Fall 2020 Registration FAQ

Click to read the special Fall 2020 Registration FAQ. Read More

July 28, 2020

UPDATED ACADEMIC FAQs

Q: Can I receive Olin financial aid while on LOA and taking coursework for transfer?
A: No, only students enrolled full-time at Olin or on an approved study away program are eligible for financial aid from Olin. If you choose to take courses while on LOA at another institution you will need to pay for these courses with your own resources. 

Q: I have indicated I will be living off campus for Fall in a rent based housing arrangement – how will my financial aid eligibility be re-revaluated?
A: Colleges generally offer financial aid that supports multiple options – living on campus, living at home, and living off campus.  Olin has not done so in the past because of our residency requirement.  Olin is committed to partnering with families to meet the cost of living while off campus in a way that both supports students while also demonstrating fiduciary responsibility. Your initial financial aid will include a living allowance equal to the amount you would have paid for room and board if you lived on campus – this will represent the ceiling or maximum available to you.  As a follow up, you will need to submit documentation of your lease as well as documentation of your portion of responsibility for the rent amount (i.e the rent is $1600 with 4 people living in the apartment – your rent is $400).  If your rent proves to be substantially less than the allowance provided –  aid will be adjusted accordingly. Students will be notified if they need to submit additional information to financial aid. 

Note that if you initially reported your intent to live off campus in a rent based arrangement, and that plan changes, you are required to update financial aid with that information.

Q: The Materials Science and Biology foundation courses offered this fall do not include a hands-on laboratory component.  Do these courses still meet the Olin requirement for foundation science classes? 
A: The Academic Recommendations Board (ARB) approved a proposal from the faculty who teach these courses to allow an exception to this rule.  All students who enroll in materials science, chemistry or biology at Olin during AY20-21 meet all course requirements with no deficiencies that need to be made up later, even though these courses will not include a laboratory component.

Q: Will there be a way to register for a less than normal course load (one class for example) at a prorated cost if we need to make alternative plans for the fall (rather than enrolling for a full course load)?
A: Olin’s policy states that students are required to be enrolled full time. In this instance – students in exceptional circumstances could petition the Academic Recommendations Board (ARB) outlining their circumstances and requesting consideration to enroll in one course in the fall.  If approved, students would pay on a per credit basis and would not be eligible for their Olin Tuition Scholarship or Olin Need-Based Aid.  If enrolled in one course, students who previously borrowed student loans would use their loan grace period and go into repayment. 

Q: What will classes and student work 'look like'? Will labs and workshops be open for student use?
A: We are actively working to find ways to create opportunities for students while maintaining safety for students, staff, and faculty who are on campus. While we understand that much of the appeal of being on campus is extraordinarily open use of fabrication, shop, and lab facilities, students need to understand that this access will be necessarily curtailed. Most facilities (shops, the large project building, the ECE lab, the bio and material science labs, and the library) will not be physically accessible to students. These spaces will operate on a "work order" and "contactless pickup" model in which students make requests for materials or resources and staff operating those physical spaces will provide them as they are able. Departments such as the library will offer many services electronically, including books/resources, instruction sessions, community engagement events, and meetings for research consultation. We look forward to relaxing this restriction as much as you do and will do so as we deem it safe. If public safety considerations allow us to relax restrictions on shop and library spaces, we will engage the community to prioritize which resources to make available first.

Q: How will the social distancing guidelines impact any classes taught in either mixed mode (mostly remote with some faculty in-person time) or faculty remote (students may spend some time in-person)?  
A: Each class will be impacted differently, and faculty will develop specific protocols for different types of course setups (e.g. Design Nature will likely have individual work stations for students to engage in prototyping and fabrication work; SCOPE and ADE will likely have varying arrangements customized to the needs of their particular projects; courses with small team work will have appropriately set up team areas). Most courses will span multiple rooms for in-person students. We estimate on the order of 10-15 students per classroom, depending on the activities. 

Q: Do you anticipate Formula, Baja, HPV, and other project teams or clubs continuing in the Fall? If yes, do you anticipate virtual or hybrid? 
A: We anticipate that competition organizations will be sharing updated information to accommodate our collective changes in activities. At this time, we have limited “open” spaces for clubs to work. We will solicit proposals from teams and clubs for arrangements that allow them to do as much as possible, while maintaining safety and working within published guidelines. Clubs will also be able to request fabrication by the Shop. 

