- Are there any special classes at Calvin for international students?
For international students there are two sections of English 100/102 that focus specifically on their academic and non-academic needs. These sections discuss Calvin and American writing expectations, practice writing for American audiences, develop strategies and skills to succeed in writing for all courses, and consider the cultural implications of what it means to be an international student at Calvin.
- What do I need to do to prepare for a coaching meeting?
Bring your planner or any method of time management that you are currently using, as well as your syllabi from each class. The coach will want to see what academic obligations you may have coming up each week. Also, have questions ready for them so they can be helpful with your most pressing needs.
- What happens if I am on academic probation?
International students on academic probation are assigned a probation counselor, most often Sara Vander Bie. The students then visit with her regularly to develop strategies to improve academic performance and get off of academic probation.
- What if I'm not sure that tutoring is what I need?
You may make an appointment with a member of our staff to discuss your academic situation. These advisors will help you determine the steps to take to develop your approaches to learning.
- Are there tutors for all departments?
We provide tutoring for most 100-level and many 200-level courses. Tutoring in foreign languages is arranged through each foreign language department. The Rhetoric Center provides assistance and advice in writing. Some departments also schedule their own drop-in tutor hours.
- What other forms of assistance are available?
When tutoring or other forms of study assistance are not effective, the student may seek professional guidance in diagnosing obstacles to academic success and in designing plans for corrective action. Diagnosing may involve self-reports, skills tests, and/or individual ability tests. Intervening may involve repeated counseling sessions, "homework prescriptions," and/or referral to the Broene Counseling Center for counseling and Career Development.
- Where can I go for help with writing my papers?
Several places. Located on the second floor of Hekman Library, the Rhetoric Center provides help in preparing to write an assignment, developing organization, revising drafts, avoiding plagiarism, and many other services. Another resource is ESL Instructor Sara Vander Bie. She can help students with Calvin’s writing expectations and provide students with various skills in writing papers.
- Does tutoring go on all semester?
It is assumed that the tutor and student will meet once a week unless they decide that tutoring is no longer appropriate. The tutor, the student, or the professor may request that tutoring be discontinued.
- How do I sign up for a tutor?
- I am having difficulty in my classes, who should I talk to?
Stop by our Hiemenga Hall location and talk with the person at the front desk so that we can connect you with the appropriate resources.
- Is there a special orientation at the beginning of the year for international students?
- What is coaching?
Visit our coaching website for details of our coaching program.
- What is English 100/102? And is it required?
English 100/102 is a year-long English class that fulfills the written rhetoric core requirement. More than that, English 100/102 is designed to help students with their English writing by providing small class sizes (15-18 students per class) and extended time to practice writing. Students stay with the same professor and classmates throughout both courses. English 100/102 is not a required course for international students, but many students choose to participate because of the extra help, time, and sense of community that the courses provide.
- What if I am not a Calvin student?
If you are a student in high school or another area college, or hoping for help preparing for tests like the ACT or SAT, Calvin College may still be able to help you find a tutor. While the tutoring program works exclusively with Calvin classes in which students are currently enrolled, Handshake is a great option for locating a tutor for yourself or your child. Simply contact Handshake for more information on finding a tutor for non-Calvin classes or tests.
- Does coaching go on all semester?
It is assumed that the coach and student will continue to meet once a week unless they decide that coaching is no longer appropriate. The coach or the student may request that coaching be discontinued.
- What if I'm not sure that coaching is what I need?
You may make an appointment with a member of the SAS staff to discuss your academic situation. These advisors will help you determine the steps to take in order to develop your approaches to studying and managing time.
Advising, Grades and Registration
- Why is nothing showing up when I search for my class?
There are a few common problems when using the course search - check the following:
- Make sure the correct semester is selected.
- If you are searching for a lab, search by level (200 or 300) or search using the course number directly followed by an L (i.e. 330L)
- Health and fitness core classes are under Physical Education & Recreation (PER).
- The course may not be offered during the current term. The course catalog will note the terms that a department is planning to offer a course.
- Who is my advisor and how do I schedule an advising appointment?
- My AER doesn't show a class where I think it should, how do I fix this?
Upon occasion a course may not fill the line on your AER as you expect it to.
