Academic Regulations

Course Load

Students enrolled for 12 or more semester hours of credit will be classified as full-time students. The average course load is 16 to 18 semester hours of credit, depending on the program of study. Students planning to carry more than 21 credit hours must obtain permission from their advisor and the division dean.

Student Classification

  • Freshmen: students who have earned fewer than 30 semester hours.
  • Sophomores: students who have earned 30 or more semester hours.
  • Students enrolled in a diploma or certificate program are classified as freshmen.

Contact Information

For questions about academic regulations and policies, contact:

Image of Michael Ward
Michael Ward, MBA
Phone: 336-838-6489


Class attendance is considered to be an important part of students’ educational experiences. Students are responsible for attendance and are expected to be punctual and to attend every class session. Regardless of reasons for absences, students will be held accountable for all academic activities. Faculty members may require makeup assignments or tests to compensate for absences. Faculty members who choose or are required by outside agencies to include class attendance as a factor in determining students’ final grades will include this requirement in their course syllabi. For example, students enrolled in Basic Law Enforcement Training must attend 100% of the total contact hours for the course as mandated by the NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.

In general, absences due to official college activities and events will not be included as absences within an individual instructor’s attendance policy, provided that the student submits appropriate documentation to the instructor a minimum of five business days prior to the events. If documentation is not submitted at least five business days prior to an event, permission for the absence will be at the discretion of the instructor. In addition, if a student has an excessive number of absences or has unsatisfactory academic performance in the course at the time of the absence, the instructor will inform the student whether he or she will be permitted to miss class.

Students missing a class due to official college activities and events bear the responsibility of contacting the instructor regarding advanced submission or make up of work. Once the absence has been approved, the student will be allowed a reasonable opportunity to complete all work missed as a result of the missed class. Official college activities and events include participation in the following: field trips in connection with courses; intercollegiate athletic contests; statewide, regional, and/or national organization events; scholarship events; and student academic competitions and award ceremonies.

Pursuant to G.S. 115D-5, students may request two excused absences per academic year for religious observances. Curriculum students may obtain a form from the office of the chief academic officer for instruction. Continuing education students may obtain a form from the office of the chief academic officer for continuing education. Students attending classes at the Ashe Campus or Alleghany Center may obtain a form from the chief administrator at those locations. The student must provide a written request to each instructor five business days prior to an absence for religious observance(s). (If the day(s) of observance fall within the first four days of class, such request shall be made to the senior administrative officer for curriculum or continuing education courses.) Instructors will forward the request to the office of either the senior administrative officer for curriculum or continuing education as appropriate for filing. Students requesting absences as required by their faith shall be given the opportunity to make up any tests or other work missed. The instructor, in consultation with the student, will identify a deadline for submission of the work that is appropriate to the requirements of the course.

Courses and Programs

National and community college studies indicate that students are more successful if they complete a student success course. Therefore, in the fall of 1997, Wilkes Community College implemented a policy that requires all degree/diploma-seeking students to successfully complete a student success course.

Students in Associate in Applied Science (AAS) programs are required to complete ACA 115 within their first 13 semester hours of enrollment at WCC.

All Associate in Arts (AA), Associate in Science (AS), and Associate in Engineering (AE) students are encouraged to take ACA 122 during their first semester of enrollment at WCC.

ACA 115: Success and Study Skills

ACA 115 is organized according to three major concepts: extended orientation, academic success strategies, and applied critical thinking. The extended orientation concept involves connecting students to WCC technology, services, and expectations. Students practice reading, note taking, and test taking strategies to enhance their college academic success skills. Finally, information literacy, financial literacy, and career awareness make up the applied critical thinking approach in ACA 115.

ACA 122: College Transfer Success

Students enrolling in the Associate in Arts (AA), Associate in Engineering (AE) and Associate in Science (AS) programs are required to take ACA 122 as their student success course. Students are involved in activities that support six outcomes: developing a plan to complete community college goals, creating a transfer plan, understanding North Carolina transfer guidelines, enhancing learning strategies, connecting to college resources, and working with college policies and procedures. Students are expected to compare resources, policies, and procedures between the community college and university levels.

