Academic Rules and Procedures
Academic Advising Program
Upon admission to Alma College, each student is assigned a faculty advisor on the basis of academic and career interests. Working with this advisor, students plan their courses and evaluate their progress. For those students who are uncertain about their interests, advisors are specially selected who can assist them in exploring and establishing a career direction through a well-developed plan of coursework and co-curricular experiences. Students' academic goals may also change during the course of their college careers. Accordingly, students may change advisors at any time, especially when an academic major is declared.
Conditions of Enrollment
Registration. Students usually select courses during the pre-registration period in the preceding term. Newly admitted students pre-register shortly after arrival on campus.
Course enrollments are confirmed at registration on the first day of each term. Students who fail to confirm their registration on the first day of the term will be charged a $110 Late Registration Fee.
Changes in Registration. Students must file changes on the approved form with the Registrar's Office. Courses may be added during the first week of each term if approved by the advisor and during the second week if approved by both the advisor and the instructor. No courses, except for those scheduled for the last seven weeks of the term, may be added after the second week.
Withdrawal. Withdrawal from a class may occur through the ninth week of a 14-week course, the fifth week of a seven-week course, or the third week of a four-week course. Neither the course nor the withdrawal will appear on the student's record.
Class Load. The class load for a 14-week term shall be no less than 13 and no more than 18 credits for full-time status. Students who wish to qualify for full benefits from the Veterans Administration, Social Security or other financial aid sources are advised to enroll for not less than 13 credits. Athletes should be aware that the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association requires a 13-credit load for eligibility.
Class Attendance Requirements. Class attendance requirements are set by each individual instructor. Among the options available is mandatory attendance, with absences resulting in a lower grade. Faculty members who do not implement a mandatory attendance policy will take measures to combat a common student misconception — that if attendance is not required (with penalties attached), it is not important. To this end, the syllabi for all classes will explicitly state the attendance policy.
Convocation Attendance. Convocation attendance is required. The penalty for unexcused absence is subtraction of one-half honor point (not CPA) from the student's record. Seniors are required to participate in Commencement unless excused by the Provost.
Final Examination Schedule. The Final Examination Schedule is established by the Registrar and published at the beginning of each term. Instructors will announce testing plans in the course syllabus; if a final examination is to be given, it must be at the officially-scheduled time. A fee is charged for each make-up examination. These examinations are given only with the permission of the instructor.
Withdrawal from College. The College assumes that students beginning a term intend to complete it. Any student who wishes to withdraw during the term must inform the appropriate administrative offices about this decision by completing a withdrawal form, which is available in the Center for Student Development. Failure to complete this form prior to departing from campus will result in forfeiture of all deposits and refunds and failing grades for all course enrollments.
Grading System. The following letters and grade points are used to record evaluations of student work: "A" (4.0); "AB" (3.5); "B" (3.0); "BC" (2.5);"C" (2.0); "CD" (1.5); "D" (1.0); "DE" (0.5); and "E" (0.0 — failing). An "E" will be recorded for such reasons (other than failure to meet course requirements) as dishonesty, excessive absence or failure to comply with other conditions specified by the instructor.
Incomplete Grades. Incomplete ("IN") grades must be replaced by letter grades within six weeks after the end of the term or they automatically convert to "E."
Work in Progress. Work in Progress ("IP") must be successfully completed and graded within one year of the date of enrollment, or the grade automatically converts to "E" unless the instructor initiates Withdrawal Pass ("WP") or Withdrawal Fail ("WF"). Work in Progress grades may be used only for independent study or practicum courses. A grade of "Z" is assigned by the Registrar when a grade has not been received from an instructor.
Satisfactory Grade Option. Students may elect the Satisfactory Grade Option ("S" or "F") by filing the approved form with the instructor's consent at the Registrar's Office before the deadline to drop the class. If the student elects this option, evaluation of the course work is recorded as "S" (equivalent to a "C" or better) or as "F" (failing, no credit). Neither grade is computed in the CPA.
Application of the "S/F" option is limited as described below:
- It is available only to students of sophomore, junior or senior standing.
- No more than 16 credits may apply to the 136-156 required for the degree.
- No more than six credits per term may be elected under this option.
- No course counting for a Teaching Major or Minor and no education course presented for teacher certification may be graded using this option.
- No more than four credits of the 36 required for the major (or six credits of the 56 required for an interdepartmental major or POE) may be graded under this option.
Some classes are graded only "S" or "F" and the student has no option. Credits earned for these courses are not subject to the limitations described above.
Grade Reports. Grade Reports are sent to all students and their parents (if applicable) at the end of each term and to first-year students and sophomores and their parents at mid-term. Students who wish to change the designation of grade report recipients may fill out a form in the Registrar's Office.
Appeal of Grades. Appeal of grades may be made when the student has evidence that the final grade is unfair, but the appeal must be made not later than six months after the recording of the initial grade. The appeal proceeds first to the instructor, then to the department chair, and, if the disagreement still stands, it may go to the Provost.
Classification of Students. Students admitted to Alma College may earn degree credits. If enrolled in a full class load, students will be certified as regularly enrolled students and classification will be based on the number of credits earned: freshman (0-24); sophomore (25-55); junior (56-89); or senior (90 plus). Eligibility for some forms of financial aid may depend upon progress toward the degree as indicated by these classifications.
