In K-12 schools, students typically follow set academic plans with a few elective opportunities. In college, students choose their path of study, called their Major, and register individually for classes each semester. In November, UNLV students register on-line for their Spring classes through the MyUNLV website. Each student has an enrollment window of time to schedule classes, which is referred to as an “enrollment appointment” within MyUNLV. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. Classes sometimes fill-up, so it is important that students aim to register when their enrollment appointment begins.
Here are a few tips to help you talk with your student as they prepare to register for Spring classes. Encourage your student to …
Schedule an Advising Appointment. Each college within the University has an advising center dedicated to mapping out an individualized academic plan for each student. Advisors will meet with students to be sure they are selecting classes on the path to graduation. If you hear your student say, “I heard from a friend that this class counted for my Major,” encourage them to double check with their academic advisor.
Register on time. Each student has day & time listed in their MyUNLV account where their enrollment is open. This opportunity to register for classes spans several days. Classes do fill-up quickly. Students are encouraged to register on the first day of their enrollment window.
Choose classes wisely. Talk with your student about their overall schedule and time management. Ask them to consider how they are carving out blocks of time to study, balanced with in-class time, group project meetings, and work hours. It’s also important to have down time/social time to compliment their work load.
Aim for 15 credits per semester. The typical course load is 15 credits per semester, however some majors encourage slightly more, particularly for lab work. Minimum full-time status for financial aid is generally 12 credits. You will notice that some students thrive with a heavy course load, while others find it’s too much. On their journey through college, your student is working to find the balance that suits them!
Graduation is determined by the total number of credits students have taken AND fulfilling the requirements of their Major. Encourage your student to talk over their total course load with their advisor and double check their selections with their Financial Aid requirements.
Seek help when needed. A variety of resources are available on campus to support your student’s academic success such as visiting professors during office hours, workshops at the Academic Success Center and Library, the Writing Center, Rebel Wellness Zone, the Disability Resource Center, and the Intersection, just to name a few. Encourage your student to visit these resources for extra support. Sometimes students need to hear from their parents and family that it’s OK to ask for extra help. A nudge from you can make all the difference.
Consider summer courses. Taking a Summer class can help students build a credit buffer and alleviate stress. Summer sessions are shorter, which means students have to complete the same amount of work in a shorter time span. This often means that classes meet 3-5 times per week, rather than 1-2 times per week. The Summer Session schedule will be posted in March. Note that Financial Aid for summer is different than for the academic year. Be sure to read through the Summer Term website for specific information and fees. Students can talk with their Academic Advisor about incorporating a summer class into their academic plan.
Develop a communication agreement. In K-12 schooling, your district may have had an app or website that kept you informed of your student’s attendance and grades. In college, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that communication about academics goes directly to the students. As a parent or family member of a college student, you may feel your role has transitioned to coach or spectator in the past few months. Talk with your student about how they would like to communicate about their grades and your expectations.
Encouragement from parents and family members is an important component in student persistence through their college journey. Students benefit from your messages of support, such as: “I’m proud of you. I know you can do this!”
UNLV faculty and staff are dedicated to helping students achieve their academic goals. Please send your feedback and questions to Parents@unlv.edu