Frequently Asked Questions
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Is there an attendance policy?
Yes! SMC believes that class attendance is absolutely necessary for students to learn. The attendance policy is strictly enforced. Students are only allowed to miss six class periods for those classes that meet three times per week, four class periods for those classes that meet twice per week, and two class periods for those classes that meet once per week. Students who violate the attendance policy can be dropped from the class and given the grade of FA (failure due to absences). This is calculated as an F for GPA purposes.
Special circumstances (such as pro-longed illness, death in the family, etc.) may be considered by the individual instructor. Students should notify their instructor(s) immediately if they must miss class for a pro-longed length of time.
Athletes must abide by the campus attendance policy as well, even if they must miss class for a game, match, or meet. All students should notify their professors if they know in advance they will not be able to attend class and make arrangements to obtain any notes or handouts they may miss.
Can I use my IEP from high school when I come to SMC?
SMC assists students with accommodations based on an evaluation by a licensed psychologist or certified school psychologist. For complete details, see the “Students with Disabilities” section of the SMC Catalog.
Can parents receive information about their student’s grade?
Federal Law (FERPA/Buckley Amendment) prohibits SMC from sharing grades and information about grades unless the student has signed a release giving permission for that information to be shared with parents or anyone else. See the “Confidentiality of Permanent Records” section of the SMC Catalog.
Are student grades mailed to the home?
SMC mails mid-term and end of term grades to the student at the home address.
Are tutoring services available to students?
Yes. The Student Support Services office manages the Tutoring Lab. In order to be a tutor, a student must have completed the course with a B or higher and/or be recommended by the professor. Tutoring services are free to all students.
The Writing Center is also available for all students. Staffed by SMC English faculty members, students who visit the writing center receive assistance in the writing process. Students typically bring papers to the Writing Center for assistance with spelling, grammar, and idea development.
What is Validation Day?
Every student must meet with their advisor on Validation Day. The student must give their advisor their clearance card to validate their schedule. Changes to schedules may also be made. Students who do not validate on time lose their schedule. Validation Day is always the day before classes begin.
What is a Late Registration Fee?
If a student misses their scheduled validation opportunity and validates late, a $50.00 late registration fee will be added to their account.
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 prohibits the release of a student’s educational information without the student’s written consent. A student can sign a FERPA release form in the registrar’s office to give parents or guardians permission to seek academic information concerning the student.
What is Drop/Add?
Drop/Add is the period in which students may change classes with their advisor. Changing classes late in Drop/Add is not advisable, as the student would have already accrued absences in the class to be added. Once Drop/Add is over, classes can no longer be added. Consult the catalog calendar for the deadline for Drop/Add. A student wishing to drop a class after Drop/Add must officially withdraw from the course.
What is an Academic Petition?
An Academic Petition Form is used by a student to officially withdraw from a course. Appropriate signatures are required. The date of the withdrawal will determine what type of withdrawal grade is earned.
What is the difference between W, WP and WF when withdrawing from a course?
The Catalog lists the deadlines for withdrawal. After the W deadline, a student may still withdraw from a course by earning a WP (passing) or WF (failing). W and WP grades do not affect the GPA. WF grades count just like a grade of F. It is the student’s responsibility to initiate a withdrawal from a course, secure the appropriate signatures and submit the form to the Registrar’s Office on the same day as authorized by the instructor.
What is a grade of FA?
A grade of FA indicates a student has failed a class due to absences. The attendance policy for each course is set by the instructor. Generally the allowable number of absences is 13% of the course meetings. The syllabus for each course will indicate the number of allowed absences.
What sports are offered at SMC?
SMC has 14 sports that compete in Division I of the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Region X. Those include men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, wrestling and volleyball.
What forms are required annually for my student to be a student-athlete?
You can visit the SMC athletics website at www.gosmcpioneers.com to find out what all forms are required, and information related to sports medicine, drug testing, and our athlete code of conduct.
My student is an athlete, and I want to attend his or her games. Is there a charge?
No. There is no charge for SMC athletic events unless it is part of an outside tournament being hosted on the SMC campus. We invite all family members and community members to attend our sporting events free of charge.
When do I need to pay?
The bill must be paid in full in the business office before classes start and before a student moves into a residence hall.
What is a Clearance Card?
A clearance card is your ticket to move into a residence hall and attend the first day of class. You receive the clearance card in the business office after your bill has been paid. You cannot move into a residence hall without a clearance card. You cannot attend class without a clearance card. Only the business office issues clearance cards.
