Registration

Can I have a pre-requisite override for the Fall for a course I am taking over the Summer?

No. Due to our limited seating and our inability to monitor pass/fail for students taking courses at other institutions, students must complete the course and provide proof of a passing grade prior to getting a pre-requisite override for the next course in the sequence.

My chemistry course (from another institution) is not posted to my transcript. How do I register for a class?

If the course is a 1000 or 2000 level course, please email Mrs. Conkin-Anderson at mailto:sconkin@uga.edu For all other 3000 level and higher courses, please see Ms. Kibreab in room 415 of the Chemistry building.

I made a “D” in my Chemistry lecture course. Can I still move on and take the next course in the sequence?

Yes. Technically a “D” is a passing grade, so you can take other courses. However, a “D” may not satisfy your major requirements so you should check with your advisor about the best course of action.

What is your Undergraduate Transfer Policy?

You can find more about our Undergraduate Transfer Policy here.

Who do I contact about Research hours?

You will need to take the Undergraduate Research form to the professor with whom you wish to do research. Then take the form to Dr. Gary Douberly. Once signed, the form should be given to Genet Kibreab in 415. If have questions concerning research requirements, please contact Dr. Douberly.

Forms can be found outside of Chemistry 415.

I tried to switch my lecture and it dropped both my classes. Now they are full. Can I be readded to the course?

No. We cannot add students past the limits set on Athena due to safety regulations and fire code. You will need to sign up for a lab waitlist, or wait until the seats reopen.

I need to switch lab sections but I don’t want to lose my lecture. Can I do that?

Yes. Students can switch their lecture or lab sections without losing the co-requisite by following these steps: 1) Select Webdrop next to the course you wish to switch 2) Enter the CRN number of the new course into the manual add space at the bottom of your registration screen 3) Hit Submit. If a seat is available in your new course, your old and new course should switch without a problem. If you get any error message, do not proceed. Make sure you have looked over all of the steps. If a problem persists, contact Sarah Conkin-Anderson.

Why does the lecture/lab not add to my schedule when I register? Both are open.

Both the lecture and lab must be added to the pending schedule before either will be added to the registration schedule. You will need to either select both in the Athena Registration screens or enter both lecture and lab Course Registration Numbers (CRNs) into your Add/Drop screen in Athena.

I am trying to add a Chemistry lecture and lab and Athena is giving me an error. What do I do?

Be sure the courses you are attempting to add are open, that you do not have a time conflict, and that you have met all of the pre-requisites. If a problem persists, you can contact Sarah Conkin-Anderson and she can assist.

Is there a waiting list for my chemistry course?

Yes. Due to restrictions on how the waitlists operate through Athena, we only have waitlists on the labs. Please sign up for the waitlist by manually adding the CRN number for both lecture and lab to your registration screen. After you hit submit, a drop down menu next to the lab should appear and you can add yourself to “Waitlist Registered”

I have a passing grade in a course but would like to retake it to get credit in my major or to get a higher grade. How do I do that?

Contact Mrs. Conkin-Anderson at sconkin@uga.edu indicating that you would like to repeat a course. Please provide the name of the student, the name of the course (Chem XXXX) to repeat, and the UGA email address. If the student received a grade of F, then it is not necessary to receive an override. The student may simply register for the course.

How do I get permission to take an honors course?

Contact the Honors department located in Moore College. The phone number is (706) 542-3240 and the email is honors@uga.edu.

How do I audit a course?

Speak with the instructor to receive permission to register through Athena for the course. There is a separate menu in Athena for registering as an audit.

Do I have to retake the lab if I have already passed the lab?

No, if a student is satisfied with his/her grade in the lab, then it is not necessary to retake the lab.

Can the Chemistry department just add me into the lecture class that I would like since I have a lab seat?

No. Students must register for available lecture seats using Athena. There are no exceptions.

Can I take the lecture without the lab if I have AP credit?

If a student has earned AP credit for a course but would like to take the lecture only, the student must request an override to take either the lecture or the lab. Taking the course deletes the AP credit, however. It is also important to realize that not all graduate, dental, veterinarian, medical and other professional schools accept AP credits. This applies to both lecture and lab credits. Whether or not to retake a course that a student has previously earned credit for is a consideration that should be made carefully based on future plans, financial aid and other factors. Please contact Mrs. Conkin-Anderson to request an override to delete the AP credit and take the chemistry course at sconkin@uga.edu. It is important to indicate the student’s name, 810 number, and the name of the course (e.g. Chem 1211) as well.

Can I take the lecture without the lab if one is not available or if the time does not work with my schedule?

No, the lecture and lab are corequisites; they must be taken at the same time. There are no exceptions to this rule due to safety regulations.

Transfer Students

My chemistry course (from another institution) is not posted to my transcript. How do I register for a class?

If the course is a 1000 or 2000 level course, please email Mrs. Conkin-Anderson at mailto:sconkin@uga.edu For all other 3000 level and higher courses, please see Ms. Kibreab in room 415 of the Chemistry building.

