There are scheduled breaks throughout the academic year for which you will be expected to return home. Residence halls are closed for fall break, Thanksgiving, winter, spring break, and Easter break.
However, with the exception of these scheduled breaks, you are expected to attend every class session. Missing multiple classes for any reason can have a negative impact on your grade. It might be helpful to know that Westminster holds classes on Labor Day.
Halfway through the semester, you will receive midterm grades from your faculty. These grades do not appear on your official transcript, but they are an important check-in point. You can expect to meet with your classroom faculty or your faculty advisor to review your midterm grades.
At the end of each semester there is a designated four-day Final Exam Period. Because final exam periods are longer than a regular class periods, there is a special Final Exam Schedule that indicates the day and time of the final exam for each of your courses.
The Final Exam Schedule is available at https://www.westminster.edu/academics/calendar.cfm. A few days after the end of the Final Exam Period, faculty will record final course grades for the semester.
There are many different paths to academic success and campus involvement. But there are universal behaviors that will help every student move closer to success in all aspects of college life.
One of the obvious differences between high school and college is that you have more choice and autonomy. With autonomy comes responsibility. Sure, it would be easy to stay up all night play video games, and then silence your alarm instead of going to your morning classes. Most courses only meet two or three times each week, so missing even one class can significantly hamper your success. Absences can affect student-athletes’ ability to practice or compete with their teams, as well.
At Westminster, we will get to know you well, and we expect you to show up for classes, labs, rehearsals, and appointments. We expect that for every hour you spend with us in class, you will spend another two hours studying and preparing for the next class or assignment. College is a lot of work (it is your full-time job!) and being present is important.
College classes are just like most things in life, you’ll get out what you put in. Merely being present is not enough. Be prepared for each class by reading materials and working on assignments ahead of time. Be an active, engaged learner who shares knowledge, experience, and insights. Sitting quietly at your desk and never contributing to class discussions deprives us of your perspective. Similarly, being present but holding side conversations, using electronic devices for purposes unrelated to the course, or catching up on missed sleep is discourteous to your faculty and fellow students. Every time you come to a class, lab, or studio, be prepared and ready to learn. If you have an opinion, share it. If you have an answer, give it. We want to hear from you.
Faculty and administrators often find students wait too long to ask for help. Westminster faculty members will evaluate your progress in courses through exams and quizzes, lab reports, rehearsals and performances, and so on. Many of them post your grades on our learning management system (D2L), so you will know your grades throughout the semester. Even if your professors do not use D2L, you can always ask them to let you know how you are performing in their courses. You do not need to guess at how you’re doing; your faculty will tell you exactly how you’re doing.
But don’t wait until an exam to visit your professors. Instead, visit each professor during the first week to introduce yourself, ask questions about things in the course that you don’t understand, and hear advice for succeeding in their course. Every faculty member sets aside time to meet with students (called “office hours”) every week of the semester. This is the ideal time for you to visit with your professors to learn how you are doing in their courses; to discuss strategies for improving; and to ask questions that were not addressed in class or textbooks.
In addition to the faculty teaching your courses, your academic advisor can also help you find the resources you need to succeed. Those resources include the Academic Success Center, the Disabilities Resource Office, and the Professional Development Center. You should stay in touch with your advisor, especially if you are struggling in your courses.
A part of succeeding academically is taking ownership of your education and making choices that help you meet your goals. College requires a level of commitment and dedication to academic work that may be new to you. You may find that the study habits that worked well in high school don’t work here. The solution isn’t to stop studying or to drop out. The solution is to admit to yourself that there’s a problem and to work with your professors and the Academic Success Center to learn new ways to study that will work for you.
Did you know that students who are actively involved are far more likely to manage time effectively, earn good grades, and graduate on time at higher rates? Take advantage of the many lectures, performances, athletic, and cultural events offered on and off campus, and try out at least one organization or activity in your first semester. But it’s also important to balance your out-of-class activity with academics. Your goal at Westminster is to earn your academic degree, and that is where your primary focus should be.
It is critical that you plan for your physical and mental health needs while attending college. No one plans to become ill, but if it happens, know that our Wellness Center is available for you. Being prepared and becoming familiar with the services available can help you manage an illness much easier when it occurs.
Westminster College was founded in 1852, and we are proud of our history. We are pleased that you have decided to join our community of scholars and alumni. You are a Titan, and we expect you to represent the College professionally and positively in all that you do. Know that we care deeply about your personal and intellectual development, which is why it’s important for you to appreciate that decisions you make today could have lasting consequences on your future—especially in the practically permanent life of the internet and social media.
The Academic Success Center, located in Thompson-Clark, is open for all Westminster students. If you need someone to help you with concepts in a particular course or need help writing a paper, our exceptional peer tutors are available to help you in every subject from Biology to Spanish. Our student tutors have “been there, done that” with most courses and many assignments. Plus, they can share how they improved their time management and study skills. Whatever it is, the Academic Success Center is here to help you succeed.
