FAQ for Parents

Here are some actual classroom/academic issues that have arisen in recent years that prompted parents to call or ask for advice. We want to share this information with you so you will be able to answer questions and encourage your son or daughter as he/she learns the ropes at Marshall. Our goal is for you to have enough basic understanding of policies and practices to steer your student in the right direction when he or she needs information or action.

A: At Orientation, each student will receive a schedule of pre-selected classes that are based on the major the student chose and other information the student provided on the Orientation Survey. Professional academic advisors are present to discuss the schedule with the student and to make any changes that are necessary.

When your student registers in the future, he or she will meet with an academic advisor in the Academic Advising Center prior to the period designated for registration. The registration dates are determined by one’s class standing (seniors register first, freshmen register last). A Schedule of Courses is available in print and online at least three weeks prior to registration. You can go online at the Registrar’s website to see a copy.

Students who need advising information should visit the Academic Advising Center, Corbly Hall 334, or call 304-696-2314. Each student is presented with an Advising Guide at Orientation that will also guide them in choosing the necessary classes.

A: Hundreds of students come to college without a clear idea of which major is right for them. Other students come with a clear idea and then change their minds. So parents should not panic too soon. In the LCOB, students are allowed to be Undecided in major for two years (allowed, not encouraged). During this time, the student will explore the various fields in business to see what is a good fit in terms of interest and ability. To help Undecided students choose a major, Marshall offers numerous services. The Career Services Center administers the Discover test that helps identify student strengths and matches them with careers that utilize these strengths. Another service is the Major Expo each semester in which all students are invited to meet with representatives of the academic departments to learn about career opportunities in the majors they offer. Or a student can register for COUN 100, Career Counseling for the Undecided Student, a one-credit, graded course. Please encourage your son or daughter to take advantage of these and other opportunities that are advertised on campus.
A: There are several ways the University communicates with students.

1. Official Marshall E-mail accounts. We cannot over-emphasize how important it is for students to check their Marshall account daily. This is one of the ways advisors and departments and programs send information to students. Students can also forward their Marshall e-mail to a private account.

2. myMU. Announcements and other information are available to students in our Web portal, myMU. This is where students go to find their grades, their schedules, special University announcements, etc. Please encourage your son or daughter to make this a regular stop on the Web.

3. The Parthenon, WMUL-FM (88.1) and MU Report. In order, these are our student-run media: newspaper, radio, and television. These are excellent sources of information about events on campus as well as information about people and places.

4. Posters and signs in classroom buildings and in the Memorial Student Center. Tell your son or daughter to browse through these posters and signs on a regular basis. Sometimes programs use this means of communication to advertise special events.

If the student is having other difficulties in the class (distractions, cannot hear, conflicts with the professor, etc.), again, the first course is always talk to the instructor. Most problems can be resolved if the student and the professor have the opportunity to discuss the nature of the complaint. If the problem is not resolved, the student should talk to the chair of the instructor’s department. If the problem is not resolved at that point, the student may take it to the dean of the instructor’s college. Almost every issue is resolved by this point. If not, the student should make an appointment with the Provost/Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.
A: Email is a great way to start the process. Every faculty member and every administrator has an email account. This is a way to get the conversation started. However, at some point, students will need to have face-to-face conversations. Encourage them to approach such conversations as practice for the many such conversations they will have throughout life. Let them practice on you first so you can help them learn the fine art of civil discourse: how to be persistent without being obnoxious, how to listen to others and not interrupt, how to state their side of a dispute clearly without straying into other topics, and how to disagree politely. These are just invaluable lessons we have to learn and practice our whole lives.
A: That will vary from one instructor to another and will depend on the reason for the absence. At Marshall, instructors have a great deal of flexibility in establishing the attendance policy for their classes. This is based on the belief that the instructor is in the best position to determine what is most appropriate for the way he or she has structured the class. Therefore, the individual instructors have their own attendance and make-up policies. Your student should contact the instructor in advance, if possible, or immediately after the absence to inquire about the possibility of making up the work that was missed.

However, there are absences that are excused by the University and these must be honored by all instructors. The categories for these absences are: University-sponsored Activities, including athletics; Student Illness; Illness or Death in the Immediate Family; Short-term Military Obligation; Jury Duty or Subpoena for Court Appearance; and Religious Holidays. Each of these categories is explained in more detail in the Undergraduate Catalog that is available online at the Admissions website. For these absences, the University policy states that students should be allowed to make up work missed and, where feasible, reschedule missed activities. It is the student’s responsibility to initiate these arrangements and to do so immediately after the absence (or, if possible, prior to the absence). The procedures for obtaining an excused absence are clearly described in the catalog and students should read this section carefully. If your student has any questions about the policy, he or she should contact the Academic Advising Center at 304-696-2314.

Students should be aware that studies of academic success indicate that one of the most important actions students take is to attend class.

