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Frequently Asked Questions

FIG, FYSS, and FYE programs

Q: How do I sign up for a FIG?

A: Before June 1, preregister for a FIG selection by logging on to BearPAWS with your Campus Computer Account (CCA):


- Type in:
www.potsdam.edu/cts/services/bearpaws

- Use your Campus Computer Account (CCA) Username and Password

- Go to the "New Student" link and choose a FIG.

Q: Do I have to decide on a FIG now, or can I wait until summer orientation?

A: We recommend that you pre-register for some of your fall courses by selecting a First-Year Interest Group (FIG) as soon as possible. You may pre-register online for a FIG between mid-April and June 1. After June 1, you will register for all courses during your summer orientation session. If you cannot decide on a FIG at this time, you may wait until orientation to select a FIG. However, please note that some FIGs will fill during this pre-registration period and enrollment may not be available later.

Q: What happens if I miss the deadline or decide on a FIG after June 1?

A: After June 1, online preregistration for FIGs closes. You may register for all courses, including FIGs, during your summer orientation session. However, some FIGs may fill during the pre-registration period and enrollment may not be available later.

Q: What if I change my mind about my FIG after I've preregistered online?

A: Before June 1, you may change your FIG selection by contacting the Learning Communities office at (315) 267-3187. FIG selections may also be changed during orientation.

Q: Do I have to be planning to declare a certain major to take a FIG on that topic?

A: No. Students may choose any FIG, if they are interested in the FIG theme and courses. While some FIG's may help students planning to declare specific majors, all are designed to serve the needs of a variety of students and to provide courses meeting General Education requirements. The only exception is Elementary Educators, which is open only to students declaring interest in Childhood/Early Childhood Education. We also have several FIGs designed for students who are "Exploratory/Undeclared" majors.

Q: I am attending the Crane School of Music. Can I be enrolled in a FIG?
A: No. As a music major, you will work closely with your academic advisor at summer orientation to create a fall class schedule that meets your specific needs. However, your fall course schedule will function very much like a FIG.You will be in several classes together with your fellow first year students who are also music majors, providing you with many of the same benefits as a more formal "Learning Community".

Q: Can I choose which courses I want to take within a FIG course cluster?

A: No. You must take all of the courses in the cluster. Taken together, the courses create a "Learning Community" of instructors working together and of students studying the same topics.

Q: I have AP, IB, or College in High School credit.Can I choose a FIG?

A: Yes. FIGs include a wide variety of courses. Just be sure to choose a FIG that does not include a course for which you plan to receive Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or other college credit.We even have an "Advanced English" FIG designed especially for students who already have credit for First Year English.Our "Math Counts" and "Bridging Cultures" FIGs include options for students to choose the level of Math or Spanish that works best with their high school preparation.

Q: I would like to choose my courses individually--can I still take a First Year Success Seminar and not take a FIG?

A: Yes. You may choose to register for a "free-standing" section of FY 100 during Summer Orientation Advising. You may also choose to reside on a First Year Experience floor, and then you will be registered for an FY 100 sections with other students living on your floor.