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PA S S P O R T • W E L C O M E W E E K • C O U R S E R E G I S T R AT I O N • S P E C I A L P R O G R A M S


ACU’S VISION FOR FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS Educating students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world is ACU’s mission. Our 21st Century Vision states that “above all, we are in the business of transforming lives into the image of Jesus Christ.” As a result of the time you spend at ACU, we hope you will develop your mind and your heart to their fullest potential so you can take your place as a servant-leader in a world that cries out for men and women of character. We sincerely hope and pray that as a first-year student you will: • Create high expectations for your learning and development and involve yourself in the ACU community. • Develop study and life skills appropriate for successful college living and learning. • Become familiar with ACU’s Christian heritage and understand how it shapes a worldview and contributes to your educational experience. • Gain an appreciation for the importance of a Christian liberal arts education, which seeks to improve your love of learning, your love of God and neighbor, and your ability to think, listen, speak, write, solve problems and make wise decisions. • Critically examine and assume personal responsibility for your faith. Develop a carefully thought-out Christian philosophy of life, making stronger connections between your faith, your learning and your behavior. • Develop a greater sensitivity to the diversity among people while discovering and experiencing God’s plan for unity in Christ. • Increase your self-knowledge and refine educational and life goals through exploration of your God-given talents, gifts, aptitudes, interests and values. • Complete a successful transition to learning and living at ACU and build a foundation strong enough to take your dreams through graduation and into your life’s awesome future!

WELCOME! You are about to embark on one of the most defining journeys of your life – a time filled with dramatic transitions, exciting challenges and endless possibilities. We at Abilene Christian University consider it a privilege and an honor to join you on this journey of who you are becoming – intellectually, socially and spiritually. The First-Year Program at ACU was created to help you make a successful transition to university life. We want to help you make significant and meaningful connections to all aspects of the university and help you catch a vision of what we believe you can become. We have designed an integrated set of programs, services and experiences – inside and outside of the classroom – to help you reach your highest levels of achievement. We are glad that you have chosen to be a part of this community. In the words of Jeremiah 29, we know that God has “plans to give you hope and a future.” May He bless your time here as you seek His will for your life. Sincerely,

DR. ERIC GUMM Registrar Director, The First-Year Program





Passport is a summer orientation program for first-year ACU students and their parents. Students are required to attend one of the two Passport sessions. During the two-day Passport session, students will receive important information about starting their journey at ACU and will meet fellow students and professors. They also will complete placement testing, receive comprehensive academic advising and finalize their fall schedules. At Passport, upperclassmen, faculty and staff will help students construct a rewarding itinerary for the fall semester. The next page contains more details about Passport.

WELCOME WEEK Lifetime memories start at this five-day program preceding the first week of the fall semester. The journey for freshmen and transfer students begins by developing close relationships with fellow students, faculty and staff. Plenty of activities keep students busy learning about each other and ACU’s traditions, school spirit and educational opportunities. The candlelight devotional on opening night creates a lasting bond among the new class and upperclassmen. Students engage in a variety of small and large group activities such as intramural sports, games, devotionals, service projects and meetings with Cornerstone classmates or fellow transfer students.

CORNERSTONE This first-semester course for all new students will examine how different disciplines approach the world and


lay a foundation for a lifelong integration of faith, ideas and action. It uses challenging, global issues to explore how education in the Christian liberal arts can develop the critical, multidisciplinary skills needed to engage a rapidly changing world. The course helps prepare you for ACU’s integrated, interdisciplinary Core curriculum, where you will further develop the multi-faceted skills of thinking critically, globally and missionally, equipping you to make a real difference in the world.

PEER LEADERS Caring upperclassmen are an important part of helping new students make a successful transition to ACU. Peer leaders in Cornerstone are exceptional upperclassmen who are carefully selected and trained each spring to work alongside the Cornerstone instructor to assist their assigned students in the various aspects of transition. These capable peer leaders make early contact with entering freshmen, assist them at Passport, guide them through Welcome Week, and meet with them regularly throughout their first year at ACU as members of the First-Year Program staff.

