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Center for Student Success

Frequently Asked Questions

Before you arrive

At Carthage


Before You Arrive


What is New Student Registration?

All deposited students attend a New Student Registration event in the spring or summer prior to their first semester at Carthage. You will be invited to a New Student Registration event once you have made your deposit to enroll. At New Student Registration, a Student Success Advisor will work with you to create a tentative list of courses for your first semester, and learn more about Carthage academics, student and residence life, meal plans, financial aid, and tuition payment options. In addition, you will receive your Carthage ID card and official email address.

How will I be assigned an advisor?

New students are assigned an advisor from the Center for Student Success to aid in their transition to Carthage, and will continue working with that advisor throughout their time at Carthage on an as-needed basis. Carthage utilizes a holistic advising model that includes faculty advisors and career specialists. Faculty advisors and career specialists will be assigned to students following their transition to Carthage and work with students through their graduation.

When and how do I register for a major?

Many students will declare a major by end of their freshman year. Students should declare a major before the end of their sophomore year. Students who do not declare by the end of the sophomore year may not be able to graduate in a four-year span. You can declare a major or minor at any time. Please contact your first year advisor f you change your major before arriving on campus.

Are double majors possible, and can they be completed in four years?

Yes. Many Carthage students choose to double-major, and typically, students can double-major and still graduate in four years. However, multiple factors affect a student’s ability to graduate in four years, including credit requirements for both majors, whether required classes overlap in each major, and how well a student plans each semester. Your advisor can assist you in this process.

What is the process for AP/IB transfer/correspondence credits?

All Advanced Placement (AP) courses are subject to departmental review of scores and/or booklet before credits are awarded. AP scores must be 3 or above to receive Carthage credit.

Credit may be given for International Baccalaureate (IB) scores of 4 or higher in selected higher level examinations.

Students enrolled at Carthage wishing to apply transfer or correspondence courses taken elsewhere must secure advance approval from the involved department chair and the Registrar by the end of term prior to enrollment in the course. Upon receipt of an official transcript from institutions accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and similar regional associations, appropriate value will be given for comparable courses or areas taught at Carthage.

Courses at other institutions are counted as part of a student’s term load. Credit will only be transferred for courses in which a grade of “C-” or better is earned. Credit will not be transferred from a junior college after a student has accumulated 68 credits. College-level courses taken in high school are credited on the same basis as other transfer credits, provided that the courses have not been counted for entrance requirements. The maximum total credits allowed for specialized testing (CLEP) and correspondence courses is 32. Transcripts from institutions outside of the United States must be evaluated by Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.

What is the Language Placement Indicator?

If you have studied Spanish, French, German, Latin or ancient Greek, you can take a language placement indicator. Faculty will evaluate your proficiency in the language and recommend the course you take. If you place at or above the 2010 level, your graduation requirement will be fulfilled. If you place at the 1020 or higher level, taking the course will also give you credit for the prerequisite courses. (e.g., If you place into Spanish 1020, and take the course, you will also receive 4 credits in lieu of taking Spanish 1010.)

Students with experience in another language will speak with the chair of the Modern Language department to be assessed for placement.

What is the Honors Program?

The highly selective Carthage College Honors Program is for exceptional students who want to make the most of their liberal arts education. Carthage Honors students take six specially designed Honors courses, which fulfill graduation requirements, during their first six semesters on campus. Honors students also have the opportunity to live in special Honors-only housing, participate in Honors outings to museums and theatres, and join Student Learning Communities, in which they will receive financial support to pursue studies on their own outside of the classroom. The Carthage Honors Program admits fewer than 10 percent of the students who enter Carthage each year. Typically, outstanding students are invited to join the program prior to arrival on campus based on their academic performance, or on the recommendation of their admissions representative or a faculty member. Most students begin the Honors Program in the fall semester of their freshman year, but highly talented and motivated students may enter the Honors Program during the second term of their freshman year or as sophomores. These students typically have completed at least 16 credits of balanced coursework, have maintained at least a 3.25 Carthage GPA, have demonstrated excellence in one or more courses, and have been recommended for the Honors Program by one or more instructors. For more information on the Honors Program, visit


At Carthage


What support is available for students with disabilities?

Carthage supports students with documented disabilities, attention disorders, and physical and psychological disabilities. Students who do not have current documentation or suspect they may have a learning disability may arrange for zero-cost, on-campus evaluation services. Students are responsible for contacting learning specialist Diane Schowalter, and providing current (within three years) documentation. Her office is located in the Office of Student Life, located in the Todd Wehr Center. You can contact her by email, Carthage is committed to achieving equal educational opportunities and full participation for people with disabilities.

When is registration? When are the other important academic dates?

The academic calendar is available on the Carthage College website:

How many credits do full-time students need to take each semester?

Full-time students may register for 12-18 credits during the 14-week terms. While students can register for 12 credits, students planning to graduate in four years should take 16 credits each semester. Students wishing to register for more than 18 credits must obtain approval for the overload from the Subcommittee for Academic Review and Recommendation no later than the last day to add a regular course. There is an additional charge for registration in excess of 18 credits.