An “AU” grade will be recorded when students audit a course, unless the student is a senior (65+ on or before the first day of class being audited), then a grade of “SR” will be recorded. Students who wish to audit a course must register by completing the audit course form. Regular student audits will be charged full tuition and fees for the course. Senior audit students must provide proof of age and will have tuition waived, but will incur all applicable fees. Senior audit students may only have tuition waived for up to six hours of undergraduate level classes per semester. Auditing students must meet all course prerequisites and corequisites. Students must declare audit status in the Registrar’s Office by the end of the drop/add period for the semester of enrollment.

Students desiring to change their program of study should contact the Admissions Office or their advisor. Students will be reassigned to a new advisor, if appropriate, and course credits will be reevaluated. Students certified for VA benefits must notify a VA representative when changing their program of study.

Courses may be repeated as deemed necessary by students. When a course is repeated, an “R” notation is made on the transcript. The highest grade earned will be used to calculate the cumulative grade point average to meet graduation requirements. A student who receives a passing grade of A, B, or C in a course and re-enrolls for a third time must submit a written statement of the reason for re-enrolling. This written statement will be maintained in the Student Services Office. Career & College Promise students may only repeat courses where they earned a grade of D, F, or W. Auditing students may repeat courses without written permission.

Only under exceptional circumstances will students be permitted to substitute or deviate from the established requirements of a program of study. The division Dean and Vice President of Instruction must approve substitutions prior to registration. Documentation will be submitted to the registrar prior to taking the course and will become part of the student’s official record.

Student Voluntary Withdrawal

Students may add or drop courses during the official registration period as published in the college calendar. These changes will not be reflected on grade reports and transcripts. Students should contact the Registrar’s Office at 336-838-6489 or their academic advisor for assistance.

Students should be aware of the 25% penalty for courses dropped after the semester or term begins. For each course dropped after registration ends and through the published withdrawal date (75% point) for the term, students are responsible for completing a drop form. To access the drop form, click on the E-Forms icon on the Prowler page. After the published withdrawal date (75% point) of the term, students cannot be withdrawn from a course, but will receive the grade they have earned. However, an administrative withdrawal (student receives a “W” grade) may be granted after the seventy-five percent (75%) point for extenuating circumstances (military, court orders, natural disasters, or other extreme circumstances) and must be approved by the division dean and Vice President of Instruction.

Students wishing to withdraw from the college must submit a properly completed drop form. Students are advised to meet with their advisor before dropping a course. The instructor will indicate the last date of attendance on the drop form. The form is then sent to the Registrar’s Office for processing. A drop grade will be given up to the 10% point of the class. A withdrawal grade will be recorded on the grade reports and transcripts after the 10% point and up to the published last date to withdraw (75% point) of the term. Failure to properly file a drop form may result in a failing grade.

Student Involuntary Withdrawal

  • Students who register for a course and do not attend class prior to the ten percent (10%) point will be dropped by the instructor as a “No Show.”
  • Students may be involuntary withdrawn due to excessive absences prior to the published withdrawal date (75% point of the term).
  • Students may be administratively withdrawn from courses for disciplinary reasons subject to the student discipline policies.
  • If a student withdraws from a course that has a required co-requisite, the student will be withdrawn from the co-requisite course unless a waiver has been granted for the student to take the course without being enrolled in the co-requisite course.
  • If a student is required to take a Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence (RISE) co-requisite course and withdraws from the required RISE co-requisite course, the student will be withdrawn from the gateway course. Example: Student withdraws from ENG-011 Writing and Inquiry Support, then the student will be withdrawn from ENG-111 Writing and Inquiry.


At the end of each semester, students will receive final grades based upon the following ten-point system unless noted otherwise in the course syllabus:

Grade Numerical Grade Explanation Grade Points
A 90-100 Excellent 4 per semester hour
B 80-89 Above Average 3 per semester hour
C 70-79 Average 2 per semester hour
D 60-69 Below Average 1 per semester hour
F 0-59 Failure 0 per semester hour

Note: Developmental courses (any course that has 0 as the first number in the 3 digit course number) do not earn credit hours or quality points but may be used for financial aid and athletic eligibility.

