Information for MAPS Families

Welcome to the MAPS Parents as Partners page! MAPS understands that families can be a major source of support and information for the student. As a result, MAPS works hard to keep families up to date with important WCU information, but also support families in their support of their student. Resources include a family e-newsletter, the Parents as Partners webinar series, and a collection of important dates, tips, terminology, and catalog of services available to students.

Important Dates

October 1: Fafsa becomes available. Students should apply for financial aid as soon as possible.

October 1: Scholarship Application portal becomes available - students should apply for WCU scholarships for the 2019-20 school year in MyWCU

October 8-12: Fall Break - No Classes

October 26: Last Day to withdraw from a course with a grade of "W" - a grade of "W" does not impact a student's GPA, but does count against their completion rate and may impact their academic standing

October 30: Advising Day - No classes meet; students should check the schedule for their academic department on

October 31: Class registration for spring begins - students must meet with their academic advisor to discuss class schedules and receive their registration code prior to their date to register

November 21-23: Thanksgiving Break-No Classes

December 7: Last regular day of classes

December 8-14: Final exams

Family Tip for October: Visit Your Student--But Not Too Often

Visits by parents and family members are a part of college life that students may be reluctant to admit liking but actually appreciate a great deal.  Pretended disdain of these visits is just a part of the growing independence of a student’s development.  These visits give students a chance to introduce some of the important people in each of her/his now-important worlds (home and school) to each other.  Spur-of-the-moment “surprises” are usually not appreciated. 

October Resource Spotlight: The Advising Center

Located in Killian Annex, the Advising Center offers comprehensive academic advising to undeclared and declared undergraduate students. Advisors help students to select proper courses, to choose careers and appropriate majors, to understand university academic policies and procedures, and to cope with the transition to college. The Center also provides a Learning Contract course for at-risk students and serves as a campus resource for general academic information.

In February, the Advising Center can help students plan for Summer and Fall courses! Taking classes in the summer is a great way to stay on track for graduation.


MAPS Student Spotlight for October: Sarah Armstrong

S Armstrong


Hometown: Clayton, NC

Major: Biology with a Concentration in Molecular Biology and a Minor in Chemistry

Involvement: Ripple effect, Wesley Foundation

Sarah is a senior majoring in Biology with a Concentration in a Molecular Biology, and a minor in Chemistry, with the hope of going on to graduate school for genetics! Sarah says she has two favorite classes at WCU: Plant Biology and Biomedical Ethics. She likes these classes because they were not only fun but challenging--they made her think about things she may have overlooked day-to-day. Sarah says the professors at her biology courses are amazing and always willing to help everyone with everything. Her advice to other students is to take your time and to not look at school as a race: have fun, make friends, realize who you are, and become who you really want to be!

Below is a partial list of terms that you and your student will come in contact with on campus with brief definitions.

Academic Dishonesty This can refer to a range of various offenses, but most commonly includes plagiarism (i.e., taking credit for someone else’s work), cheating, and copying assignments.  These are serious charges and may result in failing a course, having a student conduct hearing, and/or being dismissed from the university.

 Authorized User  A person who has been given access to view and receive updates for a student’s financial account.  Students can set up this access through their MyWCU student account.

 Catalog An online resource that provides information about academic policies, procedures, course requirements and descriptions.  It can be found at

 Chancellor’s List An academic honor given to students who earn a 3.8 GPA or higher during the semester.

 Course Withdrawal A process for a student to remove a course from his/her schedule after the drop/add period ends.  The student will receive a grade of W, which will not impact their GPA, but may impact their academic status and/or financial aid eligibility.  Students are encouraged to consult with an academic advisor prior to withdrawing from a course.  The withdrawal deadline is in the middle of the semester.

 Dean’s List An academic honor given to students who earn a 3.5 GPA or higher during the semester.

 Degree Audit An online document that tracks a student’s completion towards fulfilling their degree requirements.  This is accessible through MyWCU and should be checked often to ensure that the student is on track for completing their degree in a timely manner.