How do I read my schedule?

The top of your schedule will list your name, Carthage ID number, the degree you are seeking (BA / BN, your advisors’ name, and your major(s) and minor(s). Classes will be listed:

A mock schedule

Course: The capitalized portion stands for the area of study, the 4 numbers are the course number, and the final two numbers are the course section (some courses have multiple sections)

Title: The title of the class

Credits: The number of credits you’ll earn

Grading Type: Some courses are graded by letter (LT) and others as satisfactory / unsatisfactory (SU)

Faculty: Your professors’ names

Meets: M - Monday, T - Tuesday, W - Wednesday, R – Thursday, F - Friday

Dates: The dates the courses begins and ends (a few courses are only 7 weeks long)

Room: Main refers to the main campus, the capitalized letters are the building and the numbers the room number

  • CC – Clausen Center
  • DSC – David Straz Center
  • HL – Hedberg Library
  • JAC – Johnson Art Center
  • LH – Lentz Hall
  • SIEB – Siebert Chapel
  • TARC – Tarble Athletic & Recreation Center

Why is my schedule different from the courses I requested during advance registration?

First year advisors take many factors into consideration when registering you for classes. These may include: your major, course availability, athletics and AP scores. Your advisor will identify major appropriate or courses similar to your original requests. Ultimate, all courses will count toward the 138 credits needed to graduate from Carthage.

What if I am an athlete with afternoon classes?

Practices are typically held 4 p.m.-6 p.m. during the week. Some teams choose to practice earlier or later, depending on facility availability (contact your coach for specifics). Student athletes in season typically have priority over students in the off season.

During in season semesters, you should try to avoid MWF 4 p.m.-5:05 p.m. and TR 4:10 p.m. -5:50 p.m. courses. An occasional lab or night course is possible and those athletes will need to communicate with their coaches to accommodate missing practice times for class. These situations are not out of the ordinary and student athletes should not be concerned about a lab or night class interfering with practice.

Spring athletes may have some class conflicts in the fall. Fall seasons for spring sports are short and are lower priority in terms of registering for courses that fall into the late afternoon time slot. You can try to adjust your schedule, but we cannot guarantee a change can be made. Coaches are aware of this, and will work with athletes.

What is Western Heritage?

All Carthage students must successfully complete two seminar courses called Western Heritage. These seminars represent the foundation of the Carthage experience: a journey of rigorous thinking, questioning and imagining that ultimately leads to self-discovery and self-expression.

What is J-Term?

J-Term, or January Term, is a special month-long period of study in which Carthage students explore subjects outside their majors or minors, discover new interests, and test their creativity through classes held both on campus and around the world. It’s a month to experiment, create, and dream.

What is the add/drop policy?

Prior to arrival on campus, please contact your first year advisor to add or drop classes. Once you are on campus, log into your Carthage account ( to add and drop courses online (you will receive access to this account when you arrive on campus). Students will be able to add and drop courses online until the semester deadline. All add and drop deadlines are listed on the Academic Calendar. The Registrar may authorize permissible changes falling within the academic rules of the College. The Subcommittee for Academic Review and Recommendation must approve changes involving departure from the rules. No student is permitted to add or drop a course after the deadline. Any course changes after that date must be made with the permission of the Subcommittee for Academic Review and Recommendation. A student may withdraw from a course after the add/drop deadline. (Please refer to the academic calendar for specific dates). The course will show on the student’s transcript with a “W”.

How does the grading system work?

The College maintains progress records that are furnished to students on a regular basis. Upon completion of a course, each student is assigned a letter symbol: “A,” “A-,” “B+,” “B,” “B-,” “C+,” “C,” “C-,” “D+,” “D,” “D-,” “S” and “P” for passing grades; “I” for incomplete, which is given only in special cases of illness or some other uncontrollable factor; “W” for official withdrawal; “U” for unsatisfactory; and “F” for failure or unofficial withdrawal. All incomplete work must be satisfied 30 days following the final exam. If not, the grade will be recorded at the professor’s discretion. Letter grades convert into the following point system for determining cumulative grade point average:

  • A 4.00
  • A- 3.67
  • B+ 3.33
  • B 3.00
  • B- 2.67
  • C+ 2.33
  • C 2.00
  • C- 1.67
  • D+ 1.33
  • D 1.00
  • D- 0.67
  • F No points

What are midterm low-grade reports?

At the midpoint (7th week) of each term, all faculty members are asked to submit midterm low-grade reports for all students doing “D” or “F” work. Reports are distributed through the Registrar’s Office to students and their advisors. If a student receives two or more reports, the student’s parents also will be informed unless the student is financially independent. Financially independent students must bring proof of their independence to the Office of Student Financial Planning (Financial Aid) at the beginning of the academic year. Students who have not shown proof of their independence are assumed to be financially dependent on their parents.

Can I repeat a course?

Only courses with a grade of “C-” or lower may be repeated. When a course is repeated, the earlier grade remains on the student’s transcript. However, only the last enrollment and grade will be used in computing the cumulative grade point average, regardless of whether it was an improvement.