A: Each professor is required to give students a course syllabus within the first two weeks of class. The syllabus must contain essential information about the instructor (name, office hours, telephone and email numbers) and about the course (attendance policy, grading policy, course objectives, textbook and computer requirements, and assignments). It is a good idea for the student to highlight the policies on each syllabus and to note all due dates in the Academic Planner that each student purchases for the UNI/HON 101 class.
A: It IS possible for students to graduate in four years in most majors. The minimum number of credit hours required for graduation is 120 (developmental course credits do not count toward this number). For a student to graduate in four years, he or she would have to average 16 hours each semester. Some factors that prevent students from graduating in four years include: dropping classes, earning failing grades, changing majors late in their academic careers.
A: Marshall has numerous computer labs on campus for students to use. There is at least one such lab in every classroom building plus each of the residence halls. There is an E-Post Office in the Student Center and 24– hour computer access in the Drinko Library. However, many students want the convenience of their own computers so they can email and do class work (and maybe a few games!) whenever they choose, and wherever they choose. The availability of wireless access on campus has increased the popularity of personal notebook computers with students.

You can find the specific information about Marshall’s recommendations on computer use and purchases at https://www.marshall.edu/it/recommendations/.

A: Students may take their schedule of classes to the University Bookstore in the Memorial Student Center and the staff will assist them in finding the correct books for each class. We encourage students not to write in their books until the class meets for the first time to make sure that the books will be used for that section. It does sometimes happen that the instructor assigned to the class changes at the last minute and the book selection could change also. By the way, the average cost for books and supplies for undergraduates is $300-$400 per semester.

The University Bookstore does have the ISBN numbers for all books on its website for those who purchase their books elsewhere. We appreciate the scholarship money that the University Bookstore contributes to Marshall students each year.

A: Business majors must complete six credit hours of English composition and a college algebra course.


Students must complete ENG 101 and then ENG 201. Students MUST receive a grade of “C” or better in ENG 101 in order to advance to ENG 201. Students must earn a grade of “C” or better in ENG 201 in order to graduate. Students who receive a grade of “D” in ENG 201 must repeat the course for a higher grade.

ENG 101P is required for students who have a verbal ACT score of 17 or below. This course counts for four-credit hours. Students who complete the course with a “C” or better will proceed in ENG 201.

Students with a verbal ACT score of 28-33 are encouraged to take ENG 201H. Upon completion of this class with a minimum grade of “C” or better, students will receive six hours of credit to count toward ENG 101 and 201. If a student receives a grade of “D”, the student will only receive three hours of credit toward ENG 201 and must either repeat ENG 201H or go back and take ENG 101.

Students who receive a verbal ACT score of 34 or higher, can automatically receive credit for ENG 101 and ENG 201. Students must report to the English department in order to have this credit applied to their transcript.

Students who are admitted to the Honors College will enroll in ENG 200H. Students who earn a grade of “C” or better will receive 6 hours of core composition (ENG 101 and 201), along with completion of one writing intensive requirement, one critical thinking requirement, one humanities requirement, and one multicultural requirement.


Students must complete an algebra course by either taking MTH 127 or MTH 130, depending on your math ACT score. Students with a math ACT score of 21 or higher can take MTH 130 for 3 credit hours. Students with a math ACT score of 19 or 20 must take MTH 127 for 5 credit hours.

MTH 102 is required for students who have a math ACT score of 18 or less. MTH 102 is a four-credit hour course. Students who complete MTH 102 can then proceed to MTH 127.

Students who change their major to business and have already completed MTH 100, MTH 121, or MTH 121B, but have and ACT score of 18 or less will be required to take MTH 102B. MTH 102B is a one-credit hour course. Student who complete MTH 102B can then proceed to MTH 127.

A: Any student with a learning disability who wishes to receive accommodations and services must register with the Disabled Students Services Office (696-2271) or the fee-based Higher Education for Learning Problems (H.E.L.P.) Program (696-6316). These programs will review the documentation of the disability and determine which accommodations are necessary. Their staff will then provide a notice to be given to faculty members describing the required accommodation(s). It is up to the student to discuss the accommodations with his/her professors before any assignments or exams are due. Marshall faculty cooperates closely with the appropriate offices to provide accommodations.
A: We recognize that many students are unable to finance their college education without working at the same time. Parents and students need to bear in mind that much of the learning in college is done outside the classroom. The general formula is that students should spend 2 hours outside class for every one hour in the classroom. (For 15 credit hours, that would mean an additional 30 hours outside class.) These outside class hours should be devoted to class preparations such as reading assigned material, working on projects and papers, reviewing notes, and studying material that has already been covered. Students who do not devote this time to their classes may not do as well as they could if they had invested this time. Therefore, when students think about working while taking classes, they need to calculate the number of hours necessary to do well in class and schedule their work hours accordingly. In general, a student who is working full-time should not try to be a full-time student. A full-time student is usually able to work about 20 hours per week and still manage his/her class load.

