Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
Things to Do Before Your First Semester
- If you have attended college even for one semester in the past, you will need to have all transcripts and school records from those institutions sent to you.
- Spend some time researching institutions and degree programs. Visit prospective campuses either in person or on the Web. Find out if classes are offered on days and times that are convenient for you. Determine whether it’s an adult-friendly campus.
- Set up a time to visit with the institution’s student services representative. It is their job to work with students like you who are thinking about attending their campuses. A student services representative's goal is to be a resource providing continuous encouragement, motivation, guidance, direction and focus as students pursue their college degrees.
- Find out what financial aid is available to you. Send your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) results to several of the institutions that you are considering and see which one offers you the best aid package.
- Is distance or online learning an option for you? Are you task oriented? Do you prefer to study or learn alone? Do you tend to work ahead of others? Do you have good computer skills? If you answered "yes" to most or all of the questions, then you may want to explore getting your degree online.
- Once you have decide on the degree program that you want to explore, find out how many credit hours you will need to complete the degree.
- Make an appointment with academic advisors from campuses that you are considering to see if they will provide you with credit for life and work experiences or if you can get credit in advance by testing out of some classes.
- Get the family involved. Tell them of your decision to go back to school and then come up with a plan to divide household responsibilities. This way, you can continue to be a parent, a spouse and now, a student.
What are the various costs associated with college?
We all know college can be expensive, but you’re making a wise investment – in yourself. College expenses are more than tuition and textbooks. Make sure to budget for things such as parking passes, lab and other fees, gas, student insurance, childcare, meals on campus, etc. BACK TO QUESTIONS
What can I use my financial aid disbursement to pay for?
Most scholarships and other aid awards (private, state and federal) will make direct payments to your institution for educational expenses and cover only those expenses. In other instances, money remaining after your tuition has been paid in full is expected to go to related, educational expenses – textbooks, childcare, commuting costs, etc. Arrange to meet with your financial aid counselor to verify how additional financial aid funds can be spent and any future repayment schedule. Remember, students loans are just that – loans. While they may cover numerous educational and living expenses while you are in college – helping you advance professionally – you are obligated to pay back those loans with interest. BACK TO QUESTIONS
What are general education requirements and why do I have to take them?
General education courses promote “live to learn and learn for life.” Broad exposure to multiple disciplines, as offered through the general education requirement, enhances your communicative and critical thinking skills and your ability to connect theory to practice. The general education curriculum fosters better neighbors, volunteers, community builders and citizens. More on the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s general education requirements can be found in the following sections of the Policy and Procedures Manual.
- 3.15.6A: Philosophical justifications for general education requirements.
- 3.15.3: General education requirements for an AA or AS degree (37 hours).
- 3.15.4: General education requirements for an AAS (Associate of Applied Science) degree (18 hours).
- 3.15.5: General education requirements for a baccalaureate degree (40 hours).
How can I complete a bachelor's degree while working full time?
Reach Higher, Oklahoma's degree completion program, provides the opportunity to complete your degree in a flexible format that is convenient for you. Convenient evening class times and online courses will fit into your busy life. You can enroll in the program as many as five times throughout the year. Find out more at www.ReachHigherOklahoma.org. BACK TO QUESTIONS
What’s the difference between a community college, a regional university, a public liberal arts university and a research university?
Community colleges are two-year institutions of higher education offering certificates and associate degrees as well as coursework that will transfer to a four-year institution. Oklahoma has 12 public community colleges. Regional universities offer postsecondary bachelor's degrees as well as some graduate degrees. There are 10 regional universities in Oklahoma. There is also one public liberal arts university, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha, that offers postsecondary bachelor's degrees. At research universities, scholarship and research are the foundation of the institution’s function, offering higher education students the most advanced learning opportunities and degrees possible in numerous disciplines. Oklahoma has two research universities: the University of Oklahoma in Norman and Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. For regional maps showing locations of Oklahoma's campuses, visit the Colleges and Universities section of the Student Center. BACK TO QUESTIONS
How do I know if my coursework will transfer?
Satisfactorily completed college-level coursework may transfer. One way to see if your coursework will transfer is to visit the State Regents’ Course Equivalency Project (CEP) at www.okcoursetransfer.org. Here, you can enter your coursework from an Oklahoma college or university and see if it will transfer to another Oklahoma institution. PLEASE NOTE: Not all universities, colleges and academic departments participate in the CEP. If your coursework is not listed, contact the admissions office for the institution to which you intend to transfer, and they can put you in touch with the appropriate staff. You will likely be asked to provide a transcript. BACK TO QUESTIONS
I have an associate degree. Will that help me complete a four-year degree sooner?
Congratulations on your academic achievement! If you choose to pursue a four-year degree at an Oklahoma public college or university, a completed associate degree will transfer, at minimum, as 37 basic, general education core credit hours. However, according to State Regents’ Policy 3.11.4, four-year universities “may, with the approval of the State Regents, require that transferring students complete additional general education work for the degree.” Complete State Regents’ policy and guidelines on undergraduate degree requirements can be found in the Academic Affairs chapter of the Policy and Procedures Manual. BACK TO QUESTIONS
Who are the State Regents and what do they do?
In 1941, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education became a ratified state agency through a constitutional amendment. Nine governor-appointed members serve as State Regents, but the entire agency is comprised of approximately 200 employees. Coordinating higher education for Oklahoma’s twenty-five public colleges and universities, 10 constituent agencies and one higher education center, the State Regents serve nearly 240,000 students annually by prescribing academic standards of higher education, determining functions and courses of study at state colleges and universities, granting degrees, recommending to the state Legislature budget allocations for each college and university, recommending proposed fees within limits set by the Legislature and managing 23 scholarship and special programs. For more information, access the State Regents' Policy and Procedures Manual and a more in-depth history and overview of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. BACK TO QUESTIONS
If I did poorly in college years ago, how can I make up for that now?
Academic forgiveness provisions are in place that can help a student recover from academic problems in ways that do not forever jeopardize a student’s academic standing. A student may qualify for either an academic reprieve, academic renewal or be able to repeat courses. Get more information from the State Regents' Policy and Procedures Manual or the Academic Forgiveness page. BACK TO QUESTIONS
The State Regents offer many programs and services to help you return to college or begin your college education. For more information, review the information provided on this site, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.800.858.1840 (225-9239 in Oklahoma City).