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Orientation FAQs

During Orientation, you’ll have many opportunities to speak with staff and students, and we welcome your questions. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Questions about Planning for Orientation

Can I change my Orientation date?

For information about changing your Orientation date, please contact the Office of New Student Programs (734.764.6413).

Can I meet with an advisor before Orientation?

No, but here is what you can expect to discuss with your advisor at Orientation:

  • Credits you may be bringing in and how they might work for your degree (AP/IB credit, dually enrolled credit, transfer credit)

  • Which classes to take during your first term

  • Degree requirements

  • Pre-professional (pre-health, pre-law) resources

Can a parent/guardian come to Orientation?

Can parents attend course registration?

No. Students get lots of support during the course registration process from staff and peer advisors. Parents have their own Orientation schedule and can review the schedule of courses afterward with their student.

I want to be assigned an advisor who specializes in pre-health. How can I guarantee that?

Advisors are assigned randomly, however, all advisors are able to discuss pre-health questions and students can meet with one of our pre-health advisors when they return to campus to address additional questions they may still have.

How do I try out for the Michigan Marching Band?

Information about this process can be found on the marching band’s website.

I was not admitted to the Honors Program. Can I re-apply?

Yes. Students can re-apply to Honors after their first full term.

Scheduling Related Questions

Can I take an art or music class?

Yes. Some classes in the School of Art or the School of Music are held for non-art or non-music students. You can view these classes in the LSA Course Guide.

What is an average course load for first-year students?

A 12-18 credit load is considered full-time and costs the same amount of money. Most first-year students take 12-15 credits which equates to three or four classes.


Can I take back-to-back classes?

Yes. At Michigan, classes end ten minutes before the posted end time, so you actually have ten minutes built-in between back-to-back classes. Classroom buildings on Central Campus are all within this walking distance. If you are travelling between North and Central Campus, then you should allow 30 minutes of travel time.

What are the advantages of a First-Year Seminar?

First-Year Seminars are small, discussion-based classes (about 20 students per class) that are taught by professors. This is a chance to get to know a faculty member well and to study something in depth from the very beginning of your college education. Explore First-Year Seminars for the Fall 2022 semester.

Do I have to take math?

No, not unless your major requires it. The Quantitative Reasoning requirement can be fulfilled with other types of classes such as economics, astronomy, or statistics.

How do I decide between the different writing classes that can be used to meet the First-Year Writing Requirement and the Upper-Level Writing Requirement?

FYWR: UWrite will guide you to find approved First-Year Requirement courses based on your academic interests. 

ULWR: The course guide will assist you in locating approved ULWR courses for a specific term. Go to the LSA Course Guide, choose the correct term and “Upper Level Writing” from the Skills/Req drop-down menu.

If English isn’t my first language, which writing class should I take?

The Sweetland Center offers many resources for multilingual students. Go to their international student support page for class descriptions.

What if I can’t take First-Year Writing during my first semester?

Students should complete a FYWR course in their first three terms at U-M.

Can I take language pass/fail?

You may take all but the fourth term of the language you are studying for proficiency pass/fail. You must receive a C- or better to pass a class that is taken pass/fail. Because you must take the fourth term for a grade, be careful about taking earlier terms pass/fail. Language is cumulative so you need to make sure that you learn as much as possible in order to go on and be successful in the subsequent class.

Do I have to take the General Chemistry Lab (Chem 125/126) with the General Chemistry class (Chem 130)?

You do not have to take the lab with the lecture class together, although it is preferable to do so. You may split them up and take the lab in a subsequent term. If you are a pre-med student, then you are required to take the lab at some point.

What should I take if I am pre-med?

You can review specific classes when you meet with your advisor at Orientation. In the meantime, check out our pre-health website for more details.

What are the pre-reqs for transferring to the Business School?

There are three required classes for the Business School: First-Year Writing Requirement, Math 115 (AP/IB credits count here), Econ 101 (AP credits do not count here but IB credits can count here).

What are the pre-reqs for transferring to the School of Engineering?

The School of Engineering requires a First-Year Writing course, two completed semesters of calculus at U-M, Physics 140/141, Chem 130/125/126 or Chem 210/211 and Engineering 101 or EECS 183. Engineering 101 requires an override for non-engineering students.

