Frequently Asked Questions


Advisor/Advisee Assistance

What if I have a question when CASA is closed?

Should you find a question arises after hours we encourage to complete this form. Your advisor will respond to your questions during business hours.

If you prefer to discuss your questions in person, stop by CASA during business hours and chat with a CASA staff member.

How do I find who my CASA Advisor and Faculty Mentor are?

If you are a first-year student or have not officially declared your major, your CASA advisor is assigned based on your last name. If you have declared your major, your CASA major advisor and faculty mentor will be assigned to you soon after you declare. The most accurate way to find your advisor and faculty mentor is to look in Trailhead and follow these steps: Student tab > Student Self-Service > Student Profile.

What kinds of questions can the Peer Advisors address?

Student advisors are an excellent source of information about Mines. They provide the student perspective which can be incredible helpful and beneficial. Some of the types of questions student advisors are happy to address are:

  • The variety of majors offered
  • A student perspective of classes
  • Academic support resources
  • The workload associated with classes
  • The registration process
  • Student clubs and organizations
  • Professional associations

What if a Peer Advisor is not able to answer my question?

Our Peer Advisors are a great resource, however, some questions are best addressed with your advisor. In the event that our peer advisor recommends you speak with your advisor they will assist you with scheduling a meeting or provide instructions for scheduling a meeting.

Can CASA staff talk with my parents or others about my academic record?

CASA is required to follow the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines for discussing educational records. Per Mines policy:

At the postsecondary level, parents have no inherent rights to inspect a student’s education records. The right to inspect is limited solely to the student. Records may be released to the parents only under the following circumstances:

  • Through the written consent of the student.
  • In compliance with a subpoena
  • By submission of evidence that the parents declare the student as a dependent on their most recent Federal Income Tax form (IRS Code of 1954, Section 152). This information should be provided directly to the Registrar’s Office by the parent.

Additional information about FERPA and educational records is available at 

How do I make an advising appointment?

An advising appointment can be made by doing one of the following:

When will I be assigned to a faculty mentor?

Students work with their CASA First-Year advisor for their first year at Mines. At the end of the first year on campus, students are invited to declare their major and transition to a CASA major advisor and faculty mentor.

AP/IB, Placement Tests, and Transfer Credits

How do AP credits work?

Great question! Ultimately the decision is up to you…but, we encourage you to make an informed decision because this decision can only be made once and is final. Generally speaking, students are encouraged to take their earned AP or IB credit as the institution only awards this credit to those who have demonstrated significant proficiency with a particular subject. There are unique, case-by-case considerations that complicate this universal advise. Students who’ve taken a gap year or those who fear that their understanding of a particular subject is not as strong are encouraged to speak with their CASA Advisor.

Do you recommend taking the AP credit I’ve received?

The decision to accept or decline AP credit is yours to make. However, a couple of things to consider when making your decision:

  • If your score is eligible for course credit Mines faculty believe you have a strong understanding of the material and are eligible to move on to the next course in the sequence.
  • Earning a score high enough to receive credit for a course is an achievement; accept it as long as you feel comfortable with the material and are ready for a new challenge.

What courses offer a challenge exam for placement in courses?

The Chemistry Department will work with students interested in taking a Chemistry I or Chemistry II challenge exam on a case by case basis. We strongly encourage students interested in taking a Chemistry Challenge Exam to speak with the Chemistry Department directly to address questions, schedule the exam, etc. at

The Physics Department invites students to take their challenge exam. The Challenge Exam is not an option for students who have not received an invitation to take it. Invitations are automatic for entering first year students who qualify, or are issued as part of the review of a formal application for transfer credit.

How can I transfer credit from another college or university?

Mines will also accept select transfer credit from other colleges or universities:

As a good rule of thumb, if you are planning to take a math or science course at another college or university (particularly calculus, chemistry, physics or differential equations) make sure you save all of your course work from the class — this includes the syllabus, graded quizzes and/or exams, lab work, homework assignments and notebooks. Mines may request course work for a departmental review, prior to awarding credit. Coursework from another college or university is not guaranteed. For more transfer information please visit the transfer page.

Can I take a summer class at another college or university?

Credit from other universities may be transferred to a degree program at Mines. Mines students must obtain prior/post approval to transfer courses from another school. Completing the approval process prior to taking the class at another institution ensures the credit will be accepted at Mines. In order to guarantee   transfer, it is not advised to wait until the course is completed to submit transfer credit authorization paperwork.

Additional information and the necessary paperwork for completing the prior/post approval paperwork is available at on the transfer credit approvals page.

Core Curriculum, Course Credits, Major/Minors

What is the maximum number of credits I can take in a semester?

