The purpose of this website is to help you transition as smoothly and effectively to Pacific as possible. Take your time and slowly read through each step. And if you have any questions about anything here, just call us. For New Student Orientation information including detailed Course placement Information, visit the Tiger Tracks website.
Sign up for the Engineering/Computer Science Living Environment
Just as soon as students confirm their enrollment with Pacific, they are allowed to indicate a housing preference online. Pacific's Housing Department offers a co-ed floor reserved for engineering and computer science students. We expect this to be very popular with our students, allowing you to be surrounded by other students who are taking the same classes you are - enabling you to help each other with your homework. Other students may prefer to live with a greater variety of majors. There are a limited number of rooms available for the Engineering/Computer Science floor. So if you are interested in exercising that option, you may need to indicate so quickly.
In order for you to have the best possible experience at Pacific, we take extensive measures to make sure your math and chemistry knowledge matches your initial course placements. Pacific (like most universities) also has minimum reading and writing skills requirements.
Review the following information to determine exactly which placement sessions you need to participate in.
Pacific offers early math placement testing on Thursdays and some Saturdays from 3 pm to 9 pm at the University Library. Please call 209-946-2177 or email email@example.com to reserve a spot as RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED. The on-line chemistry placement exam may be completed at home by accessing Pacific's learning management system (SAKAI) on your computer. We highly recommend taking the placement tests before your orientation session, however, the placement tests are also offered during your orientation session. The results from these placement tests along with your high school transcripts and other information that you provide will help us pre-schedule your first semester classes. After you get through this initial round of transitioning, you will be on your way to just enjoying your college studies.
- Math Placement
This is by far the most important assessment we will do with you. Your command of math is what will define you as a student and then as a practitioner. High schools vary in their teaching of math. And students vary in how much math they take before coming to Pacific. It is crucial that we get a good handle on your command of algebra, trig, etc. All students can take Pacific's COMPASS math placement test and a majority of our students do end up taking the COMPASS placement test. However, the following students do NOT need to take Pacific's COMPASS math placement test:
- You took pre-calculus or calculus at a community college or four-year college and got at least a C in it.
- You took math in high school up through Calculus AB and/or BC by your junior year, and scored a 4 or 5 on the exam.
Note: If you are taking AP Calculus now and if you score a four or five, the Compass test will not have any bearing on your math placement.
- Chemistry Placement
Most of our engineering students take chemistry. Most of our computer science students do not take chemistry. Of the students who do take chemistry, most take a 4 unit class called, "Fundamentals of Chemistry." It includes the aspects of chemistry that are most typically needed by engineers.
An exception is that bioengineering majors must take two five-unit chemistry courses: CHEM 25 and CHEM 27.
Some students must take a chemistry placement test to get into their respective chemistry course. The following students do NOT need to take the chemistry placement test:
- If you did not take chemistry in high school. You will be automatically placed into CHEM 23 - Elements of Chemistry.
- If you took chemistry in high school and got a grade equal to or higher than a B both semesters (this rule does not apply to bioengineering majors).
- If you took the Chemistry Subject Placement Test and scored 550 or higher.
- If you took the AP Chemistry test before your senior year and you got a 2 or higher.
- If you are majoring in computer science and are quite certain you do not want to take chemistry for your lab science requirement. (Most students take physics or geology.)
- Reading & Writing Placement
If you scored a minimum of a 510 on your SAT Writing exam, or a 22 on your ACT Eng/Writing, then you are done. If not, then we will place you in a writing course which will be excellent for you. Depending on what your SAT score was, you may only need to take one course, or your may need to take more. Don't worry about it at all for now.
If you happen to have taken a writing course at a community college or some other college, you can check the following ROAR website to see if that might serve to satisfy your fundamental writing skills requirement at Pacific.
- Language Placement
Engineering and computer science students are not required to take a foreign language course. However, many students want to. If you do want to take foreign language courses, there is a good chance they could satisfy one or two General Education requirements.
You will have opportunities before the New Student Orientation, and again at the New Student Orientation to take a Modern Language Placement exam. If you have taken a foreign language, and if you think there is any chance you might want to take a class at Pacific in this same language, you should go ahead and take this exam.
