Academic Advising

First Year Glossary


Add/Drop: Deadlines to add courses to a student’s schedule as well as to drop courses. These deadlines are firm. For full semester 15-week courses, adding a course must occur within a week of classes starting, and dropping within the second week. 5-week sub session courses have different Add and Drop deadlines. After these deadlines students are responsible for all tuition and fees for all registered courses. Deadlines accessible here. 

College-wide Electives: Courses that students choose to take that do not count towards their major, minor, or Columbia Core requirements. College-wide electives are required, in addition to a student’s major and Columbia Core courses, to reach 120 credits (for BA degrees) or 128 credits (for BFA, BMus, and BS degrees). They may be selected from any department and program in the college. Students still need to follow prerequisites, but beyond that exploring other interests with college-wide electives is appropriate and encouraged. 

Columbia College Chicago Experience (CCCX): Interdisciplinary topics-based courses open to all majors, labeled with the CCCX course code and offered at the 100, 200, and 300 levels. All students are required to complete at least one of these courses. 

College Catalog: Comprehensive resource published by the college. Contains detailed information on academic policies, course descriptions, major and minor requirements, and degree planning tools. Updated every school year. Accessible here. 

Columbia Core, General Education/ “GenEd” courses, and Essential Liberal Arts and Sciences/ELAS: Courses in a variety of subjects, including English, Math, Humanities, Literature, History, Social Science, and Science. Required for every undergraduate degree.  

Major: Concentration of courses in a specific area, required to earn a degree. Some majors have concentrations depending on the department. Students must earn a grade of a C or higher for a course to count towards their major. Students can meet with their academic advisor to discuss changing majors. 

Minor: Optional opportunity to organize college-wide elective credits. Minors consist of 18 to 24 credits and provide an introduction or sequenced specialization in an area of study different from a student’s major. Students must earn a grade of a C or higher for a course to count towards their minor. Specific credit and course requirements for each minor can be found in the college catalog, accessible here. Students can meet with their academic advisor to discuss adding, changing, or dropping a minor. 

MyColumbia: Online portal used by Columbia students to register for courses, pay tuition and fees, review their degree audit and class schedule, and apply for graduation. Accessible here. 

Pass/Fail: Some courses can be taken as Pass/Fail instead of for a letter grade. “Pass” grades are not included in the GPA calculation but are considered for other SAP compliance like completion rate and maximum time frame calculations. Students may not take any major or minor courses such as Pass/Fail, as a grade of C or higher is required. Students can declare a Columbia Core or college-wide elective course Pass/Fail using the form on the Office of Registrar website. Once the form is submitted it cannot be undone and the deadline is firm. Form accessible here. 

Prerequisite: Course or other requirement that students must complete before enrolling in a specific course. Typical prerequisites are ENGL 111/112 or a GPA requirement. If a student has met all prerequisites and a course is open, the registration system should allow them to register for it. If the student does not meet the prerequisites, they will receive a registration error. Prerequisites are listed in the catalog, accessible here. 

SAP, or Satisfactory Academic Progress: All students at Columbia are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress, or SAP, by earning a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0, and completing at least 67 percent of the credits they attempt. Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress can result in academic warning or dismissal and registration holds on student accounts. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor to address concerns about maintaining satisfactory academic progress. 

U-Achieve Degree Audit: Online tool accessible to students in the MyColumbia portal. The degree audit provides a personalized outline of a student’s graduation requirements and displays the student’s progress toward graduation. The audit can also be used to see which classes fulfill these requirements. Tutorials on how to navigate the degree audit can be found here. Please note that students who started at Columbia prior to 2020 use a different degree audit system, called the advising guide, which is also accessible in MyColumbia. 

Withdraw: After the Drop deadline has passed, there is a window in which students can withdraw from a course. For a withdraw, students will not complete the course, very much like dropping a course. However, the class will stay on the student’s record as a W to show it was attempted but not finished. Ws do not factor into the GPA, but they do count towards the student’s completion rate, the student’s earned credits divided by attempted credits. There is no tuition refund for a withdrawn course, but students should connect with Columbia Central before withdrawing from a course if it will bring them below full-time status, as that can affect their financial aid. To withdraw from a class, students use the “Drop” button in the MyColumbia registration portal after the Drop deadline for the semester has passed. The withdraw deadline is firm and cannot be undone.