Counseling FAQ's
Q: Can I go to a counselor even if I feel my problem isn't that big?
A: Yes. If little problems don't get addressed, they can quickly become bigger problems that take a lot more emotional effort to solve later. Problems don't get rated by importance. Seeking an answer or a solution early shows good emotional maturity and self-reliance because you're trying to avoid a bigger problem by taking control of the situation. Just like your instructor tells you in class, "There are no dumb questions". . . . neither are there unimportant problems.
Q: Don't people with serious mental problems go to counselors?
A: While counseling does deal with people who have emotional problems, it can also help:
  • Students choose a program major or career path
  • Relationships that are experiencing conflict or misunderstandings
  • Individuals having academic problems, learning difficulties, or test anxiety
  • Individuals who are having thoughts of suicide or other self-destructive behaviors
  • Students trying to adjust to new surroundings or homesickness
  • Feelings of low self-esteem
Q: How can a counselor help me with my problems?
A: Actually, counseling is a cooperative venture between you and the counselor to resolve problems that are causing concerns in your life. It is an educational process which enables you to learn more about yourself and how to develop skills that are effective in resolving problems you may seek out counseling because you find that your usual ways of handling problems aren't working well for some reason, or that you are faced with an issue that you've never had before. Once the counselor hears your concern, she can help you learn new ways of looking at situations, or help you acquire skills that allow you to resolve this problem as well as others in the future.
Q: Can I see a counselor for any kind of problem, or must it be only school related?
A: You can bring any problem that is bothering you to the counselor. Even if a problem originates outside of college, it can easily have an affect on your ability to concentrate on school work or class attendance. If the counselor feels that she does not have expertise in that area, she will make a referral to the appropriate off-campus office or agency.
Q: Will seeing a counselor fix my problems?
A: The counselor cannot "fix" your problem - only you can. However, the counselor helps you to change your thinking process, seek alternatives, or learn skills so that you can find a solution.
Q: How can someone help me who hasn't experienced my problem or is of the same background?
A: Counselors are trained to be sensitive to and respectful of individual differences, including the specific concerns of students with regard to gender, racial/ethnic, cultural, religious, age, sexual preference/orientation, and socioeconomic issues. While problems are as unique as the people experiencing them, the feelings and emotions that people experience and the skills needed to solve problems are universal.
Q: Will anyone find out if I see a counselor?
A: The Counseling Office is committed to respecting your privacy. When you stop or call for an appointment, you will be asked the nature of your visit because the counselors see people for a variety of reasons, e.g. withdrawing from a course or from college, academic planning, career assessment, etc. This helps them to determine the length of the appointment. When asked, you simply say "personal counseling" and that will give the secretaries the information they need. The discussion with the counselor is strictly confidential, unless it is determined that you or someone else is at personal bodily risk. The counselor must get your permission before discussing your situation with an instructor or administrator.
Q: Is there a test I can take which will tell me what career I should enter into?
A: We prefer to call these Interest Inventories instead of tests, because with tests there are always right and wrong answers. The concept behind all Interest Inventories or Career Assessments is to sort occupations to match one's areas of interest or personality. You are asked questions or to make selections so that items that do not match are eliminated from the final list. This gives a person a much smaller and manageable group of occupations to research. No one person or assessment can tell you what to do; it is a choice you make as a result of a number of factors, hopefully the most important being something that you would enjoy doing.
Course Transfer FAQ's
Q: Is there a way for students to research credit transfer online?
Q: What is the difference between Liberal Arts, Transfer Education and General Education?
A: None. All of these terms can be used to describe courses that are typically designed to transfer from a two-year college to a four-year college.
Q: Do the terms "two-year" college and "four-year" college refer to how long I will be in school?
A: Yes, but only if you attend these institutions full time (16 semester credits per semester) and follow one consistent plan. If you need to attend less than full time or change your academic plan, your time at college will be extended.
Q: What is the difference between technical and transfer education?
A: Technical education is typically designed to train for immediate entry into the workforce, while transfer education is typically designed for those students who wish to continue on for a bachelor's degree.
Q: What are the differences between goal area courses and elective courses?
A: Goal areas are defined in the AA planner as those discipline areas the colleges and universities feel give students a broad general basis of understanding. Goal areas refer to the requirements of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (see below).
Q: What are the differences between lower division and upper division courses?
