Information for Families

Resources and Frequently Asked Questions for Families of New Students 

The first-year of college represents a big transition not only for students, but for families, too. The goal of the Rachel Carson College advising staff is to make this transition smoother and successful by providing answers to some frequently asked questions about student advising and related topics, and offering helpful resources on campus that can guide you throughout your student’s career at UCSC. 

UCSC Advising Frequently Asked Questions:

What is College Advising?  At UCSC, students are affiliated with one of our ten residential colleges, one of which is Rachel Carson College. Our preceptors and advisers provide students with advice, guidance and review in: general education requirements and planning, class selection and planning, potential majors and their requirements, academic performance and progress toward graduation, and referral to campus resources, as necessary. Once your student has successfully qualified for a major, he or she will receive advising affiliated with and directly related to that major, but students can always consult with Rachel Carson College advisers, whatever year of school they might be in.

What is FERPA (Federal Educational Records Privacy Act)? Your student’s records and activities at UCSC are private; university employees are restricted by FERPA as to what they may share with you about your student’s activities here at UCSC. We are always available to concerned parties to discuss, in general terms, university and college requirements and policies, academic standing, and campus resources. We hope that you’ll share your questions, discoveries and concerns with your student, encourage him or her to talk to you, and remind them to consult with us if they want to learn more. For more information on FERPA, please see: and

How does my student enroll in classes?  During summer orientation, students are provided ample time, in designated campus computer labs, to enroll in classes for Fall. Each student is assigned an appointment time at which to begin enrolling. Students access their MyUCSC account to enroll in classes, check grades, and monitor progress toward graduation. It is always a good idea for a student to select at least three back-up classes in case their first choices are full. As your student’s college advisers, we are available to help your student successfully complete this process. 

What is required of my student to graduate?  In order to graduate, students must satisfy a number of mandated requirements, including: American History and Institutions (most students fulfill this in high school); Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR); Composition; General Education requirements; Rachel Carson College Core Course (first quarter). In addition, a student must accumulate at total of 180 credits, of which 105 can be transferred in from a community college, achieve a minimum cumulative UC GPA of 2.0, and fulfill all requirements of the student’s major(s). See

UC Entry Level Writing Requirement (ELWR): Many entering students have satisfied the ELWR.  Students who have not met this requirement, and who did not take the exam in May, must take the exam on the Sunday of Fall Opening Weekend, location and time TBD (please see the Writing Program website for further information, at:  Students who took but did not pass the exam in May are not permitted to retake it in September.

The American History and Institutions Requirement is usually satisfied in high school through a government or U.S. history course, which most California schools require for graduation. Those who have not met this requirement can do so by choosing from among a number of courses; see  

Composition Requirement: Students must satisfy their composition requirement (C) no later than their 6th quarter at UCSC (by passing Writing 2). Students will also be required to fulfill a Disciplinary Communication requirement (DC) in their selected major, usually during their junior or senior year.  The DC general education is "built in" to the student's major requirements and will differ, depending on what major the student declares. See 

General Education Courses:  Students must satisfy a number of general education course requirements (GE’s) to graduate from UCSC (see /14-15/undergrad-acad/gened.html), which should be spread throughout a student’s academic career and are often met by courses in the major. Courses in a variety of different academic categories are designed to expose students to a broad range of disciplines and methodologies that will be of incalculable help in their post-graduate lives. For more information on the GE and other requirements, please utilize The Navigator, at

Additional Campus Resources: 

Rachel Carson College Advising —contact us with any general questions or concerns and we will do our best to help, within the FERPA guidelines. See: or call: (831) 459-2361; or email: 

UCSC Undergraduate Advising Center—an on-line consortium dedicated to providing advising resources to students and advisers with links to The Navigator, The Schedule of Classes, and The General Catalog. For more information, see:—information on choosing majors, resume writing, individual career counseling, career search library, and information on internships.

Career Center—information on choosing majors, resume writing, individual career counseling, career search library, and information on internships. See: or call:  (831) 459-4420.

Computing Labs—when not reserved for instruction, labs are available for student use on a walk-in basis at Rachel Carson College.  Call (831) 459-3515 for more information.

Counseling and Psychological Services—group and individual counseling and psychological services are available for all students. See: or call:  (831) 459-2628.

Disability Resource Center—assistance for permanent and temporary physical and learning disabilities. For more information visit: call: (831) 459-2089.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Office—for all questions related to any federal aid your student may be utilizing to pay for their education visit: or call: (831) 459-2963

Learning Support Services—is available to assist students with free tutoring in writing and a variety of other subjects, and peer led modified supplemental instruction for lower and upper division courses. For more information visit: or call: (831) 459-4333.

Libraries—workshops in using the computerized catalog system, self-paced center for language study, periodicals and books in open stacks for research. See: or call: (831) 459-4000.

Major Programs—there are many different major programs for students to choose from ( Detailed information can be found in the Major Advising Summaries, at

Education Abroad Programs—provides opportunities for UC students to study in various countries around the world.  For more information visit: or call: (831) 459-2858.

Student Business Services—handles all billing concerns and questions related to housing and tuition costs. Deferred payment plans are also an option for some, and SBS can provide additional information by visiting: or calling: (831) 459-2107.

Westside Writing Center – the Westside Writing Center provides free, one-on-one, writing consultation and tutoring designed to teach and support undergraduate students in all aspects of scholastic writing.  See

Writing Program—along with academic departments and colleges the writing program administers lower-division writing components of the general education requirements.  For more information visit: or call: (831) 459-2431.