Talk to your advisor and have them e-mail us if you have an approved adjustment that needs to be updated for:
- a major (or minor) elective
- a substitution to the regularly accepted major (or minor) requirement
Stop by our Spoelhof location and talk to us if a course is not filling a line as expected and is:
- a pre-approved transfer course
- a course that was at one point filling the correct line
- a core credit*
A course may not fill any line on your AER if:
- you took the course as an audit
- you did not achieve the minimum grade required in the course
- it is a lab section
- it is a course that does not fill any requirement
*Note: Substitutions for core credit are not accepted and may not be approved by an advisor.
- How many overlaps between majors and/or minors am I allowed?
Overlap between core and majors/minors. There is no limitation on the number overlaps between core and any major, minor, cognate, or concentration.
Overlap between major and minor. To graduate with a major and a minor a student must complete a minimum of fourteen distinct courses of three semester hours or more. A maximum of two overlaps are permitted between a major and a minor. The details are as follows:
Courses required in the major Maximum overlaps permitted809110 or more2
Overlap between two majors. To graduate with two majors, a student must complete a minimum of sixteen distinct courses of three semester hours or more. A maximum of three overlaps are permitted between two majors. The details are as follows:
Total courses in two majors Maximum overlaps permitted16017118219 or more3
Overlap between minors. There may be no overlaps between minors.
- How is GPA calculated?
For purposes of averaging grades, the following numerical values or grade points are assigned to each letter grade.
Standard Grades Other GradesA+ N/AA 4.0A- 3.7
B+ 3.3B 3.0B- 2.7C+ 2.3C 2.0C- 1.7D+ 1.3D 1.0D- 0.7F 0.0
- I, incomplete, does not calculate until final grade is given
- W, authorized withdrawal, does not calculate
- N, unauthorized withdrawal, calculates like an F
- H, honors designation, (i.e., HA-) does not add additional honor points to the grade
- S, satisfactory interim grade - uncalculated
- U, unsatisfactory interim grade - uncalculated
- Transfer credit or cooperative programs at other colleges and universities will show on your record, but do not calculate into the Calvin GPA
To calculate a complete or partial GPA please follow this formula:
numerical grade X credit hours = grade points
total grade points ÷ total hours = cumulative GPA
For example: On the transcript snapshot below Spanish 201 was a 4 credit hour class, a B+ has a value of 3.3, so 4 credits X 3.3 grade = 13.20 grade points for Spanish 201. The term had a total of 49.60 grade points, divide that by the number of semester hours, 17, to find the semester GPA of 2.918.
To find your major GPA, highlight the courses required for the major - add the grade points for all highlighted courses and divide by the total calculated credits of those courses. This same method can be used to find the GPA for a particular year or for any other portion of your record.
- My professor said that they already posted the grade, why can't I see it?
Posting grades is a two part process. Professors enter grades through the Student Resources page and then the registrar's office staff verifies the grades. This is a process that the registrar runs to allow the grades to be available to students. Grades are not verified until the due date of the semester grades, this includes courses that are offered during the first half of the term. Typically if the grades are due at 4:30 p.m., they will be available for students to view shortly after 5 p.m.
- When is the last time to add a class?
Courses can easily be added online through the first week of each semester. Any time you add a course online, it is beneficial to save the changes, log out, log back in and check the weekly schedule link. Any second-half of the semester course can be added through the first week of the course, but cannot be added on line after the first week of the semester. The easiest way to search for second-half courses is to enter a date range in the course search. If you are unable to add a course through the Student Resources page, you will need to add it in person at our Spoelhof location.
- How do I drop a class and make sure that it drops?
Courses can be dropped online through the first week of each semester in Student Planning using Plan & Register. To drop a course after the first week of class, you must pick up a drop slip from our Spoelhof location to obtain the signature of your instructor. You are not able to drop any course online after the first week of class.
- When are grades posted and how do I find them?
- When trying to register, I get a conflict error, where is the conflict?
Many information systems courses and science courses have a second set of meeting dates for labs or to designate a different room assignment. Any courses that have a second meeting time listed contain too much meeting information to show on the initial search screen. This will be indicated by the note 'more...' at the end of the listing. Try clicking on the course title link to see the rest of the course information.
- How do incompletes, audits and re-takes work?