AND MUCH, MUCH MORE … ACU’s first-year experience also includes special programs in the freshman residence halls, major social events such as Freshman Follies, freshman devotionals, retreats focusing on spiritual renewal and building relationships – and much, much more! Visit the First-Year Program website at



PASSPORT DATES June 22-24, 2014 August 17-19, 2014


Passport registration will open on April 7 for admitted freshmen and transfer students who have paid their enrollment deposit. All students will register online for Passport, and you will begin that process at During the completion of your Passport registration, you will confirm your academic major, reserve space for family members attending with you, and provide information to help us build a tentative fall schedule for you – including indicating credit for courses you will be transferring to ACU. After you complete your Passport registration, you will receive a Passport confirmation packet. Your academic department will build your tentative fall schedule and once it is completed, our office will mail it to you. After you have received and reviewed it, you will have the opportunity to make necessary changes. Schedules are built on a first-come, first-serve basis, so register early for Passport. All new students, freshmen and transfers, must register for Passport.

WHY MUST STUDENTS ATTEND? • Finalize your fall schedule. • Meet faculty and staff from your area of academic interest. • Meet fellow students. • Reserve your books for the fall semester. • Meet Residence Life staff. • Complete important academic and campus life business (ID card, parking permit, etc.). • Attend informative sessions concerning financial aid, academic and student life programs, and services. • Have your questions answered about courses, spiritual life, billing or anything else you can think of.


We have special sessions designed to introduce parents and family members to ACU, as well as assist them in preparing for the challenges and changes as a result of a student’s enrollment in a university. Parents often have many questions regarding their student’s new experiences, and these sessions are designed to offer answers in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. While some sessions will be student/parent sessions, others will run concurrently with the student sessions. It is important that parents plan to attend these parent-only sessions. Parents attending in years past have found their sessions informative and helpful.


When you arrive on campus, follow the signs to Passport check-in at the Hunter Welcome Center where you will receive



a complete packet of information (see map on page 13). Please plan to stay until noon on Tuesday.


Many students desire to take math or English placement tests to improve their course placement before finalizing their fall schedule. These tests will be available at Passport. CLEP tests and an ACU English Essay will be available for those who qualify and who wish to earn course credit. All students majoring in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, mathematics or physics or pursuing a pre-architecture, pre-veterinary medicine or pre-health concentration (pre-medical, pre-dental, etc.) must take the Advanced Math Placement Test before the semester begins, unless they have credit for calculus (MATH 185), and that exam should be taken at Passport. More information about specific testing requirements and opportunities will be included in the Passport confirmation packet. If you have questions, please contact the University Testing Center at 800-677-8684 or visit their website at


The schedule for Passport will include combined sessions for students and parents, as well as separate opportunities for each group. The Passport Check-In and Resource Fair will be available during the Sunday afternoon of each Passport session as well as on Monday morning. You can find the Passport schedule by checking the First-Year Program website at


Advising is a central component of your ACU experience, because it promotes the achievement of your educational and personal goals. At Passport, you’ll learn about the core curriculum, specific majors and your degree plan. If you aren’t sure about your major, you’ll have the opportunity to begin exploring your options by attending an academic department meeting of your choice and participating in a Discovery Workshop. Every student will have the opportunity to receive comprehensive advising through both departmental and individual advising sessions. On Tuesday morning, freshmen will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with an academic advisor. These appointments will be scheduled during Passport events on Monday. Please plan to be on campus until noon on Tuesday.


International students are an important part of our campus community. It is important that all international students arrive by Aug. 17 for the August Passport session. Additional activities and services, including a mandatory new international student orientation, are available to help international students make the transition to ACU. For more information, please contact the Center for International Education at 325-674-2821 or Leanne Moore at


Our transfer student coordinator works with students to help ensure a smooth transfer of credits taken at other colleges and universities to ACU. Students also can receive advice on transferability of courses taken while they are still in high school by “dual credit,” or on the process for receiving approval for courses which may be taken in the summers while away from ACU. While advising and registration will be available for transfer students at Passport, transfer students with 24 or more hours accepted at ACU may contact their academic department to pre-register for classes before attending Passport. Attendance at Passport and Welcome Week is required for all transfer students. We don’t want you to miss these opportunities to meet fellow students, faculty and staff and to learn more about your new community. For more information, please go to and follow the “Transferring Courses to ACU” link found in the center of the page or call the registrar’s office at 877-595-7451 or 325-674-2236.


