Advising Guide FAQ
The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) regarding PLNU's Advising Guide on the my.pointloma portal. If you are new to PLNU and would like some extra guidance, you can also view our Advising Guide Tutorial. If you are unable to find an answer to your question or if you have reason to believe your advising guide is not displaying properly, please feel free to contact the Records Office at 619-849-2941 for assistance.
Who should I notify if my advising guide does not appear on the screen?
Please contact the Records Office at 619-849-2941. When leaving a voice message, include your name, your ID#, your major, your concentration (if applicable), and your catalog year.
When I count up my total units in the advising guide, why doesn't the number match my unofficial transcript?
Your unofficial transcript accurately calculates your cumulative earned units and it reflects the total units on file in the Records Office. Your advising guide should not be used for manually adding up your earned units. If you add up the GE section and the major section, you may not have an accurate result; the advising guide might list courses more than once. For instance, ECO101 may be listed in the General Education section of your advising guide, but it may also be listed in your major requirements if you were a Business major. Although the course is listed twice on your advising guide, you only completed it once, so the units and GPA can only count once.
Why is my transfer course appearing in the proper slot, but the category still says "one course to complete"?
Be sure to read all the comments above the section that shows as "incomplete". If, for example, you have completed a 2 unit course that fulfills the content, but the comments above say you need a total of 4 units, you need to complete another course. If this is not the case for you, please read on. If you completed a transfer course at a junior college and you were over the 70 unit maximum for transfer, your course may have transferred for "content only". These courses will appear in the proper slot to show that you have fulfilled the equivalent course, but the header will always show as incomplete. This is an advising guide glitch that has yet to be resolved.
What should I do if my advising guide lists different requirements than my academic catalog?
Your academic catalog is an official document and you should follow it for completing your degree at PLNU. Your advising guide is a tool to help you meet graduation requirements, but it is unofficial and will not be honored above the catalog requirements. If your advising guide does not match your catalog requirements, please contact the Records Office at 619-849-2941 to report it.
What does it mean when a section on my advising guide says I still have "sequences" to complete?
Sequences on the advising guide are the secondary requirements listed under a category. A category has a blue header and a sequence has a light gray header. For example, in the GE foreign language category, the blue header lists that you need foreign language. The gray sequences list the options such as Spanish, German, French, etc. In this case, you have to choose 2 courses from one of the gray sequences. So if you haven't taken any foreign language yet, the advising guide will state that you have 2 courses/1 sequence to complete. The most complicated example of sequences is in the "Reason and Rhetoric" section of your GE. It requires at least 2 courses and 2 sequences (Composition & Speech). If you take WRI110 (5 units) and COM100, you will fulfill both the course requirement and the sequence requirement. But if you take only WRI115 (3 units) and COM100, the advising guide will show the Composition sequence as incomplete (1 sequence to complete) because you must also take WRI116 (2 units) in this sequence to fulfill the required research component of composition. If you believe you have completed both the course and sequence requirements and your advising guide still shows the section as incomplete, please contact your designated Academic Records Specialist for clarification.
How do I know if I have waived the prerequisite math course MTH099?
At the top of your advising guide under the section labeled "Prerequisite Skills - Mathematics Competency", it should read "0 courses to complete" if you have met this requirement. If you passed the requirement with a math SAT (470 or above) or ACT (18 or above) score, the last line in this section will show your score like the following examples (Test, Score, Date of Exam):
- Math Raw 550 10/01/09
- Math Raw 18 02/01/08
If you waived the requirement by taking the PLNU math placement exam, the last line in this section will show your score like the examples below (Waiver, MTH, Course Number Waived, Date of Exam). If you passed through a level of math higher than MTH099, your Course Number Waived might show as 113 or 123. MTH099 is a prerequisite for these two higher level courses, so you automatically waive MTH099 by placing into the two higher level courses:
- Waiver MTH 99 08/25/09
- Waiver MTH 113 10/14/09
- Waiver MTH 123 04/21/09
If you waived the requirement by transferring an equivalent or higher level math course to PLNU, the last line in this section will show the course information followed by the letter "V", which in transcript grading terms is equivalent to a waiver (Course Needed, Title, Course Waived, Other, V):
- MTH099 ELEMENTARY ALGEBRA MTH099 OTHER V
I'm a transfer student who took one lower-division bible and one upper-division religion course at PLNU, but my advising guide still shows as incomplete.
This exception applies to all first-time transfer students who transferred to PLNU with 48 or more earned units, none of which are counting toward PLNU's GE religion courses. If you transfer a course and your petition is approved to count it toward a GE bible course, this exception does not apply. You must still take the remaining required courses. If you take additional transfer courses after attending PLNU, these units do not count toward the 48 unit transfer exception. If you attended PLNU at anytime before transferring 48 units, you are still required to complete all three required courses in the "Responding to the Sacred" category (BIB101, BIB102, and either CHU395/THE306). But, if you do qualify for this exception, you are only required to complete (BIB101 or 102) and (CHU395 or THE306). This exception will only appear on your grad check. If you are uncertain whether you have fulfilled the religion requirement, you may call your Academic Records Specialist to verify. Since the majority of students are required to take all three courses, the advising guide will always say "incomplete" if you are a transfer who qualifies for the exception, but your final grad check is the official document used to award degrees at PLNU and it will reflect any exceptions. A graduation check is a manual checklist submitted by the student and then verified by the Records Office to determine that he/she is on track to complete all courses, units, and requirements toward a degree. Students need to complete one grad check in their junior year (57 or more units earned) and will be required to complete a final grad check the semester before their planned graduation date. The grad check application can be found on the Records website under forms.
Some of my transfer courses are listed at the very bottom of my advising guide under the "Electives" section. Does this mean they didn't transfer to PLNU?
Courses listed under the "Electives" section of your advising guide DID transfer to PLNU. These courses are counting toward your total units earned and your cumulative GPA. Elective courses are courses that did not fulfill any General Education (GE) or major course requirements. But they are extra courses sometimes used by students to reach the 128 minimum units needed to graduate. Depending on your major and the GE courses you select, you may need more or less elective units than another student. If you believe one of the courses listed in your electives section matches a specific GE or major requirement that you are lacking, please stop by the Records Office to meet with an Academic Records Specialist. He/she will explain the reason it was not considered equivalent or possibly suggest that you fill out a form to petition the decision. Courses that did not transfer to PLNU will NOT appear on your advising guide at all. These courses are generally vocational or remedial. To inquire about courses that did not transfer or appear to be missing, please contact your designated Academic Records Specialist.
I received verbal approval from my department to substitute a different course toward my major than the one listed in the catalog. Why isn't the course appearing in the proper slot on my advising guide?
All substitutions for major courses must be approved by your department chair and emailed to your Academic Records Specialist. He/she will process the substitution and submit it to the Vice Provost of Academic Administration if necessary. After the course has been officially approved by the Records Office, it will appear in the proper slot on your advising guide with a "*S" to the left of the original course number (signifying a substitution).