Frequently Asked Questions

Academic Advising

Advising FAQs

Who is my academic adviser?

You can find your adviser’s name listed on your student portal. If you are a first year student, your adviser will be your Anchor Course FYE101 (or LH1110 if in Honors) professor. If you are a new transfer student not enrolled in an Anchor Course, you will work with the department chair of your intended major for advising until you formally declare your major.

When should I meet with my adviser?

We encourage students to meet with their adviser on a regular basis. Making this connection early is important, as getting to know your adviser can help with your success at Saint Mary’s and beyond. All students meet with their adviser each semester before course registration to discuss academic progress, goals, and a plan for the following semester. Students should check in with their adviser any time they have questions or concerns that may affect their academic progress at Saint Mary’s.

Can I change my adviser?

If your major is declared, you may contact the department chair if you would like to be assigned to a different adviser. If you are undeclared and would like to change advisers, please contact the Student Success Center.

When should I declare my major?

Students must declare their major by the end of their first year. We recommend you meet with your adviser early on to begin discussing your interests and future goals as they relate to majors. If you would like additional resources to help you with this important decision, please feel free to contact the Student Success Center.

How do I declare or change my major, minor, and/or IGEP minor?

You can declare your major, minor, and IGEP minor by putting in a request to have the online declaration form completed. You can also add, change, and/or drop a major, minor, IGEP minor as well.

Email the following to declare:

  • Major or academic minor: Department chair of that major or minor
  • IGEP minor: minor coordinator of the IGEP minor you want to declare

 There is no limit to the number of times that you can change your major, however, it is important to continually meet with your adviser to review your graduation timeline if you decide to change your major.

What is my Degree Audit Report?

Your Degree Audit Report outlines all of the specific requirements needed for graduation, including general education and major requirements. Your Degree Audit Report is an excellent tool to utilize as you track your progress toward graduation as it factors in your completed and in-progress coursework. You can view your Degree Audit Report via your student portal.

What is GPA (Grade Point Average) and how is it calculated?

In order to evaluate the overall quality of coursework, a system of grade points is used. The number of grade points earned in a given course is the number of credits for that course multiplied by the grade point corresponding to the grade earned in that course, as follows:
Grade     Grade Pts.     Achievement Level
A             4.000             Excellent
AB           3.500
B             3.000             Very Good
BC           2.500
C             2.000             Satisfactory
CD          1.500
D             1.000             Minimal Pass
F             0.000             Failure

I        Incomplete

P       Pass (A, AB, B, BC, C)

NC    No Credit (CD, D, F)

AU     Audit

W      Withdrawal

The grade point average (GPA) is determined by dividing the total grade points earned by the total number of credits attempted.

What are the requirements for graduation?
  • Earn a minimum of 122 semester credits
  • Maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA and a 2.0 major GPA
  • Complete a minimum of 45 credits in 300 or 400 level courses
  • Complete general education requirements 
  • Complete at least one major
  • Earn at least 60 semester credits in academic residence at Saint Mary’s (transfer students)
  • Spend the final year in academic residence unless enrolled in an approved off-campus program
  • Apply no more than 4 semester hours of music ensemble credits toward the minimum graduation requirement of 122 semester credits

Review the course catalog for more details. 

If I am a Varsity Student Athlete, does my sport satisfy my Wellness requirement?

Process for the Fulfillment of Wellness Graduation Requirement for Varsity Athletic Participation

Completion of the FULL COMPETITIVE SEASON of a respective sport(s) will fulfill one (1) of two (2) wellness requirements for graduation for Varsity Student Athletes (SA’s).

Appropriate accommodations will be made for the SA in the event of an injury. If this occurs, SA’s will be expected to continue to be as involved as possible with their respective teams. Including but not limited to training (as prescribed), practices, study tables, team meetings, individual training sessions (as prescribed), travel, etc.

Non-Traditional Practices and training DO NOT COUNT towards the wellness requirement.

Emails will be sent to the Coaching staff to verify that the rosters are correct and up to date. This will be done at the end of each COMPETITIVE SEASON. Rosters will then be sent to the Registrar’s office to have the completion of one wellness requirement added to the SA’s transcript and degree audit.

How do I know which classes to take for my major?

For further information regarding courses specific to your major, please reference the course catalog or the Major Pathways on this site. 

The Major Pathways are a helpful resource, as they can be used from semester to semester to help you stay on track for completing your major.

In addition to these resources, meet with your adviser to further discuss courses and the best plan for you.

Should I take the math, English, or Spanish placement tests?

English and Math

Students are placed into their first English and math course based on their ACT/SAT subscores in English and math. To view your placement, login to your student portal. You will see your English and math placement courses listed near the bottom of the homepage. 

If you would like to try to place into a different course, it is recommended that you consider a placement test. Please note: E105: Writing Skills is the only English course you can take the placement test for to try to test out of.