ACU is committed to full participation of parents or students with disabilities. If you have any disability-related needs for Passport, please contact the First-Year Program at 866-674-2212. All services to students with disabilities are coordinated through Alpha Scholars Program. Please contact an Alpha representative at 325-674-2667 or


The orientation fee of $200 covers both Passport and Welcome Week programs. This fee includes program costs and materials for students. It also covers the Passport lunch and dinner meals on Monday for students and family members. Students do not need to send any money; the orientation fee is a one-time charge added to each new student’s account. All new students are required to attend Passport and Welcome Week.


A limited number of rooms for the June Passport are available in the residence halls for students only on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations and advance payments are required and must be made online. This reservation process is separate from the Passport registration and you can find more information at Housing on campus at Passport is limited to incoming students and the cost is $20 per night in the residence halls. All overnight guests should bring their own bed and bath linens. For students attending the August Passport, you may move into your residence hall starting Saturday, Aug. 16 at 8 a.m. Parent housing is not available on campus during the August Passport session. If you prefer, you may stay at one of the local hotels. You can find a listing of Abilene area accommodations at


A completed Student Immunization Form and complete immunization record are required and must be submitted by Aug. 1. If you need to verify that your Immunization Form has been received, you may call the Admissions Helpline at 800-460-6228. If you will not be at least 18 years old by the time you arrive on campus, you will need a completed Authorization for Treatment of a Minor Form signed by your parent or guardian in order to be seen at the Medical Clinic. Both the Student Immunization Form and the Authorization for Treatment of a Minor form are available at in the forms section. Failure to submit a completed Student Immunization Form will result in you being dropped from all enrolled classes, and it will prevent registration for other classes until the completed form is received.


A detailed eBill of your fall semester charges will be emailed to your ACU email address during the first week of June; thereafter, all eBills are emailed to students by the sixth day of each month. You will receive a statement each month in which you have activity on your account. An eBill includes all charges placed on the student account, payments made, and financial aid awarded. Please note: the eBill is provided in electronic format only; no paper statements are mailed. We strongly encourage students to register parents and/or guardians as authorized users in the Wildcat Pay Portal, giving them access to view eBills, view current account activity, and make payments to the account. Students are required to complete Financial Settlement prior to the start of each semester. You can review your eBill, make payments or set up a payment plan in the Wildcat Pay Portal at For more information on those services, contact the Depot at 888-588-6083.


Financial Settlement is a required step in ACU’s enrollment process each semester, and simply means you’ve met your financial obligations for the semester. Financial Settlement may be met by paying the amount due in full, enrolling in an interest-free Wildcat Pay Plan or having an approved loan in place to cover the account balance. For details on how and when to meet Financial Settlement, please visit


All students may move into their residence halls beginning Saturday, Aug. 16. For students on the meal plan, meals will be available as part of Passport and Welcome Week beginning Saturday, Aug. 16.


Parents, make your plans now to join us for Family Weekend on Sept. 19-20, 2014.





FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT ACU’s university Core is an innovative and intrinsically different approach to higher education. Every university has what is traditionally called a core curriculum: a set of courses each student takes while earning credits toward a degree. Students generally take these courses during their first or second year of college. We believe there is more to developing the foundation of a student’s education than reading, writing and arithmetic. There are fundamental life experiences, bigger questions and cultural connections to be made. ACU is committed to use every opportunity to discuss these issues whether in a traditional classroom setting or afternoon coffee with a favorite professor. The Core at ACU is the perfect foundation for a 21st-century education, regardless of your academic major or career path. So, what makes ACU’s Core different?

WHAT MAKES THIS DIFFERENT? Team Teaching Typically, universities teach courses in disciplinary “silos” with little regard for integrating ideas outside the discipline. Team teaching facilitates looking at an issue from more than one perspective – the ACU Core is designed to help you do just that. By incorporating teachers from various disciplines into each course, we intentionally challenge you to make those comparisons and connections.

WELCOME WEEK One week at ACU can totally change your life – Welcome Week 2014. During the week starting Aug. 19, upperclassmen from ACU will introduce you to a way of life designed to take you to a higher spiritual, emotional, social and academic level. Special activities will be packed into the week to teach you about ACU’s traditions, school spirit, service and educational

Content/Key Questions opportunities. Plus, activities are designed to provide the foundation for you to develop lifelong friends – from the opening candlelight devotional to working side by side in service projects to friendly, fun games that make you laugh with people around you. Come ready to have fun and ready to explore new territory at Welcome Week 2014!

