December 5, 2011

Your Academic Lifeline

We usually try to keep the FroshBlog light and fun, but we’re at a critical time of semester now as you work on wrapping up and preparing for finals - serious times call for serious blog posts!

Around this time of year, you'll hear a collection of Rutgers urban legends about failing courses, repeating courses, academic warning and probation.  Remember that while fellow students are a wonderful resource, they are not the authority on academic matters!
If you’re facing any of these issues, you need accurate information to help you make decisions. Advisers are your Academic Lifeline - talk to them about questions about failing or repeating classes, grade calculation, choosing good classes for the spring semester, academic warning restrictions, or any other academic issues.  Plan to either call and schedule an advising appointment or stop in to one of the SAS Advising Offices (

Also, be sure to check your final exam schedule at to verify your exam times and check that you do not have any time conflicts. If you have two exams at the same time or three exams in the same calendar day, you are eligible to have one rescheduled – but that has to be done soon!

October 24, 2011

Who is Dean Frosh?

Dear Abby Dean Frosh,

At least once a year, we get a request to speak to “Dean Frosh”.  This, of course, is a misunderstanding of what our general email inbox ( represents.
In fact, “Frosh” is slang for first year student, and there is not one, but FOUR staff members who rotate through the inbox and respond to messages.

Many of you likely had email threads with Frosh regarding APA days, AP scores, and fall schedules throughout the summer.  Get to know the “Dean Frosh” that you were corresponding with ….

Dean Julie Traxler
Favorite fictional dean: Dean Pelton on Community
Favorite first year student question: “If classes begin on Tuesday, do I go to my Monday classes or my Tuesday classes?”
Recent accomplishment: Crossing Busch campus (almost) without having to go outside!
Current favorite font: Ravie
Advice for first year students: See an academic adviser EVEN IF you don’t know what questions to ask; we know what questions to ask you to help you consider your academic interests.

Dean Courtney Stanzione
Favorite fictional dean: Dean Lewis in Accepted 
Favorite undergraduate class:  Harvest of the Middle Ages with Professor James Masschaele
Favorite spot on campus:  Ravine Bridge in the Fall (Douglass Campus)
Current favorite font: Broadway
Advice for first year students:  Everyone that you encounter can teach you something about yourself, or the world as you know it; listen for those lessons - but beware the know-it-all!

Dean Iris Zipkin
 Favorite fictional college professor: Señor Chang from Community
Famous college movie she’s never seen: Animal House
Favorite spot on campus:  The steps of Scott Hall - that’s where I fell in love with my husband!
Current favorite font: Chiller (in honor of Halloween)
Advice for first year students:  Study what interests you most; enjoy the ride & you’ll figure out the next steps!

Sara Spear, Graduate Intern

Favorite fictional dean: (Headmaster) Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter
Favorite Rutgers event attended:  Reel Big Fish concert, fall 2010
Current favorite font: Apple Chancery  (evidencing a slight Mac elitism)
Advice for first year students:  Explore!  You will have few chances after this time to take courses just because they sound interesting.  Animal Handling, Photojournalism, or Mass Media and Pop Culture??  Sign me up! 

September 27, 2011

The W: Record Keeper or Dream Crusher?

A few weeks ago, my three-year old niece had a nightmare that she was being chased by a giant “W”.  Despite every effort to move forward, to hide, to avoid it…. it was always there, lurking in the shadows.
Photo credit: Jennifer Grimm

Does this sound like you or a friend?  If so, there’s help for you.  Moderate to severe withdrawalaphobia can be cured by speaking with an academic adviser.  Call 848-932-8888 to schedule an appointment!

In the meantime, here's the down and dirty on the dreaded “W”…

Explanation:  A “W” tracks enrollment trends in courses by indicating that a student withdrew from a course after the add/drop period.  There is no indication of when or why a student withdrew.  There are many positive and responsible reasons for withdrawing from a course.  Therefore, the “W” is a neutral administrative mark with no negative connotations.

Finding:  Super Busted
 Explanation:  It is ALWAYS better to receive a “W” than to earn a D or F.  A withdrawal has no impact on your GPA, while Ds and Fs do.  Also note that the repeated course policy is Rutgers-specific (graduate schools do not have to honor it).  While a D or F may come back to haunt you, a W won’t!