First year first semester students may not take more than 19 credit hours.  If you are interested in taking more than 19 credits after your first semester you will need approval from your advisor and it will cost additional tuition per credit hour over 19.

Do students ever change their major?

Yes! In fact, many students change their major in their first and second year at Mines. 

How do I change my major?

You can change your major by completing the major change form located on CASA forms page.

You can also update your Intended major if you have not yet declared on CASA forms page.

Students who need to declare their majors will be emailed the declaration form and invited to declare. Invites are sent once a semester.

How do I add a minor?

Students are eligible to declare their minor after they have officially declared their major and been assigned to a major advisor. This process typically happens spring of sophomore year or later. Instructions and additional information about the minor declaration process can be found on the Minor/ASI page.

The form to add a Minor/ASI is located on the Registrar forms page.

What is the Core Curriculum?

The Core Curriculum at Mines forms the foundation for advanced study in the major fields.

The Core Curriculum has several parts:

  1. The Common Core
  2. Distributed Humanities and Social Science Requirement
  3. Distributed Science Requirement and
  4. Distributed Engineering Requirement. Requirements vary according to the major field of study.

Finally, all students have a number of Free Elective courses. Students normally complete Common Core courses, Distributed Science requirements, and Distributed Engineering requirements in the first two years. Students typically complete Free Electives in the last two years.

Refer to the Degree Requirements section for each major program in the Colorado School of Mines Undergraduate Catalog for a listing of Common and Distributed Core courses students should take each semester.

What important dates or deadlines should I know about?

Each academic year the Registrar’s Office posts the Academic Calendar. 
A few dates to note include:

  • Last Add: The last day for students to add a class to their schedule.  
  • Census Day: The last day for students to drop a class from their schedule without receiving a penalty. Dropping a course by census day means the course will be removed from the student’s schedule as if they were never enrolled in the course.
  • Last Withdrawal: The last day to withdraw from an individual course and earn a “W” for a grade.
  • Review Day: The Day before final exams begin. Class meetings, activities, and exams end prior to Review Day.

Student Schedules, Withdrawals and Academic Calendar

What is a course withdrawal?

A course withdrawal occurs when a student makes the decision to no longer be enrolled in a course. The student will receive a “W” instead of a grade. When a student withdrawals from a course they will receive 0 points toward their GPA. Students may only withdraw from a class until the withdrawal deadline. For specific withdrawal dates, refer to the academic calendar.  In order to withdraw from a course, select “withdraw on the web” from the Add/Drop Classes section of Trailhead. For instructions click here.

Do I qualify for the GPA Recovery Policy?

GPA recovery will only be possible if the most recent course grade was a “D” or an “F” (including plus and/or minus). As grades C- or better are satisfactory from a degree attainment  perspective, such grades do not qualify for GPA replacement.

This policy has been immediately adopted with an effective start date of Fall 2020. No previously repeated course grades will be eligible under this policy. Courses prior to Fall 2020 may not be retaken for GPA recovery.

For more information on the policy click here.

I did not pass the prereq for a course I am registered for in the following term. what should i do?

First, look at the prerequisite. Do you need to pass the course or receive a specific grade? a D- is considered passing if only the course is listed, yet some classes require passing with a C- or better, such as Calculus and Physics. Second, take action! Drop the course that requires the prereq and re-register for the class you did not pass. The Registrar will drop students from courses if they do not meet the requirements, however they do not place students in a new course. This also happens closer to Census, which can make it more challenging to find a new course to register for and is not ideal for starting your semester off on the right foot.

How do I determine the courses I should enroll in each semester?

To identify the classes you should be taking, visit the Catalog and review the course requirements for you intended major. The Catalog outlines the courses required each semester in order to earn a degree.  If you are unsure if you have chosen the correct classes or have questions about what classes to take please contact your academic advisor.

How do I register for classes?

In order to register for classes each semester you will need to determine when you are eligible to register. Registration dates and times are based on either one’s “Intent to Enroll Date” if he/she is new First year Student or one’s total number of earned credits if he/she is a continuing student.
Once you have identified the classes you plan to take and are ready to register please visit Trailhead and follow these steps: Self Service – Student- Registration – GEODE Schedule Planner

*Please note that some students may be required to enter a pin

How do I add/drop a class to my schedule?

You have the ability to add classes your schedule from the beginning of your registration period until Last Add via Trailhead.  You can drop a class with no penalty up through Census Day.  For more information on how to do this check out

What if a course is full?

If the course you are trying to register for is full you have a couple options.  First check to see if there is another open section of the course.  If there are no more open sections you should then try to join a waitlist.  If all waitlist are full you will want to chat with the professor of that class to learn if there are any other options for enrolling in the course.