Q: Where will students be able to work? Especially thinking about physical prototyping? 
A: Courses with physical prototyping needs will largely be mixed mode in order to allow students to work in classrooms during class time. Additionally, groups of students will be able to reserve classroom space after scheduled course time (only one group per room per night to allow for cleaning in the morning). Students will generally use individual tools, not share them. In rare cases where larger tools need to be shared, cleaning protocols will be employed.

Q: How will students who are remote get materials? Will we ship them overnight? 
A: Generally, supplies and completed fabrication jobs will be shipped to (and from) students who are working remotely. This will take financial and human resources and development of new organizational systems. For example, the Shop has already created an online work submission form in anticipation of this scenario. Most likely, the Shop will be placing parts in plastic bags with names on them for pick-up outside the Shop for students on campus. Students should assume 2-day shipping and a turn-around of at least 3-5 days plus shipping time for your parts. Priorities will be course work, then research, then club work. 

Q: How will remote students get books and other media? 
A: The library staff will work with students and faculty to provide materials in the most effective way. In some cases, this might be e-resources or scans of books in the library’s collection. In some cases, this may mean purchasing used copies of some texts and mailing them to students. Using online retailers, the library can ship items to students directly at no cost to them.

Q: Will I have access to stock and other materials like nuts and bolts? The Shop has provided those resources to courses in the past.  
A: Students will be able to use the course budget they are provided with to place orders directly (particularly for hardware items). The Shop will be purchasing stock for 3D printing and laser cutting so that the turn-around can be reduced. Some aluminum stock is also available and the work order system will allow you to specify materials and sizes. We are currently looking into hardware vending machines.

Q: What if I want more information about LOA or Withdrawal? 
A: Check out  this amazing FAQ. If you still have questions, reach out to  Adva Waranyuwat.

Q: I'm considering taking an LOA for the fall and wanted to know whether I can transfer in classes I’ve taken online from another institution
A: The ARB has approved a provisional proposal for the Academic Year 2020-21 to allow students who indicated intent to take an LOA in the fall semester to transfer up to two courses back to Olin, if approved by the Course Substitution and Transfer Board (CSTB). Stay tuned for more information, including a FAQ that highlights implications for need-based aid.

Q: Will I be able to borrow tools from the Shops or lab spaces or the Library? 
A: We are working with individual courses to provide tools to all students equitably. The library is investigating the logistics of a system to make hand tools, drills, and sewing machines available via contactless pick-up and after a 3-day quarantine period. We are working to make sure that each student has their own tools or to find a method to sanitize tools between uses. Until safe protocols have been established, tools will not be available to borrow.

Q: Will students who are already registered for a Fall class still be registered or will everyone re-register a full schedule regardless of what they had signed up for already?  
A: You will still be registered for the courses you’ve already signed up for, except that any cancelled classes will have been removed from your schedule. You will be able to adjust your schedule as needed during an extended Add/Drop period. See the registration FAQ for additional detail. 

Q: How will capstones be handled for people working remotely? 
A: We expect many students will be on campus and some students will be remote. Students will either be in residence, and able to participate from on campus, or off-campus, remote participants (per Olin policies). Because the default mode of engagement is online, no special arrangements for ADE or SCOPE are expected for students working remotely. Students who typically have accommodations should continue to work with Student Affairs to arrange those.  

Q: Will teams be able to build prototypes and do other hands-on work? 
A: Teams will be able to build prototypes and be supported with prototyping space and fabrication services, provided safety policies can be met. Students will be able to place work orders to have parts fabricated by the Olin shops for curbside pickup. Students will not be able to use the Olin shops directly at this time. The same is likely true for laboratory measurement and testing, such as for the use of the material science labs and equipment. The majority of fabrication will take place on campus, although some hands-on work can be accomplished by remote students effectively.

Q: Will capstone team placement be determined by whether students are remote or in person? Are some projects only open for on campus students? 
A: In general, no for ADE and SCOPE. We expect all teams to be a mix of in-person and remote students. SCOPE project recruiting this year prioritized working with sponsors on projects that are compatible with remote learning. If a project is expected to need hands-on work on campus to be successful, we will avoid creating an all-remote team. However, student project preferences and fit will be prioritized over student location. 

