Counseling Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Welcome to Skyline College! In order to make your transition to college as smooth as possible, the Counseling Division has prepared this list of frequently asked questions and answers for you.

We wish that we could meet with you personally to answer all of your questions, but we hope that some of the information here will help you as you get started here at Skyline College.

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General Questions

How should I prepare for my Counseling Appointment?

Write down your specific questions ahead of time and bring them to your counseling appointment.

Plan to arrive on time -- appointments are only 30 minutes in length.

If you have taken courses at colleges other than Skyline College, College of San Mateo or Cañada College, you should bring a copy of your (official or unofficial) transcript to your counseling appointment.

What is a SEP and how do I know if I need one? 

A SEP or Student Educational Plan is like a personal map that you develop with your counselor. The SEP "map" is designed to outline what courses you should complete semester by semester in order to successfully meet your educational goal. If you have an educational goal, you should meet with your counselor regularly to develop and update your SEP. Students with a current SEP on file are provided with priority registration.

Do I need to make an appointment for a SEP or can I just drop in?

Yes, you should arrange a 30-minute counseling appointment to insure the best possible advising and planning for a SEP. Often, the questions raised in exploring your educational goals require more time than is allowed in a short drop-in visit.

What should I do if I am having difficulty deciding on a major or career goal?

The Career Center is a good place to begin exploring different majors or careers. You may also choose to take a course such as CRER 136 or CRER 137 (Life and Career Planning) to help you make an informed decision. Your counselor can also assist you through the decision-making process.

Am I assigned a counselor?

You are not assigned a counselor unless you are part of a special program that requires counseling, such as EOPS, DSPS, TRIO or Veterans.

How do I make a counseling appointment?

All new, matriculating students will be given a counseling appointment after they complete placement testing and orientation. After that, counseling appointments can be made by logging into WebSMART with your student ID (your G#). Due to high demand for services, students who do not show up for appointments may be blocked from making future appointments. 

What is walk-in counseling for?

Walk-ins are quick, 20 minute sessions, offered only on a limited basis. Walk-in is not appropriate for students who need student educational plans (SEP), AA/AS or certificate evaluations, transfer evaluations or who are on academic probation/dismissal standing.

Students needing those services must make a regular counseling appointment through WebSMART.

Can I audit a course?

Please see our auditing policy in the catalog.

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Associate Degree FAQs

What is the difference between an AS and an AA degree?

 

An AS degree, also called an Associate of Science degree, is awarded for majors that are vocational or technical in nature. An AA degree, or Associate of Arts degree, is awarded for majors that are considered liberal arts related. General education requirements are the same for both the AA and AS degrees offered at Skyline College.

Do I need a major to get an associate degree? Can I just complete the general education requirements and still get a degree?

You must complete the requirements for a specific major in order to graduate with an Associate Degree. See the complete list of associate degree majors available at Skyline College. Students interested in a more general major often choose the Interdisciplinary Studies major. Students planning to transfer to four-year universities may wish to explore the Interdisciplinary Studies major. Detailed information about major requirements can be found in the Skyline College Catalog and on the Counseling website. Talk with your counselor to see which major best fits your personal goals.

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Transfer to Four-Year Universities FAQs

If I get an AA or AS from Skyline College, can I automatically transfer to a 4-year college?

No, the completion of an Associate degree does not automatically meet all of the requirements for transfer to a 4-year college or university. However, if you select classes carefully, it is possible to meet both Associate degree requirements and transfer requirements at the same time. Your counselor can assist you in the selection of appropriate courses.

Can I just take my general education requirements at Skyline College, then take my major courses after I transfer?

Many majors have lower division prerequisites or requirements that must be completed prior to transfer. You will save time and money by completing them before you transfer. If you are applying to a competitive college or major, the completion of major courses will greatly increase your chances of being accepted.

Aside from the general education requirements for transfer, how do I know if I have met the requirements for my major?

Project Assist provides information on current articulation agreements between Skyline College and many of the 4-year colleges and universities in California. Additional information and assistance is available through your counselor and the Transfer Center.

Should I get an associate degree if I intend to transfer?

Although an Associate degree is not required for transfer, many students find that it is personally beneficial to have a college degree on their record. Students who have completed all of their requirements for transfer may have completed most, if not all, of the requirements for an Associate degree as well.

What are the differences between the UC, CSU, and independent college systems? How do I decide which one is best for me?

Colleges and universities can vary greatly in the type of majors offered, requirements, and educational philosophies. Your counselor can assist you in choosing the college or university that best fits your educational goals and personal situation. Information is also available at the Transfer Center.