If I cannot pay in full can I make Installment Payments during the Semester?
We only accept installment payments made through FACTS Management / Nelnet Business Solutions. This system is accessed only online through the SMC website. You must self enroll yourself and allow drafts to your bank accounts or credit cards. The payment plan allows for up to five payments per semester.
My student does not have health insurance? Is he/she required to have it?
At this time, students are not required to have health insurance; however, SMC strongly encourages all students to have health insurance. Students without insurance who become ill or are involved in an accident on campus are referred to the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center Emergency Room. As a public facility, no one can be turned away due to lack of insurance. Students with health insurance are referred to local urgent care facilities in non-emergency cases. The wait at an urgent care center versus the Emergency Room is usually much shorter. If your student does have health insurance, make sure he or she comes to college with a current insurance card.
Is my student required to have the Meningitis vaccination?
No. The SMC Health Center does offer the Meningitis vaccination for a small fee (around $100) for interested students. This fee covers the cost of the vaccination only. There is no charge for the administration of the vaccine. Contact the SMC Health Center for more information. (864) 587-4277.
When flu season hits, can my student get the flu shot on campus?
Yes. The Student Development Division works with an outside company to bring flu shots to campus when they are made available. For a minimal cost that can be charged to the student’s account, SMC students can receive the flu shot without ever having to leave campus.
Are students required to attend Chapel services?
No. Chapel services are held on campus each Wednesday at 11 am. No classes meet at this time. While students are not required to attend, all students are invited and encouraged to attend. The SMC Chaplain preaches often but also invites ministers from various denominations to preach throughout the semester. The SMC Chaplain plans the services with help from student volunteers. She is always looking for students who are interested in sharing their gifts (musical, dramatic, preaching, etc.) in weekly Chapel services. Visit the religious life website for more information.
What other religious life opportunities are on campus for my student?
Wesley Fellowship – United Methodist campus ministry
All of the above ministries invite students from all denominations and backgrounds to participate in their activities, including weekly Bible studies, small groups, weekly worship opportunities, weekly fellowship opportunities, and various missions and service opportunities as well. Campus ministers and volunteer staff are on campus throughout the week to meet with students.
Is there a bank on campus? Which bank is the closest to campus?
There is a BB&T ATM located on the 2nd floor of the Student Center. While the machine accepts all ATM cards, a fee is charged for non BB&T customers. As a college student friendly ATM, this machine distributes money in increments of $5.
Is there a curfew?
No. SMC does not have a curfew. Visitation hours are enforced in the residence halls for guests (both students who do not live in that building and off-campus guests). There is open visitation from 12 pm to 7 pm daily. Restricted visitation, which requires all guests to sign in and out, begins at 7 pm and lasts until midnight Sunday through Thursday and 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
What are the hours of the cafeteria?
The cafeteria hours accommodate almost every student’s schedule. All residential students are required to have the Carte Blanche Meal Plan. This plan gives unlimited access to the dining hall for all-you-care-to-eat meals and snacks throughout the day.
Commuting students can take advantage of our Pioneer Points Program (a declining balance program where money can be used in the dining hall and in the bookstore) or one of our Commuter Meal Plans. The commuting student meal plan and the Pioneer Points Program work on a per meal basis. For more information, visit SMC’s Sodexo website.
Monday-Thursday: 7:30 am – 8:30 pm
Friday: 7:30 am – 6:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 1:30 am – 1:00 pm (Brunch) and 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm (Dinner)
My student is homesick, and I am several hours away. What can I do?
Students deal with being away from home in various ways. Some students have no problem adjusting and relish in the excitement of a new place! Some students, though, need a bit more time getting used to their home away from home. If you suspect that your student is homesick or is having trouble adjusting to his or her new environment, encourage your student to get involved in activities on campus or talk with his or her RA or Pioneer Peer (sophomores who are trained to help students make the most of their time at SMC). If you are still concerned, you can contact a member of the Student Development Staff. We will make every effort to reach out to your student in an unassuming manner and find a place for him or her to plug in to campus life.
My student is still undecided about his/her major. Is there anyone on campus who can help?
The Counseling Center offers transfer and career counseling to all students using a holistic approach. Through several computerized inventories, the Counseling Center staff can help students understand their personality, interests, life goals, and skills. They use this information to help direct students toward careers that best fit them as a whole person. SMC’s goal is to help students find a career they will love and grow in, not just a job. The student’s academic advisor can also help point him or her in the right direction. For more information, visit the Counseling Services page.