Course Repeats: You may repeat any course by properly registering for them, but you must inform the instructor that you are repeating the course. Only the latest grade, whether higher or lower, will be included in the calculation of the cumulative GPA. The original grade is not expunged from the record, but is noted as a repeated course. You do not receive additional course credit for repeated courses.
Incompletes: If you fail to complete all the required work or to take the final exam for a valid reason, instructors may, give a grade of I, incomplete, rather than a grade of F. An F can only be altered by retaking the course in a future semester. Until it is finished, an I is not calculated in the GPA. Incompletes are given the following deadlines:
- Fall or interim - March 15
- Spring or summer - October 15
- Any earlier date you contract with the instructor
Grades of I are never removed from your transcript, when a final grade is received or the deadline is passed a new grade preceded by an “I” will be awarded. You can use the incomplete contract to set goals and finish the coursework.
- How do I register for classes?
- What do I need to do to make sure I can graduate?
- I am getting error messages when trying to register, why?
This message is an indication that you have a hold on your account that must be resolved prior to registration. Possible holds:
- It is not your registration time yet. From Plan & Register in Student Planning, choose Course Plan. Add the terms you for which you are going to register to see your registration time.
- Financial hold - If you suspect that a financial hold is on your account, you can see the nature of the hold via Student Planning. To resolve a financial hold, please contact financial services.
- Advisor hold - After you are advised, your advisor will lift this hold online. You must meet with your advisor prior to every registration. If the hold is still there, contact your advisor.
- Other holds - The health center may put a hold on your account if you are missing vaccination information. Please follow up with the appropriate office to resolve the hold.
- What is an Academic Evaluation Report (AER), how do I find it?
The Academic Evaluation Report (AER) is a real time document that lists the courses required for graduation. It applies each student's course work to the various requirements of the core, majors, minors and cognates to show what requirements are completed, those that are in progress and those that have yet to be started. If you change your major it's important to stop by our Spoelhof location to let us know so that your AER can be updated to reflect your current required course work. You can access you AER via the Student Resources page.
- What are my responsibilities if a student discloses their disability to me?
Be supportive and inform him/her that you are willing to work with him/her to be sure that they receive the accommodations they need to assure equal access to the academic experience. Read over their “Confidential Memo” which outlines all accommodations needed by that student. Refer the student to meet with a Disability Coordinator if they have not already done so.
- If I am eligible for testing accommodations through SAS, what are the policies I should know about?
If you are taking a test in the SAS office, the policies are as follows:
- Accommodations need to be discussed with your professor at the beginning of the semester and they may need a reminder before every test that you are taking the test in SAS.
- Sign up for each test (including the final exam) for the entire semester and notify SAS of any schedule changes throughout the semester.
- The late policy for test sign up in SAS is no less than 3 business days prior to the test and no less than one week prior to any final exam. This allows our office time to obtain the test and secure a space and a proctor.
- All testing accommodations (outside of extended time) need to be stated at the time you sign up for your test in SAS (e.g. use of a computer or reader).
- Take your test at the same time as the rest of the class. All exceptions need to be cleared by the professor. Note: times should be shifted if extended time interferes with another class.
- Check in with the front desk of SAS at the designated time of your test.
- Failure to abide by the sign up policies may result in the ability to use your accommodation for that test (e.g. signing up for a test the day before it is scheduled).
- What if a student misses more classes than permitted because of their disability?
If a student misses class due to his/her disability and it is beyond the number of absences allowed, (as clearly outlined in the syllabus) then it is recommended that there be a discussion between the faculty member, the student and the Disability Coordinator. Generally, if a student with a disability has missed more than three classes it is advised that a meeting like this take place as soon as possible. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) suggests considering the following questions when determining whether or not attendance is essential for a course:
- Are there classroom interactions between the instructor and the students and among students?
- Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
- Does the functional nature of the course rely on student participation as an essential method for learning?
- To what degree does a student’s failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of the other students in the course?
- What do the course descriptions and syllabus say about attendance?
- What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
If the answers to the questions above are such that additional absences do not threaten the integrity or essential requirements of the course, please do not penalize the student for additional absences. However, if additional absences threaten the academic integrity and the student’s ability to meet the essential requirements, then the faculty member, Disability Coordinator and student will review options for continuing in the class.