The Excused Absence policy does not recognize work as an activity to be excused. Therefore, whether work activity is excused is up to individual instructors. Students should be aware that many instructors will not consider work obligations to be excused absences.

A: If students manage their time wisely, they have enough time to participate in selected extracurricular activities. Marshall offers 150 student organizations including fraternities, sororities, honorary societies, debate and forensics, student government, faith-based groups, and special interest organizations such as the Ski Club and Outdoor Adventure Club. We think there is something for every student. These activities are coordinated by the Office of Student Affairs. A complete list of organizations is available at www.marshall.edu/studentactivities.

The College of Business also offers business specific organizations and clubs. These include:

  • 1. Alpha Kappa Psi – All majors; invitation only
  • 2. Healthcare Executives Leaders of Marshall – Health Care Management majors
  • 3. American Marketing Association – Marketing majors
  • 4. Beta Alpha Psi – Accounting, Finance, MIS majors; 3.0 GPA or higher
  • 5. Beta Gamma Sigma – All majors; invitation only
  • 6. Dean’s Student Advisory Council – All majors
  • 7. Delta Sigma Pi – All majors
  • 8. Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization – All majors
  • 9. Management Information Systems Club – MIS majors; others welcome
  • 10. Society for Human Resource Management – All majors
  • 11. Society of Human Resource Management – All majors
  • Of course, students should not try to fill every moment of the day outside class with clubs and activities. But, students who are active and involved on campus are more likely to persist and succeed in college. The key is balance.
A: Indeed we do and we encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity to experience another culture and develop a global perspective. Marshall offers over 125 programs in 35 countries where students can earn credit toward their degrees. Students choose from among summer, semester or year abroad programs in countries as diverse as England, New Zealand, Japan and Spain. All courses taken as part of an approved study abroad program count toward graduation and the costs can be comparable to the cost of living and studying at Marshall.

The LCOB has exchange agreements with several schools outside the country: Catholic University of Lyon in France; Buckinghamshire College just outside of London, England; and Auckland University of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand. Students interested in any of these programs apply directly in the Academic Advising Center.

For more information about Marshall’s study abroad opportunities, visit the Office of Study Abroad webpage.

A: It is true that a student who had a spectacularly bad first semester could be suspended for the next semester. A student taking 15 credit hours who made mostly F grades could accumulate enough GPA deficiencies to qualify for suspension. (Please see the online Undergraduate Catalog for details on the number of quality point deficiencies that would result in suspension.) Because students who are admitted to Marshall University have the ability to be successful at the college level, students who perform at such a weak level are usually experiencing personal problems of some type (family, financial, relationships, etc.) or maturity issues (unable to manage time, cope with freedom, etc.). A semester off from college gives the student time to address issues and recommit to college.

Suspension would, however, occur only in the most extreme cases. Usually, students who do not do well the first semester end up with less than a 2.0 GPA but their performance is not bad enough to warrant suspension. These students are placed on academic probation. Probation is a period of restricted enrollment supervised by the associate dean of the student’s college. Students on probation are put on academic improvement plans that specify the goals, actions and resources for each. Students on probation must make a 2.0 GPA each semester.

The probation and suspension policies are not intended to be punitive; they are designed to increase retention by keeping students on track for graduation. Otherwise, students might linger indefinitely, taking classes but not making progress towards graduation (which requires a minimum of a 2.0 GPA).

A: We recognize that this is an important concern for parents. The answer to this question speaks to parents’ new role at the college level. You might have been used to parent-teacher meetings for the last 12-13 years. That model is not appropriate in the college setting for two reasons: 1) FERPA regulations limit the amount of information we can disclose about our students and 2) Students need to be responsible for their own educational path, including the choices they make. Therefore, inquiries about a student’s academic progress must be made by the student and discussions about the student must be approved by the student and usually be in the presence of the student. This is done to protect the privacy and the safety of the student.

You can ask your son or daughter, but there is no way to check on this until grades are awarded. Many faculty members do not take attendance; they believe it is the student’s responsibility to come to class or not. Other faculty members have very strict attendance policies and penalize those who violate the policy. Encourage your son or daughter to read those course syllabi closely and to adhere to the attendance policies. Students who attend class make higher grades—it’s as simple as that. UNI/HON 101 instructors emphasize this point with freshmen.

Marshall does not mail grades unless a student makes a special request. Instead, grades are in the student’s records online. Because this information is password protected by the student, parents will have to find out about the grades through the student. Grades are usually available online within 2-3 days after the end of final exams.

A: Here is the same advice we give our students: Read the catalog! The Undergraduate Catalog is available online at www.marshall.edu/catalog. You will find general information about Marshall, about academic policies and about all of the academic programs offered.

If you have any questions about academic policies and practices at the College of Business, contact the Academic Advising Center at 304-696-2314 or visit the office at Corbly Hall 107.