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Frequently Asked Questions for Distance Learning

Below are the most frequently asked questions by our Future and Current Distance Learning students. Please browse these questions for many answers to our most asked questions! If you have a question that you think should be on this page, please contact us at distance@wcu.edu

Prospective Distance Student Most Frequently Asked Questions

I have questions about an online program, who should I contact?

For general questions about undergraduate programs contact Distance Learning at distance@wcu.edu or 828-227-7397. 

For general questions about graduate programs and the Graduate School contact grad@wcu.edu or 828-227-7398.

Can you complete an entire undergraduate degree online?

All of the bachelor’s degree programs that distance offers are 100% online except for Engineering Technology, which has some face to face courses. Our programs are considered to be degree completion programs so students are required to have some transfer credits before enrolling.

 Visit our Degree and Certificate Programs page to learn more about each program Distance Learning currently offers at WCU.

How can I get more information about a specific program?

The easiest way to request more information on a program is by requesting information from distance@wcu.edu. Please include the program you are interested in applying for and the semester you are hoping to start in. You can view all current Distance Learning programs on our Programs  page. You can also find out more about the application process on our Future Students page. 

What do I apply as when I fill out the online application?

To apply for any of our undergraduate Distance Learning programs, visit our Apply for Undergraduate Online Programs  page. On the right side you will see a purple box that says "Start Your Online Undergrad Journey: Apply Today". Click this link to access our CFNC application page. You will most likely apply as a Transfer from another college or university, unless you are previous WCU student, non-degree seeking, or another option. Transfers from another college or university include students who have previously attended or graduated from a different institution other than WCU because we will need your transfer credits to consider you. Contact us at distance@wcu.edu or 828.227.7397 if you have questions.

All Distance Learning programs are degree completion, so you must have some credit to transfer in to any of our programs. For specifics on what each program requires for admittance, visit our Programs page and find your specific program for these requirements.

If you are Graduate Student, visit the Graduate School Admissions page for more information on applying for those programs.

Will my credits transfer?

Credits earned elsewhere may be approved as credits toward a degree at Western Carolina University. Only work passed with a grade of C or better may be considered for credit at WCU. Credits must be from an institution accredited by a nationally recognized regional accrediting agency (appropriate regional accreditation, such as SACS or its equivalent). You can view our Credits Earned Elsewhere page for additional information and to use our transfer course look up tool and equivalency finder located on the right side of this page.

You can request an unofficial transcript evaluation to completed for all programs on our Distance Transfer page. Please note, for RN to BSN the main form of evaluation is completed after you have been accepted by the University, but the Distance office can conduct a preliminary review for any program. 

Official evaluations are conducted once all official transcripts have been received and you have been accepted to the university. Prospective undergraduate students can request a preliminary unofficial evaluation by e-mailing unofficial transcripts to distance@wcu.edu.

How do I apply to a distance program?

Admissions to any of our Distance Learning programs is a two stage process. The first stage is admission to the University which is completed through University Admissions. Stage two is program acceptance, which could require a program application or could be a committee review for acceptance by the program. You can find out more about this process or if you program has a separate program application on our Applying for Admissions page. This page can help guide you through this two step process.

What is the deadline to apply for Admission to distance Learning?

Most undergraduate programs accept students on a rolling basis until the program reaches capacity. If you are still going through the University acceptance process when the program reaches capacity you will receive information about changing to undeclared for the semester or changing your start term to a future date. Students are encouraged to apply as far in advance as possible, as programs do fill up each semester. Several undergraduate programs do have specific deadlines: 

  • Emergency Medical Care: January 15th for fall semester (this is a fall admit only program)
  • RN to BSN: September 10th for spring and March 10th for fall semester
  • Criminal Justice: June 1st for fall and November 17th for spring

 

You can contact Distance Learning at distance@wcu.edu or 828.227.7397 if you would like to check if your program is still accepting applications for the coming term. 