For more information, please visit our Academic Success Center page.
The mission of the Office of Disability Resources is to ensure that all students at Westminster participate in a usable, equitable, inclusive, and rigorous learning environment. If you would like know more about academic, medical, and/or housing accommodations, we can help you identify the appropriate campus resources and support.
For more information, please visit our Disability Services page.
The Office of Diversity & Inclusion seeks to advance diversity and inclusion through advocacy, empowerment, and transformative social justice education. Additionally, the office works to support and retain historically underrepresented students by providing resources and a safe space for identity exploration. The overall vision of the office is to foster, promote, and sustain a positive co-curricular experience to educate, engage, retain and develop students from various identities, which will encourage an inclusive campus community.
For more information, please visit our Diversity & Inclusion page.
The Office of Faith & Spirituality provides resources for members of the campus community to develop and grow in their own faith journey. This includes delivering weekly non-denominational worship services and a Catholic Mass on campus; providing a listing of places of worship for most religious traditions; organizing opportunities to participate in local and international volunteer opportunities; and maintaining the most up-to-date schedules of campus fellowship organizations and small groups for students to join.
For more information, please visit our Office of Faith & Spirituality page.
Even before you arrive on campus, ITS is here to help you with any tech questions or issues. Whether you are looking for laptop recommendations or you need help connecting to the WiFi, we’ve got you covered. Stop by our physical Help Desk in McGill Library for assistance, or, if you are the DIY-type, you can check out our online guides on my.westminster.
Ralph McGill Memorial Library is more than just books. The library is home to traditional and digital resources and the people who will help you navigate and understand them. The Library supports student learning in a multitude of ways, including individual research consultations, collaborative study spaces, and our brand-new quiet study zone. All first-year students receive an introduction to Library resources as part of the Inquiry course, and discipline-specific instruction is incorporated into many other lower- and upper-level courses.
For more information, please visit our Library Page.
You may have confidently selected a major or you may have no idea at all. Did you know an average college student changes majors three times during their college career and 80% change their major at least one time? The first year is often one of exploration; during this time many students choose or change their majors. The Professional Development Center offers counseling and assessments to help match your interests and abilities to an academic major. Additionally, you will meet the Professional Development Center staff in your Westminster 101 class, where they will introduce you to important resume building strategies.
For more information, please visit our Professional Development Center page.
The Residence Life program supports the academic endeavors of Westminster students by creating an environment where learning can take place outside of the classroom. It is our goal that students leave their residential experience with knowledge application, meaningful relationships, an awareness of diversity through cultural competence, an understanding of their identity, and a call to civic engagement.
For more information, please visit our Residence Life Page.
The Westminster College Department of Public Safety provides safety and security services to the campus community 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year. Public Safety is led by a full-time director and a qualified team of full-time and part-time officers. These officers have a wide range of training and experience in resolving safety and security issues and emergencies. Help is always just a call away.
For more information, please visit our Public Safety Office page.
While there are many support services and offices across campus, TRIO SSS is often the first stop for our participants. Whether we can provide assistance or guidance in our offices, or if we need to help you seek services from another office, we pride ourselves on being the first place a TRIO student comes when they need help.
When working with TRIO SSS, students are assigned an academic advisor that takes the time to get to know each of their students and deliver a personalized action plan for a successful term. Advisors will work with participants to develop a semesterly plan to address a student’s academic, personal, career, or financial literacy goals. Students meet with their advisor regularly throughout the term to ensure they are meeting their goals and are encouraged to take advantage of the other opportunities that TRIO SSS provides.
In addition to academic, career, and financial education, TRIO SSS will regularly sponsor cultural trips, graduate and professional school visits, and visits to employers of interest to our participants.
Participation in the TRIO SSS program is limited to 140 students per year. Students must be accepted into the program based on eligibility criteria outlined by the U.S. Department of Education.
The Wellness Center is an integrated health care facility that provides general health services for illnesses and accidents, short-term mental health counseling services, and wellness promotion for the students of Westminster. While most services at the Wellness Center are available to undergraduate students who pay the student activity fee, diagnostic testing and referral to outside community providers will require the use of individual health insurance.
Registered nurses provide assessment and consultation and a college physician or physician assistant holds daily clinic hours to treat acute illness and injuries. Westminster College strongly encourages all students to carry individual health insurance and to become familiar with their coverage.
Licensed and certified counselors address a wide range of mental health issues and provide referrals to services off-campus. Appointments can be arranged by directly emailing the counselors or through the Wellness Center.
If you currently receive psychiatric services, we recommend that you locate a psychiatrist in the area PRIOR to matriculation for prescription needs, since waiting periods for a first appointment with local providers are no less than three months. For medications that do not require a psychiatrist prescription, a Wellness Center physician may be able to meet those needs. Please note that our campus physicians do not prescribe for ADD/ADHD. If you currently receive counseling services, and would like to meet with a campus counselor, please be sure to provide a release form from your provider.
For more information, please visit our Wellness Center page.