Frequently Asked Questions

Majors

I have a major but it says "Academic Focus" on my transcript.  What is that?
How do I choose a major that is right for me?
How do I declare my major?
Do I have to declare my major right away?
When should I declare a major?
Where do I go for more information about my major?
What should I do if I want to change my major?

Advisors

Who is my advisor?
When should I see my advisor?
How do I make an appointment with my advisor?
Can I be advised if I have a hold on my record?

General Questions

What are my responsibilities?
Why do I have to take General Education courses?
Which students are seen in the Academic Counseling Center?
I tried to register and it says I need an Alternate PIN from my advisor.  What does this mean?
What if I have a question that wasn't answered here?

ALEKS

What is the ALEKS exam?
Do I have to take the ALEKS?
How quickly will I know my ALEKS score?
Can I retake the ALEKS if I'm not happy with my placement?
How much does the ALEKS cost?

Learning support

What is Learning Support?
How are students placed into prescribed courses?
Can anyone enroll in a prescribed course?
Can I audit the course?
Where can I find the prescribed Reading and English courses in myMemphis?
What is a "combo course"?
If I realize I am doing poorly in a prescribed course, where should I go for help?
What is ACCUPLACER and how do I register for the test?
How are ACCUPLACER scores used?

I have a major but it says "Academic Focus" on my transcript.  What is that? back to top

All students that are seen in the ACC belong to an academic focus area based on their intended major.  The various academic focus areas are: Arts, Business, Education, Health Professions, Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM, and General Education.  Your focus area may change as your intended major changes.  

Make sure your counselor is aware of your choice of major to ensure that you are taking the appropriate courses.

How do I choose a major that is right for me? back to top

  • Stay aware of and use University resources including:
  • Choosing a satisfying major involves matching your interests with your aptitude and skills.
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    • What do you most like to do?
    • What is your personality style or major personality characteristics?
    • What subjects do you enjoy and earn good grades?
  • When reflecting on your past, who have you met or observed and then thought that the work they did or described seemed interesting to you?
  • Consider taking the Career Development course, COUN 1661 (3 credit hours).
  • Ask your advisor about introductory classes that may be available to explore areas that interest you.
  • Attend information sessions on campus about career or major interests, i.e., Pre-Law and Allied Health Info Sessions.
  • Participate in the annual “Discover Your Major Day” to meet and talk to leading instructors and advisors from various academic departments.

Remember that choosing a major will not guarantee a life long career.  The average person changes careers several times in a lifetime.  A college degree can open doors.

How do I declare my major? back to top

See your advisor. Students will remain assigned to the ACC as long as they are unsure of their major, are taking any pre-major coursework, or have a GPA lower than a 2.0.  If they no longer meet any of the previous criteria, then they, working with their advisor, formally declare a major. At that time, the student will be directed to the advising location of the declared major.


Do I have to declare my major right away? back to top

It is normal for most beginning college students to be unsure about their major. In fact, it is common for students to remain undeclared through the first academic year. ACC advisors encourage students to keep an open mind when choosing a major and will often refer them to Career Counseling or to the Focus2 resource for interest tests. Waiting to declare a major is not a problem since UofM curriculum requires students to take certain basic courses (General Education) regardless of one’s major. Students’ experiences in and out of the classroom during the first year will help them decide a major.


When should I declare a major? back to top

To ensure graduating with the minimum hours required, students are expected to choose a major by the end of their sophomore year.

Where do I go for more information about my major? back to top

There are several sources of information for your major including:

  • The Undergraduate Catalog includes course descriptions, 4-year Plans, and other useful pieces of information
  • UMDegree
  • Departmental websites
  • Faculty Members
  • Advisors

What should I do if I want to change my major? back to top

As an ACC student, you should contact your advisor. He or she will have the appropriate paperwork and you can also discuss how your classes may change according to your new major.

Who is my advisor? back to top

If you are advised in the ACC and are unsure of who your advisor is, check our "ACC Staff" link to see if you recognize your advisor.  If not, you can call our office (901.678.2062) and they will give you the name of your advisor.

