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Skidmore College
New Student Advising & Registration Guide

Choosing Courses

Now that you’ve received your Scribner Seminar placement, you are ready to begin creating your first semester schedule of coursework. With your first advising session in June, you have already started becoming familiar with the registration process. Learning about the Skidmore curriculum and registration process will be an ongoing part of your Skidmore experience.

You should carefully review information provided here as well as the materials available on the Registrar’s “Incoming Students” web page. This guide and the master schedule are the primary resources you need to help you develop your fall course schedule. Note that we expect you, the incoming student, to complete the registration process by yourself. Advice from parents and others is fine, but we expect you to take agency and ownership of your academic journey starting with your fall schedule. 

The Skidmore College Catalog contains information about courses and programs for all students. The Catalog can be found online through the Summer Advising Hub, a convenient place to find all the relevant links to information useful to you as you plan for registration. Please note that the Catalog lists many courses, including courses that may be offered another year and courses that may not be open to first-year students.

How many and what type of courses should I choose?

How many classes?  
All first-year students must be enrolled in a Scribner Seminar (SSP-100) their first semester at Skidmore. Including your Scribner Seminar, a typical first-semester schedule includes a total of four academic courses totaling 14–16 credits.

Note that the minimal full-time load is 12 credits.  In order to be eligible for Dean’s List honors, you must be enrolled in 14 or more credits.

An overload (above 18 credits) is not permitted and we discourage you from registering for 18 credits unless you have a very compelling reason to do so and are confident that you can handle the workload. If you do think a schedule of 18 credits is right for you, plan to discuss this with your summer advisor and again with your faculty advisors during the first week of classes. 

What types of courses?  As you consider which courses to add to your schedule, we generally recommend a balance that allows you to further study subjects in which you have a strong interest, while also exploring new areas. Your schedule may include one or two courses in a potential major and one or two courses that meet the all-college requirements. Generally, you are looking for 3 academic courses to take along with your required Scribner Seminar course (SSP-100) for a total of 14–16 credits.

Potential Major: If you are considering a particular major, please look closely at the Academic Department & Programs section of the guide for suggested courses for both Fall and Spring.

Foundation Requirements: You might consider registering for a course that fulfills one of the foundation requirements, such as expository writing or applied quantitative reasoning. These requirements need to be fulfilled in whole or in part within the first two years at Skidmore. See the Degree Requirements section for a description of the applied quantitative reasoning and expository writing requirements. For specific fall courses that will fulfill these requirements, you can search for courses that meet college requirements in the Master Schedule using the drop down search menu labeled, “Department/Program OR All Coll Requirement". Type "A2" to see the drop down list of all college requirements and select the requirement you are interested in (ex. A2-Expository Writing).

Inquiries Requirement: During your time at Skidmore you will explore a range of courses across a wide variety of different academic areas. In your first semester, you may want to consider exploring one or more of the all-college inquries requirements --- artistic, humanistic, and scientific. Unless recommended by your proposed major, two courses should not be taken in the same department. Taking a variety of classes across the disciplines will help you begin laying the foundation for a major. The college requirements were designed to help in this process. Do not eliminate the possibility of taking classes in academic areas you disliked, did poorly in, or were not exposed to in high school. College is a new beginning for you academically, and you may find yourself majoring in an academic area you never heard of before or one you thought you disliked because of a certain teacher or class in high school! Finally, be sure to save room for an “elective”—a course that you take simply because it looks interesting to you.

Co-curricular activities: If you are likely to be a student athlete, avoid courses that meet between 4 and 7 p.m. so that practice and game schedules do not conflict with your academic commitments. Consult the Advising Hub to find a link to practice schedules for specific teams and/or contact your coach for more information.  

Expository Writing: Placement is determined by the Directed-Self Placement (DSP) exam; refer to the placement information sent to you by the registrar if you do not remember your placement. If you have not yet completed the DSP, please do so promptly and thoughtfully at: More information about the writing requirement and placement can be found in the Foundation Requirement section.

Applied Quantitative Reasoning (AQR): Students can meet the prerequisite requirement for enrolling in an AQR course either through submission of qualifying ACT or SAT scores or by taking the online QR Placement Diagnostic. A full description of the AQR requirement and placement can be found here: 

Language requirement and Class Placement: Information on the language study requirement and language placement information is at: Questions can be directed to the contacts listed at Additional Contacts for Summer Advising.

Students planning to enroll in calculus and/or chemistry need to take a placement, and students planning to enroll in Physics may take a placement exam if they choose, as described below.