You may also explore the UC campuses and CSU mentor.

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Academic Record FAQs

How do I get final grades each semester?

Final grades are not mailed to students. You may obtain your grades online at WebSMART. If you need a printed copy, you may request one at the Admissions and Records office. 

What does it mean to take a course Pass/No Pass?

Some courses allow you to receive either a letter grade or be graded on a Pass/No Pass basis. Students who elect the P/NP option will receive a grade of “P” on their official transcript if they earn a C or higher in the course, and “NP” if they earn a D or F in the course. P/NP courses will not be calculated into the student’s grade point average. This may be a good option for students who are taking courses not related to their major fields. The use of P/NP to satisfy Skyline major or certificate requirements must be approved by the Division Dean. Four year colleges vary widely in the number of P/NP courses they accept, and usually will not allow P/NP courses to fulfill major requirements. Consult with a counselor regarding transfer limitations. 

What should I do if I disagree with a grade that I receive?

You should make an appointment with your instructor to make sure that the grade recorded is correct and to understand the reasons why you received the grade. If, after you have contacted the instructor, you still disagree with the grade, you may follow the grievance and appeals policy outlined in the Student Handbook. 

Can I get bad grades removed from my record?

No. Grades are never removed from your official college transcript. However, a student who has earned a grade of D or F at any college in the San Mateo County Community College district may repeat the same course once at any college in the district. If the student receives a C or better, then the previous D or F grade will no longer be calculated into the student's grade point average. In addition, some students may qualify for Academic Renewal. The policy is outlined in the College Catalog. 

What does it mean if I am notified that I have been placed on academic probation?

Students are placed on academic probation if their cumulative grade point average is below 2.0 (C average) or if 50% or more of their total units are recorded on their college transcript as W (withdrawal), I (incomplete), or NC (no credit). The Counseling Department has developed the Student Success Program to assist those who have been placed on academic probation.

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First-Time College Student FAQs

Do I need to take a placement test and attend an orientation?

See pages 5-7 of the Spring 2010 Class Schedule for information about placement test and orientation requirements and exemptions.

I tried to register, but all of the classes are full. What do I do?

If classes have not yet started, sign up on the waitlist for courses that are full by logging into Websmart. If space in the class becomes available, you will be contacted by email at you smccd.edu email address.  You will then have 48 hours to register in the class. Whether you are on the waitlist or not, you should go to the class you wish to add on the first day of instruction. Students frequently drop classes in the first week, and space may become available. Instructors usually give priority to students on the waitlist, but are sometimes able to add students who were not on the waitlist, if there is room. If you are allowed to add the class, you will be given a four digit authorization code that you will need to register using WebSMART. The last day to add a semester-length class is listed in the Class Schedule.

I signed up for a class, but I need to drop it. How do I do that?

Log into Websmart to drop the class. You do not need your instructor’s signature in order to drop a class. The last day to drop a semester-length course without it appearing on your transcript is listed in the Class Schedule. Classes dropped after this date will be noted on the student’s permanent record as a “W” or withdrawal. Students who need to drop due to extenuating circumstances may petition for an exception to this policy. The form is available at the Office of Admissions and Records in Building 2.

What is the maximum number of units I can take?

You may take no more than 19 units in the Fall and Spring semesters without the approval of a counselor or dean. Students are considered to be full time if they have 12 units or more in the Fall or Spring.

I can’t afford to attend college. Is financial aid available?

Yes! Fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov to be considered for financial aid programs. Assistance with the form is available at the Financial Aid Office in Building 2. You can contact the Financial Aid Office at (650) 738-4236 or by email. Additional information is available at www.icanaffordcollege.com.

The Financial Aid Office says that I need to get a Student Educational Plan or SEP. How do I do that?

You must make a counseling appointment to develop a SEP.

What is the difference between a recommendation and a prerequisite?

A recommendation is a course that faculty recommend be completed in advance to improve your ability to succeed in the course. However, students will not be blocked from taking the course if they do not have the recommended preparation.

A prerequisite must be completed before you can enroll in a course, and you may be prevented from taking the course if you do not have the required preparation.

The class I want has a prerequisite. I completed the course and/or placement testing at another college. What do I do?

Download the Prerequisite Equivalency Form or pick it up at the Information Center in Building 2. Attach an unofficial copy of your transcript to your form and submit both to the Information Center. If you are using test scores from other colleges, you must submit the scores with your form. Counselors will review your form within 24-48 hours. If your request is approved, you will be allowed to register for the course. You will be informed if your request is denied. You do NOT need an appointment.

