Vicki McMahon
Assistant to the Dean of Academic Services
(540) 362-6333

Summer academic checklist for first-year students

There are a number of tasks that you must complete over the summer in preparation for your arrival on campus in August.


Select a First-year Seminar.

Complete the Advising Questionnaire and Select a First-year Seminar. Read the information on First-year Seminars and complete the Advising Questionnaire as soon as possible. All students are required to indicate their top four choices for first-year seminars on the advising questionnaire. The deadline for the first round of seminar placements is June 1. The deadline for the second round of placements is July 1. Please note that first-year seminars will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so please complete the advising questionnaire as soon as possible.

Take Online Placement Tests.

Placement tests are available for French, Spanish, German, Latin, Chemistry, and Math/Quantitative Reasoning. Please click on the Placement Tests link to find out which tests are required and which are optional. Placement tests must be completed between June 1 and August 1.


Prepare a Tentative Schedule.

During orientation, you will meet with your seminar instructor, who is also your first-year advisor, to discuss your academic interests and finalize your schedule before registration on Tuesday, September 2.

Between now and then, please take some time to gather ideas for your fall term classes. A typical course load is four 4-credit courses per term (one of these courses will be your first-year seminar, which meets on Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30-12:00), plus a sport or physical activity. In preparation for your first meeting with your advisor, please use the Schedule of Classes and the Academic Catalog (PDF) to put together a list of between six and eight courses that interest you. They should be from as many different subjects as possible.

The Academic Catalog contains course descriptions, prerequisite information, and ESP general education codes. The Schedule of Classes will tell you which courses are open to first-year students (designated by * on the far left of the schedule), how many credits they are worth, when they meet, who the professors are, and whether they fulfill ESP requirements (which are designated by codes on the far right of the schedule of classes — see Education through Skills and Perspectives link for more information).

Complete the Summer Reading.

During the first part of July, you will be sent a book that you will need to read over the summer. This book will be discussed during orientation with your first-year seminar group.