Fall Advising - First-Year Students


Fall 2022 Advising Information for Committed First-Year Students.

Hi Tigers! Here's an important message from Oxy's Director of Advising, Ed Johnson:

I am Occidental's Director of Advising and I wanted to share some information with you, as well as a few "to-do" items, that will get you started on your academic journey at Oxy. 

Registration for First-Year Seminars will begin on Monday, June 20. Please read the instructions below carefully to learn more about the FYS registration process. Registration for all of your other courses will take place during Orientation in August, though Occidental does allow students to register early in some select courses after taking a placement exam or submitting a qualifying standardized test score.

Registering for First Year Seminars

All first-year students take two First Year Seminars: one in the fall semester and another in the spring semester of your first year. These are graduation requirements and cannot be waived or deferred. While all of the First Year Seminars have the common goal of developing students' writing skills and encouraging critical analysis, they focus on a broad range of topics—you can check out the seminars being offered in the fall here!

Registration for First Year Seminars will open at 9 a.m. PDT on Monday, June 20 and close at noon PDT on Friday, June 24. Many seminars will fill very quickly, so for the best selection you should register online as soon as possible once the online registration system opens. The step-by-step instructions linked below will guide you through the registration process. 

First Year Seminar Registration Instructions

Special Programs

In addition to the standard 4-unit FYS courses, we are offering two special programs in the fall that offer the opportunity to explore a topic in greater depth in a pedagogically innovative and immersive setting. The first of these programs is the California Immigration Semester (CIS), a 16-unit program that will allow students to spend their first semester at Oxy studying immigration and immigrant communities in an integrated set of courses, which are designed and implemented collaboratively by three professors from three different departments, satisfying three Core Program requirements (Global Connections, United States Diversity, and Regional Focus). 

The second special program, which also satisfies three graduation requirements, is the Envisioning and Enacting Health Justice immersive course. This 8-unit course will help students conceptualize what justice looks like within the realm of health and medicine, and it will also give students the opportunity to begin enacting that vision. The course is open to all students—those planning to pursue health professions and anyone interested in the centrality of health to a just society. Seats are limited, so please fill out the interest form linked here by June 10th in order to have the best chance of getting into this course!

For more information about either of these exciting programs, please join us for an online information session led by Oxy professors, Dr. Richard Mora and Dr. Clair Morrissey:
Occidental Special Programs: California Immigration Semester and Envisioning and Enacting Health Justice immersive course
June 7, 2022 
5:00 PM Pacific Time  
Information Session conducted via Zoom Webinar

Advising Information Form and the Advising Center

At Orientation in August, you will meet with your faculty adviser to discuss your fall course schedule. To help us match you with an academic adviser, we ask that you fill out the Advising Information Form (linked here and available on the New Student page) by July 1. More information about advising and preparing for registration will be shared in early August. 

In the meantime, the Advising Center is available to answer any academic-related questions you may have! You can send questions via email (advisingcenter@oxy.edu) or visit the Advising Center webpage for more information. 

Placement Exams and Limited Summer Registration

Some courses require a placement exam to be taken prior to registration. Placement exams are offered for chemistry, calculus, music theory, and several languages. The purpose of these exams is to place you in the courses that best match your experience level. Most of these exams are available online, though a few are only offered in-person during Orientation. For the exams that are available online, we ask that new students take them no later than August 11. To take an online placement exam—or to find out more information—visit the Advising Center's Placement Exam webpage

In general, if you are planning to take courses in calculus, chemistry, music theory, French, German, or Spanish, you should take the appropriate online placement exam this summer. That said, there are some exceptions:

  • If you will be studying a language for the first time, you will be able to register for a 101-level course during Orientation and do not need to take the placement exam.
  • If you took an AP, IB, or SAT II score in the subject, you may be able to use that score to determine placement. See the Placement Exam webpage for more information. 

For more guidance about whether you should take a placement exam, we have created two short videos that cover the language exams and the math and chemistry exams. The deadline to take online placement exams is August 11, but we encourage you to complete them earlier in the summer. This is particularly beneficial for the calculus placement exam, which can be taken multiple times and includes online review modules to help you improve your placement. 

Students who complete a placement exam in chemistry, math, French, German or Spanish (or submit qualifying AP, SAT II, or IB scores in those subjects) may be able to register early for the courses in which they have been placed. To learn more, visit the Registrar's Limited Summer Registration webpage

If you have questions about any of the topics mentioned in this email, feel free to contact the Advising Center. We look forward to welcoming you to campus this fall!

Best Wishes,

Ed Johnson, PhD
Director of Academic Advising 
Occidental College 

P.S. Remember to stay on track with upcoming dates and deadlines by following the To-Do Checklist & Timeline