The class I want has a prerequisite. I have not completed the prerequisite with a college course or through placement testing, but I have other related coursework or experience that I believe can satisfy the prerequisite. What do I do?

Download the Prerequisite Challenge Form or pick it up at the Information Center in Building 2. You can meet with a counselor on walk-in if you have questions about filing your request. You must turn in the form, along with a brief letter explaining your preparation for the course and documentation of your preparation to the appropriate Division Office. The registration block will be removed within 24 hours of submitting your petition. You may then access WebSMART to provisionally enroll in any open sections of the class you want. You will be notified within 5 business days if your request has been approved. If disapproved, you will be dropped from the course.

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Students Who Have Attended Other Colleges FAQs

I am a student from another college and I only want to take one or two courses here. I am taking the majority of my courses at my other school. How can I register?

Make sure you list your educational goal on your Skyline application as “Primarily attending another college/university and only taking classes at Skyline to meet those requirements”. If you incorrectly reported your educational goal on your application, you can request to change it at the Admissions and Records Office in Building 2. You will be given a date to register on WebSMART . All course limitations and prerequisites still apply.

Do I need to attend an orientation?

The orientation is not required for students who are primarily attending another college or university. It is recommended that you complete the orientation if you make Skyline College your primary college.

Do I need to take a placement test?

If the course you wish to take has a prerequisite of English or Math, you will need to show that you have met the prerequisite. If you have never taken a placement test at another community college and have not taken a course that is equivalent to the prerequisite, you will need to take a placement test. See below if you believe that you have already met the prerequisite.

The class I want has a prerequisite. I completed the course and/or placement testing at another college. What do I do?

Download the Prerequisite Equivalency Form or pick it up at the Information Center in Building 2. Attach an unofficial copy of your transcript to your form and submit both to the Information Center. If you are using test scores from other colleges, you must submit the scores with your form. Counselors will review your form within 24-48 hours. If your request is approved, you will be allowed to register for the course. You will be informed if your request is denied. You do NOT need an appointment.

The class I want has a prerequisite. I have not completed the prerequisite with a college course or through placement testing, but I have other related coursework or experience that I believe can satisfy the prerequisite. What do I do?

Download the Prerequisite Challenge Form or pick it up at the Information Center in Building 2. You can meet with a counselor on walk-in if you have questions about filing your request. You must turn in the form, along with a brief letter explaining your preparation for the course and documentation of your preparation to the appropriate Division Office. The registration block will be removed within 24 hours of submitting your petition. You may then access Websmart to provisionally enroll in any open sections of the class you want. You will be notified within 5 business days if your request has been approved. If disapproved, you will be dropped from the course.

How do I know if the courses I took at another college would count toward the AA/AS here?

Make an appointment with a counselor through the Counseling Office. Due to high demand for services, we can not do AA/AS evaluations on drop-in.

How do I know if the courses I took at another college would count toward transfer to a university?

If you took a course at another California community college, you can check http://assist.org/ to see if courses taken there are transferable to UC or CSU campuses. It does not matter if Skyline offers a similar course or not. Click on the campus you took your course at. Then look under “Courses Applicable for Transfer” for a list of courses that are UC or CSU transferable and how they are used for IGETC or CSU GE. If you want to know if the courses you took at another school meet major requirements for your transfer school, click on “Agreements With Other Campuses” and look under the transfer school and major you are interested in.

CCSF Students Who Wish to Take English and/or Math at Skyline:

If you have already taken an ESL, English or Math placement test at CCSF or if you have already completed an ESL, English or Math course at CCSF, you do not need to retake the placement test here unless you want to. The following is a list of several CCSF courses and equivalent Skyline courses. This is not a complete list. To register for the correct course, check out the Prerequisite Equivalency process or visit the Information Center in Building 2.

CCSF Courses

SKYLINE COLLEGE Courses

ESL 120 Recommend Taking Placement Test
ESL 130 Recommend Taking Placement Test
ESL 140 Recommend Taking Placement Test
ESL 160 ESOL 830
ESL 170 (will be phased out)   ESOL 840
ENGL 93/94 ENGL 826/828 or ESOL 840
ENGL 96 ENGL 836/846 or ESOL 400
ENGL 1A ENGL 100
ENGL 1C ENGL 110 or 165
MATH E3 or E1 or 835 MATH 811
MATH 840 MATH 110 or 111+112
MATH 860 MATH 120 or 121+122
MATH 95 MATH 130 
MATH 80 MATH 200
MATH 100A MATH 241
MATH 110A MATH 251

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