 Drop/Add A period of time at the beginning of each semester when students can make changes to their class schedule without any penalties.  These changes do not show up on a student’s permanent academic record (i.e. transcript).  This is typically the first week of classes for a regular (i.e., fall and spring) semester.

 Electives Courses that a student takes for credit which do not count towards the specific requirements for a major or minor, but do fulfill hours towards overall completion of the student’s degree.

 Emergency Alerts WCU Alerts is a system that allows students, faculty, staff and parents to receive a message in case of emergency. Messages can be sent to e-mail, cell phone or home phone.  Sign up here!

 FAFSA The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) asks students and parents (of dependent students) to provide information related to personal income and federal taxes in order to determine eligibility for federal grant, loan, and work-study programs, as well as other types of financial aid.

 FERPA The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.  See Release of Student Information for additional information.

 Full-time Course Load A student is enrolled in at least 12 credit hours per semester.  Before dropping below 12 credit hours, a student should consult with an academic advisor and the financial aid office.

 GPA Grade Point Average (GPA) measures a student’s academic performance.  The calculation is based on the point value of each letter grade.  The total number of points earned is divided by the number of credit hours attempted.  This determines a student’s academic standing, along with Satisfactory Academic Progress (see definition below).

  • Semester GPA: a calculation based on the student’s academic performance for a given term.
  • Cumulative GPA: a calculation based on the student’s overall academic performance for their entire enrollment at WCU.  Note: transfer credits do not calculate into a student’s WCU GPA.

 HIPAA The Health Information and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) federal guidelines refer to the privacy and security regulations concerning the protection of patient health information.  This means that parents and family members may not have access to a student’s health records.

 JobCat 2.0 WCU’s on-campus job database.  In addition, it offers job and internship postings, a list of upcoming career and networking events, and other resources for students and alumni.

 Liberal Studies A required set of courses that are part of a student’s bachelor’s degree program.  Liberal Studies requires a total of 42 semester hours, distributed in the following way: The Core (21 hours), The First-Year Seminar (3 hours), and The Perspectives (18 hours).

 Engage An online directory that provides a list of all registered student clubs and organizations.  Students can create an account and sign up online.

 Major A student’s primary field of study.  Students must complete a set number of courses to fulfill their program requirements.

 Minor A secondary field of study or area of specialization.  Some majors require student to have a minor as part of their degree.

 Release of Student Information A six-digit code which is set by a student through their MyWCU account and provides a way for university personnel to verify a student's identity before discussing the student's academic records by telephone.  Student consent is required before any WCU administrative office can discuss most specific issues pertaining to a student’s records with third parties. The student can choose to assign a different six-digit code to another person, so that they can contact university personnel for information.

 Satisfactory Academic Progress In order to remain in good standing, a student must complete at least 67% of attempted credit hours per semester as well as over their entire enrollment at WCU.

 ScholarCat An online system which students use to apply for university scholarships.  It usually opens at the beginning of October and the deadline is at the beginning of February.

 Syllabus An outline of an instructor’s plan of action for a class.  It usually provides the purpose and goals of the course as well as student requirements, grading structure, due dates, and assignment schedule.

 Term/University Withdrawal A process for a student to remove all courses from their schedule after the drop/add period ends.  The student will receive grades of W, which will not impact their GPA, but may impact their academic status and/or financial aid eligibility.  Students must complete this process through the Advising Center.

 Transcript A student’s permanent academic record which provides an official listing of courses taken and grades received during a student’s college career.  This also includes their major, degree, grade point averages, and academic standing.

Below is a partial list of University faculty and staff you may encounter.

Academic Advisor A faculty or professional staff member who provides guidance to students regarding course requirements, completion of their degree, academic and personal goals, and career planning.

Area Coordinator Master’s level professional staff member who oversees the Resident Assistants (RAs) for specific residence halls.

Career Counselor Professional staff in the Center for Career and Professional Development that administer assessments and meet with students one-on-one and help students explore future career options and the education needed for that career.

Counselor Counseling Center staff that work with students on emotional issues such as depression and anxiety that might interfere with the students’ academic performance.  Students can walk-in or call 828-227-7469 for an appointment.