What is your Undergraduate Transfer Policy?

You can find more about our Undergraduate Transfer Policy here.

Facts and Figures

What are typical grades in the Freshman Chemistry sequence (CHEM 1211, CHEM 1212)?

The UGA general chemistry program uses a “contract” system for assigning grades. Details about what total “points” or percentage of them is required to earn a specific grade appear in each course’s syllabus. There is no limit to the number of each grade; this depends on how each student performs. Other institutions use a “curve”, a system based on the arithmetic mean and standard deviations in which the number of people who earn each grade is determined by statistics.

course grades

Why aren’t these courses graded on a curve?

Some people believe that a “curve” means better grades for all or a more generous grading system. In fact, the opposite is true. Statistics define the arithmetic mean (i.e., average grade) and the standard deviation defines the distribution of scores relative to the mean. Slightly more than two-thirds of all grades (68.2%) are within one standard deviation of the mean, 34.1% above it and 34.1% below it. About 95% of all grades are within two standard deviations (43.7% each above and below). This is called the normal distribution or bell-shaped curve. Independent of the average on an exam, the average (mean) and standard deviation can be used to find your ranking.

The disadvantage of the “curve” is that when students withdraw, the average scores change with the population. When students with the lower scores withdraw and are no longer counted, the “average” of the remaining students keeps increasing. With a grading “contract”, UGA students always have a sense of where they stand in an absolute sense. There is also more incentive to students because there is no limit to the number of each grade.

Success in General Chemistry courses

How DOES a student earn a top grade?

Several strategies can lead to success. The first is that general chemistry courses require a considerable amount of effort evenly spread across the entire semester. Work on assignments over several days and not just before the deadline. Most college instructors (especially those in challenging courses) recommend 2 to 3 hours per hour of class time per week. A second strategy is to understand the ideas that the homework or quizzes are based on. Organize all of the questions from the clicker questions in class, the homework, and the solved problems in the lecture videos and text. They are all related to the 5 to 8 big ideas in each chapter. Recognize the idea, what the questions ask, and how they are all related. Memorizing the approach to a question is rarely useful; doing a prescribed set of steps (i.e., algorithm) every time you see certain words or a concept does not help when the next question is even slightly different. Practice the skills of recognizing the ideas with a new set of problems; the end of chapter problems are ideal for this activity. Remember that this process takes time but develops your problem-solving skills that will be useful beyond these courses.

If I understand the solved problems in class and in the video, why aren’t my exam scores better?

Watching an instructor solve a problem in class or video certainly means that you understand the basic ideas. That’s great, but it represents the lowest level of understanding according to cognitive models. These courses require problem solving and applying knowledge at much higher levels of learning. As a student, YOU have to be able to solve the problems. The electronic homework questions give the students several attempts, often with intervening hints or tutorials. Simply remembering the question and answer is typically not very useful because almost any variation can’t be solved by this strategy. Why am I doing these steps? What simple changes will I recognize and what adjustments need to be made in my process? The general chemistry program uses a form of homework or self-assessment called “progress checks”. These give students alternative questions but only one attempt to test their skills. In addition, the textbook has substantial numbers of end-of-chapter problems with which to practice. Recognizing the material in a variety of forms and devising a plan of action are the skills to achieve.

What should I take as a review before taking CHEM 1211? It has been awhile since I took chemistry and I don’t remember anything.

Taking CHEM 1110 is possible but not helpful. The course coverage is different so it does not work as a preface for CHEM 1211. Additionally, taking both courses decreases financial aid hours without completing additional core requirements. If you feel like you need a preparatory course prior to taking CHEM 1211 and CHEM 1211L, the Chemistry Department now offers CHEM 1210. 

Find out more about CHEM 1210 here.

Where can I get help?

Every instructor has office hours, and some offer additional help sessions. Graduate teaching assistants can provide help with content from lecture and lab courses. The course syllabus or the news and announcements on the eLC site will tell you where and when you can access your instructor and the TAs. The Office of Academic Enhancement offers free tutoring in their facility in Memorial Hall and at the Miller Learning Center. Paid tutors are available on and off campus. Finding someone who just gives out sets of questions and answers is not likely to be of much help. (The textbook has hundreds of free questions.) Many students find these courses challenging; therefore, it should be obvious that there is no trivial answer. On the other hand, figuring it out is both satisfying and productive.

Why are these courses so annoyingly difficult if UGA is supposed to be a party school?

Many students have career aspirations that require a serious academic program. No one says that you also can’t have a good time while being academically successful. If you were born VERY smart, you might not have to work as hard. However, ALL students accepted to UGA have the requisite skills to have success in these introductory courses. You might have to develop a work ethic that is successful at the college level, and you might not achieve the highest score in the class.

Urban Legends

Is the Chemistry Department on probation or review for giving too many low grades?

No. The general chemistry and organic chemistry programs are not under probation. General Chemistry course instructors do NOT assign large numbers of failing grades (i.e., D or F); some representative values appear in another section and other semesters’ data are very similar to these. Students pass along this kind of information because they believe that it helps explain why they did not achieve a top-level grade.