Q: Will capstone requirements be adjusted to allow capstones to count in two non-consecutive semesters? 
A: Yes for ADE for students who have just completed one semester of capstone (SP20) and who are taking the fall 2020 semester away, provided they return to their current team in the spring (SP21). The Academic Recommendations Board (ARB) has approved this exception to the current requirements for this fall, so no petition is required. Students who are enrolled in ADE but have not yet started can simply delay a semester and take ADE from spring to fall instead.

No for SCOPE, because the projects run on the calendar year, and students are not able to sufficiently meet learning goals by working for one semester each for two different projects. 

There may be special cases, and students should use the petition process with the ARB to determine if further exceptions are needed for these cases. For example, students who have already completed one semester of ADE who need to take two semesters off would need to petition.  

Q: Will there be alternative capstone options for the Class of 2021? For example, can we work for a company and have that count as a co-op? 
A: Unfortunately, Olin does not have designated alternative work or coursework for the engineering capstone requirement. In general, most internship experiences would not meet the learning objectives of the capstone experiences, which are about substantially more than accumulating work experience and instrumental skills development. Even in the case of a viable alternative, the College would need to have significant involvement in vetting and assessment to verify and document its veracity to meet and maintain regional and national accreditation of the degree programs

July 21, 2020

ACADEMIC FAQs

Q: Will there be a way to register for a less than normal course load (say just SCOPE) at a prorated cost if we need to make alternative plans for the fall (rather than enrolling for a full course load)?
A: Olin’s policy states that students are required to be enrolled full time. In this instance – students in exceptional circumstances could petition the Academic Review Board (ARB) outlining their circumstances and requesting consideration to enroll in one course in the fall.  If approved, students would pay on a per credit basis and would not be eligible for their Olin Tuition Scholarship or Olin Need-Based Aid.  If enrolled in one course, students who previously borrowed student loans would use their loan grace period and go into repayment. 

Q: To make a decision about whether or how to return in the fall, many students would like to have additional information on what classes and student work will 'look like'. Will labs and workshops be open for student use? While we understand that facilities will need to be managed to allow for required distancing and cleaning. However I’m concerned with the educational opportunities and experience of the students.
A: As you know, we are actively working on finding ways to create opportunities for students while maintaining safety for students, staff, and faculty who are on campus. While we understand that much of the appeal of being on campus is extraordinarily open use of fabrication, shop, and lab facilities, students need to understand that this access will be necessarily curtailed. Most facilities (shops, the large project building, the ECE lab, the bio and material science labs, and the library) will not be physically accessible to students. These spaces will operate on a "work order" and "contactless pickup" model in which students make requests for materials or resources and staff operating those physical spaces will provide them as they are able. Departments such as the library will offer many services electronically, including books/resources, instruction sessions, community engagement events, and meetings for research consultation. We look forward to relaxing this restriction as much as you do and will do so as we deem it safe. In the event that public safety considerations allow us to relax restrictions on shop and library spaces, we will engage the community to prioritize which resources to make available first.

Q: How will the social distancing guidelines impact any classes taught in either mixed mode (mostly remote with some faculty in-person time) or faculty remote (students may spend some time in-person)? 
A: Each class will be impacted differently, and will work with faculty to develop specific protocols for different types of course setups (e.g. Design Nature will likely have individual work stations for students to engage in prototyping and fabrication work; SCOPE and ADE will likely have varying arrangements customized to the needs of their particular projects; courses with small team work will have appropriately set up team areas). Most courses will span multiple rooms for in-person students. We estimate on the order of 10-15 students per classroom, depending on the activities. 

Q: Do you anticipate Formula, Baja, HPV, and other project teams or clubs continuing in the Fall? If yes, do you anticipate virtual or hybrid?
A: We anticipate that competition organizations will be sharing updated information to accommodate our collective changes in activities. At this time, we have limited “open” spaces for clubs to work. We will solicit proposals from teams and clubs for arrangements that allow them to do as much as possible, while maintaining safety and working within published guidelines. Clubs will also be able to request fabrication by the Shop.

