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Academic advising process

During Orientation, students will meet with an academic advisor who specializes in their major area of interest. Academic Advisors will help interpret placement test scores, answer questions about selecting courses, and assist with finalizing a course schedule. 

Choosing courses

A degree from Iowa is made up of three types of courses: courses related to your major, courses required by your college's General Education Program, and elective courses. Incoming students typically focus on courses that will satisfy the General Education Program requirements, and in some cases, introductory course work provided by the department or college in which they are enrolling.

Opportunities for First-Year Students

During summer orientation students will learn about programs only available during the first semester such as Courses in Common, the College Transition program, and First-Year Seminars. Students can discuss these opportunisties during the orientation advising and registration appointment with their academic advisor.

How to Graduate in Four Years

General Education course requirements

The General Education Program is designed to ensure that all Iowa students have the skills for a lifetime of learning, and they vary slightly depending on the college offering your degree. First-year students typically take several general education courses during their first semester or year. They are an excellent way to explore different subjects if you are an "open major" in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. If you have selected a major, review the General Education Program requirements affiliated with it.

College of Engineering
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
College of Nursing
College of Public Health
Tippie College of Business

Transfer students

Before attending Orientation, consider reviewing the General Education Program requirements affiliated with your major. These requirements vary slightly depending on the college offering your degree. Some of your previous course work may satisfy General Education Program requirements. Students with an AA degree from a community college that honors the articulation agreement (Community Colleges in Iowa and Illinois) have met all requirements of the General Education Program except World Language and the Diversity and Inclusion category.

Questions about transferring credit

Concerns about how your course work from other schools will transfer to Iowa will be addressed at orientation. If you have questions before orientation, call the Office of Admissions at 319-335-3847 and ask for undergraduate reviewing.

Your grade-point average (GPA) at Iowa will build on your cumulative transfer GPA. Grades from all previous transfer course work attempted are calculated into your transfer GPA. The only grades that are not figured in are those taken for career-technical and most developmental courses. 

Explore your course options online

You are welcome to explore Iowa's course options before attending orientation. Searching by College & Department itemizes course work required for specific majors. Students can also search for General Education category and click on a course for the specific description and schedules, which vary by semester. Note that some courses may not be available at the time you register.

Be flexible

Usually, the university offers many sections of the most popular General Education Courses, and we work closely with the Office of the Registrar to ensure that students attending orientation programs can enroll in some of the most sought-after courses. However, there's no guarantee that every course will be available in your first semester. We encourage students to be flexible and open to enrolling in courses they may not have originally planned on taking.

If you have two majors

During the orientation program, there is time for students to meet with just one academic advisor. After orientation, students pursuing a second major should set up an appointment with an advisor in the department of their second major. Orientation staff can help connect you to other departments if you have questions.