Initial Academic PlacementStudents entering St. Catharine as first-year students will be placed in classes based upon a combination of student interest, placement test scores, high school transcripts, and advising interviews. The College uses the ACT score for placement. Students who do not have a current ACT score (see Admissions) will be required to take the COMPASS placement battery during registration. The COMPASS test, a computer-based, self-paced test taken at St. Catharine at no charge, provides information equivalent to ACT scores for placement. The College’s guidelines for use of the ACT in placement are subject to change, but current policy is as follows:
ACT math score 20 or above: The student may be placed directly into college-level mathematics.
ACT math score 19: The student may be placed into college mathematics but not college algebra.
ACT math score 15-18: The student will be placed into an appropriate foundations-level mathematics course. Students with an ACT of 19 will require foundations placement prior to enrolling in college algebra.
ACT English score 18 or above: The student may be placed directly into English 101.
ACT English score 15-17: The student will be placed into a foundations-level English course.
ACT reading score 15-17: The student will be placed into an appropriate foundations reading course.
During the first week of foundations courses, pre-tests will be conducted to evaluate the accuracy of the initial placement. Students may be offered the opportunity to move up or down in course assignment based on these pre-tests.
A substantial body of experience exists to support these ACT placement criteria, and they are equivalent to the general practice in higher education and in Kentucky community colleges and universities. Students who have the ACT but believe that their scores are not indicative of their abilities at the time of registration may request to take the COMPASS placement battery in an attempt to improve their scores.
Foundations Challenge Courses
The transition from high school to college or the return to college after a period of time away from formal schooling can be challenging. Many students will benefit from a course of studies designed to refresh their academic preparation. St. Catharine College offers a variety of Foundation Challenge courses to provide the opportunity to lay the groundwork for academic success at the college level. Foundations Challenge courses are available in first year orientation, English, reading comprehension, and mathematics. Students who are advised to take foundation courses or who are required to take such courses will have the greatest opportunity for sustained success if they approach the courses as opportunities rather than as delays. Our experience, and the experience of all colleges and universities, is that students increase their GPA and their likelihood of graduation significantly when they accept the challenge and opportunity of foundation courses.
A full-time student course load is a minimum of twelve credit hours. However, the normal load is generally fifteen to eighteen hours per semester in a degree program. Students wishing to take more than eighteen credit hours per semester must file an overload request form through their academic advisor. Course overloads are approved by the appropriate Dean or the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The request will be considered based on the nature of the overload requested, the student’s prior academic performance and graduation requirements. An additional tuition charge will be assessed for enrollment of over eighteen hours. Students who have been admitted to a health science major may not take an overload without approval of the Dean of the School of Health & Human Sciences.