Finding:  Plausible
Explanation:  Two or three withdrawals peppered over your 8 semesters as an undergraduate don’t have any greater meaning.  But think of your transcript as telling a story about who you are as a student (because it does!).  If you have a pattern of withdrawing from a class every semester, it may mean that you’re having difficulty identifying an appropriate work load for yourself.

Also remember that if you withdraw from an entire semester, you may take the opportunity to explain the context for why that was a responsible, mature decision to potential employers or graduate programs.

August 31, 2011

The 411 on Getting the 411

We hope this post finds you and your loved ones safe after Hurricane Irene’s visit this weekend.  We were lucky that classes weren’t in session, but would you know how to get information about cancelled classes or road closures if school HAD started?  This post gives you the 411 on getting the 411.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but Rutgers is a pretty big place. It’s hard to figure out the right person or department to ask a question.  Below are a few tried and true options.

For General Information:
  • The Search bar on and   search all Rutgers websites.  As an example, type in “Bookstore” into the Search bar at the top of the Rutgers website and you’ll quickly find the college bookstore website, its location and hours.   

  • RU-INFO – our very own information hotline, staffed by student operators!  Call 732-445-4636, explain what you’re looking for (or ask a question or describe the problem), and they’ll help connect you to the right people.  You can also visit their website at 

  • Campus Status -  Hurricanes and snowstorms aren't mindful of the academic calendar; this site will let you know the operating status of the university in the case of a major weather event.

For SAS Information:

  • Frosh email - we’re experts on academics, and if we don’t know the answer we’ll put you in touch with the office that does! 

  • Come to an SAS Advising Center and ask a live person!  The Office of Academic Services has Advising Centers on all four campuses. This isn’t your principal’s office, or the guidance counselor that you saw once before graduation; we’re here to respond to your concerns, guide your decisions, and celebrate your successes from today through graduation.  Don't be a stranger!

August 19, 2011

Rutgers-Speak 101

LBH:  we all use Urban Dictionary.  After all, we need a way to avoid pop culture shock and figure out what “frenemy” or “WOOT” mean!

Well, at Rutgers we have a few of our own sayings and short hand that you might not have heard before.  Below is your own personal Rutgers Urban Dictionary!  We've kept it short and to the point so that you can't claim "tl;dr".

1.  Add-Drop Period
The time when all students are adjusting their class schedules.  Students add and drop courses (hence the name) as well as switching which section they are in without any record on their official transcript. 

During the Fall 2011 semester, the Add/Drop period will begin on Friday, September 2.  Friday, September 9 will be the last day to drop a course; Monday, September 12 will be the last day to add a course

Dude, an 8:10am class?  No way!  I'm going to switch to a later section during add/drop.
2.  E-credits
Credits that do not count toward the GPA (grade point average) or the 120 credits needed to graduate.  E-credits do count toward full-time status.  One example of an “E-credited” course is Elementary Algebra 025.

I'm taking 15 credits this semester, but my math class is e-credited, so only 12 count toward graduation.

3.  Special Permission Number (SPN)
A number that overrides the stop point in a full course.  Not all classes or departments issue special permission numbers.  Instructions on how to go about obtaining special permission numbers will be given out during academic sessions as part of the first week orientation.

The Math department will open a special permission request form on their website on the first day of classes - tell all of our roommates!

4.  Ws
A “W” on a transcript shows that a student withdrew from a class on WebReg (see below) after the Add/Drop period but before the 8th week of the semester.  Withdrawal is not possible after the 8th week of classes (October 26 is the deadline for Fall 2011).  Students must always maintain an active 12 credits.

Bro, you are severely reality challenged - it is NEVER better to fail a course than to get a W.  You should go to an Advising Center to talk this out.

5.  WebReg
The official online registration system.  First year students use this system to adjust their schedules during add/drop, and to create a unique Spring schedule in November.

When I get back to my room, I'm totally going to login to WebReg to try to register for a hybrid section of Expos.

Coming soon:  Posts with more information on Special Permission Numbers and Ws.