If you are advised outside of the ACC, you can look up your advisor in the directory

When should I see my advisor? back to top

Students must see their advisor each semester before they register.

Advising for the spring semester typically starts in October, so you should contact your advisor in late September or early October.  Advising for the fall semester starts in March so you should contact your advisor in late February or early March to make an appointment.  Don't be surprised if they are booked with appointments for several days because advising is a very busy time.

However, advising is not the only time you can contact us.  If you have any questions, problems, or need information, give us a call or send us an email.  We're here to help!

How do I make an appointment with my advisor? back to top

You can call or email your advisor directly to make an appointment or you can call the front desk (901.678.2062).

Can I be advised if I have a hold on my record? back to top

Yes.  You can meet with your advisor to pick out your courses even if you have a hold on your record.  However, certain holds may stop you from registering, even if you have met with your advisor. Make sure to check your holds  before registration begins to ensure that you can register for classes on time.

What are my responsibilities? back to top

  • Know your Academic Counselor’s name and location
  • Consult with your Academic Counselor if problems arise
  • Call early to schedule appointments
  • Keep current on academic requirements, policies and procedures
  • Have a list of classes for the upcoming semester
  • Accept responsibility for academic choices

Why do I have to take General Education courses? back to top

“The purpose of the general education core is to ensure that college students have the broad knowledge and skills to become life-long learners in a global community that will continue to change. Because courses in general education should emphasize breadth, they should not be reduced in design to the skills, techniques, or procedures associated with a specific occupation or profession.

General education provides critical thinking skills for analysis to continue to seek truths, to discover answers to questions, and to solve problems. Specifically, educated people practice and are literate in the various methods of communication. They recognize their place in the history, culture, and diverse heritages of Tennessee, the United States, and the world. They appreciate the web of commonality of all humans in a multicultural world and are prepared for the responsibilities of an engaged citizenship. They recognize the ethical demands of our common lives. They demonstrate the skills and knowledge of the social and behavioral sciences to analyze their contemporary world. They are familiar with the history and aesthetics of the fine arts. They understand and practice the scientific and mathematical view of the world.

Finally, the general education core provides for its citizens the means to make a better living. Above all, it enables its citizens to make a better life.”

Which students are seen in the Academic Counseling Center? back to top
The ACC is here for those students who are undeclared, are pre-nursing, are taking pre-major coursework, or are in transition (i.e., changing their major).

I tried to register and it says I need an Alternate PIN from my advisor.  What does this mean? back to top

This is an advising hold; it means you have not met with your advisor to discuss your classes for the upcoming semester.  Contact your advisor to set up an appointment and once you have met they will clear the hold.

If you have already met with your advisor and this message still appears, contact them as soon as possible so the hold can be removed.

What if I have a question that wasn't answered here? back to top

You can send an e-mail to ACC@memphis.edu to have general questions answered.

What is the ALEKS exam? back to top

The ALEKS Exam covers a broad spectrum of pre-calculus material. The ALEKS system is fully automated and the ALEKS assessment is adaptive. The first questions asked will be drawn from across the curriculum, and may be too easy or too hard. As the assessment proceeds, your answers will be used to give the system an idea of your knowledge, and it will gradually focus the questioning in an individually appropriate way. By the end of the assessment you should find the questions generally challenging but reasonable for your individual level of knowledge.

The length of the assessment runs from 35-40 questions. The exact number of questions will vary due to the adaptive mechanism just described. It is likely that you will be asked questions on material you have not yet learned. On such questions it is appropriate to answer, "I don't know." On the other hand, you should do your best to answer any question concerning topics you are familiar with. "I don't know" is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that you do not know the topic, and this will be reflected in the assessment results. If you do not do your best on the assessment, ALEKS will underestimate your knowledge.

