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Academic advising

The academic adviser

As a student at Pacific, you have an academic adviser (professor) who:
  • Can answer questions about selecting your classes and other activities in college to best prepare you for your desired profession.
  • Will meet with you each semester right before registration opens to check on your plans.
  • Can meet with you any other time, if you need to discuss your professional or academic plans.
The academic adviser cannot:
  • Make the decision for you on which courses to take
  • Register you for any courses
You are free to make the decisions that will shape you as a professional. We help you to get started by preparing the registration for you in your first semester, but you will do it afterwards. The academic adviser is here to help you, but the choices are yours.

Contact

Dr. Marcos Gridi-Papp
mgridipapp@pacific.edu (preferred)
gridipapplab.net (follow the link to Academic Advising)
209 946-2960
Biology Building room 239

The student adviser

Write down the name and email of your student adviser. He/she is a current student at Pacific, who is available to help you during your whole first year. The student adviser is trained to help you with the registration process and most other university resources for students. Pacific's website displays different screens for faculty than it does for students, so the student adviser will be much more familiar with the screens that you will encounter than the professors. Student advisers can also be great guides to help you integrate with the university community and find what you need in Stockton.

FERPA

Federal regulations prevent your teachers, academic adviser and college administrators from sharing information about your academic performance with your family without your written consent. In case you do want any of your information to be released to them, you have to fill some documents which will specify what information should be conveyed.

Resources for students

The academic adviser and the student adviser are your first stop for help with academic issues. UOP also offers a variety of other resources offered by people better trained then your advisers at those services.
  • The instructor of the course. Every professor has posted office hours to which you can go to ask questions specific to the course.
  • Academic Support Services. If you have academic or personal difficulties. Call (209) 946-2083.
  • Educational Resource Center (ERC). Free tutoring. Go to McCaffrey Center or call (209) 946-2458.
  • Student Writing Center. Sign up for a writing tutor. University Library, 2nd floor.
  • Services for Students with Disabilities. McCaffey Center. Call (209) 946-2879 to make an appointment.
  • Counseling Services at the student health center. Cowell Wellness Center at 1041 Brookside Road. Call (209) 946-2315 option #2 for free, confidential counseling services.
  • Academic Affairs Office. WPC 111-113. They can help you with issues related to program requirements.
  • Office of the Registrar. Issues with registration and posted grades. Knoles Hall, 1st Floor, (209) 946-2135, registrar@pacific.edu.

Registering each semester

Some of the courses that you have to take are highly disputed, so to get a seat you have to register each semester right at the opening of "early registration", which is the first period during which online registration becomes available to you.

VERY IMPORTANT - The registration process starts months before classes start. March for the Fall and October for the Spring.

You can always check your schedule and grades in Inside Pacific. But you can only add or drop courses during the registration periods. It is possible to add and drop courses even after classes have started, but you should ALWAYS register at the beginning of the early registration period. This will allow you to get seats in the courses that you want and to comply with the requirements for the 4-year graduation guarantee (check the catalog).

Before you can register, though, you have to unblock your registration, in a meeting with your academic adviser. Here is what you need to do:

  • At the beginning of each semester, look up the period of "Advising of continuing students" for the next semester.
  • Go to Inside Pacific.
  • Print your Degree Works main page. It will list everything that you have already accomplished and everything that you still need to accomplish to obtain your desired degree at UOP. Items that you did not satisfy yet will be listed in red.
  • Consult The UOP General Catalog to figure what you need to graduate and make sense of your Degree Works main page.
  • Decide which courses you want to take in the next semesters, check that you fulfil the expected requirements, and print your planned list out.
  • During the week before Advising for Continuing Students starts, I will email you a link to an online form that you can use to set an appointment.
  • Come to the appointment with printouts of your Degree Works main page and of the list of courses that you plan to take. We will check your plans and I will unlock your access to registration.
  • Wait until the first day of your early registration period, then access Inside Pacific and add the courses for the next semester.

Applying for graduation

To graduate in biology you must turn in the form below by April 1st of:
  • the previous calendar year if you finish in the spring or summer
  • the same calendar year if you finish in the fall

Ex: Apply on March 28, 2017 to graduate on May 2018.