What are the pre-law requirements?

There are none. You may take whatever you like and still apply to law school. Discuss your interest in law school with your advisor at Orientation. You can also check out our pre-law site.

Test and Transfer Credit Related Questions

Does U-M give credit for AP or IB test scores?

U-M welcomes students who have gone above and beyond in their high school academics by taking Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses. Academic credit is given for students who have received high exam scores.

How do AP and/or IB credits count into my degree?

Please refer to the AP/IB test credit page. Your advisor will go over these credits with you in more detail at Orientation.

Can I use this credit for distribution?

AP credit gives you general credits toward graduation and sometimes fulfills prerequisites for other courses but cannot be used for distribution. IB credit gives you general credits toward graduation and sometimes fulfills prerequisites for other courses and can be used for distribution.

Do I have to take a language placement test if I have AP or IB Spanish credit?

Yes. We still recommend that you take the placement exam in case you wish to continue with the language here.

Does my AP or IB English credit meet the First-Year Writing Requirement?

No. AP or IB credit does not meet this requirement.

Do I have to take the math placement if I already took calculus in high school and earned AP or IB credit?

Yes. Not all AP or IB credit will count towards certain majors or programs here, so you may need to take additional math.

Can I take classes during the summer before I begin at U-M?

Some students choose to take summer courses before they arrive on campus. All incoming students should check with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions or the LSA Academic Advising Center to make sure that transfer credit will be given for courses elected at other colleges and universities.

Housing Related Questions

Who should I talk to about my housing questions?

Please contact University Housing (734.763.3164) for housing related questions. Housing assignments are sent out throughout the summer, keep checking your U-M email account.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Related Questions

Where do I go for financial aid?

Contact the Office of Financial Aid (734.763.6600).

How do I apply for scholarships?

Contact the LSA Scholarships office (734.764.2906) and check out the list of resources on their website.

General LSA Questions

What does a liberal arts degree offer?

Many students and parents today are understandably concerned about the job market. We encourage students to focus on “education” as opposed to “job training.” A liberal arts degree fosters the development of specific skills, such as effective communication, analysis, critical thinking, and problem solving, which today’s employers and professional schools are seeking. However, it also encourages adaptability to new and changing conditions, which will serve students well in their rapidly changing work and life environments. Explore what you can do with an LSA degree.

How big are the classes here at U-M? How are they different from high school classes?

In general, U-M classes range in size from hundreds of students in a large lecture to between ten and 25 students in a seminar. U-M courses are much more intense than high-school courses. More material is covered in a shorter amount of time, and students are expected to work much harder, both in and outside of class, than is usually required for success in high school.

How much time do students spend studying each week?

While all students are different, we suggest students plan on devoting two to three hours outside of class for every hour spent in class each week, depending on difficulty level.

Are any tutoring resources available?

Yes. The first step is to talk to the instructor or the professor. Many departments have programs to help students understand the course material better. More information on tutoring services and a list of those services can be found on our Learning Centers and Tutoring page.

Will a student always see the same academic advisor?

Students are encouraged to continue meeting with the academic advisor with whom they met during Orientation. They may, however, request to meet with any academic advisor they choose. Part of our goal is to foster an ongoing conversation between students and advisors. The objective of this continuing conversation is to help students set and achieve realistic academic and life goals.

How can students get advising appointments during the school year?

To make appointments, students can call 734.764.0332, visit the Newnan LSA Academic Advising Center in person, or schedule them online through our scheduling system. Students may email their academic advisor with fairly simple questions but are encouraged to meet individually with their advisor to discuss more complex issues.

Is there anyone here parents can talk to about how their student is doing?

It is important for parents to establish an ongoing dialogue with their student about the transition to the university and academic progress. Advisors will be happy to speak with parents about the academic programs here and to answer any questions about program options. Once a student matriculates, however, under federal law (FERPA) any records or data collected in the academic file are confidential (including course selection and grades) and cannot be shared with anyone other than the student without the student’s written permission. For more information about FERPA, please visit the Office of the Registrar’s Student Rights and Student Records page.