Undergraduate Student FAQ

Find answers to many of your questions here!


Getting Ready for Orientation
After Orientation
Campus Life
Majors and Programs
Advising Information
Foreign Language Requirements
Rhetoric/Composition I
Teacher Education Programs
Test-Based Credit
FAA 199
Physical Education
Have More Questions?

Getting Ready for Orientation

Q. How will I know what courses to take?

A. Incoming first-year students should complete the College Homework section in IStart. After filling out the information, you will receive a list of courses you should take during the fall semester. You can also find a complete list of courses for your major. Each transfer student will receive a degree audit report (DARS/DARwin) at a college meeting during orientation. The report will allow you to see how courses already completed apply to your U of I degree and identify courses still needed.

Q. How long will the advising appointment take?

A. The advising and registration process typically takes about two hours.

Q. What happens if I can’t get in to a required class?

A. You are guaranteed space in your required major courses, but no guarantees are made that you will be able to register for a class at the exact day and time you desire.

No guarantee is made that you will get the exact general education class you desire. However, you will be able to register in some general education course even though you may have to compromise on days and times. Keep in mind that you will be able to revise your schedule during the first two weeks of the semester, so you may be able to enroll in a class you want later on.

Q. Who will help me register for classes?

A. One or two faculty or staff advisors and an IStart student leader will be available to help you at summer orientation.

Q. Will my parents be able to help me register for classes?

A. The computer labs where registration will take place are too small to allow parents to attend. You will not be left to register alone—advisors and upper-level students will be present to help answer questions about appropriate classes and how to navigate the computer registration system.

Q. How do I arrange for special accommodations for my disability during registration?

A. Students with a documented disability who wish to request disability-related accommodations should contact Disability Resources and Educational Services at 217.333.1970 (TTY: 217.244.9738) or disability@illinois.edu.

After Orientation

Q. How do I audition for School of Music ensembles?

A. Browse the School of Music’s information about auditions.

Q. Is it difficult to change my schedule after summer orientation is over?

A.You will be allowed to add classes for a two-week period once the semester starts.

Q. What do I do if I change my mind about the classes I’ve signed up for at orientation and want to take something different?

A. You must remain in the courses required for your degree. However, you are allowed to make changes in general education and elective classes. You may add new classes during the first two weeks of the semester. You are encouraged to speak with an advisor before making any changes to your schedule.

Q. I just received my AP scores. How do I find out if I receive credit for classes?

A. Cutoff scores for receiving AP credit are available from the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.

Q. I just received my AP scores. What do I do if I need to change my schedule?

A. If you received credit for a class you enrolled in during orientation (for example, you received credit for MATH 220 and you signed up for MATH 220), you will be able to drop the course and sign up for a different class during the first two weeks of school in August. You should make an appointment to talk to your advisor when you return in August.

Q. I’m worried I won’t have the right books, software, and other equipment I need for my classes. Where can I find what I need?

A. The textbook and art stores on campus have lists of the needed books and supplies for each course. These lists are provided by the instructor of each class. Additional information about supplies and books is often provided on a syllabus, given out by the instructor on the first day of class. Instructors do not assume every student in class will have the proper material on the very first day of class but do expect students to get the needed materials within the first couple of days after class starts.

Q. What kind of computer should I buy?

A. Check the FAA computer recommendations to see your options.

Q. I am not familiar with AutoCAD and haven’t had training in AutoCAD. Will I have the skills necessary to succeed?

A. Instructors do not assume that students have had training in AutoCAD. You will have the opportunity to learn the program through your classes.

Campus Life

Q. How many hours a week will I be expected to study?

A. A general rule is that you should expect to prepare two hours outside of class for each hour of credit. For example, a three-hour class will require six hours of work per week outside of class.

Q. How can I get a job on campus?

A. The Office of Student Financial Aid maintains a virtual job board and University Housing posts information about jobs. Also check with the FAA Career Services Office about options related to your major.

Q. I’m really worried about finding my classes and meeting new people. Can anyone at the college help me?

A. Before school starts, many residence hall resident advisors take their students to classrooms on campus to make sure that they are able to get to where they need to go. In August, each residence hall has social activities to help students adjust to their new lives and meet other new students. In addition, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts hosts a welcome party for all FAA students when the fall semester begins.

Because of the intimate nature of instruction in FAA programs, first-year students will meet other new students in their major during the first week of school. Many departments and programs will also provide chances to meet with upper-level students and faculty members.

Q. I’m worried about being away from my home, family, and friends and about getting around on campus. It seems really big. Will I be able to adjust?

A. The campus is large, but the College of Fine and Applied Arts and the programs within it are relatively small. The campus will start to seem more comfortable quickly.

Q. Have you ever had a professor who completely sucked? How did you deal with the class?

A. Students who experience difficulties with a professor should schedule an appointment to speak with the associate or assistant dean in the FAA Office for Undergraduate Academic Affairs at 217.333.6061.

Majors and Programs

Q. Can I get two degrees?

A. Students frequently pursue two degrees in similar programs, such as art history and art education or vocal performance and music education. It is not common—or easy—to pursue two degrees in widely different programs, such as landscape architecture and psychology or painting and dance. Students interested in pursuing a second degree in LAS must follow LAS policy and procedures. They should make an appointment early in the fall semester with one of the associate deans in FAA to start to fill out the necessary paperwork.

Q. Can I get my degree in four years?

A. All of the degree programs in FAA can be finished in four years if you follow the sequence of courses exactly as outlined and do not experiment or vary the schedule at all. You are more likely to take eight semesters plus summer school, either on campus or at a junior college, or nine total semesters to graduate.

