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Academic FAQs

Can we have grades or progress updates sent home?

No. UCSC is required to comply with FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Practices Act), which protects the confidentiality of educational records. Under these policies, certain pieces of information are considered “public” information, and can be released to third parties. No other information can be released to anyone but the student. As an example, whether a student is enrolled at UCSC is considered public information, but the specific classes in which he or she is enrolled is not considered public information – even to those who pay the bills.

With these policies in mind, we recommend that students and their parents communicate clearly about what information will be shared with parents while the student is away at college. If you wish to have access to your son or daughter’s grades, you will need to make arrangements with them or have them sign a release. For more information, please see our privacy page.

Will someone notify me if my student is not attending their classes?

No. The college does not track or report on attendance. However, if a student’s lack of attendance in a class becomes problematic or worrisome, the professor will often contact a Porter academic adviser. The academic adviser or another college staff person will then make an effort to connect with the student to discuss the reasons behind their absences, and encourage them to attend class.

Are students required to meet with advisers?

For the most part, Porter’s advising system is a student-initiated system. With some exceptions (students who fall on probation or who are not in compliance with some aspect of university policy), students are not required to meet individually with an adviser. We encourage students to do so, however, and hope that all first year students will meet with an adviser during their first year as part of our First Year Advising Program.

Are students able to graduate in four years?

That depends on the choices the student makes along the way. Students who plan their academic program effectively, and who pass 15 credits each term, can generally complete all requirements for a Bachelor’s degree with a single major within a four year period. Many students choose to request an extension of enrollment beyond four years so that they can complete a double major or major/minor program, or so that they can participate in an external program such as Education Abroad. (Please note that completing a double major or participating in Education Abroad does not always require an extension of enrollment.) Some students may need more than four years to graduate if they experience difficulties that affect their ability to pass a full-time course load, if they get started too late on their major requirements, or if they change their major late in their academic career.

What classes should new students take?

Different students take different classes depending on their educational plans and goals. If students have questions are about their major requirements, they should call their department major adviser. For questions about choosing classes for college or general education requirements, students should stop by the Porter College Office, or call 459-2273 for an appointment with a Porter adviser.

Do students have to take placement exams?

For some majors, placement exams will be required to enroll in the appropriate first year courses. Other majors do not have such requirements. The General Catalog can provide information regarding placement exam requirements.

Math classes (required for many majors) do require a placement exam.

How can students learn about what majors are offered at UCSC, and which major is the best one for them?

The General Catalog includes information about all of the academic programs on campus, including requirements and course descriptions for each major. Reviewing the information in this publication, along with the information available on each department’s website, will give you an idea of the scope and requirements for each major. Porter’s advisers are available to talk with students about academic planning and choosing a major. Advisers in the Career Center can also talk with students about how to link their academic major with their ultimate career goals.

Where can I find more information about the academic policies and procedures relevant to undergraduate students?

The Undergraduate Advising website is a good place to start. This site has links to a number of important publications and forms.

What resources are available if a student is having difficulties?

If students are having any problems that are affecting their academic performance, it’s important that they be in touch with Porter’s Advising Staff so that we can discuss their options and refer them to appropriate resources. Our advising staff is available by appointment and on a drop-in basis in the Porter College Office. Some of the resources students may be referred to are:

What type of external educational programs are available to UCSC students?

There are a number of programs that will allow students to study away from UCSC as part of their bachelor’s degree program. Each of these programs requires planning ahead so that students can continue to progress toward their degrees while away. A few of the more popular programs available to UCSC students are:

  • UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) Programs are available in 35 different countries. Although many programs have language requirements, there are a number of EAP programs offered in English as well.
  • UCDC program UCSC students can apply to go to Washington DC where they take an academic class while pursuing an internship in the nation’s capitol.
  • UC Center in Sacramento Through this program UCSC students can study in our state’s capitol while pursuing an internship.
  • The Inter-Campus Visitor Program Students can apply to spend a quarter or semester at a different UC campus as part of their UCSC academic program.
  • Exchange programs with the University of New Mexico and the University of New Hampshire. More Information
  • Internships and job opportunities are available through the Career Center.
  • Academic departments often have information available about other internship and field-study programs within their programs.