Step 1. Are You Ready to be an Online Student?
You will need a computer and Internet access to participate in online courses. Online courses offer a unique and exciting learning experience, but they are not for everyone. Statistics show that many distance education students do not finish the programs they start. The most common obstacles are access and time constraints. To be a successful online student you must be self-motivated, have access to an Internet ready computer, be willing to actively participate within the unique confines of the online environment, and meet the admission requirements of the program. Taking an online class requires as much, or more, time and effort as taking a class on campus. The academic rigor of an online course is equal to its on-campus equivalent.
To see if online classes are right for you, answer these simple questions:
- Do you have the discipline to work independently?
- Are you comfortable asking for clarification and continuing to ask when you need more information?
- Are you good at meeting deadlines?
- Are you comfortable working at a computer?
- Are you comfortable working primarily with a text-based medium?
- Do you have easy access to a high-speed computer and the Internet?
- Have you successfully loaded plug-in applications on your computer from the Internet?
- Would you be comfortable communicating with your professor and fellow students via the phone and e-mail?
If you answered “yes” to these questions then you’ll probably do just fine. If you hesitated on some, or answered “no,” you will have to put some additional effort into making the experience a good one. Another good tool to determine your aptitude for distance education is the “ToOLS: Test of Online Learning Success,” a self-assessment that can be accessed here. Be sure you have access to a relatively new computer with a dependable connection to the Internet.
Checking out our web page, “Keys to Succeeding as an Online Student,” may also be useful to you in making your decision to pursue a degree through our online program.
Step 2. Apply for Admission
The application periods for online degree programs are the same as those for on-campus degree programs. Please review admission information and deadlines, as some application periods are limited. The application period for fall 2016 admission is over, but there will be two opportunities in 2016 to apply for future semesters. Applications for admission to the spring 2017 semester likely will be accepted August 1-31, 2016. The application period for admission to fall 2017 is October 1-November 30, 2016. You must meet the same University admissions requirements and deadlines as on-campus students. You may request that an information letter be emailed to you; this letter will give an overview of our program and include the link to obtain an online application to the University. These degree programs are designed for students who have completed two years at a community college or at a four-year college, with all lower division general education requirements met before admission to CSU, Chico.
To start the application process, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, email address, your phone number, and the degree program in which you are interested. You will be contacted with information about the next steps in the application procedure.
If you live outside of California, please verify our online programs are available in your state. There are approximately twelve states where it is cost prohibitive for Chico State to offer online courses and degree programs.
Note: If the formal admissions deadline has passed, there may still be a way for you to enroll in courses on a space-available basis through the Open University program.
Step 3. After Admission: Read the Catalog & Talk to an Advisor
It is highly recommended that you talk to your advisors to setup your academic plan: (1) general academic advising and (2) major program advising. Be sure you have read the section of the University Catalog that pertains to your program requirements before calling your advisor.
Go to the Portal Overview web page. You will set up your Portal account using your nine-digit student ID number (which will be on your admission verification letter) and your date of birth. It is through the Portal that you will add, drop and access your courses.
Step 5. Review Available Courses for Your Major
This process will provide you a list of your courses before using your portal account to enroll in classes. (1) Go to the current online course schedule; (2) click on the spreadsheet to the right of the schedule to enlarge it. You then can review the details about courses available for the upcoming term that are related to your major.
Step 6. Registration through the CSU, Chico Portal
Before the registration period opens, the University will give you an online “appointment” date and time to begin enrolling in your classes. At that time, you will log into your portal account to enroll online. On-campus students also enroll in this way.
Step 7. Pay Your Fees
You will be responsible to pay your registration fees by the appropriate deadline. Read the Student Financial Services web page on Fees, Tuition, Refunds and Holds for complete details. If you applied for financial aid, go to the Financial Aid Web site or call the Financial Aid Office at 530-898-6451.
Step 8. How do I Access my Online Class?
Once you have established your portal account (see Step 4, above), the portal will automatically provide you with access to the courses in which you are enrolled. Click on the “Student Services” tab and look for the “Courses Resource” link in the left-hand column. If you have any problems using the portal, just use the toll-free number for IT Support Services (ITSS), 1-800-780-4837, and the technical staff there will help you. Also, ITSS has an entire web page devoted to portal issues, titled Portal Overview. Many instructors should have instructional materials available one week prior to the start of the semester.
Step 9. Be Prepared for Class
If a syllabus is posted, review the course outline and book list. Approximately three weeks before classes start, you can purchase your books online through the CSU, Chico Wildcat Store.
Step 10. How do I Drop an Online Class?
To check the deadline dates for dropping a course, please visit http://www.csuchico.edu/sro/index.shtml or contact the Student Records and Registration Office at 530-898-5142.
Up until the end of the second week of the semester, you may add and drop courses through the Portal without permission. During the third and fourth weeks of the semester, the instructor’s permission is needed, in the form of a signature on a course drop form or, for online students, an email from the instructor. Forward the instructor’s email to Nancy Park at Continuing Education and she will forward the permission you obtained to the Student Records Office. The staff there will drop you from the course.
After the fourth week, a serious and compelling reason is required to drop a course. You must contact the instructor, explaining your reason for the late drop and requesting written approval (an email is fine) for the drop. You will then forward the email to Nancy Park; as a courtesy, she will forward it to the department chair and the dean. After all approvals are granted, she will forward the completed documents to the Student Records Office for processing.
State Consumer Protection laws require the University to provide online and distance education students the state agency address where students can file a complaint with their state agency responsible for distance education. Click this link and scroll down to “CSU Student Internal Complaint Process” for additional information.