For Graduate Programs, you can visit the Graduate Admissions Deadline page for more information. 

How can i find out if i have been accepted?

You will receive University Acceptance (Stage 1) through US mail. Admissions decisions are usually made within 2-3 weeks of receiving your application, all official requested transcripts, and other admissions related documents. Program Decisions (Stage 2) for most programs are generally sent via email within two weeks of your Stage 1 acceptance. Below are some special exceptions to this, as they have a committee that meets to select and accept students into their programs.

  • Birth to Kindergarten and Licensure does two acceptance rounds and then continues on a rolling basis till the programs are full. For fall admit students the first review of University accepted students is March 20th and the second is March 20th. For spring admit students the first review of University accepted students is October 20th and the second is November 20th. Students will not hear anything prior to this first date from the program.
  • Emergency Medical Care decisions are made in early May.
  • RN to BSN decisions are sent in mid-April for fall and mid-October for spring.

 

You can refer to the specific Program Page, for more information on admission requirements for each program. 

 

How are online classes Formatted?

The majority of our online courses use our Blackboard LMS system. You can go here for a tutorial on Blackboard through our CORE program

 

Professors are able to design their courses individually, so some will have them self paced, while others will have specific due dates for each assignment. It is important to read through the syllabus for each class, once you have access to it, to ensure you understand your course expectations and can prepare for the semester ahead.

Most Frequently Asked Questions for Newly Admitted and Current Distance Learning Students

What are my best resources as a distance student?

Students often ask where can I go to get most of my questions answered. We pride ourselves in the Distance Learning office in being as helpful as possible with students and are always happy to help find answers for students when they get stuck. You can reach us at distance@wcu.edu or at 828.227.7397. We tried to respond to all inquiries within 48 hours, and all transcript evaluation requests within 1-2 weeks. 

You should always check on our Current Student page for information you need about programs, advisors, tutoring, the library. etc. We work hard to keep this page up to date for students.

Reach out to your advisor if you questions about your major, program, career goals, etc. They are their to help you succeed within your program. Don't know who your advisor is, our Advising and Registration page can help!

Finally, we always encourage students to develop relationships with your professors, even if they are online. You will always find that class is much easier if you work hard to establish a relationship with the individual leading the course. When you email a professor always be as formal as possible, include the course number in the subject line, and try to use your Catamount email to send these messages.

How do I search for My textbooks?

Students are responsible for finding and purchasing their own textbooks as this is not included in the fees for Distance students at this time. You can search for textbooks through the WCU bookstore. You will need to know your course title, number, and professor. Here is a helpful guide for searching for textbooks.

If you do not see your textbook on the WCU Bookstore website, you can reach out to the professor teaching your course. If one is not listed, you should contact your advisor to see if they have more information.

How do I get help with my classes?

Distance Learning uses a FREE to current Distance Learning online tutoring system called Brainfuse. This can help you with everything from course material questions and exam prep to review of your essays for class. We set up this system for all current students during the second week of each semester, so if you are having trouble accessing your account please let us know at distance@wcu.edu and we will follow up with our contact at Brainfuse.

 

To find out how to use Brainfuse, visit our Tutoring Support page.

When is tuition due?

Students who register on the day for their courses prior to late November (for spring) or early July (for fall) will receive a bill about three weeks prior to those payment deadlines. Students who do not pay their bill by this payment deadline will be dropped for non-payment. Students who register after the first payment deadline, payment is due by the first day of classes. Students who do not pay by the deadlines risk being dropped for non-payment.

Paper bills are no longer sent to students. Students will receive notification that their bill has been posted to their myWCU via their WCU email. Please know, your WCU email is how all WCU offices will communicate with you once you have been accepted by your program (Stage 2).

If you have specific questions about your account or bill, you should contact Student Accounts. Questions about financial aid should be directed to Financial Aid as this office will have more detailed information to assist you as the student!