Why do these courses have the reputation of being “weedout” courses?

The Department of Chemistry, the Directors of General and Organic Chemistry Instruction, and the instructors are all interested in student success; there is no agenda to indiscriminately eliminate or fail students. In fact, it makes very little sense to follow such a strategy. The “weedout” designation comes from the challenging nature but mostly from “urban legends”.

Why does the program use online exams?

There are advantages and disadvantages to any assessment system used in a large enrollment chemistry course. The instructors want a fair and objective evaluation of what every student knows. Paper exams using a single format, like multiple choice, limit how a student expresses their knowledge; paper exams with free-response answers are challenging to grade consistently and equitably. Online exams provide us with the opportunity to use a variety of formats and include images and other tools. Students want to believe that the current examination tools (i.e., WebAssign) are evil. Examination questions are written by teams of instructors each semester. They spend a considerable amount of time devising and implementing the questions, editing them, and then discussing their effectiveness. These questions are not identical to ones on progress checks or the homework. However, they test the same ideas. The strategy of memorizing old questions is not very effective, contrary to what people, who have collections of old questions to give out or to sell, tell you. It is more efficient and effective to understand the material than to memorize.

How does the introductory chemistry program calibrate or “review” itself?

The people who teach in our program are professionals. They have been trained on how to do what they do and to understand the best practices both in teaching and student learning. Some of us conduct research on student learning and student problem solving. One of us is the editor of a journal about teaching and learning chemistry (i.e., the Journal of Chemical Education). In addition, the self-assessment tools (i.e., questions and tutorial in WebAssign) and the asssessment tools (i.e., WebAssign questions and the final exams of the American Chemical Society Examinations Institute) are used by hundreds of colleges and thousands of students per year. UGA students perform as well or better when compared to national norms.

Will my chemistry course keep me from getting into professional school or my program of choice?

We teach chemistry courses, and contrary to some student opinions, don’t decide student career trajectories. Using standards established for UGA and for similar programs nationally, we assign grades (very objectively) based on student performance. Getting an A in general chemistry and organic chemistry courses does not guarantee admission to any program—professional schools use admissions tests (e.g., Medical College Admission Test, Pharmacy College Admissions Test, Dental College Admissions Test) in which science understanding and problem solving is examined. If a student scams the system or finds a course at some institution that gives an “easy” A and they don’t have matching knowledge on these tests, they don’t get admitted. Furthermore, achieving a realistic, overall grade but understanding the material and developing appropriate “habits of mind” are trajectories for success in prerequisite courses and for acceptance to a variety of programs and professional careers.

Questions for Parents

Does getting a grade below a B disqualify a student from a HOPE (or other) scholarship?

Financial aid and particular scholarships have requirements that are necessitated by Federal laws and guidelines in addition to ones from the State of Georgia and UGA. A particular grade in a chemistry course is not a criterion for financial aid or scholarships. Grades in courses taken during a semester or over an academic year are used in definitions of “satisfactory academic progress” and criteria for HOPE. Thus, it is a record of activity and performance that is used. Language from the website of the Office of Financial Aid states that… "…HOPE Scholarship students will be checked to see if they are maintaining a minimum 3.0 HOPE GPA at the end of the semesters in which they have attempted their 30th, 60th, 90th hours and at the end of every spring semester." Chemistry instructors don’t “make students lose their HOPE scholarships”. We assign grades objectively, following a grading scheme that is available in the syllabus each semester. The average grades in our courses are just at or above a B- (i.e., 2.7/4.0). Chemistry programs at UGA and comparable institutions do not subscribe to grade inflation. Students who come from secondary schools where every student is awarded an A or B in every course may be shocked to find a different system in place. Parents and guardians need to be aware of these policies also and to find ways to help support their student. Lobbying instructors for better grades or to change a grading scheme is not a productive use of anyone’s time.

How should a parent respond to their student’s reports of varying degrees of success?

Parents and family members are proud of their students at UGA. Secondary school records of students matriculating at UGA are quite impressive. However, there is considerable agreement that high school grades suffer from increasing grade inflation. Everyone enrolled in UGA general chemistry classes is equivalent—they all had records that got them accepted here. Once at UGA, students have varying degrees of success based on their aptitude and work habits in addition to reasons on the affective side—motivation, self-confidence, support infrastructure from family and friends, management of expectations and others. A natural tendency for some students is to share the blame with someone else, and our program is often the target of outrageous “urban legends”. We have been accused of having BOTH a 70% withdrawal rate AND a 75% failure rate in the same course. Our courses are challenging, but we are professionals and are constantly working to improve student success. We encourage students to meet with their instructor and to utilize suggested strategies or seek help via the Office of Academic Enhancement. Federal laws (i.e., FERPA) limit what we can discuss with parents. Testimonials about high school records don’t really provide much tangible help for a student. Support and understanding are always a big help.