Do I have to take the ALEKS? back to top

Yes.  All students must take the ALEKS to enroll in a math course. When students already have a math credit because of AP, dual enrollment, and/or transfer credit, they may not be required to take the ALEKS. Speak to your advisor if you have questions about this.

How quickly will I know my ALEKS score? back to top

ALEKS scores are updated immediately after finishing the assessment. 

Can I retake the ALEKS if I'm not happy with my placement? back to top

Yes. You receive 4 assessments after the initial one. The second assessment may be started 48 hours after the first assessment. We encourage students to spend several hours in the Prep and Learning Module before taking another assessment. Most students do not improve their score until they utilize the Prep and Learning Module to work on their math skills. You must work in the Prep and Learning Module a minimum of 3 hours between each of the remaining three assessments.

How much does the ALEKS cost? back to top

The ALEKS is free to students. This includes 5 assessments and up to 6 months in the Prep and Learning Module. 

What is Learning Support? back to top

Learning Support at the University of Memphis permits students to enroll in prescribed courses to develop the academic competencies necessary for success in college level courses. Major components of the program included testing and placement in appropriate level courses.

How are students placed into prescribed courses? back to top

Students admitted to The University of Memphis as beginning freshmen will be placed in appropriate English, math, and reading courses based on ACT subscores that are less than 5 years old.

  • Students with ACT reading subscores below 19 are required to enroll in ACAD 1100.
  • Students with ACT English subscores below 18 are required to enroll in prescribed English courses.

If students feel they have been misplaced by their ACT subscores in English and reading, they may take the ACCUPLACER test to attempt to place in a higher level course.

  • All students, regardless of their ACT math subscore, are required to take the ALEKS placement exam for math.

Students without ACT scores are required to take the ACCUPLACER, a computer-adaptive assessment, to determine the best course placement for them. The ACCUPLACER assessment provides students and their advisors with important information about educational preparation and is a good beginning toward the achievement of academic goals. The following regulations regarding placement tests and course enrollment will apply:

ACCUPLACER testing is required of students whose ACT (SAT) scores are more than 5 years old, transfer students with no college level credit in English, non-degree seeking students before enrollment in English, and students with no ACT/SAT scores.

ALEKS testing is required of transfer students with no college level credit in math, and non-degree seeking students before enrollment in a math course.

Can anyone enroll in a prescribed course? back to top

Enrollment in any prescribed course is restricted to students who have been placed by their ACT subscores or who have taken the appropriate placement test. Self-placement without testing is not permitted.

Can I audit the course?back to top

Audits into prescribed courses are not permitted. 

Where can I find the prescribed Reading and English courses in myMemphis? back to top

Students required to enroll in prescribed reading courses may take ACAD 1100 to fulfill these requirements.

Students with ACT English subscores below 18 are required to enroll in prescribed ENGL 1010 courses that meet 4 days a week for 5 hours. Students must check with their advisor to determine which English course is appropriate for them.

What is a "combo course"?back to top

A "combo course" is another term for a prescribed course and usually meets 4 days a week for 5 hours.  

If I realize I am doing poorly in a prescribed course, where should I go for help?back to top

Students requiring prescribed courses should be advised in the Academic Counseling Center, 212 Wilder Tower. The academic advisors are trained professionals who can refer you to campus resources to help with whatever academic or personal problems you are having. 

What is ACCUPLACER and how do I register for the test? back to top

ACCUPLACER is an untimed, computerized test that helps your advisor evaluate your skills and place you into appropriate courses. ACCUPLACER offers tests in reading and writing. You will receive your ACCUPLACER test results immediately upon completion of testing, and your score report will include placement messages informing you what courses you should take.

Registration information can be obtained by visiting our ACCUPLACER web page.

How are ACCUPLACER scores used? back to top

ACCUPLACER is not used like a traditional test. There is generally no "passing score." Rather, ACCUPLACER scores indicate areas in which you are strong and areas in which you may need help. Thus, ACCUPLACER can identify problems in major subject areas before they disrupt your educational progress, giving you the opportunity to prepare more effectively for needed courses.