SCW Advising Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Faculty and staff of the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Women’s and Gender Studies are committed to your success at USC Upstate. A key ingredient in that success is a positive and effective advising experience. To learn more about advising and what to expect, please review the FAQs below and contact us if you need assistance:

SCW Advising Guide (printable PDF) PDF icon image

Dr. Lizabeth Zack
SCW Department Chair

Mckayla Malaythong
SCW Administrative Assistant

Kirsten Meier
Palmetto College Coordinator

What is advising?

Advising is a set of tools and resources that help students successfully pursue a degree at USC Upstate. Every student is assigned at least one dedicated advisor to help students:

  • Identify authentic interests and passions
  • Make key decisions about courses, majors, and other academic program questions
  • Address challenges
  • Find resources across campus
  • Link academic work with career goals
Advising is also a relationship. Regular contact with your advisor is part of building a support system while you are at Upstate.
Do I have to be advised?

Advising is required. All students must be advised to have the Advisement Hold lifted prior to registration each semester.

Who is my advisor?

You will be assigned a faculty advisor within the department.

  • If you are a new, first-year student, you might be assigned to an academic advisor in the Student Success Center your first semester.
  • If you are a Palmetto College student, you will be assigned to the Palmetto College Coordinator for advising.

Check your Student Profile (in Self Service under Student) or DegreeWorks Audit and Planner (in Self Service under Student > Advisement Planning) to find out who your advisor is. If an advisor is not listed in your Student Profile, please contact Mckayla Malaythong so one can be assigned to you.

Connect with your advisor as soon as possible to start building that relationship.

How can I find my advisor?

Login to Starfish (in Student Resources under Information for Current Students) using the same credentials as your Upstate email. First-time users must create a profile. Under My Success Network, look for Primary Advisor to find your advisor’s contact information, office location, office hours, and appointment schedule.

When do I need to be advised?

In October and March each year, the university schedules a two-week advising period immediately before registration for the following semester(s) begins. The specific dates for the advising period can be found in the relevant Academic Calendar. Be on the lookout for email messages from the university and from the department. Your assigned advisor will contact you with specific sign-up instructions.

It is important to schedule an appointment with your advisor during the advising period. Students who delay advising risk not being able to register at the pre-assigned registration time and not getting into the classes they need or want. Even if you are not yet sure if you will attend the following semester, it is best to get advised and reserve your seat in classes in case you do attend. Payment is not due until a few days before the semester begins. If you decide not to attend, you can drop your classes before the semester begins.

How do I make an appointment with my advisor?

Unless instructed differently from your assigned advisor, use Starfish to schedule your appointment. Login to Starfish using the same credentials as your Upstate email. If you are unable to login, you may need to reset your email password. First-time users must set up a profile. Go to My Success Network and click on your Primary Advisor’s name to see their office hours and to schedule an appointment.

What if I can’t get in touch with my advisor?

If you have any questions or concerns about your advisor, please contact the department’s administrative assistant, Mckayla Malaythong (864-503-5701) or the department chair, Dr. Lizabeth Zack (864-503-5739).

How should I prepare for my appointment with my advisor?

Review your current courses

  • Write down your current courses, midterm grades, and the final grades you anticipate.
  • Consider whether you need to withdraw from any courses. Talk with the course instructor, your advisor, and the Financial Aid Office before you withdraw. If you decide to withdraw, do so before the deadline to avoid academic penalties. Last Day to Withdraw dates are found in the Academic Calendar.

Review your CRJU or SOCY program requirements

  • Become familiar with program requirements as listed in the Academic Catalog. The requirements consist of General Education, Major, and Minor/Cognate courses required to complete the degree.
  • Review your unofficial transcript in Self Service (Student > Student Profile > Academic Transcript).
Consult your DegreeWorks Audit.
  • Review your DegreeWorks Audit in Self Service (Student > Advisement Planning > DegreeWorks Audit and Planner).
  • Watch this video on how to use DegreeWorks.
  • Let your advisor know if you see any errors in your DegreeWorks.

Prepare a list of potential courses for next semester

  • Go to the Course Schedule in Self Service (Student > Registration > Browse Classes) to find out which courses are being offered.
  • Select courses that fit your schedule.
  • Select the section you want if more than one section is being offered.

Note: do this in advance so you have more time during your appointment to discuss academic progress, current challenges, career readiness, future plans, etc. with your advisor.

Prepare a list of topics and questions to discuss with your advisor, such as…

  • Progress in your current classes
  • Goals for upcoming semesters
  • Strategies for selecting courses
  • Taking courses in summer, or not
  • Changing your major/adding a major or concentration
  • Minors or Cognates
  • Transient coursework at another institution
  • Study abroad
  • Internship opportunities
  • Strengths, skills, and knowledge related to career goals
  • Areas of employability that could be strengthened
  • Future career/educational goals
How do I know when I can register for classes?