- If a student uses a proctor, will they get an unfair advantage? Is my exam safe?
Academic Services has developed a systematic and secure procedure for receiving exams from faculty and returning them once the student has taken the exam. There is a rigid check in procedures for exams and no student is allowed to bring their backpacks, cell phones, or ball caps into the exam room with them. Exams in our possession are stored in a locked cabinet. As students are taking the exams, they are monitored by proctors. Any inappropriate behaviors are reported back to the instructor.
- What are the procedures for implementing accommodations?
Once admitted to Calvin College, contact a Disability Coordinator. We will set up an appointment to meet with you to discuss your disability and request documentation. It would be helpful to read our Documentation Guidelines and/or print a verification form and forward these to the clinician providing your documentation. Send us any records of accommodations/services provided to you at any previous academic settings (e.g., IEP, Section 504 plan, college service plan, etc.). If serviced by a State/Provincial Rehabilitation agency, have your caseworker contact a Disability Coordinator. Eligibility for services is based on a combination of the student’s description for need, the thoroughness of the disability documentation, and documentation policies. Once eligibility is determined, we will assist you with implementing the agreed upon accommodations.
- Why is the Disability Services staff asking me to select a book ASAP?
Book selections, compiled course packs and syllabi need to be made available in a timely manner. Students with visual impairments and/or learning disabilities may require printed materials in alternate formats. Conversion of text is a time consuming process. Your syllabus is required to determine the extent to which each text will be used and the order in which reading will be assigned.
Some students will rely on having printed material scanned and saved in a computer format that can be listened to using voice output software. If you are collating various journal articles and portions of books into course packs, please use original copies or a copy that is as clean as possible. Creating course packs using copies of material (copies made from copies, made from copies, etc.) causes images of text that are illegible. Such blurring makes it impossible for character recognition software to decipher images as readable text.
In addition, using captioned versions of videos is extremely helpful for deaf or hard of hearing students and students who have other auditory processing difficulties. Although some videos used in classes are already captioned, others are not. In most cases, you will be contacted by a Disability Coordinator before a semester begins or early in the semester if there is a student who is deaf or hard of hearing in one of your classes who will need captioning. If you are aware that you will be using videos in a class with an enrolled student who is deaf or hard of hearing, please contact a Disability Coordinator to discuss how captioning can be created for you. Captioning requires a minimum turnaround time of three weeks from the receipt of a video, so your forethought, prompt action and cooperation are greatly appreciated. Please provide us with a transcript if one is available. Creating captioning from a transcript simplifies the process and may shorten turnaround time. When requesting audio-visual equipment, make sure you request equipment with a captioning decoder.
- What do I do if I am taking summer classes and will need to receive accommodations?
- Can I refer a student to take a test in SAS if they do not have a disability?
The SAS testing services are only available to accommodate students with documented disabilities. Students who need extra time or make-up test date due to an ESL concern, sports travel or illness will need to be accommodated by you as their professor.
- Do I need to do anything to get accommodations again next semester?
Yes, students seeking accommodations must set up a Secondary Advising appointment each semester during advising days to set up your accommodations for the following semester. It is not done automatically.
- Am I required to provide accommodations to a student that notifies me late in the term?
Yes. There could be numerous reasons why a student makes a late request. Some students try to take a class without accommodations, but find that they are not doing well and need to use them. As a rule, however, we strongly encourage students to submit their requests early in the semester.
In some situations late requests may make the accommodation impossible to provide.
- I have been diagnosed with LD and/or ADHD for a long time; should I be retested?
By providing the most current assessment of your performance and abilities, we will be able to best meet your needs. Also, because the provision of all reasonable accommodations and services is based upon assessment of the current impact of the disability on academic performance, it is in a student’s best interest to provide recent and appropriate documentation. In most cases, this means that a diagnostic evaluation has been completed within the past three to five years, however no student should delay requesting accommodations out of concern for not having the appropriate paperwork. Make an appointment with one of the Disability Coordinators at (616) 526-6113 and bring all the previous documentation you have and we will work with you on whether or not it is in your best interests to be retested.
- What components should be included in my syllabus pertaining to students with disabilities?
