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Frequently Asked Questions
Quick Reference Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:
Which calendar does DWU follow?
A:
The traditional academic programs follow the semester system. There are two semesters (fall and spring), a May term, and summer sessions that begin in June and July.
Q:
What is the average course load and unit requirement to be a full-time student?
A:
The average course load of an undergraduate is 12-16 units per semester. An undergraduate is considered full-time if enrolled for 12 or more units and part-time if enrolled for fewer than 12 units.
Q:
What is the unit-hour limitation?
A:
Any unit over 16 is considered an overload. Special permission must be secured from the student’s advisor and dean before a student is allowed to register for more than 18 units. Registration for over 16 units incurs additional tuition.
Q:
How many hours per week are recommended for studying?
A:

Generally speaking, students should plan to spend two to three hours studying outside of class per week for each unit enrolled. For example, if a student is enrolled in a three-credit class, he/she should plan to spend at least six to nine hours studying per week outside of class.
For most non-laboratory classes, students are in class for approximately one hour per unit of credit. For example, if a student is enrolled in a three-unit history class, he or she will spend approximately three hours in the classroom.

Q:
What is meant by “Good Academic Standing”?
A:
A student in good academic standing is one who is making satisfactory academic progress as defined by the General Catalog and who has met all of their financial obligations to the University.
Q:
When do continuing students register for classes?
A:
Registration for continuing students takes place during the preceding semester for any given fall or spring semester on designated dates. A student is not considered registered until tuition and fees have been paid and the proper forms have been filed with the registrar.
Q:
How is the Grade Point Average (GPA) calculated?
A:

The grade point average is determined by adding quality points, which are assigned to each semester unit of credit, and then dividing the sum by the total number of semester hours earned. For example, a grade of A in a 3-unit course will generate 12 quality points (4.0 X 3 = 12 quality points). So if a student earned four A’s in 3-unit courses, he/she will have a 4.0 GPA (48/12 = 4). As an exception to this rule, non-letter grades will not affect a student’s GPA. Quality points are assigned to each semester unit of credit as follows:

A+
4.0
A
4.0
A-
3.7
B+
3.3
B
3.0
B-
2.7
C+
2.3
C
2.0
C-
1.7
D+
1.3
D
1.0
D-
0.7
F
0.0
Q:
Is Pass-Fail grading an option at DWU?
A:
Students are permitted to enroll in specified courses on a pass-fail option basis. The objective is to encourage students to widen their academic horizons by enrolling in courses of interest without the burden of competing with students in the major. General education curriculum and major requirement courses may not be taken pass/fail.
Q:
May I have access to my student’s grades?
A:
Families may not have access to their student’s grades without the written permission of their student. The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, provides students with significant rights of access to their educational records – including grades – as well as protects the privacy of student records. Students may gain access to any written academic records directly concerning them. There are some records of parents to which a student has no right of access. The Act entitles students to the privacy of their records. Only material classified as directory information, as defined in the general catalog, can be released without student consent. This permission must be filed in writing. If students give reasonable notice, they can have part or all of their directory information withheld.
Q:
What is the Dean’s List?
A:
The Dean’s List is a list of students achieving high scholarship for a given semester. To be eligible, a student must be enrolled full-time for 12 units or more of course work graded “A” through “F” and achieve a 3.5 or better.
Q:
How does a student qualify for academic honors at commencement?
A:
To be considered for Commencement Honors, a student must have completed at least 60 units of academic course works graded “A” through “F” at DWU and have a minimum DWU grade point average of 3.85 for Summa Cum Laude, 3.75 for Magna Cum Laude, and 3.50 for Cum Laude.
Q:
What can be done if my student and his or her on-campus roommate have a problem?
A:

At the beginning of the year, roommates are encouraged to complete a roommate contract that is designed to foster healthy relationships. At this time, roommates discuss such topics as visitation, study time, quiet hours, personal property, and housekeeping. The roommate contract gives each roommate an opportunity to voice his/her expectations of the other’s behavior. The contract represents a signed agreement between the two, and is kept in the room and with the resident advisor for future reference.
If your student has a problem with his roommate, encourage your student to talk to his roommate about any concerns and work towards a resolution together. Often, problems are a result of something that can be resolved through communication. Experience has shown that the most difficult element of roommate conflict resolution is for the student to initiate a discussion of conflict. Encouraging your student to discuss concerns openly with her roommate will help her to acquire skills in problem solving and conflict resolution that will have life-long effects. In addition, your student’s resident advisor has been trained to mediate roommate problems. As a last resort, your student may consider a room change. Room changes can only occur following the second week of classes. This gives new roommates an opportunity to work out differences or problems before initiating a change in residence. Room changes later in the academic year will be considered only by consultation with the residence life director.

Q:
What are some ways to decrease my student’s homesickness?
A:
Although many students may not admit it, homesickness is a common experience for new college students. It is not unusual for students to struggle with feelings of depression or loneliness as a result of homesickness during college. Continue to write to your student even if she does not write back. Residence life staff are available to offer support, a listening ear and suggestions to assist students through this challenging time. In addition, the university’s counselor is available to assist students when homesickness appears to be more serious.
Q:
What kinds of educational support services are available for students?
A:

The academic transition from high school to college is not always easy for students, even excellent students. Some students who have always done well think they can put forth the same effort in college and continue to do equally as well. This usually is not the case. Students need to recognize that changes in study habits, study time, and self-discipline may be necessary to ease the transition. Some of the elements that contribute to a successful transition are:

  • Refine study habits
  • Balancing study time and class time with a satisfying social life
  • Recognizing when help is needed and getting it
  • Approaching faculty members to request feedback on assignments
  • Learning to use the library and other academic support resources
Q:
Why should my student get involved on-campus?
A:

Involvement is time and energy invested both inside and outside of the classroom. Becoming involved will increase your student’s circle of friends, allow her to apply what she is learning to actual experiences and broaden her perspectives. It is fun, it is fulfilling, and it is important to the person she is becoming.
Life outside of the classroom will contribute significantly to your student’s collegiate experience. A complete education combines time in the classroom with experiences outside. While the majority of DWU students work, those who get the most out of college also plan time for involvement.

Q:
Are the residence halls a safe place to live?
A:
Although no campus is free of crime, DWU residence halls represent an environment that is responsive to the safety concerns of students. Students are encouraged to immediately report any suspicious activity to the residence life staff members on duty. Access to the halls and rooms is limited through a combination card and key system. Students are prohibited from sharing their cards or keys with anyone to help ensure the security of all residents. A variety of safety and security programs are offered throughout the year to educate students about preventing crime and responding to emergencies
Q:
What is the university’s policy on consumption of alcohol on campus?
A:
DWU is a dry campus. Regardless of a person’s age, it is illegal to consume alcohol in any area of the residence halls or on campus, and to possess, use, or distribute illegal drugs. Despite these best efforts and policies, it is not uncommon for students experiencing life on their own to experiment with alcohol and other drugs. The university community attempts to educate its students about substance use and abuse. Facts concerning the affects of use, both physically and psychologically, are discussed, and students are encouraged to consider the consequences when making choices to use substances. The entire DWU campus is tobacco free. No smoking is permitted in any building or on the grounds. The tobacco policy applies to smokeless tobacco as well.
Q:
My student will not be able to come home for every holiday. Will students be able to stay in their residence hall rooms during holiday breaks?
A:
The residence halls remain open for every school break except for the winter break following fall exams. The residence halls are closed during this time. Students must secure alternative housing when the halls are closed.
Dakota Wesleyan University
1200 W. University Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301
800-333-8506
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Last updated: 7/7/09
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