The questions asked by the Core are enduring questions to which you will be invited to explore your own answers. These questions invite you into dialogue about what brings meaning, purpose and value to life. The courses in ACU’s Core are designed to help you consider some of life’s big questions. The classes are interdisciplinary, taught by professors who will inspire you with exciting and challenging experiences you will never forget. Within this Core is a set of three interdisciplinary courses:

HOW DO I KNOW? Cornerstone, the introductory course, examines ways of thinking across the disciplines. It uses challenging, global issues to explore how education in the Christian liberal arts can develop the critical, multidisciplinary skills needed to


engage a rapidly changing world. The course helps prepare you for the other Core courses in which you further develop the multi-faceted skills of thinking critically, globally and missionally, equipping you to make a difference in the world.

WHERE DO I FIT IN? Human Identity and Community, the second Core course, explores the nature of human self and the foundations of human communities. Taught by a team of teachers, the course examines differing views of self and community and encourages you to articulate your own developing sense of self. You will practice integrative problem-solving skills as you tackle real social issues faced by communities locally and around the globe.

HOW DO I FIND MEANING IN LIFE? The third course, The Search for Meaning, examines a number of values, ideas and stories guiding human beings in their search for meaning in life. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the course evaluates diverse systems of meaning in a variety of ways, including examining creative works such as art, literature and music as an expression of that search. The course also will stimulate your own reflection on what makes life good and meaningful – and how that good life connects to God. This course also counts as Bible credit.

HOW DO I LIVE AN INTEGRATED LIFE? The Capstone experience, taught in your major, challenges you as a senior-level student to think critically about your faith and calling as it is expressed in your major. This experience varies widely across disciplines and may be accomplished using a variety of assignments, projects, internships, research, performances or presentations. This course requires a product of substantial complexity and quality that intentionally ties your co-curricular experiences with your major field of study.

HOW DO I PURSUE KNOWLEDGE? ACU encourages all students to pursue their passion through research and creative expression. Pursuit, ACU’s research initiative to build a community of research, scholarship and creative expression, equips you with the knowledge, skills, behaviors and values to attain research literacy. These competencies are developed in the Core classes, enhancing your research readiness and preparing you for expanded opportunities for research and creative expression in your major fields of study.




HONORS COLLEGE The Honors College helps bright, motivated students get more out of the time and money they invest at ACU. Its benefits include small classes, interdisciplinary courses, early registration, social events, mentoring in your major field, travel and research grants, and therefore a stronger transcript for applying to graduate school. Before signing up for honors classes, a student must be accepted to the Honors College. Admission is very competitive and is based on three criteria: test scores, high school achievement and application form. There is no absolute minimum for the first two categories, but the average admitted student has an SAT (critical reading plus math) of around 1360 or ACT Composite of around 30. The typical Honors College student has done very well in high school, with an excellent GPA and a strong record of extracurricular activities.

SCHEDULING YOUR HONORS COURSES 1. All Honors College students take six honors courses within their first two years. 2. All first-semester honors students take an honors section of CORE 110, in addition to one more honors class. The Honors College offers sections of many general education and majors classes, including selections in Bible, CORE, communications, chemistry, biology, business and more. 3. Any student who cannot schedule two honors courses in a semester should come to the Honors College offices (101 Zellner Hall) to make other arrangements. 4. After finishing lower-division requirements, honors students engage in upper-division honors projects such as research associated with a class in the major field, individual research with a professor, an internship, a conference presentation, leadership in a campus organization, or a project of the student’s own design. Upper-division honors students are also ready to take Honors Colloquia, in which ACU’s best faculty teach a 1-credit-hour seminar in a field of special interest. For more details and an application, contact the Honors College office at 325-674-2728 or or visit the honors website: You may submit your application online.






