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Each student must be aware constantly of progress in meeting requirements for graduation. If there is any question about an individual record, the Registrar's Office should be consulted. Each student must also be aware of deadlines set within each academic year that pertain to academic actions; these are available from the Registrar's Office and on the registrar's Web site as "Critical Dates and Deadlines."
The College's official means of communication is electronic. Students are expected to activate their Colby e-mail accounts and to check them regularly, as many official notices from the administration and the faculty are sent only as electronic mail. Academic records, including courses a student has taken and the student's status with respect to fulfillment of academic requirements, are available in a password-protected environment through the registrar's Web site.
The student at Colby normally takes from 12 to 18 credit hours in each semester and one offering during the January term. Full-time standing during a semester requires a minimum of 12 credit hours. A student may carry fewer than 12 credit hours only with the explicit approval of the dean of students. In so doing, a student will be subject to review by the Committee on Academic Standing. Varsity athletes must consult with the director of athletics, the associate dean of students for academic affairs, and their academic advisor regarding how the reduced course load may affect athletic eligibility.
Each first-year student has a faculty advisor to assist in planning the academic program. A new faculty advisor is assigned when the student has selected a major. Approval of the faculty advisor(s) is required for all procedures affecting a student's academic program.
Prospective students frequently ask what subjects they will study--especially in the first year. It would be misleading to present any specific pattern of courses for either of the first two years. The programs of individual students may vary widely because there is considerable latitude within the requirements. To prepare for their lives in an increasingly complex society, students are encouraged to learn quantitative skills, to learn to write well, and to take courses that expose them to cultures other than their own.
To ensure distribution among the divisions, first-year students must include English composition, a foreign language (unless exempted by examination), and courses to meet area requirements. Students are urged to complete all distribution requirements by the end of their sophomore year. Students are encouraged to elect subject areas that are new to them and are advised to avoid over-concentration in any department or division.
Students considering a scientific career or the study of medicine should begin electing scientific subjects at once. Many departments in the natural and social sciences recommend mathematics in the first year. The student and assigned advisor should discuss a prospective program, noting carefully the recommendations and requirements in areas of major study. The initial selection of a major is by no means final; students are encouraged to explore alternative options throughout their sophomore year.