Academic advisors share answers to questions frequently asked at the start of a school year.
The start of the school year can be discombobulating. Fortunately, many questions that come up are common from semester to semester.
Here, academic advisors in the College of Sciences share their answers to questions they’ve heard frequently from new and returning students during the first few days of a new semester.
Is it true that I shouldn’t take two lab classes in my first semester?
Your course load is a personal decision, best discussed with your academic advisor. That said, for some science majors, such as biology, we do recommend that students take two labs in their first semester to stay on track for timely progress through the degree.
How many credit hours should I take?
Again, the course load is a personal decision. Taking 12–14 credit hours during the first semester allows you to acclimate to the course work at Tech and to explore co- and extracurricular ways to take part in the campus community.
I see seats available in a course that was full during FASET registration. Should I grab one of them?
When seats become available in Phase 2 registration, you should take them after first checking two things:
- the course doesn't have a waitlist longer than the open-seat list, and
- you meet the course prerequisites.
I am on the wait list for a course. How does the wait list work?
If a seat opens and you are at the top of a wait list, you'll receive an email at your Georgia Tech address. Here are the next steps:
- Log into Buzzport and go to Oscar.
- Go to the “registration” section and then “add/drop classes.”
- If the course has a lecture component only, it will show in the list of your courses with “wait list” next to it. Use the dropdown box to change “wait list” to “register.” Submit changes.
- If the course has a lab component, then the wait list was only for the lab. Follow the previous instructions, above.
- Change the dropdown box from “wait list” to “register.”
- Before you submit changes, enter the five-digit CRN for the lecture in the first box on the bottom of the page.
- Submit both changes together.
I have back-to-back classes on opposite sides of campus. Will 15 minutes be enough time to make it?
For most buildings on main campus, 15 minutes is enough to make it between classes. But if you’re going from the far side of campus to Technology Square or the Paper Tricentennial Building, you need more time. Consider biking; if you do, wear a helmet!
I'm not sure I selected the right major and career to pursue. Who can I talk to for guidance?
It’s important to select a major that you would truly enjoy. If in doubt, a great place to start is your academic advisor. If you’re not sure who that is, visit Undergraduate Academic Advising to find one in your school.
Team leaders in GT 1000 are also a great resource. Ask them how they selected their major. What do they like and dislike about it?
My syllabi list lots of ways to get help: 1-to-1 tutoring, professor’s office hours, TA’s office hours, etc. How do I know which one to use?
These resources are helpful in different ways. You may have to experiment to find out what would best suit your needs.
- TA office hours for a lab course are great for assistance with lab reports.
- PLUS sessions enable you to practice problem solving with your peers while having someone around who can guide if you get stuck.
- 1-to-1 tutoring is most useful when you've identified a specific concept that you find difficult or you have specific questions.
- Professor's office hours are the best bet when you are confused by something specific that was covered in lecture.
How can I get involved in research?
Check the faculty pages in school websites. See who is doing research that appeals to you. Email the professors; tell them about yourself, your interests, and your interest in their work; and ask if they are accepting new research assistants.
When should I get involved in research?
If you’re a new student, take time to acclimate to the work at Tech and get to know some of the faculty. The beginning of your second semester is a good time to start. Returning students, however, should get involved as soon as possible to get the most of the research experience.
Do you offer a master's program?
Most College of Sciences schools do. The exception is the School of Psychology. The school admits students only into the Ph.D. program. Although psychology majors earn a master’s degree en route to a doctorate, the school does not offer a stand-alone master’s program.
Can I enroll in a graduate program part-time?
No. Undergraduates must take at least 12 credit hours per semester. That load often represents full-time commitment to course work, lab work, participation in seminars and lab meetings, and hours as a teaching or research assistant. However, undergraduates could take graduate-level courses to fulfill their bachelor degree requirements.
Is there a way to shorten the time required to earn a master’s degree?
Yes. The School of Biological Sciences offers two five-year B.S./M.S. programs: a five-year B.S./M.S. in Biology, and a five-year B.S. in Biology/M.S. in Bioinformatics. The School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences offers a five-year B.S./M.S. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Through these programs, you can earn a master’s degree in one year.