Sign up QUICKLY! This is a Saturday morning enrichment program that strengthens students' overall math skills, writing skills, and leadership abilities. Students will perform better in the classroom, and they will step into higher leadership roles faster.
This program is open to all students in the university. We close enrollment off at 80. The School of Engineering and Computer Science is who runs it. Why? Because it was actually our brainchild for the sake of our students. But this program fills up fast by other students so sign up as soon as you can.
Purchasing a Computer
As students are preparing to move to Pacific, they frequently contact us asking for guidelines towards the purchase of a new computer. In general:
- If you already have a computer, we do not recommend students purchase a new computer before they get to campus. Just bring your current computer and see how it does before you consider purchasing a new one.
- For students purchasing a computer, a standard laptop will do fine for most majors. It is recommended to purchase a computer in the entertainment/multimedia category (has its own dedicated graphics). As a baseline:
Minimum 6GB of RAM with Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
Minimum CPU speed of 2.0 ghz Quad Core
Minimum Hard Disk Space of 320GB
Dedicated graphics to handle your respective applications
Additionally, the School's computers are equipped with the required programs and computer labs are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for engineering and computer science students.
What are your plans for this summer?
We have some recommendations:
1. Have you ever had a job before? If not, we strongly encourage obtaining some work experience. Besides strengthening your character in many ways, it will be very important in your future co-op search. Co-op employers have a strong hiring preference for students who have had experience being responsible and accountable on a regular basis to an employer.
2. Summer School Many students have the energy and motivation to go ahead and take another step forward towards their degree during the summer right out of high school. It can serve as a bit of a "bridge" experience for the subsequent fall. What course should you take?
a. If you are not ready for Calculus yet, it would be GREAT to take your next math course this summer. This will open up your schedule, making you eligible to enroll in other courses sooner. Even if you are ready for Calculus, you still might like to go ahead and take your next Calculus course, just expediting your curriculum pre-requisites that much more.
b. Or complete your chemistry requirement. This can be a big relief.
c. Or complete one of your general education requirements.
You can take courses at a local community college; or Pacific has a heavily discounted summer rate. Be sure to confer with your faculty advisor on which course to take. If you're not sure who that is, check with Peggy Shubert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.932.2805.
3. Engineering Industry Fellowship (EIF) This program matches new engineering and computer science students with industry partners. Students work for the company during all of their academic breaks, including the first summer out of high school. These EIF'S are normally situated near your home. You are also assigned an industry mentor, and you receive an annual scholarship of $2000. See: Engineering Industry Fellowship (EIF)
4. Or a Non-Fellowship Technical Job If the Engineering Industry Fellowship does not appeal to you, but you would still like a summer job that is engineering/computer science related, contact Prof. Calvin Chen @ email@example.com or 209-946-3062. We may be able to facilitate a summer placement for you. You can make good pay and get great experience.
If you are a new transfer student coming in....
We would encourage you to go ahead and make contact with your faculty advisor before you get here. If you don't live too far away, we would encourage you to schedule an appointment to meet with him/her in person. It is not necessary, but you will enjoy getting to know them a little bit ahead of time, and it may make your orientation session a little bit smoother. They will help you start to create a personal curriculum plan for yourself, so that you can see which classes you will be taking each semester. The sooner you do this with them, the sooner they can give you advisement that could save you much time and optimize your overall educational experience. Find your faculty advisor here. And visit our Transfer Student page for more detailed information.
Awards, scholarships, and financial aid....
You've been accepted to Pacific. Now we expect you to do great things, and be recognized for them. We will help you. You can qualify for distinctions, new scholarships, and new financial aid as early as immediately. Check out this page!
Working while in school....
This is a common question, "Should students work while in college?" While opinions vary widely on this, a few comments that might help include:
1. If you need to work in order to help make ends meet, know that many students across the country are in this same situation.
2. Most people are not capable of working more than a total of 50-60 hours per week. Many engineering/computer science students will spend upwards to 45 hours per week attending class and doing their homework. So if they try to take on employment beyond ten to fifteen hours per week, their grades can suffer seriously. Also, remember that for sustained high academic performance, students must allocate time in their week for rest and for exercise.