“ACU study abroad allowed my eyes to adjust to the strange tint of another culture, giving me a fresh perspective on the world around me. And the experiences I had there extended way beyond Europe – they have influenced the way I live and interact with people.” – E RI K RI N G L E ( ’14 )

Whether you choose to explore the urban beaches of South America, the dreaming spires of Oxford, the medieval squares of Central Europe or other alluring destinations around the globe, ACU study abroad is a life-changing opportunity for all students. You will broaden your horizons, growth in your faith and develop a greater level of self-confidence. Students must apply for acceptance into the program to reserve a place in ACU’s international study centers in Oxford, England; Leipzig, Germany; and Montevideo, Uruguay (requirements include a minimum GPA of 2.5 and the completion of at least 30 credit hours). As most ACU students study abroad during their sophomore year to avoid conflict with upper level courses, you should start planning with your advisor now to shape your degree plan around your semester abroad. Regardless of your major, studying abroad will be a highlight of your ACU experience!

WHY SHOULD I STUDY ABROAD? • Academics Abroad – bring to life what you read in textbooks. • Living and Learning in Community – your classmates become your best friends. • Seeking God Together – walking in the way of Christ with friends and professors. • Serving the World – experiencing a new culture by serving others. • Language Learning – learn a language by living it. • Venturing Out – numerous opportunities for personal travel.

WHAT DO I DO NEXT? • Visit for specific program details, and to view photos and videos. • Talk to your advisor about planning your course sequence around studying abroad. • Come by the Study Abroad office in the Administration Building, room 124 or call 325-674-2754 to have your questions answered. • Complete and submit an application. • Follow @ACUStudy_Abroad on Twitter, and Friend “Joe Study-Abroad” on Facebook to receive updates and information.





DID YOU KNOW … • More and more students are entering school still deciding on a major. • Half of all students change their major at least once.

To view the most updated map of ACU’s campus, visit

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

– J E R E M I A H 2 9 : 11-1 3 ( N I V )

THINKING ABOUT YOUR FUTURE? Then you are probably asking all kinds of questions about who you are, what gifts you possess, your unique purpose in life, what major to choose and what career options are available to you. If you are asking yourself any of these questions, the first step to finding answers is through a program ACU calls Discovery.

• Scripture and talk about the idea of The Call and Your Mission.


• Valuable online tools to research your chosen major and career options.

Let the ACU Career Center and Discovery help you answer some of these questions. Make plans to attend the Passport session titled, “Values That Shape Your Future.” During this engaging group session, you are able to participate in the Values Card Sort, an activity used in our Discovery program. Take this first step and you will be on your way to discover what you value most and how those values impact your decisions about career development and your major. Seating is limited, reserve your spot today by visiting

WHAT IS DISCOVERY? Discovery is a five-week program held multiple times throughout the school year. Discovery will help you: Learn – How to choose a major and help you if you are having doubts about a major you have chosen. Confirm – Know that the major you choose aligns with how God uniquely created you. Research – Provide specific insight into what career options are available to you within your chosen major. During each session you will explore topics to help you discover ways to make a real difference in the world.


We will utilize:

• Personalized assessments to help you explore your unique interests. • Innovative information allowing you to make a clear decision leading to a good-fit career path.

In addition, we will provide a face-to-face individual appointment to help you understand your assessments and how they assist you in determining the majors and jobs to research.


THE CAREER CENTER AND MORE … Besides running the Discovery program, the Career Center is here to help you throughout your journey. Individual career advising, career development opportunities, events, and internship and job search assistance are just a phone call or email away!

QUESTIONS? Academic Development Center Abilene Christian University McKinzie Hall, Lower Level Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - noon and 1-5 p.m. Phone: 325-674-6400 Email:


IMPORTANT DATES June 22-24 – June Passport August 17-19 – August Passport

THINGS TO DO NOW • Complete admissions requirements (you must be accepted to register for Passport and receive a fall schedule)*

August 19-23 – Welcome Week

• Submit your $250 Enrollment Deposit* (your $250 deposit must be on file to receive a fall schedule)

August 25 – First day of classes

• Return your Student Immunization form

Visit the First-Year Program website:

• Register for Passport and fall courses online at

• Online registration for Passport and fall schedules • Passport and Welcome Week updates • Links to resources for first-year students

• Complete and return all your financial aid information *You must complete these before you will be allowed to finalize your fall schedule at Passport.


First-Year Program ACU Box 29104, Abilene, Texas 79699-9104 866-674-2212 (toll free) • 325-674-2212 (local) •

ACU 2014 New Student Guidebook  

Passport, Welcome Week, Course Registration, Special Programs, Study Abroad

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