For more information regarding the math placement test, please contact Dr. Kristin Sellke at

For more information regarding the English placement test, please contact Dr. Brook Lenz at


If you have taken Spanish courses in high school or are a native speaker considering a major or minor in Spanish or are interested in taking Spanish classes in general, we recommend that you speak with a faculty member to determine the best starting course for you.

For more information regarding Spanish placement, please contact Dr. John Reed at

What is the difference between dropping a course and withdrawing from a course?

At the beginning of each semester, students have one week from the first day of classes to make adjustments to their schedule. This means that you can add or drop courses without penalty. Additionally, changes made during this first week will not appear on your academic record. During this window, you can make changes to your schedule via your student portal.

After the first week, you will need to complete a course withdrawal form, available from the Registrar’s Office, in order to be withdrawn form the course. You will no longer be able to drop the course on your own via your student portal. Before withdrawing from a course, it is important that you speak with the course professor, your adviser, your coach if you are an athlete, Residence Life if you will drop below 12 credits, and also financial aid to ensure withdrawing will not impact any financial aid you may have. Additionally, it is important to note that when you withdraw from a course, a W will be recorded for that course on your academic record rather than a letter grade.

How Do I Withdraw From a Class?
  • The last day to withdraw from a semester-length course is November 9th. To withdraw from a course please email your faculty adviser the name of the course(s) you’d like to drop and any concerns or questions you have about dropping the course(s). If your faculty adviser agrees that dropping the course is the best option, your adviser will notify the registrar’s office ( and they will take care of withdrawing you from the course and notifying the professor.
I'm struggling in a class, how can I get help?

Talk to your professor. Talking to your professor is key. While you may have performed poorly on an exam, your professor won’t necessarily know that you’re struggling unless you speak up. Find out your professor’s office hours and utilize this time to talk with them about your progress in class. Sometimes things are not as bad as they seem. Other times, things may be much worse than you realize. Your professor can provide you with a clearer picture of your situation and options for additional assistance such as tutoring or study tips.

Consider tutoring. Tutoring is a free service to you as a student, so definitely take advantage of this great resource. Tutoring is peer-to-peer, and all tutors are recommended by departments and are students who have been successful in the class. For more information regarding tutoring and other learning services, contact Joe Dulak at

Consider withdrawing from the course. If you feel you have explored all of your options and have given advice from your professor or tutoring some time, you may consider withdrawing from the course. The decision to withdraw is yours to make and should be made only after you have considered all options and consequences. For instance, will you go below full-time status (less than 12 credits)? If so, this can affect housing, financial aid, athletic eligibility, and more, so be sure to speak with individuals in these areas. Additionally, always seek out your adviser before withdrawing from a course to come up with a plan to retake the course if it is needed for graduation.

Can I repeat a class to earn a better grade?

Students are encouraged to repeat courses in which they received a final grade of F or D. Students choosing to repeat a course should note that the grades from any previous attempt of a course are never deleted from their academic record. However, it is only the grade earned in the latest attempt of the course that will be used in the calculation of their cumulative GPA. Therefore, it is possible for a student to improve their cumulative GPA by repeating a course and earning a higher grade. Please note that students may not replace a grade earned at Saint Mary’s by taking a similar course at another university.

I want to take a class at a different school and transfer it back to Saint Mary's. What should I do?

Course Substitution and Pre-approval Process

Have you transferred in a course(s) that you think will count toward a requirement? Are you thinking about taking a class outside of Saint Mary’s that you are hoping can fulfill a requirement? 

Use the key below to determine who to contact based on the course you have taken or hope to take:

  • Major or minor course – Department chair of the major or minor
  • IGEP course – Coordinator of IGEP minor or associate dean for General Education
  • Legacy General Education Program course – Associate Dean of General Education: Dr. Carolyn Ayers at


Will my AP, CLEP and/or IBP credits transfer?

Refer to the Registration and Academic Records section of the course catalog for more information. 

I'm thinking about withdrawing from Saint Mary's. What should I do?

If you are unsure if withdrawing from Saint Mary’s is the right decision for you, you can meet with an academic adviser in the Student Success Center to help. Set up a time to meet by emailing or stopping by the office.

If you have decided that withdrawing from Saint Mary’s is in your best interest, you will need to complete the Request for University Withdrawal. If you have any questions about the withdrawal process, please set up a time to meet with an academic adviser in the Student Success Center.

Registration FAQs

How do I register for classes?

Watch this tutorial to learn about the new registration features and learn how to register for courses!

For further guidance on registering for courses, please email or connect with a Peer Adviser to set up a meeting time.

When do I register for classes?

Your registration time is determined by the number of credits you have earned. Keep in mind that this does not include the credits you are currently enrolled in as you have not yet earned them until you receive a final grade. Check your portal for your specific registration date and time. 