Form to apply for graduation:
http://www.pacific.edu/About-Pacific/AdministrationOffices/Office-of-the-Registrar/Path-to-Graduation/Applying-for-Graduation.htmlExtra meetings with the academic adviser
Please feel free to contact me with any issues that influence your academic success.Other services

Writing Center

It is located on the second floor of the University's main library. Mentors offer support to all students on any type of writing at any stage of the process.
https://sites.google.com/site/pacificwritingcenter

Tutorial Center

The mission of the Tutorial Center is to “help University of the Pacific students become independent, self-confident and efficient learners to succeed in college. They assist students in successfully meeting the academic standards of the University, as well as their own educational and personal goals through on-going tutoring support.”
The Tutorial Center is part of the Education Resource Center, located in McCaffrey, 1st Floor room 103. You can contact the Tutorial Center by email at erctutorial@pacific.edu or by calling 946- 2437.

Navigating Pacific's website

General questions and answers

How do I get my Degree Works evaluation?

Go to InsidePacific: Student Services: Student Records: Degree Works.

Can I change the date of my final exam?

No. The date and time of the finals previously established by the university and adjustments are only done in very serious situations, such as death in the family. It that is the case, ask for an adjustment at the Dean′s office.

Can the instructor fail me in the course if I cheat on a quiz, or plagiarize in a minor assignment?

Yes, and this is the standard course of action in the Biology Department. Check The Tiger Lore Student Handbook for rules on academic and social life at UOP. Make sure to read the part on Academic Honesty, so that you avoid doing something inadvertedly that ends up being classified as dishonest behavior.

What happens if I fail or withdraw from a class?

Both cases will appear in your transcript. Dental schools will consider a W (withdrawal) as meaning that you would have scored a D or F. If you drop a course before the Last Day to Drop, which you should look up in the University Calendar, then it will not show up in your transcript. Have in mind that the interview guarantee by our Dental School requires you to be a full time student enrolled for at least 12 credits at all times.

Can I retake a class to improve my score?

Only if your score is C- or lower. Each course can be repeated only once. Both grades will show in the transcript, but only the highest one will be used to calculate your GPA. The credits earned with the grade that is replaced will not count toward the total required for graduation. You can replace up the three grades, and after that the grades of the original and the repeated attempts will be averaged.

Pre-Dental preparation

Program requirements

Open the General Catalog at http://catalog.pacific.edu/general. Go to:

For additional information targeted at the predental students, go to http://www.pacific.edu/Admission/Admitted-Students/Pre-Dental-admits.html.

Hints

Academic factors:
  • Do not miss the application deadline (Sept 1st)!
  • Complete the required course work.
  • Fit in as many biology electives as you can. The dental school suggests: human anatomy (preferred), human physiology, histology, microbiology and biochemistry. The bio dept also offers many other elective that may strengthen you preparation as a dentist. Check the catalog.
  • Keep a high GPA. Accepted students have an average BCP (Bio, chem, physics) GPA of 3.38 and total GPA of 3.44. In addition to the general GPA, the BCP GPA and the Pacific BCP GPA (including only BCP courses taken at Pacific) are calculated. All of them have to exceed the minimum for your program. The minimum GPA requirements are:
    • 3.25 for 2+3 students;
    • 3.15 for 3+3 students;
    • 3.05 for 4+3 students;
  • Take the DAT exam. Score a minimum of 18 in each subject. A competitive application will have 20/21 in each subject.

Non-Academic factors:
  • Be your best at all times as an undergrad and obtain excellent recommendation letters.
  • Arrange for shadowing a dentist in a general dentistry setting for at least 40 h. This is not to teach you dentistry, but for your to see what the daily routine of a dentist is, and decide if it will fit you well.
  • Develop your manual dexterity. Precision tasks with small objects, such as in research (dissection, surgery) or arts (sculpting, jewelry making).
  • Initiative. As in scientific research, leading roles in organizations, community service.

Suggested activities:
  • Scientific research. The first 4 credits count as a BIOL elective with lab and the first 8 credits count toward the 124 credits needed for graduation. In addition to learning how science works, you interact closely with the professor in the lab, allowing him/her to assess your behavior in a professional setting and report it in a recommendation letter.

Accelerated programs

2+3 is the right program for the clever student, right?
No, not necessarily:
  • 4+3 allows you to establish a broad and solid base of knowledge, graduate, specialize, do research, maybe study abroad and find time to breathe. It is the program that will place you best prepared in the job market, independent of how intelligent you are.
  • 3+3 allows you to establish a reduced base of knowledge, graduate, specialize, do a bit of research and breathe less.
  • 2+3 will place you in the job market with the very bare minimum preparation, without a degree in biology*, without specialization and you will probably not find much time to breathe. (* Graduation might be possible when the student transfers a large number of relevant AP courses.)
The 2+3 is the most selective program not because it will prepare you best, but because it has the most compressed course work which makes it the hardest to follow.

