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Parents and Family Members

This page is to answer frequently asked questions for parents and family members. Your student will be receiving information regarding advising and registration information starting December 5 in their VT email.  You can also review the four modules sent to students available here that explains information for incoming credit for AP, IB and Dual Enrollment coursework as well as elements of college degrees at Virginia Tech.

If you have questions after reading this page and you and your student reviewed all the advising and registration pages on the University Studies website, then you can contact the Director of University Studies, Zack Underwood at zunderwood@vt.edu or 540-231-2384. 

  • Incoming students will be building their own schedules including days and times prior to meeting with an academic advisor
  • Students can add or drop courses before meeting with an advisor for Advising and Registration. But because dropping and adding courses is first come, first served, we suggest all University Studies students add courses to their schedule officially starting December 5, 2022
  • See important dates and mark them on your calendar in the next question
  • Incoming students should avoid signing up for English, Math and/or Chemistry courses until speaking with an academic advisor during Advising and Registration.

 

  • December 5
    • Review the four modules here with your student including how to find equivalency credits for your AP/IB/CLEP and Dual Enrollment Courses 
    • The initial email to all incoming University Studies students will arrive at your student's VT email address including how to make an appointment with Zack Underwood, Director of University Studies.
    • This email will include a video explaining how to add courses to their schedule
    • Students create their fall schedule using HokieScheduler after reviewing the video here.
  • December 20
    • Deadline to meet with advisor to avoid hold
  • January 17
    • First day of Spring courses.
University Studies is historically the largest undecied/exploratory major at Virginia Tech. With a rich history of helping students find their major, we are the only office on campus that advises for ANY major at the institution. We help students create a plan to succeed and graduate on-time.  More awesome features of University Studies include:
  • Smaller Advising Caseloads, which means more time for your students to meet with an advisor
  • We host our own First Year Experience course (UNIV 1824, 3 credit hours) to help students find their major and it counts towards General Education requirements
  • We manage our own Living Learning Community called VIA and you can join!

If a parent or family member calls University Studies to find out more information specifically about advising from our office, then we must ask for a FERPA passcode. FERPA is the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act meaning students have the right to say who can or cannot access their information in college. Your student will be responsible for creating a FERPA code and sharing it with you. University Studies is able to talk in generalities about certain situations without a FERPA passcode, but with the passcode, we can openly share all information that we know. Please note that academic advisors do NOT have access to student grades, but we can share any information that the student provides during their advising meeting if a passcode is provided. 

This answer depends on what major your student wants to pursue, a Restricted or Non-Restricted Major, see the next question for more information about different types of majors. Typically Non-Restricted majors can change out of University Studies as early as December after their first semester, but students can stay longer. Students pursuing Restricted Majors typically stay with University Studies for around 1 year and then attempt to change their major.


All students must change their major out of University Studies at 60 earned hours or 72 attempted hours at the latest. We suggest students change out of University Studies at the latest by the time they reach 30-45 earned hours to be on-pace to graduate on time. 

Restricted majors are popular majors at Virginia Tech that have a requirement for admission. There is no guarantee of admission to a restricted major and each major has a slightly different requirement. See this chart for more information and/or have your student speak with an advisor during Advising and Registration for more information. It is vital that students who are pursuing a restricted major be familiar with the courses or GPA they need for entry from the start of their education. Some courses for restricted majors may not be available until spring or summer for students.


Non-Restricted majors are all other majors at Virginia Tech that are not restricted, and include a majority of the majors at the institution. There are no requirements for changing into these majors and students can change into these majors starting in December.

Pathways to General Education is the general education curriculum at Virginia Tech. Each student regardless of their major must complete certain numbers of credit hours per Concept in Pathways to General Education. There are 7 Concepts in General Education and certain majors can determine what courses a students should take in general education as well as giving the student the freedom to choose some courses. More information about Pathways to General Education is available in this video as well as on Major Checksheets. 

Pathways to Success (UNIV 1824) is a first-year experience course for University Studies majors and is 3 credit hours. This course formalizes the major exploration process and can count towards general education requirements. The course is HIGHLY recommended for incoming students in their first semester. It is designed to establish fundamental knowledge and skills that facilitate success not only during college, but also for the rest of students' lives. Students entering in spring semester must email universitystudies@vt.edu to add UNIV 1824 to their schedule.

  • Brainstorm or ask your student questions regarding skills they might need to sharpen or improve upon before arriving at college (i.e. time management, studying, reading a map, learning a bus schedule, etc.)
  • Give students the responsibility of choosing their courses for the fall semester and make their own decisions about times and days
    • Choosing courses is similar to a student's first homework assignment, if they are taking responsibility, then this is a good sign, if not, then a conversation is needed
  • Ask your student questions about how they feel regarding being prepared for managing their time, studying (perhaps for the first time ever), and getting involved on campus in clubs or organizations
  • Ask your student what would happen mentally if they failed their first exam in college (it happened to the Director of University Studies in college, it can happen to your student)