FAQs

How do I contact my professor?

The best and easiest way to contact any College of Education and Psychology professor is by email. Go to your department for a list of all faculty and instructor email addresses. Please allow up to 48 hours for a response. You can also drop by your professor's office during his/her office hours, which are listed on your syllabus. Your professor’s email and phone number can also be found under People at the top of the USM web site home page.  If you are trying to contact your instructor in an online class, email is your only option unless otherwise indicated in your course syllabus.  Your professor’s office hours may also be listed on his or her office door, and on your syllabus, which is your first and best resource for information about the class.  If you are taking an online class, your professor may not hold office hours, and can be contacted by e-mail or Blackboard.

I've emailed my professor but I haven't heard back. What should I do?

Please give your instructors 48 hours to respond to your emails. They may be getting emails from many, many students, and responding as quickly as they can in the order in which they received them. If it has been 48 hours and you still haven’t heard, please send the e-mail again.

How will I know when advisement is?

Advisement dates are listed in the General Academic Calendar

When can I enroll in classes?

After you have been advised, please allow your advisor 24 hours to check the eligible-to-enroll box on your account, and then check on SOAR under Self Service, Student Center for your enrollment appointment. General enrollment dates can be found in the General Academic Calendar.

I’ve been advised; why can’t I register for classes?

There are a number of reasons that you might be blocked for enrollment. It might be that your eligible-to-enroll box has not yet been checked, or it might be that there is a hold on your account. A hold on your account could be the result of an unpaid bill, a required 099 enrollment that has not been fulfilled, or a hold from the athletic department if you are an athlete. You should be able to tell from your Student Center in SOAR what the problem is, but if you have any problems, please call your advisor.

I think I received an unfair grade. Who can I talk to?

The first person you should talk to is your instructor. Take your exam or your paper to your instructor’s office during his or her office hours and ask why you received the grade you did and how you can improve. If you still feel that your grade was unfair, you can make an appointment to talk to the Chair of your department.  He/She will talk to you about your situation, and about the grade appeal process. To review the grade appeal process on your own, please check the relevant information from USM'S Student Handbook.

How do I avoid being accused of plagiarism?

The best way to not be accused of plagiarism is not to plagiarize. Fortunately, avoiding plagiarism is fairly simple: if you use phrases or sentences that you did not write yourself, put them in quotation marks and cite your source. If you copy anything and paste it into your paper, use quotation marks and cite your source. If you copy something but change the wording or the order, this is paraphrasing. You won’t need to use quotation marks, but you still need to cite your source. If you read a great argument that you want to use in your own paper, cite your source. If you cite your sources and use quotation marks when necessary, you will not be accused of plagiarism.

If you use another person’s writing without citing the source, you will be caught. The University subscribes to a service which, when your paper is entered, will compare it with sources all over the Internet, published books and articles, papers from paper mills, and any student papers that have ever been submitted to it before. If the service finds parts of your paper that were copied from a source, they will provide a link to the source, so your paper and the source can be compared side by side. It is never, ever worth the risk. If you run out of time to write a paper, it is much better to ask for an extension or even to submit what you have than to plagiarize. If you fail a paper, you have an “F” on one paper, and still have time to bring up your grade or withdraw passing from the class. If you plagiarize, you may fail the entire course, or if you attempt to withdraw, you will withdraw failing, which counts as an “F” in your GPA. Don’t risk it.

To review the university’s policy on plagiarism, please look in your Student Handbook.



I have been unfairly accused of plagiarism. What should I do?

If you believe you have been unfairly accused of plagiarism, you should talk to your instructor as soon as you can to find out why it is that he/she feels you have plagiarized. If you are unable to resolve the issue with your instructor, you may make an appointment with the Chair of your department.  He/She will talk to you about your situation, and about the grade appeal process. To review the grade appeal process on your own, please check the relevant information from USM'S Student Handbook. Please note that you must make a good faith effort to work things out with your instructor before talking to the Chair, because if you have not, the Chair will refer you back to the instructor.  If you are unable to resolve things with the Chair, you may appeal your gradebefore a university committee.

What is the difference between a “WP” and a “WF?”