Curriculum course grades with no grade points awarded include:

  • TR: Transfer Credit
  • CE: Credit by Exam
  • I: Incomplete
  • P: Pass (Developmental or Credit by Exam)
  • R: Repeat (Developmental Course Not Passed or Repeated Course, GPA Recalculated)
  • AR: High School Credit
  • W: Withdrawal
  • AU: Audit
  • SR: Senior Audit

These special grades are defined as follows:

  • TR: A “TR” grade represents transfer credit awarded for courses taken at other schools, colleges, or universities.
  • CE: A “CE” grade is awardded if a grade of 80% or better is earned on a credit by examination.
  • I: An “I” grade is given only under extenuating circumstances as determined by the instructor. Such a grade must be removed by the end of the following semester. If not removed within this time, the incomplete becomes a failure.
  • P: A grade of “P” is awarded if a student completes and passes a developmental course or if a “C” or better is earned on a credit by examination.
  • R: A grade of “R” is awarded if a student does not complete or pass a developmental course or if a course has been repeated. A course may be repeated as deemed necessary by students. When a course is repeated, an “R” notation is made on the transcript.
  • AR: An “AR” grade represents credit given for courses completed while in high school as outlined in the North Carolina High School to Community College Articulation Agreement.
  • W: Following the ten percent (10%) period, a withdrawal grade of “W” is given when a student officially withdraws from a course. A withdrawal grade is awarded through the seventy-fifth percent (75%) point of the semester/term. An administrative withdrawal (student receives a “W” grade) may be granted for extenuating circumstances (military, court orders, natural disasters, or other extreme circumstances) and must be approved by the division dean and Vice President of Instruction. Medical Withdrawals (includes death of family member, becoming a caretaker) will still be allowed, per the current Withdrawal Policy.
  • AU: An “AU” grade is given when students are auditing courses.
  • SR: An “SR” grade is given when senior (age 65+) students are auditing courses.

The measure of students’ overall academic achievement will be based upon a cumulative grade point average using a 4.00 scale. To compute the GPA: multiply the credit hours attempted for each course (excluding withdrawal and developmental course grades) by the number of grade points assigned for the grade received; then divide the total grade points earned by the total credit hours attempted.

A grade once reported shall not be changed except when the instructor states that an error has been made using the official change of grade form. The grade change must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office within one year of the initial grade posting or, in exceptional cases, at the discretion of the Vice President of Instruction.

The academic forgiveness policy is designed to assist students who have failing grades from previous WCC enrollment. Students may request forgiveness for F’s earned five years or more ago by submitting a request to the registrar. Only failing (F) grades may be forgiven from a student’s grade point average. Prior to the reevaluation of credits, the student must be readmitted to the college, register for courses, and complete at least 12 credit hours of course work with a minimum quality point average of 2.0. The request can be submitted at the end of the semester in which the 12 credit hours of coursework is completed.

A student may request academic forgiveness for WCC course grades only one time, regardless of subsequent program changes, subsequent enrollment, or other unanticipated events.

Credits forgiven under the academic forgiveness policy will be exempt from calculation in the student’s cumulative grade point average. While the forgiven grades will continue to appear on the official transcript, the courses and the earned “F” grades will be marked as forgiven.

It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Financial Aid office to determine if the grades covered under the academic forgiveness policy will be included in the grade point average calculation for financial aid or VA educational benefits. Students who plan to transfer to another college or university are responsible for determining the impact forgiven grades may have on their transfer credit before they request forgiveness for those grades at WCC.

Academic Credit

Degree-seeking students currently enrolled at Wilkes Community College, with prior proficiency in a course due to previous educational or work experience, may apply for credit by examination. Credit by examination can be requested for courses only listed in their active program of study in which they can demonstrate the required level of proficiency based upon course objectives. This option is available for selected courses as determined by the department chair, division dean and lead instructors. A proficiency demonstration may be a written exam, oral exam, shop exercise, or lab exercise. A maximum of 25% of the program requirements may be met through credit by examination. The following rules for the student apply:

  • Obtain permission from the appropriate department chairperson or lead instructor.
  • Instructor issuing the exam will request the credit by exam documentation from the Registrar’s Office.
  • The student will be registered for the course in the Registrar’s Office and pay the tuition for the course, which is non-refundable.
  • Take and submit the Credit by Exam documentation back to the Registrar’s Office prior to the 10% point of the term.
  • Earn a grade of 80% or better.
  • Proficiency demonstrations may be taken only one time for each course.
  • Credit for proficiency demonstration may not be granted for a course being audited by the student.
  • The instructor will complete the credit by exam documentation and a grade of “CE” (Credit by Examination) will be given to the student for exams that earn a grade of 80% or higher. The credit hours will contribute toward a degree, diploma, or certificate. However, this grade will have no effect on the student’s GPA.
  • The results of the examination will be recorded on the request form and forwarded with the examination to the division dean. The dean will file the examination and return the completed form to the registrar.

