21 July 2016
There are some recurring questions commonly asked by students when they first start uni. So with Semester 2 kicking off this week and lots of new faces on campus, the following are some answers to the most common FAQs asked by students, to offer some helpful advice that I wish I had known as a new student.
- How do I know what textbooks I’ll need for each class?
There are a few ways to check what textbooks are required each semester. Generally, lecturers will prescribe textbooks earlier so they can be made available on the Co-op website. Once on the website you have the option to “find my textbooks” and, after selecting your university/semester commencement/course code, you will be shown the books ‘prescribed by your lecturer’. Alternatively, if your class is not available on this yet, you can check-out the course outlines (available on the USC website). FYI, Semester 2, 2016 course outlines are available now!
- Parking... Tell me the what, where, and when’s of it!
Parking can be paid either online or at a parking meter at USC. The cost for parking varies between $3 to $5 (depending on the hours spent on campus). If you want to pay at a parking meter, you can pay with cash or card. Alternatively you can purchase an online ePermit costing either $100 for 6 months or $200 for 12 months. Often, students may share the costs of purchasing parking online by registering two vehicles and splitting the parking costs with a friend. Be careful, though, as doing this requires both cars to not be on the campus at the same time (or risk facing a fine from the council!). The University is continuously expanding its parking lot numbers to coincide with the influx of new students; the most recent parking being a multi-level complex located behind K-Block.
- How does essay/exam-grading work? And how do I know what my GPA is?
At USC, results are graded from High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), and Fail (FL). A FL grade means you scored between 0-49%, a PS is 50-64%, a CR is 65-74%, a DN is 75-84%, and a HD is 85-100%.
Your GPA is ranked from 0.5 to 7. You can view your GPA on Student Central after the release of each semester’s results. Generally, you should receive a Study Period GPA (your GPA for that semester) and a Cumulative GPA (your combined GPA of all semesters studied). The overall grade you receive for each course determines your GPA: for instance, a HD overall for your course is equivalent to a 7, DN is 6, CR is 5, PS is 4, FL is 1.5. To determine your Study Period GPA, you must add together your overall results for each class and divide by how many courses you studied during the semester. For example, someone studying 4 courses in Semester 1, who received 2 HD’s and 2 DN’s overall would add 7+7+6+6 and divide by 4. This gives them a Study Period GPA of 6.5.
- What are majors/minors and how do I enrol in them?
Almost every degree at USC gives you the opportunity to complete a major, minor, or both! These are areas of study that you may have a particular interest in, and will contribute towards your overall degree. Many students use electives to complete optional majors/minors; however, some degrees (such as a Bachelor of Arts) require majors/minors. A major comprises of eight courses, and a minor contains four courses: these are determined by the university and are available for viewing at our Courses page. Majors/minors are registered once students submit their Registration of Majors/Minors (PDF 278kb) application form to Student Central.
- What support is offered to students during the semester?
There’s a huge amount of support services offered at USC. These include academic skills workshops, health and counselling services, IT assistance, library services, and enabling classes. This support is essential for student wellbeing and academic growth, and is generally advertised each semester through emails. Additionally, student clubs such as Active Minds (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rainbow Connection (USCLGBTIQ@gmail.com) offer friendly, free, peer support for students feeling overwhelmed with the impacts of university and study. Follow the Study Essentials link to view all the support workshops, sessions and activities that USC has to offer.
By, Tayla Dokonal.