Changing programs

Decelerating is easy. Tell your academic adviser that you want to decelerate, fill in a form and you are done. There is no shame or prejudice in doing so.
Accelerating is difficult. You will have to prove that it was an accident that you did not get accepted into the most accelerated program at first. Talk to your adviser about it.

How can I enrich my accelerated program?

The key mechanism is freeing up time during the long semesters to take extra courses or do research, and this is mostly accomplished by:
  • Transferring AP courses that satisfy general education requirements.
  • Taking courses during the summer.
This is a simplified summary. Check the Biology and Dental School sections of the General Catalog and the Pre-health Preparation Booklet for complete instructions.

General Education courses (GEs)

They are classified in groups.
UOP students are supposed to take one GE of each group:
  • 1 - Society and Behavior
    • 1a - Individual
    • 1b - US
    • 1c - Global
  • 2 - Arts and Humanities
    • 2a - Language (Writing in English, waived for 2+3 only)
    • 2b - Ethics (Writing in English, waived for 2+3 only)
    • 2c - Arts
  • 3 - Science
    • 3a - Science Lab (fulfilled by IntroBio)
    • 3b - Math or Stats (if graduating, fulfilled by the Math or Stats course required by bio)
    • 3c - Science (fulfilled by IntroBio)

Bio electives preferred by the dental school

  • Human Anatomy 71 (preferred)
  • Human Physiology 81
  • Histology 128
  • Microbiology 145
  • Biochemistry 169

How can I graduate as a 3+3?

Graduation is not required, but most 3+3 students graduate.
At 18 units per semester, 3+3s accumulate 108 credits in 3 years, but they need 124 to graduate. The main ways of adding credits are:
  • Transferring APs from high school
  • Taking 17 or 18 units per semester
  • Taking summer courses
  • Transferring units back from the first year in dental school. This is not ideal because:
    • Most other dental schools require graduation, so it will limit your options.
    • If you finish all courses at the end of the 3rd year, our dental school will treat you as a 4+3, requiring a minimum GPA of 3.05 instead of 3.15.

Applying for dental schools

When?
  • June 1st to August 31st. Apply early, during the summer a year before when you want to start at the dental school.
  • Take your DAT exam during the summer in which you apply.
  • October - Interviews start.
  • Once you are invited for the interview, you cannot score anything less than B in any course.
  • December - The first acceptance calls are made.
  • January to March - More interviews and calls.
  • April. Remaining students are informed that the class is full.

How?
  • Apply through the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) website.

Predental questions

Is it ok to take course XYZ at another school?

  • When you take a course somewhere else, the dental school might not know how to make sense of the grade that you earned. It depends on the schools reputation and distance from here. If they cannot assess the real value of the grade, they will check for your score in that subject on the DAT. Check the ROAR webpage to see if the the course will transfer to UOP. To request the transfer of credits, contact the registrar and ask for the form.
  • You cannot take more than half of your Chem units somewhere else.
  • The Academic Residence Requirement states that 32 out of the last 40 units before graduation need to be taken at Pacific. Additional courses elsewhere can be used to satisfy content requirements but not to add units towards graduation.

Can I take non-majors biology courses to raise my science GPA?

No.

When should I take the DAT (pre-dents only)?

Most students take it In the summer of the year before they start at the dental school. If you are applying to start in the fall of 2019, the summer of 2018 would be a good time. Students usually do better when they take it during the break.

For scores, how bad is bad?

Our dental schools wants to see As and Bs. Once you are invited for an interview, up to when you start dental school (last two semesters) you cannot get anything less then a B.
It is very unlikely that you will be accepted into our dental school if you get a D+ in one of the 5 suggested elective classes, even if your GPA and DAT are good.
Many dental schools will not accept anything lower than a C-.

Going beyond

My grades mostly A and A-. How else can I strengthen my preparation for a strong career?

  • Get research experience
  • Present research work (PURCC, other scientific meetings)
  • Apply for major scholarships (Fulbright, Gates, Marshall, Rhodes)
  • Consider applying for NIH's IRTA program. It is the Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Trainee program at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. It is part of the NIH in Bethesda, MD. This would delay your plans for dental school but it would give you an amazing professional experience that would modify your career.
  • Consider applying for DDS/PhD programs