Frequently Asked Questions


The two most common ways to find out information about Allegheny College, if the answers in this FAQ do not help, are to search for “Allegheny College” and the subject of your query (e.g. ”Allegheny College”, student housing) or to call the Maytum Learning Commons at 814-332-2898.

Summer Orientation and Welcome Weekend

How do I access the most up-to-date information regarding New Student Summer Orientation?

Students, parents and families can access the Orientation website for the most up-to-date information on New Student Summer Orientation, Welcome Weekend, and parent and family resources. On this site, students, parents and families will find Allegheny Bound action items (important forms, housing information, registration and class information), move-in information, a tentative schedule for Orientation, an Orientation checklist, and much more.

Do I have to attend Summer Orientation?

Yes. All new students are required to attend one of the online Summer Orientation keynote sessions (Keynote Presentations will occur on June 10th and 11th from 6pm-8pm and again on June 20th and 21st from 1pm-3pm) and group advising sessions.

Do my parents, family, or guardians have to attend the Summer Orientation virtual sessions with me?

We encourage all parents and family members to participate in the virtual keynote sessions and G.A.T.O.R.S. Fair to learn about the resources available to students and to them as families who will inevitably support and guide their students from home.

When do I register for classes and what other support do I receive?

First-Year Course Registration happens over the phone July 13-24. An advisor will walk you through the process over the phone and help your register for courses. Students will receive a personalized email on June 30 with a specific day and time for their First-Year Course Registration appointment.

Email and Technology

How do I access my Allegheny email?

Shortly after submitting their enrollment deposit, you will receive a booklet in the mail that includes information on setting up your Allegheny email account. Please note that email, Sakai, and WebAdvisor accounts all use the same login.

Why can’t I log into WebAdvisor?

Reminder: students use the same username and password for these sites that they use to log in to their email account (without the If students do not remember their initial login, they should call the Learning Commons at 814-332-2898. If a student has changed their password but no longer remembers it, they will need to call the InfoDesk @Pelletier (814-332-3768).

Why is an Allegheny form giving me an error when I go to fill it out?

In order to verify your identity and protect your information, we require that you login prior to entering this information.  Allegheny uses Google (G-Suite) for email, messaging, file storage and productivity tools, however your computer may already be logged into a personal Google (Gmail) account.  While it is possible to be logged into multiple Google accounts, some forms or login pages may see your personal account first and prevent you from accessing a page.  Either sign out of your personal account temporarily, open a different browser window or use “private/incognito” windows to login successfully.  While this will not resolve all errors, it is the most frequently reported issue.

Is it better to bring a Mac or a PC to Allegheny?

For most students, it doesn’t matter what kind of laptop you have, whether it is a Mac, Windows PC, or Chromebook. However you should have a laptop  that you can work well with, particularly in this year when you may find you want to attend classes, office hours, or meetings online, and when many of your course resources will be found online. If you intend to take a Computer Science course while at Allegheny, please review the CS guidelines for approved laptops.

Get more information about what you need to get started with campus technology here, including game systems, smart TVs, and other media devices.

Course Registration and Academics

Why do I have to take a First-Year Seminar (FS)?

Becoming highly proficient in the written and oral communication skills required for success in the academic, professional, and business worlds is a central focus of an Allegheny education, and the FS curriculum is a large part of that work. The Junior Seminar and Senior Project in your major will build on the skills you learn in FS 101, 102, and 201. In addition, FS101 is designed to help you make the transition to college-level academic culture, and your FS101 professor serves as your initial Academic Advisor.

Is any coursework assigned before classes begin in August?

Our new students will read a book this summer before arriving on campus. The book has been thoughtfully reviewed and selected by faculty, staff, and students. This year’s book is Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation. Details about how you can receive your copy of the book as well as events and activities based on themes from the book are forthcoming.

In Tales of Two Americas, some of the literary world’s most exciting writers look beyond numbers and wages to convey what it feels like to live in a divided nation. Their extraordinarily powerful stories, essays, and poems demonstrate how boundaries break down when experiences are shared, and that sharing these stories can help to alleviate a suffering that touches so many people. For questions to consider while reading the book and additional resources about the book, visit the companion site (Allegheny log-in required) we have developed for the book!

How many credits can I register for?

Students can register for up to 18 credits during First-Year Course Registration. At the beginning of the fall semester in August, students may enroll for up to 20 credits. Students who want to take more than 20 credits must get permission from their academic advisor when they arrive for Welcome Weekend in the fall.

Do I have to take 18 credits? Can I take fewer?

No, students do not have to take 18 credits. The typical course schedule is 16 credits, but only 12 credits are required to be considered a full-time student. Student-athletes are required to take at least 12 credits so that they can maintain their eligibility.

How do I sign up for music lessons and choir?

There are classes in both instrumental and voice instruction that receive credit (one or two credits, determined by the length of your weekly lesson). These one-on-one lessons are offered at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. You sign up for these the same way you sign up for any other class during the add period. There is an extra fee.

Band, orchestra, choirs, and other ensembles also receive one credit each, but require an audition. Check the Music Department website for details.

I want to take Chemistry, but I forgot to take my math placement test. Can I still register for Chemistry and take the placement test as soon as I finish registering?

Unfortunately, no. Unless the student is exempt from the placement test (exempt students received a 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus test and/or already received college credit for Math 151), the student must take the placement test before proceeding with registration for a Chemistry course.

I am certain I want to major in a certain subject. Why shouldn’t I sign up for only courses in that department?

A well-rounded schedule is essential to developing broad skills. We have found that employers and graduate schools look for the breadth of experience that Allegheny’s liberal arts approach provides. In most cases, a student should only enroll in one course in a particular department or discipline in their first semester. We have found that taking a breadth of classes is a good recipe for first-semester success.

Do I need to buy books for these classes now? Where do I find out what books I need?

After First-Year Course Registration, students should go to the Allegheny College Bookstore website, where they can find a link to the MBS book-ordering site. Please note that you must order your books online. There will not be textbooks available for purchase in the bookstore when students arrive in August.

Are there any required courses (Math, Foreign Language, etc.)?

Students must complete certain types of academic requirements, but there is no single section that all students must take. Students must complete their FS sequence, but will be able to choose from among multiple sections. Students must also complete one course (four credits) in each of eight categories to fulfill the Distribution Requirements. This represents a foundation in various areas upon which students will build as they take classes in their major(s) and minor(s). Courses can “double count” for these requirements, and many courses will satisfy two of the eight requirements. When taken in the appropriate department, courses may also “double count” toward both the Distribution Requirements and the student’s major or minor. These courses must be taken for a grade (not “credit/no credit”) in order to count for Distribution Requirements. Again, students will be able to choose among multiple different sections to fulfill each of these requirements.

How many students will be in each of my classes?

This will vary depending on the course. Introductory sections of math and science can have as many as 30 students. Higher-level classes have a much smaller enrollment. Some classes have as few as six students!

Is there a physical education requirement?

There is no physical education course required for graduation.

Residential and Student Life

Can I decide to try out for a sport after I get to Allegheny?

Yes. If there is an interest in participating in high level varsity athletics, students can reach out directly to the coach of that program. There also are many intramural and club sport options, so you can be involved in a sport without the commitment to a full competitive schedule.

What if I don’t like my housing assignment — can I switch?

You have the opportunity to make changes to your housing assignment during designated “room switch” times. If there are no openings in an area that you wish to move, we can place you on a “wait list”. First-year students are allowed to move within their assigned building, or into another first-year residence hall. We try our best to accommodate all requests, within reason, because we care about you having the best possible residential experience!