A “WP” (withdraw passing) means that you are leaving the class in good standing, and will not count against your GPA, although it will remain on your transcript if you are dropping the class after the deadline to withdraw without academic penalty. (This deadline will be listed in the Academic Calendar. A “WF” means that you are leaving the class failing, and will count as an “F” in your GPA. The decision whether you get a “WP” or a “WF” is based on your performance in the class and is at the sole discretion of the instructor.

What does the grade “NA” mean?

“NA” means “not attending” and it is given to students who sign up for a class but don’t attend it. “NAs” count as “Fs” in your GPA, and you will also be charged for the class, as financial aid will not pay for a class that you haven’t attended. This is something you definitely want to avoid. Check your schedule at the beginning of the semester and make sure that all the classes that are on there are classes you plan to attend. If you don’t plan to go, drop the class while you still can on SOAR, and if it is past the deadline, see procedures for dropping a class after the deadline. If you feel you have been given an “NA,” in error, please contact your instructor.

My incomplete suddenly turned to an “F.” What should I do?

Incompletes only stay on your transcript for one semester. If you have not completed your work at the end of the following semester (not including summer), the “I” disappears and is replaced with an “F.” If this has happened to you, contact the instructor of the class right away. You should develop an Incomplete Contract with your instructor before the end of the semester in which the class was originally registered. See this contract for requirements for completion of the course in which you received the incomplete

All my classes have been dropped from my schedule. What should I do?

If your classes were there one day and gone the next, they were most likely dropped due to lack of payment. Call the business office at 601-266-4137 to find out how you can fix the situation. Once you have paid the fees, if it is past the deadline for you to add your classes back yourself on SOAR, pick up an Add/Drop form from your department for each class You will need to fill out the forms completely, then have the instructor of each class sign the appropriate form, and then take the form to the department office for the Chair’s signature. Once the Chair has signed, take the forms to the Registrar’s office in Kennard-Washington and they will reinstate you. IMPORTANT: Keep attending all your classes while you are in limbo. If you are taking an online class, email your instructor and let him/her know that you have been dropped but will log back in as soon as you are reinstated.

How do I get into a closed class?

The best way to get into a closed class is to attend it and talk to the instructor after class. It is possible that other students who are enrolled are not attending, in which case there might well be a space for you. You can also try emailing the instructor, but you double your chances if you make the effort to show up, particularly if you participate in class. If you want to enroll in a closed online class, email the instructor and ask permission. Please note that instructors will be much more inclined to let you in if they learn of your intent the first week of class. If you show up the third week of class and want in, most likely they will tell you to try again next semester when you haven’t already missed so much class.

How do I drop a class after the deadline for dropping classes?

Ideally, classes should not be dropped after the deadline. To determine your best course of action and discuss your options, please meet with your instructor before proceeding. If it is determined you can drop a class after the deadline for dropping classes on SOAR has passed (see USM’s Academic Calendar for dates), you will need to use an add/drop form, which you can get from the Registrar’s office in Kennard-Washington or from your department.  Fill out the top of the form completely (all the information you need is available on your SOAR page) and bring it to your instructor. Your instructor will assign you a “WP” (withdraw passing) or a “WF” (withdraw failing) and sign the form. Once the form has been signed by the instructor, please bring it to your Department Office for a signature from the Chair. You will most likely need to leave the form overnight and pick it up the next day. Once you have the Chair’s signature, you can take the form to the Registrar’s office and they will withdraw you from the class. Please note that you must return the form to the Registrar’s office within five business days of the instructor’s signature or they will refuse it and you will need to start the process over.

I’m trying to enroll in classes but SOAR won’t let me. Why?

There are three reasons that you might not be able to register.
(1) Your window is not open. To check when your SOAR window will be open, look on your student center page for enrollment dates.  (2) You have not been advised. Please contact your advisor to schedule advisement.  If you have been advised, please allow 24 hours for your advisor to click your “Eligible to Enroll” button. If you are still not able to enroll, please contact your advisor. (3) You have a hold on your account. To check to see if you have a hold, look on your student center page in SOAR for holds. This will tell you the reason for the hold. If it is financial, please contact business services at 266-4137. If you are on probation continued or suspension, you will need to talk to your advisor and sign a contract detailing your plans for improving your grades.

How can I find out when my final exams are?

It is available here: Exam Schedule from the Registrar’s home page. Also, make sure to double check your class syllabus and course schedule provided by your instructor as that will always have the most accurate date for your specific class.