Please include the following two items on your syllabus:
Disability Clause: It is important that faculty include in each syllabus a statement asking students to inform them of any special needs to ensure that those needs are met in a timely manner. A further recommendation is that the statement be read aloud by the faculty member during the first week of class. This approach demonstrates to students that you are someone who is sensitive to and concerned about meeting the needs of ALL students you teach. Furthermore, it affords students the opportunity to make their accommodation needs known to you early in the semester. One suggestion would look like this: "Calvin will make reasonable accommodations for a student with a documented disability. You should notify a Disability Coordinator, located in 446 Hiemenga Hall at Student Academic Services (SAS) in order to arrange your accommodations. Then, come and talk to me within the first two weeks of class so we can put your accommodations in place within the classroom.”
Attendance Policy: Please include a clear policy on attendance and its role in your grading scheme, if any. This is helpful for all students to know and understand at the beginning of the semester.
- What do I do if I am transferring from another university?
Transfer students must go through the same processes as regular admitted students. However transfer students are also eligible for provisional status for one semester in our office until their documentation is reviewed by the Disability Coordinators.
- Who will monitor my medication once I arrive?
You are responsible to monitor your medications with a licensed professional in your own community or within the Calvin College community (Health Services Center, Broene Counseling Center). We encourage students to work with a psychiatrist who is familiar with the issues you are facing as a college student. It is important to maintain regular appointments with this provider during your first few months at college because you might need changes in medication due to the change in requirements and environment. The disability staff can help you with problem-solving around medication management in college.
- How do I change a grade?
- How do I submit final and mid-term grades?
Begin by logging into Self Service and selecting Faculty from the main menu.
The Faculty page is where you will be able to see your current and future rosters, and where you will assign grades to students. Course will be sorted by term.
To view a course, select the course name. You can return to your list of courses from any tab by selecting Back to Courses. Once you have selected a course, select Roster to view a list of students registered for the selected course. The roster will include student ID numbers, class level, and email. You can email any or all students and export your class roster from this tab.
When you are ready to begin entering final grades, click on the Grading tab. The main Grading page gives you an overview of the students enrolled. You cannot enter grades from this view. Select the grade you would like to work with from the toolbar -- Final Grade or Midterm. To enter and submit a grade, click the drop-down menu and select the appropriate grade from the list.
NOTE: Not all grades in the list will be relevant for a particular course. For example, a course that is credit/no-credit will still show letter-grade options. You will have to select the grade appropriate for the course.
Once you have selected grades for every student, there is nothing further you need to do. (There is no submit button.) You can view the grades you’ve entered by going back to the Overview tab.
For more detailed information and screenshots, see the Self Service faculty documentation for help.
- All lecture courses should be graded A-F . (Calvin does not recognize a grade of ‘A+’)
- Mid-term grades are not required for labs, First Year Seminar courses, FIT courses, or PER courses
- Students auditing a course should receive a grade of 'AU'. These students are noted with 0.00 in the credits column of the roster.
- Students who stopped attending class but did not officially drop the course should receive an ‘N’
- Students receiving a grade of credit/no credit for a non-graded course should receive 'CR' credit, or 'NC' no credit. These grades are used only for labs and specified courses. These are the grades awarded to students in First Year Seminar sections.
- Students receiving a grade for a 'W'-numbered interim course should receive 'S' satisfactory, 'U' unsatisfactory, or 'H' honors (for exceptional work). None of these grades will calculate into the student's gpa.
- Students contracting with you to finish course work as an incomplete should receive an 'I' with an agreed upon expiration date. You will not be able to leave the screen if the date is blank. The standard dates are March 15 (fall and interim) and October 15 (spring and summer). Use an incomplete contract to guide the completion process.
- You will receive a grading confirmation email if your grades were successfully submitted
- Grades will not be accepted if you do not click ‘submit’ after entering them
- Grades cannot be submitted through Moodle.
- *NOTE* The web grade submission screen will time out after a period of inactivity (not selecting submit).
- All lecture courses should be graded A-F . (Calvin does not recognize a grade of ‘A+’)
- How do I obtain advisee information from Self Service?
To view advisee information, log into Self Service and select Advising from the main menu. You will then be presented with a list of your assigned advisees.
