1st Gen FAQ

These are some commonly asked questions from 1st generation students.

What do I do if I’m sick?
What happens if I fail a class?
How do I drop a class?
What happens if I drop a class?
What are office hours and why should I go to them?
What is the best way to get to know my professors?
What is research?
How can I get involved with research?
My financial aid package says I have work study, what is that and how do I find a job?
I don’t have work study (or I want a second job), how can I find one on campus?
What are some ways that I can find a community at Michigan?
Can I find emergency funding on campus?
What is the Engineering Honor Code and how will it be a part of my education?
What is a credit?
How do waitlists work?

  • What do I do if I’m sick?
    • There are a lot of things you can do to help yourself when you are sick. If you just need some cold medicine to help but are still feeling well enough to go to class, Walgreens and CVS on State Street have a fully stocked pharmacy. Also, Wolverine Wellness (located within University Health Services) has generic cold medicine that is available for free! If you are in need of a doctor, you can go to University Health Services (UHS). UHS is the on-campus medical facility for students. The fee to use UHS is already included in your tuition. When making an appointment, you can make one online or call their office. Visit the UHS website to find an in depth list of services they provide, their phone number, and other useful things! 
  • What happens if I fail a class?
    • If you fail a class and it’s for your major or minor, you will have to retake the course and the course will be factored into your GPA, even if you retake it. However, we highly suggest you meet with your academic advisor when things start going wrong in any course! Also, read their emails because there is a period in which you may even be able to drop a class that is not going well.
  • How do I drop a class?
    • To drop a class, first go to Wolverine Access and head to the Students tab then student business. Once there, go to Student Center -> Backpack/Registration -> select the term (i.e. Fall 2020). Under the Backpack/Registration tab, find and click on the “drop” tab. Once here, select the course(s) you want to drop. Then select next and complete dropping the course. 
  • What happens if I drop a class?
    • First things first, if you aren’t sure about dropping a course contact your academic advisor. But a good rule of thumb is that if you drop a class, make sure that the removal of that class would not lower you to less than 12 credits. 12 credits is the minimum amount of credits you need to be considered a full-time student. If you drop below this, your financial aid package may change. Also, if you drop a class be sure to email the professor and let them know. This way they will remove you from the Canvas course and email lists for the class.
  • What are office hours and why should I go to them?
    • Office hours are designated times that your professors, graduate student instructors (GSI), and teaching assistants hold to provide a space for students to ask questions and get additional help in the class. These are usually held in the professor or GSI’s office (hence “office hours”). The times for these office hours will be available on the syllabus when class starts. Office hours are a great way to get individual help on homework and course concepts.
  • What is the best way to get to know my professors?
    • A great place to start is going to their office hours. You know they are free during this time and asking questions about class or themselves is a great way to get started. Another approach is to email them and ask if you would be able to do an informational interview with them. You don’t have to word it like that, something along the lines of “I am interested in your research/how you achieved where you are today and would love to be able to ask you about it.”
  • What is research?
    • Research is a way for undergraduates to gain experience in a lab learning alongside a professor or graduate student. Research can help you gain knowledge you wouldn’t in a classroom, make connections in the field you want to build a career in, and bring you valuable experience for job searching and graduate applications. 
  • How can I get involved with research?
    • There are three main ways to get involved with research on campus. The first is through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). This is a program you apply to at the university. It will pair you up with a lab on campus where you will be able to get credit for doing research with a professor/graduate student. You can find more information on their website. The next method of finding research is to look into the research professors around campus are conducting. The department websites will have profiles on their professors and what they are doing research on. Once you find some research projects you are interested in, email the professors and ask about their research/if they have any openings for undergraduates in their lab. Additionally you can also ask your professors what they are working on! The last way is to find a job listing in a lab. You can go to https://studentemployment.umich.edu/ and look for job postings in a lab. These will pay you and often have work study options available too.
  • My financial aid package says I have work study, what is that and how do I find a job?
    • The financial aid website is very helpful: https://finaid.umich.edu/work-study-other-jobs/. Work study is an amount of money that is reduced from your tuition and board. This amount of money is the pool that on-campus employers use to pay you for working for them for the semester. To find a work-study job, go to https://studentemployment.umich.edu/ and filter the job postings by “work study.” These job postings can range from research positions, to on-campus restaurant jobs, to library jobs. There are a lot of jobs on campus, so find one that you think you would enjoy!
  • I don’t have work study (or I want a second job), how can I find one on campus?
    • The student employment website (https://studentemployment.umich.edu/) allows you to filter job postings by non-work study postings. This is the best way to find a second job or a job that allows for non-work study students to work. There are a lot of options so find one what you would like most!
  • What are some ways that I can find a community at Michigan?
    • Student organizations are a great way to get involved and find a community on campus. https://maizepages.umich.edu/ is a website where you can search the 1500+ student organizations Michigan has. Festifall and Winterfest are the two large student organization fairs on campus and provide a large place to find an org you’d like. Maize Pages also has the contact info for all of the student organizations.
  • Can I find emergency funding on campus?
  • What is the Engineering Honor Code and how will it be a part of my education?
    • The Engineering Honor Code is a set of academic standards that all engineering students live by at the University of Michigan. It ensures we maintain academic integrity while collaborating with our fellow students. You will find that every syllabus and exam have an Honor Code statement. What this means for your education at Michigan is that professors and other students trust you to commit to academic integrity. All of the exams in the College of Engineering are not proctored, meaning only the students are  in the room taking the exam. The professor waits outside the room and does not watch. If you break the Honor Code, you will be referred to the Honor Council where they will assess your violation. More information can be found on their website: https://elc.engin.umich.edu/honor-council/.
  • What is a credit?
    • A credit is the currency of your academic journey. Each class is assigned a credit amount (usually 3-4). This is the number of hours a week the class meets. To earn your degree, you need to complete a certain number of credits with some of them completed using mandatory classes for your major. Each major has an outline of the requirements. Engineering majors are going to have a more rigid schedule of mandatory classes. A typical engineering major is 128 credits, meaning you must take 128 credits (in the required courses as per your major) in order to earn your degree. A good rule of thumb is that each class will require 2x the amount of hours outside of class. So a 14 credit semester will have about 28 hours devoted to homework and non-classroom learning. 
  • How do waitlists work?
    • You can add yourself to the waitlist for any course. Generally, we don’t suggest this unless you don’t have another option. To do this, you will go to the class in your backpack and click on the hyperlink for the course. Then, on the second page check the box that says “waitlist if class is full.” Return to your backpack and then register. Check your email daily because once you have a seat in the class you will get an email with instructions on how to actually enroll in the course. These permissions can sometimes expire after 24 hours, which is why it’s important to check your email daily.