Each student has a pre-set registration time. The registration time ticket is the earliest possible time you may register for classes based upon your earned credit hours. You can find your time ticket information in Self Service (Student > Registration > Registration Notices and Holds > Term > Registration Status) or in your Student Profile under Registration Notices:

Registration Notices screenshot
View full size image

How do I get holds removed from my account?

The Advisement Hold will be removed by your advisor once you’ve been advised. You might have other holds that prevent you from registering for classes. Here are some examples:

  • Immunization Hold (contact Health Services at 864-503-5191)
  • Transcript Hold (contact Admissions at 864-503-5246)
  • Delinquent Account (contact the Cashier’s Office at 864-503-5326)
  • Parking Tickets, Library Fines, Campus Housing, etc

Click/tap on Holds in your Student Profile (Self Service > Student > Student Profile) to see if you have a hold and how to get the hold removed.

screen shot of student profile diaalog box
View full size image

How do I register for classes?

Here’s a video on how to register for classes in Self Service.
There are three ways to add classes and build your schedule. All three have these same initial steps:

  1. Login to Self Service Carolina
  2. Click/tap on Student
  3. Click/tap on Registration
  4. Click/tap on Register for Classes
  5. Select the term

Review the steps for each of the ways to register and decide which one is best for you:

Find Classes tab

  1. Under the Find Classes tab, select USC Upstate in the campus box
  2. Enter the subject
  3. Enter the course number (optional)
  4. Use the Advanced Search feature to filter results (optional)
  5. Click/tap on Search
  6. Review results and click Add for the section you want
  7. Repeat Steps 2-6 for each class
  8. The classes you add will be in your Summary
  9. Click/tap on Submit in your Summary to register

Enter CRNs tab – this option requires you to know the Course Reference Number (CRN) for each course and section you want to take

  1. Under the Enter CRNs tab, type the 5-digit CRN for the course and section in the box
  2. To add another CRN, use the “Add Another CRN” link
  3. Continue with Step 2 until all courses are entered
  4. Click/tap on Add to Summary
  5. Click/tap on Submit in your Summary to register

Shopping Cart tab – this option requires you to create a plan in your Schedule Planner Shopping Cart first (see next section for details how to create a plan)

  1. Under the Shopping Cart tab, review the courses you entered in your plan
  2. Click/tap on Add for each course to add the course to your Summary
  3. Click/tap on Submit in your Summary to register
How do I use the Schedule Planner?

Schedule Planner is the best way to build a schedule. Once you enter all the courses you want to take, you will be able to view multiple schedules with various combinations of sections and choose the one that is best for you. Follow these steps:

  1. Login to Self Service Carolina
  2. Click/tap on Student
  3. Click/tap on Registration
  4. Click/tap on Schedule Planner Shopping Cart
  5. Select the term
  6. Click/tap on Create a New Plan
  7. Click/tap on Add Course
  8. Enter the subject and course number for each course you want to take
  9. Click/tap on Done
  10. Use the filters at the top of the page (optional)
  11. Click/tap on Generate Schedules
  12. Review thumbnails of each schedule by hovering your cursor of the magnifying glass
  13. Select the schedules that you like best and click/tap on Compare at the top of the list, or
  14. Click/tap on the View link to get a detailed view of a schedule
  15. When you’ve decided on a schedule, click/tap on the Send to Shopping Cart button at the top of the detailed schedule, then click/tap on Continue
  16. Find your schedule under the Shopping Cart tab in Register for Classes

Note: Entering classes in your Shopping Cart prior to your time to register DOES NOT mean you will have a saved seat in those classes. If there are available seats at your time to register, you will get a seat. If there are no available seats, you will be prompted to reselect your class schedule.

Tip: When you have added your classes, you will see an Options button which will show you every offered section and day/time for the class.


What if the class I need is full/closed?

If the class you need is full or closed, find another section of the class with an available seat, especially if the class is only offered during that semester. Course enrollments change, so check the schedule often for openings. If you need the course, contact the instructor for an override (i.e., permission to enroll in their class). If the instructor approves, you will be added to the class. It is a good idea to have a few back-up courses and an alternate schedule in case you cannot get your preferred courses. If you desire an override for a non-SCW course, contact the listed professor or respective department chair.

How do I know the instructional method of my class?

The Method of Instruction is indicated in the course section information.

W = 100% Web Asynchronous (Example: 01W)
The course is completely online and there are no assigned class times. You will see TBA listed under class day/time.

VM = 100% Web Mix Async & Sync (1VM)
The course has a meeting day/time, but students attend class either in person or virtually. If the section has a room number, you will attend class in person. If the section has 8WEB UPSTATE listed in place of a room number, you will attend class virtually.

V = 100% Web Synchronous (01V)
The course has a meeting day/time, and students attend class virtually.

01 = Traditional Face-to-Face Instruction (01)
The course has a meeting day/time, and students attend class in person.

What does ‘Part of Term’ mean?