Probation and Dismissal. Students must achieve a 2.0 CPA to graduate. Students with less than a 2.0 CPA will be placed on probation and may be dismissed or barred from registration whenever such action is considered to be in the best interest of the student or the College.
|Unsatisfactory Progress||Satisfactory Progress|
|1||—||1.25 (-12)||1.75 (-4)||2.00 (-0.5)|
|2||1.50 (-16)||1.70 (-10)||2.00 (-0.5)|
|3||1.70 (-14)||1.85 (-8)||2.00 (-0.5)|
|4||1.80 (-12)||1.90 (-6)||2.00 (-0.5)|
|5||1.90 (-10)||1.95 ( -4)||2.00 (-0.5)|
|6||1.95 (-6)||2.00 (-0.5)|
Probation Guidelines. The Probation Guidelines in the chart to the right are based on an ascending scale of honor point deficiencies and the number of terms enrolled in college. Normal progress is defined as any condition above unsatisfactory progress (i.e., jeopardy).
Only students who are making unsatisfactory progress will be subject to restrictions on athletic eligibility, extracurricular activities and/or financial aid eligibility. Students will qualify for the recommended status when either the CPA equals or falls below, or the honor point deficiency equals or exceeds, the posted criteria.
Academic Dismissal. Academic dismissal constitutes involuntary separation of the student from the College for a minimum of one Fall or Winter term. Re-enrollment, on academic jeopardy, is contingent upon approval of the Academic Standards Committee. Approval typically will be granted upon evidence of improved performance in academic work as demonstrated by successful (cumulative 3.0 or higher) completion of the equivalent of 13 credits of coursework which meets the requirements for transfer credits. In no case will a student be readmitted for the regular term succeeding the term in which the student was dismissed. First-term freshmen and first-term transfer students are not subject to academic dismissal.
Academic Jeopardy. Academic Jeopardy represents "unsatisfactory progress toward the degree" for determining eligibility for such programs as intercollegiate athletics and financial aid. Unsatisfactory progress also results from failure to complete credits according to this schedule: first year — 25; second year — 56; third year — 83; fourth year — 110; and fifth year — 136. Students who are subject to this level of probation may re-enroll at Alma College in a subsequent term according to the conditions as follows:
- Arrangement with the academic advisor of a plan for improving academic performance to include repetition of classes, change of academic program, enrollment in the academic effectiveness program, weekly meetings with the advisor to monitor progress and/or reduction of course load.
- Agreement to the restriction of participation in extracurricular activities including varsity athletics, Greek societies, community government and/or hours of employment.
- Completion of an interview with the Associate Provost to verify understanding of and compliance with these conditions prior to re-enrollment.
First-term transfer students will qualify for jeopardy status according to the criteria for first-term freshmen. After the first term of enrollment at Alma, however, the published guidelines will apply.
Academic Probation and Warning. Academic Probation and Warning are categories of probation which should warrant the student's concern, but are not subject to the extracurricular restrictions cited above. Eligibility for some forms of financial aid, however, may be affected.
Right of Appeal. Individuals or groups affected directly by committee actions or decisions have the right to appeal such actions or decisions by submitting dissenting reports first to the committee, and second to the Faculty Organization and/or Student Congress (except in those cases where appeal procedures are delineated in the description of committee functions.)
Notification of the above actions will be sent from the Office of the Provost to the student and to the student's parents (if applicable) after review by the Academic Standards Committee of the faculty.
In accordance with Veterans Administration regulations, students who receive VA benefits and remain on probation for two consecutive terms will be deemed ineligible for further VA certification. To qualify again for VA benefits, such students must achieve a 2.0 CPA.
Academic Minors. Students may obtain a minor in some fields of study. The minor must be a concentration of at least 24 credits including the requirements listed by the department. Every 24-credit concentration does not constitute a minor; to qualify, it must be approved by the department on the form available at the Registrar's Office.
The CPA in the area of the minor concentration must be at least 2.0 ("C").
Proficiency Examinations. Proficiency examinations are available for many courses. These examinations allow the student to earn credit by means other than enrollment in a class. The student may (1) earn credit for work not already pursued in the classroom, (2) waive graduation requirements or prerequisites, or (3) establish credit from a non-accredited institution. Proficiency examinations cannot (1) establish credit for work taken in high school or by Advanced Placement, (2) be less intensive than that for which credit has already been earned, (3) be in applied music or art, (4) be varied in subject matter such as a reading or problems course or (5) have prerequisites not yet satisfied by the candidate.
The examination must be passed with at least a "C" in the corresponding college class. Failed examinations are not recorded. Neither grades nor honor points are earned by proficiency examination.
To establish credit, the fee for the examination is $165 per credit; to waive prerequisites or graduation requirements only, the fee is $83 per credit. Application forms are available in the Registrar's Office.
Repetition of Coursework. Repetition of coursework is permitted. In each case, the most recent effort is counted. Each effort is recorded on the student's permanent record.
Waiver Petitions. To secure waiver of College policies or requirements, students may petition the Academic Standards Committee. Comments from the advisor and other concerned parties are often required before the petition will be reviewed. There is no charge for the petition process. Petition blanks are available in the Registrar's Office.