I am having trouble in one of my classes. How can I get help?

Your first resource is your instructor. Instructors hold office hours each week specifically to help students who are having trouble. He or she will be happy to answer any questions you have about the lecture, or to go over papers you’ve written and suggest areas for improvement. If you’re having trouble with your writing, another resource is the Writing Center, located in Cook Library right next to Starbucks. The Writing Center has tutors who will talk with you about your writing project and help you figure out what you want to say and how you can say it most effectively. To make an appointment at the Writing Center, please call 266-4821.

I’m taking an online class, and I don’t know where to start.

Your first stop should be Southern Miss ELO.  Click on the Current Students button at the top of the page. Click on the Students link, and then Student How-To’s. This will give you all the information you need to know. If you are having technical problems, please call the iTech help desk at 266-HELP. If you are having problems with a particular class assignment, please email the instructor of the class. 

I got a letter telling me I am on probation or suspension. What should I do?

You received this letter because you were on a list of students with low grade point averages. First, go to this Registrar’s page to retrieve the proper form on probation or suspension process. Following that you will need to make an appointment with your advisor. He/She will discuss with you ways that you can improve your GPA and will work out a contract with you which will allow you to continue your education here at USM while you try to bring your grades up. For more specifics about academic probation or suspension, please visit the Registrar’s web page and check out their FAQs.

How do I change my major or add a minor?

To change your major, you need to go to the department office of the major you are changing to. To add a minor, you need to pick up a form from the department office of the minor you are trying to add.

I am feeling overwhelmed, depressed and anxious. Who should I talk to?

Psychological services are available through three clinics in OMH:  (1) Assessment Clinic operated through the Counseling Psychology program—266-4601; (2) School Psychology Service Center—266-4594 operated by the School Psychology program; (3) Psychology Clinic operated by the Clinical Psychology program—266-4588. Current USM Students can receive free mental health services at the USM Counseling Center, www.usm.edu/counseling/.  If it’s after 5:00 p.m. or during the weekend, and you need to talk to someone right away, please call 601-606-HELP (4357) or 911.

I have questions about my financial aid package.

Please call the Financial Aid office at 601-266-4774. You can either ask your question over the phone or make an appointment to talk with a financial aid counselor, who will be happy to go over your options with you.

I have questions about my bill.

All billing questions need to be directed to the Business office at 601-266-4137, even if the question is about lab fees for a class.

I’ll be ready to graduate soon. What steps do I need to take?

For all the information you need on how to graduate from USM, please visit the Registrar’s web page on the subject. There you will find the application itself, the mandatory exit survey, instructions on everything you need to submit, and a printable checklist that will help you determine whether or not you’ve got everything you need.  Additionally, you will need to schedule an appointment with your advisor to review and sign this paperwork. Please note the “Deadline for Graduation” document on the Registrar’s website and pay close attention to the dates your application is due. Make sure to allow plenty of time for your paperwork to be signed and processed.

How do I activate my USM email address and why should I?

You can activate your email address by logging into your SOAR account, going to Self Service, then USM Self Service, then Activate Email.

You should activate your USM email and check it daily because you may get important communications from your professors. (For example, if one of your classes has to be cancelled at the last minute, the news will be sent out via SOAR to the entire class roster, and only to USM email addresses. For obvious reasons, it would be much better to receive that news the night before than to show up at 8:00 a.m. and find a note on the classroom door.) They might also send you information about your assignments, advisement, or about where a class is meeting if it is not meeting in its regular classroom.

If you need help having your USM email forwarded to the email account that you prefer (Yahoo, hotmail, gmail, etc.), please call iTech at (601) 266-HELP and they can walk you through the process.

How do I fill out my course evaluations?

You can fill out your course evaluations through your SOAR account.

How do I appeal a grade?

If you believe you have been unfairly graded, you should talk to your instructor as soon as you can. If you are unable to resolve the issue with your instructor, you may make an appointment with the Chair of the department.  He/She will talk to you about your situation, and about the grade appeal process. To review the grade appeal process on your own, please check the relevant information from USM'S Student Handbook.  Please note that you must make a good faith effort to work things out with your instructor before talking to the Chair, because if you have not, the Chair will refer you back to the instructor. If you are unable to resolve things with the Chair, you may appeal your grade before a university committee.