A: Lower division courses are those that are numbered as 100- or 200-level courses (offered at two-year colleges), and upper division courses are 300- and 400-levels (offered at four-year colleges).
General Education Transfer of Credits FAQ's
Q: If I don't complete a degree, can I transfer?
A: Yes, you can transfer at any time. Generally, transfer education coursework numbered 100 or higher with grades of "C" or better will transfer. There are three major ways a transfer can take place:
  • "Course by course" where individual courses are transferred. Go to MnTransfer.org, or contact a college counselor to verify courses will transfer.
  • "Goal area to goal area": Many courses are assigned to goal areas in the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. If you have met the goal area criteria for your current institution, the state university will give credit for that goal area, as well.
  • Minnesota Transfer Curriculum. See below.
Q: What is the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum?
A: The Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) is a means by which students can transfer their completed lower division, general education requirements. This is a package of 40 credits that includes ten goal areas.
Q: Who will take the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum in transfer?
A: All Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), the University of Minnesota, some private colleges, and out-of-state colleges and universities. Please contact a college counselor to inquire.
Q: What is the benefit of completing the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum or an AA degree?
A: The transfer curriculum (40 credits) and the AA (64 credits) transfer as a package. This means the transfer institution does not look course-by-course to evaluate for transfer, nor do you, as the student, need to meet their transfer education requirements. By transferring with an AA, you can transfer as a Junior to a four-year college and by following a plan designed for transfer into that major, be fully prepared for your major classes.
Q: How do I research individual course transfer equivalents?
Q: How much longer will I need to go to college for a bachelor's degree if I have a two-year AA?
A: Normally, this involves two more years of a full-time credit load. However, this depends on how well a student has made decisions and planned their courses. Students who do not follow a specific academic plan when they start may have more than two years left at the transfer university. Also, some bachelor's degrees simply have so much content, they may take more than four years to complete. Example: Elementary Education majors typically are in college for 4-1/2 years, on average.
Q: Are all credits good forever?
A: Generally, technical credits are good for up to five years. Transfer credits tend to remain good for longer periods of time if they are general in nature like sociology, psychology, history and English. Students entering technical or medical-related majors with older courses in science or technology may be asked to repeat these.
Q: Who decides how my general education credits will transfer? Will my general education credits transfer towards any degree or major?
A: The college you're transferring to determines the transferability of your courses from Ridgewater. Also, four-year college departments, such as education or business, may ask for a specific set of courses from Ridgewater College. It is very important to check with an advisor or counselor and refer to the catalog for help planning for a specific major.
Technical Education Transfer of Credits FAQ's
Q: Do my technical credits transfer? If so, how and where?
A: In general, for a four-year college, students can transfer up to 16 credits toward a bachelor's degree (or AA at a community college). These credits transfer as elective credits.
Q: If I get a technical degree, do four-year colleges accept my two-year program as the first two years?
A: Several four-year state universities have designated majors of study that use an AAS degree as the first two years of a bachelor's degree. There may be additional prerequisite courses required. Please check with a college counselor to review these options.
Q: What if I get a technical diploma; will that transfer?
A: Generally, the diploma would transfer as 16 credits of electives.
Miscellaneous Credit Transfer FAQ's
Q: Are credits taken as a Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) student transferable?
A: Yes, they are credits from the college and will transfer with the same criteria as any other credits do.
Q: What is Tech Prep credit; how does that transfer?
A: Tech Prep courses are identified courses in a high school that are technical or occupational in nature. After completion of these courses with at least a B grade, the students are given a certificate listing colleges that will offer credit for these courses. Credit is offered for courses that are required by the student's college program.
Q: Do "Advanced Placement" AP courses taken in high school transfer to a college or university?
A: High school students who take an AP course and then demonstrate what they have learned by taking an AP exam may be able to receive college credit. A score of "3" or better is required by Ridgewater College.
Q: What is a 2+2 program plan?
A: It is an agreement between Ridgewater College and a four-year college or university to provide an option for students with technical degrees to complete a four-year bachelor's degree. These programs have a specific academic plan - please refer to mntransfer.org for details.
Q: What is CLEP?
A: CLEP stands for College-Level Examination Program. College students can take CLEP exams to earn college credit. The receiving college will decide which exams they will offer and what score they will require to pass.
Q: What is concurrent enrollment?
A: Concurrent enrollment students take college courses at their high school. When completed, these courses appear on a college transcript and can be transferred to other colleges.

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