To begin your review, click on the name of the advisee you wish to work with, or type in a student’s name you wish to advise. You can return to your list of advisees from any tab by selecting Back to Advisees.
Consult the Self Service advisor documentation for more information and screenshots.
- When should I request an attendance check for a student?
If you have a student who has missed an abnormal amount of class over an extended period of time (e.g., more than a week, or repeating patterns of spotty attendance, with limited explanation from the student), we can initiate a check of the student’s other classes, attempt to contact the student on your behalf, and assist with issues related to the student improving their attendance or dropping the class.
- How do I indicate that advisees have been advised for registration?
- How do I view official class rosters online?
You can find official course rosters via Self Service.
- How do I use the Advisee Picture Generator?
- How do I obtain a course enrollment report?
You can find enrollment reports through the Faculty & Staff Resources page.
- Can I email all of my advisees at once?
- How should I request an attendance check?
- When you notice attendance problems with a student, make an initial attempt to address the problem by contacting the student directly, by email or phone.
- If attendance issues persist, please fill out the student concern form (https://calvin.edu/go/concern). We will inquire about the student's attendance in other classes, and will then funnel this information to the appropriate staffer for follow-up.
- Can I transfer credit from a college or university in another country?
Credit from schools outside the United States can be accepted if the student arranges for a transcript in English to be sent from the school. It is often helpful if the student also has course descriptions or course syllabi to assist us in determining the proper equivalent courses.
- How many credits will Calvin allow me to transfer?
No more than 70 semester hours of credit will be allowed for work completed at an accredited community college. Regardless of the number of transfer courses accepted, a minimum of four upper level major courses and thirty out of the last sixty semester hours must be completed at Calvin.
- How do courses transfer from the quarter system?
Calvin awards credit on the basis of a quarter hour being 2/3 of a semester hour (multiply quarter hours by .67). A course with 3 quarter hour credits will receive 2 semester hours of credit at Calvin.
- What courses will be accepted as transfer credit?
- Calvin generally accepts academic course work from accredited colleges (community colleges, state and private universities).
- Courses completed with Cs or better that are similar in nature to Calvin courses (not preparatory 0-level or voctional tech courses).
- See Calvin's pre-approved list to see if your school has already been evaluated. If it is not listed already, review the transfer policy to best understand the types of courses accepted.
- See Calvin's Transfer Policy
Credit evaluations may be requested once you have completed either a Calvin information form or a Calvin application form. Official evaluations are made when you are admitted to Calvin.
Current students may submit a transfer credit pre-approval form to make sure a course will transfer back to Calvin.
- How do I have my transcript from Calvin sent to another school?
This can be done by following the instructions on the transcript request web page.
- Do my grades transfer?
Grades do not transfer, although grades help determine whether a course will be accepted in transfer. Only courses with a grade of C or better can be accepted as transfer. Your GPA is based solely on courses taken at Calvin.
- Can I transfer credit earned as dual-enroll college credit while I was in high school?
- Can I receive credit for courses taken as Pass/Fail?
Normally credit from courses graded as pass/fail do not transfer to Calvin. An exception is made if the school indicates on the transcript that a grade of “Pass” reflects a grade of C or better. Also, if communication from the school or the instructor indicates that the grade of “Pass” reflects a grade of C or better, the credit can be accepted.
- What is the process for taking a summer course at another school?
Visit our transfer page for a step by step guide.
- How do I get my transfer credit posted to my record at Calvin College?
In order to have your credit reflected on your Calvin record, you need to request an official transcript from the college that offered the course. Send all college transcripts to: Calvin College, 3201 Burton St SE, Grand Rapids MI 49546; all college transcripts go through the same process and are accessible to all relevant Calvin staff. Please allow two weeks from the time of your request for mailing and processing at both schools.
Alternatively, you may also hand deliver an official copy of your transcript in a sealed enveloped from the school where the courses were completed.
- If I did poorly in a course; can I repeat that course at another school?
If your purpose is to remove the lower grade from your transcript and replace it with a higher grade, the course must be repeated at Calvin. Calvin does not accept courses from other colleges as repeats of Calvin courses. If you simply need to meet a requirement, transfer credit will be considered for the specific course, but it will not replace the calculating Calvin course grade.