Orientation to ACU

Passport, Registration and Welcome Week    
Learning Communities

Orientation to ACU

Dr. Eric Gumm, Director of the First-Year Program and Academic Development
ACU Box 29104; Abilene, Texas 79699-9104
Lower Level, McKinzie Hall, Room 17

Phone: 325-674-2212 (local) or
             866-674-2212 (toll-free)
Fax: 325-674-6112
Email: fyp@acu.edu

Passport, Registration and Welcome Week   

Passport is a summer orientation program for entering freshmen, transfers and their parents. All new undergraduate students are required to attend one of 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 will also complete placement testing, receive comprehensive academic advising and confirm their fall schedule. Transfer students with 22 or more eligible ACU hours may register for courses prior to Passport through their academic departments, but are still required to attend Passport. More information can be found at www.acu.edu/passport .

Newly-admitted freshmen receive their tentative fall schedule after registering online for Passport. Transfer students may register for their classes by contacting the academic department of their declared major after registering for Passport.

All admission records, transcripts, test scores, fees and deposits, and the student immunization form must be on file prior to Passport. Incomplete admission records, test scores, and/or immunization forms will prevent students from registering.

Freshmen students must be registered in required first-year university courses in Bible and Cornerstone (CORE 110) during their first semester, freshman English during their first year, and EXSC 100 by the end of their third semester, unless they have already completed these courses.

International Student Registration
International undergraduate students must be registered for at least 12 hours. Undergraduates whose native language is not English are required to enroll in English as a Second Language (ESL) unless they can demonstrate acceptable English language skills with a score of at least 525 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or 197 on the computer based TOEFL. ESL courses do not count toward graduation. For more information, please see the Institute of Intensive English in the Department of Foreign Languages section.

Back To Top

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. Many 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 service projects, devotionals, academic meetings, games and meetings with Cornerstone classmates or fellow transfer students. More information can be found at www.acu.edu/welcomeweek.

Welcome Weekend
(Students Entering at the Spring Semester)

Welcome Weekend is an orientation program for students entering in the spring semester, including freshmen, transfers and their parents. All new undergraduate students who are beginning in the spring semester are required to attend the Welcome Weekend sessions. During this program, students will receive important information about starting their journey at ACU and will meet fellow students and professors. There will also be opportunities to complete placement testing, receive comprehensive academic advising and confirm their schedule.

Back To Top


Credit by Examination
Exceptional past grades or test scores indicating outstanding academic achievement may make it is possible to be exempt from or to receive college credit for certain courses. This provision does not apply to the proscribed university Bible requirements (BIBL 101, 102, 211, 212, 440).

No credit by examination will be awarded for a course that a student has taken.

A maximum of 30 semester hours earned by examination may be counted toward an undergraduate degree. All hours of credit earned by examination will be listed on the official transcript. No tuition is charged for credit by examination, but a testing fee is charged as well as a recording fee per course credit received. Unsuccessful attempts to earn credit by examination are not shown on transcripts. For more information, contact the University Testing Center or the Admissions Office.

“Challenging” a Course
If a student wishes to attempt earning credit for a course that is not available through CLEP, the student may approach the chair of the department offering that course about a challenge exam.  Students may pick up a course challenge form in the University Testing Center. Should the challenge be allowed, the student will schedule the exam with the department.

Course-challenge credit is subject to the limitations explained in the Credit by Examination section above. Because of the nature of some courses, they are not available through challenge or examination. The chair of the department will determine if the course is eligible for challenge. When credit is awarded during the first week of the semester, a full refund will be approved.

A student may not challenge or test for credit for a course when that student has already earned credit for a subsequent course in that field. For example, a student may not challenge Beginning Spanish if the student has already taken Intermediate Spanish.

Back To Top

ACT/SAT Placement Information    

New students, including transfer students with fewer than 65 transferable degree credits, may be required or given the option to complete placement testing.

The following COMPASS placement tests are available:    

  • Advanced Mathematics Placement Test – required for all students majoring in math, science, computer science or pursuing a pre-health concentration (except nursing) regardless of ACT/SAT scores. This test is used for placement into MATH 109 (Precalculus I), MATH 124 (Precalculus II) or MATH 185 (Calculus I). Students who have earned credit for MATH 185 from AP or CLEP do not need to take this placement test.
  • Mathematics Placement Test – optional for those students who scored below 20 on ACT Math or below 500 on SAT Math. This test can be taken if a student wishes to improve his/her course placement or eliminate a mathematics course which would not earn graduation credit.
  • English Placement Test – optional for those students who scored below 19 on ACT English or 470 on SAT Critical Reading. This test can be taken if a student wishes to improve his/her course placement or eliminate an English course which would not earn graduation credit.

Placement tests may be attempted twice but must be completed before the semester begins. Students are not eligible for placement testing after beginning any MATW, MATH, or ENGL course. 

Back To Top

Learning Communities   

Eric Gumm, Director
ACU Box 29104, Abilene, Texas 79699-9104
McKinzie Hall, Lower Level, Room 17
Phone: 325-674-2212
Email: fyp@acu.edu
Web: www.acu.edu/fyp

A Learning Community is a set of classes grouped around a common theme. For example, a community on the theme of “The Power of the Word” might include Bible, English and speech courses or the theme of “Being Counter-Cultural People” might include Bible, English and Sociology courses. While the course content will not be parallel for the entire semester, the teachers of these courses will work together to help students recognize and understand how the knowledge gained in each course relates to the learning that is going on in the other courses. Some Learning Communities may plan special group service projects or identify other opportunities to learn while doing.

Depending on the courses in the community, most groups will include 25-35 students. When a student enrolls in a Learning Community that automatically enrolls him or her in all of the classes in that community.

Learning Communities are designed to help students:

  • become involved in college more quickly;
  • become acquainted with other students;
  • form student study groups;
  • learn more about a topic of interest;
  • enhance learning by seeing connections among classes.

Back to Top 

Vision in Action

Watch the video above to witness the future of Abilene Christian University taking shape.

Learn more 

Connect with ACU