What are the general education requirements for graduation?

A. Heritage Studies (freshman year)
Core 1100: The Intellectual History of Western Heritage I - 4 credits, also Writing Intensive (WI)
Core 1110: The Intellectual History of Western Heritage II - 4 credits, also Writing Intensive (WI)

B. Global Heritage - 4 credits

C. Religion
Understandings of Religion 1000 - 4 credits
One additional approved course - 4 credits (REL)
Neither required religion course can be used to satisfy any distribution requirement.

D. Modern Languages - 0-8 credits
Two modern languages courses in the same language unless the student fulfills the proficiency requirement established by the College.

E. Mathematics - 4 credits
Successful completion of one mathematics course.

F. Exercise and Sport Science
Concepts of Physical Fitness - 1 credit
One Lifetime/Fitness activity - 1 credit
A student who participates on an athletic team for an entire season can fulfill the one lifetime/fitness activity requirement (1 credit). The Director of Athletics submits a list of athletic team participants to the Registrar at the end of each term. These students must still take the required EXSS 0010 - Concepts of Physical Fitness (1 credit).

G. Carthage Symposium
All students must complete at least one Carthage Symposium, typically taken during the sophomore or junior year. Carthage graduates are able to make connections among disciplines. The Carthage Symposium requirement can be satisfied by either one course (4 credits) or a set of two linked courses (usually 8 credits) providing an interdisciplinary learning experience. These offerings are team-taught by two instructors from different departments. All symposia are completed within one academic term. The Carthage Symposium creates a community of learners among the students and two faculty. (CS)

H. Senior Thesis

As part of their major, all students will complete a Senior Thesis. This can be in form of a written thesis, laboratory research, music recital, art exhibit, or other significant and integrative experience appropriate to their major. Students graduating with more than one major must complete a Senior Thesis for each major or one integrative Senior Thesis approved by each major department or program. Students must check with the department chair for specific details in regard to completion of the Senior Thesis.

I. Distribution Requirements
Fine Arts (FAR) 4 credits
Humanities (HUM) 4 credits
Natural Science (SCI) (One course must be a lab) 8 credits
Social Science (SOC) 4 credits
Students who major in a discipline in any of these divisions will be exempt from the requirement in that division.

J. Writing Intensive Course

All students are required to take a total of four courses (four credit hours each) that are designated Writing Intensive (WI). Western Heritage I and II are the first two of these courses. Of the remaining two courses, one must be in the student’s academic major, while the other course can be any WI course in the curriculum (including in their major).

How many credits do I need to graduate?

138 credits are needed to graduate and the last 32 credits need to be taken at Carthage.

How many credits are in a major and minor?

Credits for a major can range from 36 to 56.
Credits for a minor can range from 20 to 24.

Can I design my own major or minor?

Carthage has major and minor programs in more than 50 areas of study, but for students with special interests, Carthage offers the opportunity for students to design their own major/minor programs. Specialized major/minor programs must consist of existing courses; proposals should be thoughtfully prepared in consultation with a faculty advisor and the department chair(s) whose course offerings will be included in the major. A complete proposal must be submitted to the Curriculum Planning Committee for approval before the student has achieved senior standing. For more information on designing your own major, please talk with your advisor.

What is the process to attain field placement and internships?

Field placement and internship programs provide students with meaningful work experiences that either directly relate to their career objectives, or assist in determining those objectives. The central feature of the programs is the opportunity for significant interaction between students’ work experiences and academic programs. The following policies govern field placement and internships during the regular term.

1. The student may register for up to eight hours of field placement or internship per term. He or she may count up to 12 hours of field placement or internship toward graduation including J-Term field placement or internship credits but excluding student teaching. Credits earned in departmental offerings involving field work, such as Parish Service, Field Work in Psychology, and Field Instruction and Methods in Social Work, are included in these limits. Field placement may not be substituted for student teaching.

2. Placements are open to sophomores, juniors and seniors in good standing who receive the consent of the supervising faculty member and the appropriate department chair or program director.

3. Students must attend a regularly held on-campus seminar conducted by the instructor.

4. A minimum of four hours of on-the-job activity per week will earn 1 credit. To earn 2-8 credits, a minimum of two hours of on-the-job activity shall be spent per week for each credit.

5. The instructor will take into account the evaluations of the on-the-job supervisor, grading placements on an “A” to “F” scale. J-Term internships are typically pass-fail.

Departments will have discretion in the determination of prerequisites, whether or not field placements may be counted toward the major, whether or not it is required for the major, and how many hours is necessary. Departments may establish guidelines in addition to these listed.

What is the summer class structure at Carthage?

Summer studies at Carthage meet the needs of traditional and nontraditional students. There are two sessions during the summer: Summer I and Summer II. All courses are offered in a 7-week accelerated format. Summer classes are open to Carthage Adult Undergraduate Studies students, Carthage traditional students, college students from other institutions, teachers, other professionals, and high school students with special permission. Contact the Office of Continuing Studies for more information.



  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2019), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has been named a top producer of Fulbright Fellows three years running. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …