Academic Advising FAQs


Who is my academic advisor?
To find out who your academic advisor is, sign onto VIP, go to the “ACADEMICS” tab on the left side of the screen and then click on “Registration Eligibility/Advisor Information.” If your advisor is not listed here, contact your school or see this pdf for further information on identifying your advisor.

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When do I need to meet with my academic advisor?
You are required to meet with your advisor before every registration period begins. Some advisors will contact you via email, your campus mailbox, or telephone, about setting up an appointment. If you do not hear from your advisor during this time, contact student services in your college or school. Learn more about advising here.

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If I don’t earn the minimum GPA for my major, am I automatically kicked out?
Not typically, although each major is different. Many majors make their determination on a case by case basis, so you should contact your advisor and/or dean to ask them about your situation. For a list of required GPAs look here.

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How do I change majors?
You must call or visit the department that you are hoping to enter and ask questions regarding application deadlines, advising appointments, and admission requirements. If you are changing to a major in a different college, you must complete the Change of College form and get it signed by both your current Dean and the Dean of the college you wish to enter. You may wish to speak to someone from the Cross Campus Advising program before switching majors. You can schedule an appointment here. Find additional resources click here.

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What is the maximum number of hours a student can register for without an override?
This depends on your college, but is typically 17-18 hours.

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Can I take summer courses at a community college and transfer the credits into USC?
Community college course credits must be approved in advance by the head of the department or dean of the college and the approval must be filed with the Office of the University Registrar. Find additional resources regarding this policy on the 2010-2011 Academic Bulletin You can also find the Transient Form here.

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What is course “add/drop”?
You may add a course through VIP within the first week of the semester. You may drop a course through VIP within the first two weeks of the semester (check the academic calendar for the specific drop date), with no penalty. Courses dropped during the second through the sixth week of a regular semester (see date on the Academic Calendar) are recorded with an academic nonpenalty grade of W. After the first six weeks of the semester, any courses dropped will appear on the permanent record with a grade of WF. A WF is treated as an F in the evaluation of the undergraduate student’s eligibility to continue and is computed into the undergraduate student’s graduate cumulative grade point average.

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What are general education requirements?
The purpose of your complete undergraduate education at USC is to prepare you for the increasingly complex world. To go along with your in-depth study of your major, the faculty at USC have developed a core curriculum of classes that will allow you to become well-rounded and well-educated.

To find these course requirements, refer to the general education requirements located on the Academic Bulletin here. To find more information regarding general education requirements and the Carolina Core click here.

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Where can I find my major requirements?
Go to the Academic Bulletin and the Academic Programs site at: http://bulletin.sc.edu/content.php?catoid=36&navoid=4232.

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When do I have to declare my major?
Most undergraduate students will come to USC with a declared major. However, if you do not have a major, you are required to declare one by the time you reach 30 earned credit hours.  Find additional resources on this policy on the 2010-2011 Academic Bulletin at http://bulletin.sc.edu/content.php?catoid=36&navoid=4233&hl=&returnto=search#Undeclared_Freshmen_

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What do I need to bring to an advising appointment?
For an effective advising appointment, you should show up (on time) with: A list of classes you want to take next semester, a copy of your transcript, a copy of your major requirements, an idea of your career goals, a list of questions to ask (such as “what classes would you recommend?” and “what are some career options in this field?”) a pen/pencil and something to write on, and a positive attitude! For additional resources on this topic, click here.

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What is grade forgiveness?
Course grade forgiveness is the policy of the University of South Carolina that every currently enrolled, fully admitted, degree-seeking undergraduate earning a D+, D, F, or WF in a University course may take up to two undergraduate courses for a second time for the purpose of grade forgiveness. Both the first and second grades shall appear on the University permanent record, but only the second grade will be used in computing the University of South Carolina cumulative grade point average. An explanatory notice will appear on the record. Once grade forgiveness is applied to a repeated course, the action may not be revoked.  Find additional resources on this policy in the 2010-2011 Academic Bulletin at http://bulletin.sc.edu/content.php?catoid=3&navoid=478.

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What is academic forgiveness?
This is for former USC undergraduate students with less than a 2.0 GPA.  The policy allows for a recalculation of the GPA to permit an undergraduate student to graduate or pursue a specific academic program.  There are multiple conditions that must be met for an undergraduate student to be eligible for academic forgiveness.  For these conditions and more information on the policy, refer to the Academic Bulletin at http://bulletin.sc.edu/content.php?catoid=36&navoid=3740&hl=&returnto=search#Course_Grade_Forgiveness. You can use the Grade Forgiveness Calculator to give you a projected cumulative USC system grade point average (GPA) if you apply grade forgiveness for a course that meets the above criteria.

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How do I calculate my GPA?
The grade points earned in any course carried with a passing grade (A, B+, B, C+, C, D+, D) are computed by multiplying the number of semester hour credits assigned to the course by a factor determined by the grade. For courses in which the grade of A was earned, the factor is 4; for B+, 3.5; for B, 3; for C+, 2.5; for C, 2; for D+, 1.5; for D, 1. The grade point average is determined by dividing the total number of semester grade points earned by the total number of semester hours attempted for credit. No grade points are assigned to the symbols F, S, U, WF, W, I, AUD, T, or NR.

For more information on this topic, refer to the 2010-2011 Academic Bulletin at http://bulletin.sc.edu/content.php?catoid=36&navoid=3740&hl=&returnto=search#Grade_Point_Average You can also use the GPA Calculators located here to see how your GPA will change given the grades you expect or what grades you will need to earn to get your desired GPA. Instructions on how to use the GPA Calculators are listed on the page.

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How do I read my transcript?
A transcript of an undergraduate student’s record carries the following information: current status; a detailed statement of the scholastic record showing courses pursued with semester hours carried/attempted (HC), semester hours earned grades (HE), grade points, grade point average (GPA), and system of grading*; a permanent record of all failures, Incomplete grades, and penalties (such as suspension); cumulative USC grade totals; and references to other college or universities attended, dates attended, and the total transfer credits accepted by the University of South Carolina. With all of this information on them, transcripts can be very confusing to read. Refer to the academic advising binder in the ACE office for a sample transcript and guidance in reading it.

*Meaning of letters attached to grades:

  • F-failing performance
  • S-satisfactory (passing)
  • U-unsatisfactory (failing)
  • WF-withdrawal after deadline (treated as failing performance)
  • W-withdrawal before the penalty date
  • I-incomplete
  • AUD-course was carried on an audit basis
  • T-Thesis Preparation
  • NR-No Record (grade is not available)
  • X-honor code violation

For more information on how to read a transcript, click here

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What are some important policies that I should ask my advisor about?

Be sure that you understand the following academic policies. Your advisor will be able to answer any specific questions that you have about them and how they might relate to your academic success.

Your undergraduate student classification is determined by the number of credits you have earned. This includes credits you have earned at USC, as well as any other credits you may have transferred from another college or university

  • Less than 30 credits = freshman classification
  • 30-59 credits = sophomore classification
  • 60-89 credits = junior classification
  • 90 or more credits = senior classification

(Please note: We aim to keep the Academic Advising resource page as up-to-date and accurate as possible. If you notice any errors on this website, please contact ACE@sc.edu )


For more information, contact:
Student Success Center
803-777-1000 or sacca@mailbox.sc.edu