Wilkes Community College awards academic credit for certain pre-approved non-credit (continuing education) courses. Wilkes Community College continuing education units will be evaluated for curriculum credit equivalency under the following conditions:

  • Only courses pre-approved for articulation from continuing education to curriculum education will be considered for equivalency.
  • Courses must be evaluated for curriculum credit equivalency within five years of completion.
  • Only continuing education courses in which the student has earned a Satisfactory (S) grade will be considered for transfer to curriculum credit.
  • The student must be enrolled in program of study for which the equivalent course is required or allowed as an elective.
  • Continuing education credit may not be used once the respective curriculum course has been attempted at Wilkes Community College.

A continuing education course may only be applied to the approved curriculum course(s) for which it has been pre-approved and may not be used as a substitution for other required courses. Students will receive Non-Course (NC) credit on their curriculum transcript, and the course will not be used in the computation of the student’s GPA.

Students who complete continuing education courses that are not pre-approved for equivalency may be eligible to receive credit through Credit by Exam.

A student can use CE to CU credit for up to 25% of a credential at WCC.

Students must notify the Office of the Registrar if they wish to receive curriculum credit for a pre-approved continuing education course.

Continuing Education Course Curriculum Course
AUT 3109: Autobody Repair AUB 111: Painting & Refinishing I
AUB 121: Non-Structural Damage I
AUB 131: Structural Damage I
AUT 3137: Automotive Mechanics RN 110: Intro to Transportation Technology
TRN 120: Basic Transportation Electricity
AUT 141 & 141A: Suspension and Steering Systems with Lab
AUT 151 & 151A: Brake Systems with Lab
COS 3201 COS 111AB: Cosmotology Concepts
ICOS 112AB: Salon
NET 3100: CCENT-Networking/R&S CTI 120: Network & Security Foundation
NET 125: Networking Basics
NET 3100: CCENT-Switching/WAN NET 126: Routing Basics
NET 225: WAN Protocols
SEC 3100: CCNA Security SEC 160: Security Administration I
WLD 3106: Welding WLD 115: SMAW (Stick) Plate
WLD 121: GMAW (MIG) FCAW/Plate

Wilkes Community College has an advanced standing program that allows previous academic study, examination, or military experience to
be evaluated for possible college credit.

Transfer credit or advanced standing is available to students from these educational experiences:

  1. Transfer Credits from Other Colleges: Credits may be transferred from colleges and universities that are regionally accredited. Official transcripts from these institutions will be evaluated only after students have been admitted to the college and placed in a program of study. Credit will be awarded provided the course content parallels that taught at WCC or is in the Combined Course Library of the North Carolina Community College System. Credit is awarded only for courses with a grade of “C” or better. Developmental (Pass/Repeat) grades can be transferred to Wilkes Community College from other N.C. Community Colleges due to the use of a statewide grading system for these courses.
  2. Transfer of Credits from Nationally Accredited Colleges and Programs: Official transcripts from programs that are accredited by national programmatic accrediting organizations and colleges that are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the United States Department of Education (USDE) will be evaluated only after students have been admitted to the college and placed in a related program of study. Credit will be awarded provided the course content parallels that taught at WCC or is in the Combined Course Library of the North Carolina Community College System. Credit is awarded only for courses with a grade of “C” or better. Credit cannot be awarded for courses intended to transfer under the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement between the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Community College System.
  3. College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) and Advanced Placement Program (AP): Advanced standing may be granted to students who have successfully completed examinations through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and/or through the Advanced Placement Program of the College Entrance Examination Board. Official test scores must be presented for evaluation.
  4. Credits for Military Service: Credits will be granted, where applicable, for military experience in accordance with the recommendations of the American Council on Education’s Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services.

The maximum credit transferable from all outside sources is 75%. At least 25% of the credit hours required for graduation must be earned through instruction by Wilkes Community College. This 25% cannot include credit by examination hours taken at Wilkes Community College.  To obtain transfer credit or advanced standing, students must submit official documentation to the Registrar’s Office. Students should request evaluations of all official transcripts and/or scores submitted after they have been admitted to the college and placed in a program of study.