Calculus placement: Skidmore offers several levels of calculus. The placement exam is an important tool that helps the Mathematics & Statistics Department advise students which calculus course is best suited for them. Take this exam before selecting a calculus course. The exam is located at

Chemistry Placement (required for registration): Skidmore offers two pathways through the first–year chemistry curriculum. The Chemistry Department has developed the required online diagnostic ( to place you into one of these course sequences. Based on your diagnostic score and previous chemistry experience, you will be allowed to register for either CH 115 Foundations of Chemistry or CH 125 Principles of Chemistry. Please do not study or review before taking the diagnostic. The diagnostic will take 45 minutes, and you will need to have a calculator and scratch paper available. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Kelly Sheppard, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Chemistry (email:, phone: 518–580–5135).

Both CH 115 and CH 125 are only offered in the Fall. Spots are held in both courses for first-year students. Please plan accordingly and contact the Chemistry Department with questions. Students in the FYE in London program should contact the Chemistry Department Chair, Associate Professor Kelly Sheppard (email:, phone: 518–580–5135).

For students who complete CH 115 in the Fall, CH 126 is offered in the Spring to enable them to complete their introductory chemistry sequence. CH 126 has a CH 115 pre-requisite (no placement into CH 126) and is only offered in the Spring.

Physics Placement: Most students will begin with PY 207 (General Physics I), but those with strong physics preperation may be able to enroll directly in PY 208 without taking PY 207 at Skidmore. Students who might be prepared for PY 208 (or want to challenge themselves) should take the General Physics Placement Test (

Music Ensembles: Registration for music ensembles will be completed following an audition in September. Please use the following website to inform the Music Department of your interest in an ensemble or if you will be signing up for Private Music Instruction:

Music Theory Placement: In order to place students in the appropriate level of pre-theory or required theory course, the department will administer a theory diagnostic exam during the first class session of MU141 and MU241. You are encouraged to consider the guidelines available on the Music Theory Placement webpage:

Links to all placement information, exams, and exam preparation can be found at the Advising Hub

Please look over the “New Student Registration Step by Step” instructions on the Registrar's webpage. All of the necessary information to complete the registration process is provided for you; make sure that you complete Steps #1-4. Carefully review Step #4, in particular, the "Student Self-Service Guide" is a helpful guide to clarify the registration system and will be invaluable to you when you register for classes.
As a general rule of thumb, Skidmore will grant up to 4 credit hours toward graduation for a grade of 4 or 5 on an Advanced Placement Test. At this time, only five academic departments (listed below) award AP credit toward the major. Students may earn up to a total of 16 semester hours of credit from any combination of AP, IB (the International Baccalaureate Program), or other examinations; more information can be found on the Registrar's webpage at:

Studio Art: A score of 4 or 5 in the categories of General and Studio Art and Drawing allows a student to count up to 4 AP credits toward an elective course for the major or minor in art. It does not fulfill any specific requirement or serve as a prerequisite for any specific course (unless the faculty member makes an individual exception).

Art History: Students may receive AP credit in art history. A score of 4 or 5 earns the student four college credits. It is the Art History Department’s policy that the AP credits can count as AH-100 and may be applied toward a major or minor in art history. A score of 5 will automatically receive this credit; a score of 4 requires consultation with the chairperson of the Art History Department before it is approved.

Economics: Students receiving a score of 5 on the AP microeconomics exam will receive credit for having taken EC 104. Students receiving a score of 5 on the AP macroeconomics exam will receive credit for having taken EC 103. Students who receive scores of 4 can elect to take a qualifying exam as a petition to grant credit for EC 103 and/or EC 104. The qualifying exams are offered before the start of classes each semester by the department chair. 

History: A score of 4 or 5 in either American history or European history will be treated as equivalent to one course toward the major or minor.

Mathematics & Statistics: Students receiving a score of 4 or 5 on the Math AB AP exam will receive credit for MA111. Students receiving a score of 4 or 5 on the Math BC AP will receive credit for MA 113. Students receiving a score of 4 or 5 on the Statistics AP Exam will recieve credit for MS 104.
Skidmore may grant credit toward the degree for work taken at other accredited colleges and universities. The student must have earned a grade of C or better and must submit an official transcript to the Office of the Registrar for evaluation. The Summer Advising Hub includes a link to information regarding AP, IB, and transfer credit approval. Contact Paula Brehm in the Registrar’s Office with questions about transfer credit.