses as deemed appropriate. Even students who expect to transfer must register for these courses.
Q: May students take summer school courses at a community college or other college or university?
A: You must fill out the special form in One-Stop Student Services before taking classes. If you have more than 60 credits already, then the courses don't count as credit toward graduation, but they may meet graduation requirements. The grades do not affect your MacMurray GPA and will not replace a failing grade. The last 30 credits of your MacMurray education must be taken at MacMurray. In short, check with One-Stop Student Services and your advisor to be sure that what you plan will work out the way you hope before you spend the time and money."
Q: May students adjust their final exam schedules to get a ride home or to go on a family vacation?
A: No! The final exam schedule is published at the beginning of the semester. Travel arrangements which need to be made before publication of the schedule should be based on the assumption that students will have exams scheduled the last hour of the last day.
Q: Does the college provide midterm grades as well as final grades?
A: Yes! All students are given midterm grades. These, and final grades, are also sent to a parent or guardian — if the student has filled out a card authorizing release of that information. The card is available at One-Stop Student Services.
Midterm grades are advisory only. They let students know how they are performing as of the middle of the semester. The only grades that count are the final grades.
Q: What grade point average is required to remain in good standing?
A: A C average (2.00 grade point average) is the minimum for good academic standing. Freshmen are given a grace period to reach 2.00, but any time a grade point average is below 2.00, it is a cause for concern. Certain majors have higher requirements. Majors in Biology, Education, Nursing, and Social Work need grade point averages of 2.50.
To graduate, students must also have at least a 2.00 average in all their general education courses, and students need to get at least a C- grade in each of the three Rhetoric courses.