Q. Is an undergraduate degree in architecture a six-year program?

A. The School of Architecture offers a four-year undergraduate pre-professional curriculum leading to the bachelor of science in architectural studies (BSAS) degree. To pursue licensure as an architect, students must earn a master’s degree in architecture.

Q. My parents don’t think I can get a job with an art (music/dance/theatre) degree. Can you help?

A. FAA’s Career Services Office has online resources and an arts careers library. Please feel free to schedule an appointment with Michele Plante, the career services coordinator, to discuss what career is right for you and how to get started.

Advising Information

Q. What is DARS?

A. The DARS report is an unofficial progress report intended to assist students in determining their academic progress toward a first baccalaureate degree in their college. The DARS report indicates the requirements a student will have fulfilled upon successful completion of the current courses in progress. It also indicates those requirements that still need to be completed. If you have questions about your DARS report, please contact the FAA admissions and records supervisor at 217.333.6061.

Q. May I take a placement exam more than once?

A. You are allowed only one attempt for the chemistry, physics, and foreign language placement exams. You may take the ALEKS placement exam multiple times, but the university will pay for only one attempt. If you choose to take the exam again, you will have to pay a fee.

Foreign Language Requirements

Q. How many semesters of a foreign language must I complete?

A. The general education requirement is proficiency equivalent to the third semester of study of one foreign language at the U of I prior to graduation. Some majors (art history, music history, and vocal performance) have additional foreign language requirements. Because this is a proficiency requirement, it does not matter how that knowledge was obtained. A student may have studied the language in high school, spoken it at home, or acquired proficiency through another method. Formal study at the university level is not required.

Q. Do I need a fourth year of Spanish for a music education degree?

A. No. In the College of Fine and Applied Arts, only music history and art history majors are required to complete the fourth year of a foreign language. All other majors—except for vocal performance, which has additional language requirements—require completion of only the third year of study.

Q. I didn’t take the foreign language placement exam before orientation. How long is it available?

A. Incoming freshmen and transfer students may take the foreign language placement exam between May and the end of December of the year they were admitted. For example, students starting in fall 2014 may take the placement exam between May 2014 and December 2014. Test scores are valid for one year.

Q. May I take the foreign language placement exam more than once?

A. You are allowed to take the foreign language placement exam only once.

Rhetoric/Composition I

Q. I am supposed to take rhetoric in the spring but I want to take it in the fall because it will fit into my schedule better. Is that possible?

A. Because rhetoric is taken by most incoming first-year students, the university must restrict enrollment in the fall on the basis of your UIN. Consequently, only students with an even UIN can enroll in RHET 105 in the fall.

An alternative would be to take SPCM 111 and SPCM 112. You would need two courses rather than one to complete the Composition I requirement, but music education majors may find this to be a better choice because it fulfills the Speech Communication requirement. Others who may be public speaking as a part of their profession may find this to be a valuable option.

Q. Do you have to take RHET 103 or can you take CMN 111 and CMN 112?

A. To fulfill the Composition I General Education requirement, you can take CMN 111 and CMN 112; RHET 101 and RHET 102; RHET 103 and RHET 104; RHET 105; RHET 108; or ESL 114 and ESL 115. More information on the Composition I requirement is available at My.Illinois.

Q. Can the Composition I requirement be taken at a junior college over the summer and qualify for transfer credit?

A. Many requirements may be satisfied through coursework taken at a community or junior college. However, completion of Composition I at a community college requires a sequence of two courses, not one. Before you take any course at a community college, please contact the FAA Office for Undergraduate Affairs to ensure that credit for the course will transfer and satisfy the requirement.

Teacher Education Programs

Q. Can student teaching be done in the Chicago area?

A. Yes, however there are a limited number of student teaching placements available in Chicago. Most placements are in communities within a fifty-mile radius of Champaign-Urbana.

Q. How do I apply to a teacher education program in FAA?

A. FAA has two education programs, art education and music education, with slightly different admission processes. For both programs, however, students must pass the Illinois Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) prior to enrollment in early field experience courses. Information on the test is available through the Illinois Licensure Testing System.

Art Education: Apply to the program during March of your second semester on campus through interviews and submission of portfolios. A list of successful applicants is sent to the FAA office. Students who have passed the ITBS will be admitted to the program and start coursework during their third semester on campus.

Music Education: Incoming first-year students are admitted into the noncertification track of the music education program. They must pass the ITBS prior to being admitted to the certification track. Students who have not entered the certification track will not be allowed into early field experience courses normally taken during the third semester on campus.

Q. Will a graduate of a teacher education program at the U of I automatically be certified to teach in Illinois?

A. No. State requirements for certification are more stringent than those for receiving a bachelor’s degree. Consequently it is possible, though not common, for students to graduate with a BFA or BME without meeting all of the requirements for teacher certification in Illinois.

Test-Based Credit

Q. Do you consider International Baccalaureate scores?

A. Yes. Information on how IB scores are processed and applied to your degree is available from the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.

FAA 199

Q. Do I get credit for taking FAA 199?

A. Yes, you receive one hour of credit.

Q. How many in-class hours per week does FAA 199 meet?

A. It meets two hours per week for five weeks.

Q. Is there homework for FAA 199?

A. Yes.

Physical Education

Q. Is there a physical education requirement?

A. Students enrolled in the College of Fine and Applied Arts do not have a physical education requirement.

Don’t see your question answered?

We’d love to hear from you . . . just send a message to faa-uaa@illinois.edu.


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