Part of Term defines when a course starts and ends and how many weeks of instruction.

Full Term
Classes take place for the entire 15-week semester.

First Half-Term
Classes take place for the first 7 weeks of the semester (ex: August to October; January to March).

Second Half-Term
Classes take place for the last 7 weeks of the semester (ex: October to December; March to May).

Winter Term (WT)
Classes take place for 3 weeks over Winter break (from end of December to mid-January). These classes count as a Spring course and have Financial Aid repercussions.

Summer A, B, C, D, E, and F

A = 3 weeks in May
B = 4 weeks in June
C = 4 weeks in July
D = Sessions A and B combined
E = Sessions B and C combined
F = Sessions A, B, and C combined
What is the difference between “dropping” and “withdrawing from” a class?

Dropping a class before the Last Day to Add/Drop (within the first few days for half term or first week for full term after the class has begun) means:

  • Students are not held financially responsible for the class and may possibly receive a refund
  • The class will not appear on the student’s permanent record
  • The student’s GPA is not affected

Withdrawing from a class must occur before the Last Day to Withdraw when about 2/3 of the term has been completed (see next section on how to find Last Day to Withdraw dates) means:

  • Students are held financially responsible for the class
  • Students will receive a W in their transcript
  • The student’s GPA is not affected

Note: Students who do not drop or withdraw before the respective dates yet abandon the class before the end of the term will receive a WF in their transcript which counts as an F and negatively affects their GPA.

When is the last day to withdraw from a class, and how do I withdraw from a class?

The deadline to withdraw without academic penalty for Full Term, Half Term, Winter Term, and Summer Sessions can be found in the Academic Calendar.

To withdraw from a class:

  1. Login to Self Service Carolina
  2. Click/tap on Student
  3. Click/tap on Registration
  4. Click/tap on Register for Classes
  5. Select the current term
  6. Find the course in your Summary at the bottom right
  7. Using the drop menu in the Action column, select Drop/Delete/Withdraw
  8. Click/tap on Submit to confirm


Where do I find which books I need?

Books can be purchased at USC Upstate’s Bookstore in the Health Education Complex (HEC) on the main campus or through the Bookstore website.

  1. Click/tap on the Textbooks tab, then select Buy/Compare
  2. Enter the term, then the department, course, and section for each class you are taking
  3. Click/tap on Begin Comparison and review the results
  4. Decide if you want to buy new, used, or rent online; or search other providers using the ISBN, title, and edition information from results


What if I want to take a class at another campus?

The Transient/Concurrent Permission Form PDF icon image must be completed and signed by you and your advisor and submitted to the Registrar. Always meet first with your advisor to discuss this option.

  • Transient means you wish to take a course at a non-USC campus
  • Concurrent means you wish to take a course at another USC campus
Where do I find forms?

The Registrar’s and Records Office webpage has links to various Forms including Change of Major, Change of Minor, Change of Name, Grade Forgiveness Application, Course Overload, Permission for Transient/Concurrent, Change of Catalog Year and more.

How do I access Blackboard?

USC Upstate’s Learning Management System is called Blackboard. You will find your list of courses when you login to Blackboard. Each course contains information about the instructor, the syllabus, the schedule, course materials, assignments, quizzes and tests, projects, etc. You will submit everything pertaining to the course as well as see your grades and course average in Blackboard.

  1. On USC Upstate’s landing page, click/tap on Current Students
  2. Under Student Resources, click/tap on Blackboard

Blackboard screen shot  image
View full size image


Go to Current Students Student Resources

What if I need academic assistance (tutoring)?

The Student Success Center can help all students (online or on campus). Contact Jana Gordon or call (864) 503-5070 to request a tutor and schedule an appointment. Additionally, Palmetto College students can access Brainfuse (free online tutoring via Blackboard).

  1. Login to one of your Palmetto College courses in Blackboard
  2. Click/tap on Tools located in the menu on the left side of your screen
  3. Select Brainfuse – Online Tutoring
How do I find out about internships?

Talk with your advisor about internships. Students can do an internship on their own or through the scheduled course (CRJU U490 or SOCY U495). The internship requires 135 hours of fieldwork. Criminal Justice students (incl. Palmetto College students) can take CRJU U490 to meet the Career Planning requirement.

What if I miss an entire semester?

If you miss a fall or spring semester, you must reapply to USC Upstate. Login to Self Service Carolina and click/tap on Admissions under the Admissions tab where you will find the Readmit application. There is a $10 application fee.

How do I apply for graduation?

You must submit an application to graduate so that your record can be reviewed to ensure you’ve met all requirements.

  1. Login to Self Service Carolina
  2. Click/tap on Student
  3. Click/tap on Graduation
  4. Click/tap on Graduation Application, complete the requested information, and submit

The application is time-stamped, and you must apply in the semester you wish to graduate. To find out when the application is available and when the deadlines are, please contact your advisor.