Classification of Students:

  • 0-23 earned credits: First-Year
  • 24-55 earned credits: Sophomore
  • 56-86 earned credits: Junior
  • 87+ earned credits: Senior


How do I know my class standing?

Classification of Students:
0-23 earned credits: First Year
24-55 earned credits: Sophomore
56-86 earned credits: Junior
87+ earned credits: Senior

What should I do if I have a registration hold?

To see if you have any registration holds, view your academic record in your Student Portal. There are multiple reasons that a hold may have been placed on your account. Your Student Portal will indicate the type of hold you have, and you should contact the respective office as soon as possible to see what needs to occur to have the hold removed. Keep in mind that you will not be able to register for classes until your holds are cleared. It is important to take care of holds immediately, if possible, so you are able to register on time and hopefully get into all the courses you planned on.


Check out the following resources and email Cardinal Central with questions:

How do I order my books?

You can order your books online by visiting the Bookstore website and following these steps:

  • Hover over ‘Textbooks’ (top left corner)
  • Select ‘Find Textbooks’
  • Use the information from your schedule to search for the required books,  i.e. QR 101 B 

To view your schedule, log into your Student Portal. If you cannot remember your username and password, you can call our IT help desk at 507-457-7800 and they can help you get logged in.

What should I do if a course I need to take is full?

If a class you were planning to take is full, you can contact the instructor of the course and explain why you hope to be added into the course and see if they would be willing to give you an override and add you in. Overrides will be at the instructor’s discretion. If the instructor is agreeable to giving you the override, you will need to fill out and add card and have the instructor sign off on the card as well. Add cards can be found at the Registrar’s Office and should be returned to the Registrar’s Office for entering once completed.

How many credits should I register for each semester?

Full-time students need to register for 12-18 credits per semester. In order to graduate in fo years, you should plan to take 15-16 credits each semester. Depending on course load and other circumstances, you may opt to take a higher credit range (17-18) or a lower credit range (12-14). Additionally, you may choose to take a lower credit range and take courses over the summer to keep on track as well. If you have the Minnesota State Grant, you are required to take 15 credits per semester to receive the full grant amount. It is recommended that you consult with your faculty adviser to map out your anticipated graduation date to help yourself stay on track and feel comfortable with your graduation timeline. 

Can I register for more than 18 credits?

Students seeking to take 19 or more credits in a semester must receive approval from the Dean of Student Success. Students must have a current cumulative GPA of a 3.0 or higher to be considered. Each credit taken above 18 credits is an additional cost per credit.

How many credits can I take at Saint Mary's in the summer?

Students planning to take online summer courses at Saint Mary’s are encouraged to take no more than nine credits. If you are considering taking a summer course (either through Saint Mary’s or another university), it is in your best interest to talk with the Financial Aid Office to see if enrolling in summer course(s) impacts financial aid you may have.

Additionally, you may wish to meet with an adviser in the Student Success Center to further discuss strategies to be successful in your summer course.

Transfer Student FAQs

What is the process for transfer course substitution?

Course Substitution Process

Have you transferred in a course(s) that you think will count toward a specific requirement?

What you need to do:
Using the key below, send the following information to the appropriate person (hard copies or e-mail):

– Name of accredited institution/college
– Official course description and/or syllabus
– Credit amount of course
– Name of course and course code/level
– The name of the Saint Mary’s course or area you hope to have fulfilled

This information will be reviewed generally within 3-5 business days.

  • Major or Minor Requirements – Department Chair of the major or minor
  • Prerequisites for course – Department Chair in which the course is housed
  • IGEP Requirements – Coordinator of IGEP minor or Associate Dean of General Education
  • Lasallian Honors requirements – Director of Lasallian Honors Program

Approved Courses will be substituted in. 

Courses Not Approved will remain on your transcript as elective credit toward graduation.

How do I order my books?

You can order your books online by visiting the Bookstore Website and following these steps:

  • Hover over ‘Textbooks’  (top left corner)
  • Select ‘find textbooks’
  • Use the information from your schedule to search for the required books,  i.e. QR 101 B 

To view your schedule, log into your Student Portal. If you cannot remember your username and password, you can call our IT help desk at 507-457-7800 and they can help you get logged in.

How do I find out my housing assignment?

For more information regarding housing assignments and requests, please contact the Residence Life Office at 507-457-1409

How do I get a parking sticker?

Visit the Campus Safety website for more information regarding parking on campus.

For additional information please contact Campus Safety at 507-457-1703. 

Who can I talk to about my meal plan?

For more information regarding meal plans and food service hours, visit the  Food Services website.

To select your meal plan, login to your Portal and complete the ‘Winona Meal Plan’ tab in the left-hand column.