Dean of Students The Dean of Students office serves as a resource for all students with the goal of cultivating a supportive campus community for everyone. The office also serves as a primary contact for parents and families of WCU students.  Visit for more information.

Instructor/Professor Doctoral or Master’s Level faculty serving as the lead teacher in a class.  The Instructor decides how the class will be taught, what material will be covered and how student’s knowledge is measured.

IT Services Staff Staff and students who specifically trained to work with all computer issues that arise.  Students can contact the IT Help Desk at 828-227-7487 for assistance or visit the Technology Commons on the bottom floor of Hunter Library.

Resident Assistant (RA) An undergraduate student who lives in the residence hall and has been trained to assist students and uphold residential living policies within each building.

Residential Case Manager Master’s level professional staff member with a background in Student Development, Counseling, or closely related field.  The Residential Case Manager serves as a support for students who may be having difficulty with adjusting to college life or handling social and academic issues.  They provide individual follow up with students and make referrals to campus services as needed.

Reference Librarian Hunter Library Staff specifically trained to aid students in research and use of reference materials.

Teaching Assistant (TA) A graduate student who may serve as the instructor of an introductory course or assist a faculty member with lab instruction, group work, or grading assignments.

Tutor WCU offers tutoring in many subjects, and offers writing tutors who assist at any point of a written assignment.  Tutors are trained to work one-on-one or in small groups with students outside of class, helping the student assess the material presented in class.  Students can make an appointment for tutoring through their MyWCU account.

 Below is a list of Campus offices you might interact with at WCU.

Advising Center: Provides academic advising support for undergraduate students at WCU.
214 Killian Annex

Campus Recreation and Wellness: Where there is something for everyone!

Career Services: Assists WCU students with finding non-work study student employment, choosing a major and career path, identifying internships, creating job search documents, and securing employment after graduation.
205 Killian Annex

Center for Service Learning: Connects students, faculty, and staff with service opportunities in the region and supports the University’s commitment to civic engagement. Explore your community, while making a difference in it!
273 Belk Building

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): Student privacy, urgency of assistance, and confidentiality are top priority.
225 Bird Building

Dean of Students & Student Affairs Serves as a resource to address issues of student concern and wellbeing.
114 Scott East

Financial Aid Office:
118 Killian Annex

Hunter Library:
176 Central Drive

Intercultural Affairs: Provides an inclusive environment that examines, recognizes, accepts and affirms human differences and similarities.
2nd Floor A.K. Hinds University Center

Mentoring and Persistence to Success (MAPS): Coordinates summer learning communities and provides services, resources, and academic support to first generation, low income, and financially independent students.
205 Killian Annex

Mathematics Tutoring Center: Provides tutoring support in mathematics and related courses.
455 Stillwell Building

Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR): Collaborates with students, campus and community members to remove barriers and ensure equal access for all qualified students with disabilities.
144 Killian Annex

Office of Leadership & Student Involvement: Catamount life is ongoing and full of opportunities for students to become involved and make an impact on campus and within the surrounding community!
3rd floor A.K. Hinds University Center
Engage Website  

Office of Student Transitions: Aims to foster a holistic approach that will empower students to succeed as they transition to college life and discover a passion for learning.
224 Killian Annex

OneStop: A centrally-located service center that makes it quick and convenient for students and parents to conduct university-related business involving financial aid, Cat Card activity, Registrar, cashiering, and general student services.
132 Killian Annex

114 East University Way

Residential Living: Creates a community where ALL students feel valued and celebrated.
1st West Scott Hall

Student Employment:
Reid Hall

Student Health Services: Meets student health care needs.
Bird Building

Suite 201 (Teacher Recruitment, Advising and Career Support): A centralized office in the College of Education and Allied Professions that provides support services to students from recruitment through the beginning years of teaching.
Suite 201, Killian

Undergraduate and Transfer Admission:
102 Camp Building

Writing and Learning Commons: Provides tutoring, academic skills consultations, and online learning resources.
207 Belk Building

Office of Web Services