First Year Students

DunleavyAdjusting to College

Your first year at Niagara University is an exciting time with new experiences and challenges. It is a time to get involved in clubs and activities on campus and explore your interests in majors and minors. Balancing your new freedom with your academic requirements can be difficult, but there are plenty of support services at Niagara to help you succeed, so be sure to ask for help if you need it. Your faculty can assist you, so don't hesitate to seek them out or ask them questions. The College of Arts and Sciences strives to be accessible to students. You can always contact us or stop by the Dean's Office (Dunleavy 315) at any time if you need assistance or advice.

Staying on Track: Student Checks

We set aside time each semester for student checks, often just prior to advisement which is a separate process. They are an opportunity to sit down with an adviser in the dean's office, review your progress toward your degree, find out more about minors or double majors, or ask any other questions that you might have. We recommend taking advantage of them at least once a year to keep tabs on your progress toward graduation.  Students who can't make it to the scheduled checks, may make an individual appointment anytime during the semester by calling 716.286.8060.  A more formal senior check will be required once you have reached 80-90 credits.

Academic Advice for New Students

  • Advisors & Advisement: During the first semester at NU, students are assigned a faculty advisor who will be an academic resource for them during their time at NU. If you have questions and don't know who your advisor is, the departmental academic assistant can connect you with a faculty member. Students will need to see their advisor for advisement (advisors must unlock you to register), add/drop procedures, or major related advice. Online registration extends from mid-semester to the beginning of classes. Scheduling is set by student status (seniors register first).
  • Transfer Credits & Advanced Credit: Students who took Advanced Placement (AP, CLEP, IB) or transfer courses at other colleges should inform their advisers. Credit cannot be awarded for duplicated courses. Official transcripts are required for credit to be awarded and must be sent directly from the institution to the Office of Admissions or the Records office.
  • Attendance is Critical to Success: Attendance policies are set by each professor in the course syllabus. Students should be aware that attendance in class is expected and necessary to the learning process. If a student stops attending a class without following appropriate drop or withdrawal procedures, the student may receive an “F” in the course. It is extremely important to speak with the adviser before a student stops attending a particular class. Non-attendance can affect your financial aid eligibility.
  • Academic Support Services: A variety of academic support services are available to assist students in their studies. Students who struggle are encouraged to ask for assistance early on or contact the Dean’s Office for help. Student checks are one way we try to help students to proactively explore their options and stay on track for graduation.
  • Double Majors & Minors: More than 70 percent of A&S majors have a minor or double major. Such opportunities complement any degree program by offering flexibility after graduation.
  • Major Changes are Normal: If a student is not happy in his or her initial major or struggles with the coursework, considering a new major may be advisable. Students may make an appointment in the Dean’s Office to discuss potential major changes or explore their options.
  • Final Exams: Students may have finals through the end of finals week. Avoid scheduling flights or family vacations before those dates. Times and dates of scheduled exams include common exams and exams based on class schedules.
  • Grades: Grades are determined by faculty according to the rubrics in their syllabi. Midterm grades are available for some courses and can be checked by students on myNU. Students may also log on to myNu to check their grades.
  • Student Recognition: At the end of each semester, students with a semester grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 are placed on the Dean’s List. To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must be registered for a minimum of 12 credit hours. We invite all the Dean's List recipients to a coffee with the dean each semester.
  • Career Planning & Options: There are numerous career choices available to all our majors. Many majors provide research, internship and coop experiences to help students gain practical experience. In addition a variety of services and program are available through the Career Services Office.
  • Illness or Family Emergency?
    - Students who become ill and cannot return to school, are called up for active military duty, or need to withdraw should contact the Dean’s Office.
    - Students who have to go home for an emergency (illness or death of a family member) should contact the Dean’s Office. If possible contacting your professors is recommended. When students return they should provide a doctor’s note or obituary notice which the Dean’s Office will forward to their faculty.
    - Please note that attendance policies are listed in your syllabus for each class and that it is the faculty that determine how that affects your grades.

Dean's List Coffee

All full-time students earning a 3.25 or higher GPA in their first semester will be placed on the Dean's List (certificates available upon request). As a reward for all your hard work, we invite those students to have coffee and snacks with the dean in the spring semester. Study hard and we hope to see you in the spring time.