Academic Progress and Standards

Each student is expected to make satisfactory progress toward meeting his/her academic goals. The cumulative grade point average (GPA) is reviewed at the end of each semester and term to determine whether the student has made the expected progress. The minimum cumulative GPA to remain in good academic standing is a 2.0. Developmental courses are not included in the GPA calculation.

A student whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.0 is subject to academic warning, which may be followed by probation and suspension. The GPA will be calculated using the most recent grade for each course taken at Wilkes Community College.

Academic Warning

A student failing to meet the minimum cumulative GPA during any semester or term will receive an academic warning letter and be encouraged to meet with their academic advisor to discuss strategies and resources for grade improvement. The warning status will be posted on the student’s transcript and the student’s academic advisor will be notified.

Academic Probation

A student whose cumulative GPA remains below 2.0 for a second consecutive semester or term is placed on academic probation. A student placed on academic probation will receive a letter informing them of their status and must meet with a Student Services representative or academic advisor to review their academic standing. While on probation, a student will be able to register for a maximum of twelve credit hours for fall and spring semesters and a maximum of six credit hours for summer term. The probation status will be posted on the student’s transcript and the student’s academic advisor will be notified.


A student whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.0 for a third consecutive semester/term will be placed on academic suspension. A student on academic suspension will not be allowed to register for curriculum courses. The student may return after one semester or term by completing a re-enrollment meeting with a Student Services representative. A student who is readmitted following an academic suspension will be placed on academic probation. The suspension status will be posted on the student’s transcript and the student’s academic advisor will be notified.


A student on academic suspension who believes extenuating circumstances exist that should prevent the suspension may appeal the academic suspension. The student must submit a written appeal to the academic appeals committee which consists of the chief officer of instruction, chief officer of student services, and a designee chosen by the academic and support services council. The decision of the academic appeals committee is final. The academic suspension appeal form is available in the student forms folder within E-Forms. The link to E-Forms is available on the Prowler web page.

Requirements for Graduation

To graduate, students must:

  1. Complete all required courses for the degree, diploma, or certificate; (Associate degree graduates may participate in the annual spring graduation exercise if they have one or two courses to complete during the summer term. More than two courses needed during the summer term must be approved by the division dean and registrar. However, the college cannot guarantee courses needed for graduation will be offered during the summer term.)
  2. Attain a cumulative grade point average of “C” (minimum of 2.00) in all work attempted; If a student’s cumulative grade point average is not a 2.0, but their program GPA is a 2.0 or higher after switching academic programs, then the student may request a graduation exception. A graduation exception cannot be granted for certain programs based on state and accrediting body requirements. To request a graduation exception, the student must appeal to the VP of Instruction. If the appeal is approved, then the student will be allowed to graduate based on program GPA.
  3. Complete no less than 25% of the semester hours required in the program of study at Wilkes Community College; and
  4. Satisfy all financial obligations to Wilkes Community College.

Students who will complete all required coursework for graduation during the subsequent summer term may participate in graduation exercises if the following conditions are met:

  1. Students have satisfied the criteria stated above;
  2. Students have registered for all courses required to complete the degree, diploma, or certificate for the subsequent summer term and paid the tuition for the summer term; and
  3. Students have been granted permission from the appropriate division dean. (Diploma seeking students are excluded.)

Students should plan carefully for summer term as only a limited number of courses are offered, and students may not be able to take the courses needed for graduation.

Students will be notified by e-mail when they are eligible to graduate, except for students enrolled in the Associates in General Education (AGE) (A10300) program. If a student wishes to graduate with an AGE, then he/she will need to work with their advisor and notify the Records and Registration office of their intent to graduate from the AGE degree.

Students who have been notified as being eligible for graduation must inform the Registration and Records office of their intent to walk in the graduation ceremony by submitting the appropriate documentation. Potential graduates will be instructed through email on how to obtain the appropriate documentation.

Any student who is not notified of graduation eligibility, but believes they are eligible for graduation from their program(s) will need to meet with their advisor to review their progress. In addition, students scheduled to participate in the annual graduation exercise must pay a graduation fee, which covers the cost of the cap, gown, degree, diploma, certificate, and the mailing of the credentials. Also, graduating students are encouraged to participate in the commencement exercise, but attendance is not required. All degrees, diplomas, and certificates will be mailed, but the college will not be responsible for damage during mail delivery.