I have a hold on my account. How do I get it Cleared?

Registration holds must be cleared with the office that placed the hold. In most instances, there will be contact information for the originating office within the hold information on your myWCU. You can also refer to the Registrars Registration  page to list of error message and their meaning.

If there is nothing showing on your myWCU for a specific hold, you can reach out to distance@wcu.edu, but please include a screen shot of the error you are receiving, as this will help us find potential solutions.

How do I access myWcu?

Please see the myWCU Homepage for information about how to obtain or reset your myWCU account username and password. 

How do I access my student email?

Your student email is accessible once you are a fully admitted student (Stage 2 - Program Acceptance). Before you have access to this email, we will only communicate with your personal email (the one you provided on your application). After you become a student and are registered for classes, we will only communicate with your student (Catamount) email.

To access your student email for the first time, simply log into your myWCU account and click on the link near the bottom-right of the page for "Office 365". To log on without accessing myWCU, go to email.wcu.edu and use your myWCU account credentials to log in.

How do I run a degree audit?

The degree audit is one of the most important tools students have access to. This is the complete record of your program requirements, what you have satisfied by any transfer work, and what you have registered for or taking with WCU. 

 

How do I add Myself to a WAitlist?

Not all courses will have waitlists availiable, and most of the time you will just have to check back in with a course to see if a seat opens later. We usually recommend students check after payment deadlines and during add/drop week at the beginning of each semester.

In order to put themselves on a waitlist for a course, students need to add/drop a course through their myWCU and enter the CRN (course registration number) for the course rather than searching the schedule of classes. After entering the CRN, they’ll still receive a registration error, but they will get a dropdown box with the waitlist as an option if there is a waitlist for that course and if there are seats available.

How many classes am i required to take?

Students can take as many or a few courses as they wish during any given semester. If you are receiving financial aid, you must register for at least 6 (six) hours. To be considered a full-time student you must register for at least twelve (12) hours. Please note, distance programs are designed to be taken on a part-time basis so we cannot guarantee students a full time schedule during any semester. We also do not typically encourage full-time working adults to take a full-time course load as some find this course load overwhelming.

*Note: Some programs only offer certain courses one a year, or even once every two years. Be sure to communicate with your advisor to stay aware of classes on such a cycle. If you cannot remember who your advisor is, please visit our Advising and Registration page.

Who is my advisor?

You can go to our Advising and Registration page to view the current list of advisors for Distance Learning programs. You can access your advisor's name through myWCU, once you have been accepted into your program and returned your intent to enroll form.

Also, for undergraduate students, you should have received a welcome email to your personal email with your current advisor information and important details about registration and any Distance Learning Orientation specifics. Please let us know at distance@wcu.edu if you did not receive this email, so we can re-send it.

How do I SEARCH and register for classes?

Registration is completed online through your myWCU account. You should have received an email when you were first enrolled with details on enrolling into courses. Still need a refresher? Use these resources for Registration assistance, and remember to always ask your advisor if you need assistance or contact Distance Learning at 828.227.7397. Once your registration is open, it will remain open through the first week of classes. After the add/drop deadline has passed, the Course Withdrawal Policies then apply.

  • How do I search for classes guide
  • How do I register for classes guide
  • How do I register and search for classes videos
  • How do I read my degree audit guide

Can I take a class at another school while I am a student at WCU?

As long as you are in good academic standing, then you are free to take classes at other colleges. Before registering for courses elsewhere, it is essential to discuss you intentions with your advisor, so you can verify the transferability of courses before you commit to taking them. Approval for all transfer courses beside Universal General Education Transfer Courses (UGETC) from a North Carolina Community College, must be obtained by submitting the Transient Permission Form. You can read for more about Transient Permission, here.

If you are planning to take your class at any other college or university, you should review the transfer look up too information on the Registrar's Office page. 

You can also use UNC Online to find an equivalent course at one of the 15 other UNC System schools.

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