How do I get on a waitlist?

The waitlist allows a student to reserve a seat in the class should one become available when another student drops or when the capacity for the class is increased by the department or the instructor of the course.

A student can add his or her name to the waitlist by following these instructions:

When a seat becomes available for the class, you will receive an email giving you the opportunity to register for the class. This process must be completed within 24 hours of receiving the email. Additional information available on the Registrar’s website.

How can I view my schedule?

  • Trailhead > Self Service > Student > Registration > Student Detail Schedule


  • Trailhead > Self Service > Student > Registration > Week at a glance (choose the first full week of the semester). Instead of listing the courses, this view allows students to see their schedule in a calendar view.

My schedule looks like I have a lot of free time. Should I add a class?

When it comes to adding classes you will want to think about how much work each class will require.  Many classes, especially first year classes include labs and recitations. 

Is it ok if I need to drop a class?

The best approach to determining if you should withdraw from a course is to schedule time to meet with your advisor to learn more about the process and implications.

Academic Support Offerings

How do we receive assistance from our faculty outside of class?

It is important for students to work with faculty members outside of class time. We highly recommend students visit their faculty during office hours. If office hours conflict with class time or other commitments email your faculty member to request a time to meet outside of typical office hours.

What is Academic Coaching?

The CASA staff work to individually support students by addressing their individual need(s). Often this coaching work includes test-preparation techniques, test-taking skills, study guide development, key concept identification, test-anxiety, memorization techniques, note-taking rules, and much more.

What tutoring services are offered?

CASA is proud to employ approximately 30 tutors each academic year.  These students have proven to be role-models both academically and interpersonally at Mines.  Our tutors work flexible schedules, assist fellow students, and are leaders on campus.  Our tutoring services are offered in both the Library and CASA study hall.  Along with providing tutoring for core curriculum courses and major courses CASA works together with the Writing center and has writing tutors to help students with their writing needs.  Get more information about CASA tutoring.

What are Core review session Workshops?

Core Review Sessions (CRS) runs concurrent to the required core curriculum.  Weekly review sessions are led by a proven student facilitator with guidance from respective faculty.  Additionally, facilitators are available during the week for office hours and produce quick instructional videos based on weekly topics.


Mines Testing Center and Disability Support Services

How do I register to receive academic accommodations?

You can find information regarding the registration process on the Disability Support Services website.

How do I contact Disability Services?

You can find contact information on the Disability Support Services website.

I had accommodations in high school or at another college, will I get them at Mines?

The Disability Support Services office will review primary documentation from a provider, as well as consider previous accommodations, when making a determination about accommodations at Mines. See the Disability Support Services website for more information on Documentation Guidelines and the registration process.

Misc. Questions

Do you recommend any particular laptop?

There is no preference for laptops at Mines.

Do teachers take attendance?

When it comes to attending class it is important to refer to your course syllabus regarding attendance as some classes may require attendance.

How do I know what books are required for a class?

When purchasing materials for class there are different ways to find out which books are required. The best place to look for required books is on the course syllabus.  The syllabus will be available either on the course Canvas page or given by the instructor on the first day of class.  Another way to find out required books is to visit the bookstore with your course schedule.  However, it is advised that you wait until your first day of classes to purchase your books, as some professors may not require all of the books listed.

Will I graduate in four years?

Graduation dates are dependent on many different situations such as course credit transferred in, courses taken throughout the many semesters at mines and passing certain courses within the degree. In order to stay on track to graduate it is important to follow your major catalog information.

What happens if I get a low test grade?

CASA encourages students who receive a low test grade to consider doing any/all of the following:

  • Review the test on your own to determine what you got right and what you got wrong.
  • After you have reviewed your exam determine the following: did you run out of time, not understand the concept fully, make simple errors, etc.
  • Review your preparation for the test and what you might do differently next time.
  • Visit your professor during office hours to review the test and/or concepts you did not understand.
  • Utilize CASA tutoring.
  • Participate in Core Review Sessions for course-specific assistance.
  • Consider joining or creating a study group.
  • Sign up to meet with a CASA staff member for Academic Coaching.

What differences should I expect to see between high school and college?

There are many difference between high school and college. Not only should you be expected to do much more work, a lot of the work is more challenging and more time-consuming. It is important to take your school work seriously and create positive study habits from the beginning.

Contact CASA

CASA is open Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm

ADA Accessibility: CASA’s new location in Aspen Hall, 1869 W. Campus Rd., is not ADA accessible. If you require ADA accessibility, we are happy to work with you! Please consider scheduling an online appointment or e-mailing 48 hours in advance to set up an appointment in a common ADA accessible area on campus.