Q: Where will students be able to work? Especially thinking about physical prototyping?
A: Courses with physical prototyping needs will largely be mixed mode in order to allow students to work in classrooms during class time. Additionally, groups of students will be able to reserve classroom space after scheduled course time (only one group per room per night to allow for cleaning in the morning). Students will generally use individual tools, not share them. In rare cases where larger tools need to be shared, cleaning protocols will be employed.

Q: How will students who are remote get materials? Will we ship them overnight?
A: Generally, supplies and completed fabrication jobs will be shipped to (and from) students who are working remotely. This will take financial and human resources and development of new organizational systems. For example, the Shop has already created an online work submission form in anticipation for this scenario. Most likely, the Shop will be placing parts in plastic bags with names on them for pick-up outside the Shop for students on campus. Students should assume 2 day shipping and a turn-around of at least 3-5 days plus shipping time for your parts. Priorities will be course work, then research, then club work. 

Q: How will remote students get books and other media?
A: The library staff will work with students and faculty to provide materials in the most effective way. In some cases, this might be e-resources or scans of books in the library’s collection. In some cases, this may mean purchasing used copies of some texts and mailing them to students. Using online retailers, the library can ship items to students directly at no cost to them.

Q: Will I have access to stock and other materials like nuts and bolts? The Shop has provided those resources to courses in the past. 
A: Students will be able to use the course budget they are provided with to place orders directly (particularly for hardware items). The Shop will be purchasing stock for 3D printing and laser cutting so that the turn-around can be reduced. Some aluminum stock is also available and the work order system will allow you to specify materials and sizes. We are currently looking into hardware vending machines. 

Q: What if I want more information about LOA or Withdrawal?
A: Check out this amazing FAQ. If you still have questions, reach out to Adva Waranyuwat.

Q: I'm considering taking an LOA for the fall and wanted to know whether I transfer in classes I’ve taken online classes from another institution.
A: This is normally only allowed while on approved  Study Away or when students are cross-registered. There are discussions about whether we may allow this as a temporary amendment for the Fall 2020 LOAs. Stay Tuned.

Q: Will I be able to borrow tools from the Shops or lab spaces or the Library?
A: We are working with individual courses to provide tools to all students equitably. The library is investigating the logistics of a system to make hand tools, drills, and sewing machines available via contactless pick-up and after a 3-day quarantine period. We are working to make sure that each student has their own tools or to find a method to sanitize tools between uses. Until safe protocols have been established, tools will not be available to borrow.

Q: Will students who are already registered for a Fall class still be registered or will everyone re-register a full schedule regardless of what they had signed up for already? 
A: You will still be registered for the courses you’ve already signed up for, except that any cancelled classes will have been removed from your schedule. You will be able to adjust your schedule as needed during an extended Add/Drop period. See the registration FAQ for additional detail.

Q: How will capstones be handled for people working remotely?
A: We expect many students will be on campus and some students will be remote. Students will either be in residence, and able to participate from on campus, or off-campus, remote participants (per Olin policies). Because the default mode of engagement is online, no special arrangements for ADE or SCOPE are expected for students working remotely. Students who typically have accommodations should continue to work with Student Affairs to arrange those. 

Q: Will teams be able to build prototypes and do other hands-on work?
A:Teams will be able to build prototypes and be supported with prototyping space and fabrication services, provided safety policies can be met. Students will be able to place work orders to have parts fabricated by the Olin shops for curbside pickup. Students will not be able to use the Olin shops directly at this time. The same is likely true for laboratory measurement and testing, such as for the use of the material science labs and equipment. The majority of fabrication will take place on campus, although some hands-on work can be accomplished by remote students effectively.

Q: Will capstone team placement be determined by whether students are remote or in person? Are some projects only open for on campus students?
A:In general, no for ADE and SCOPE. We expect all teams to be a mix of in-person and remote students. SCOPE project recruiting this year prioritized working with sponsors on projects that are compatible with remote learning. If a project is expected to need hands-on work on campus to be successful, we will avoid creating an all-remote team. However, student project preferences and fit will be prioritized over student location.

Q: Will capstone requirements be adjusted to allow capstones to count in two non-consecutive semesters?
A: Yes for ADE for students who have just completed one semester of capstone (SP20) who are taking the fall 2020 semester away, provided they return to their current team in the spring (SP21). The Academic Review Board (ARB) has approved this exception to the current requirements for this fall, so no petition is required. Students who are enrolled in ADE but have not yet started can simply delay a semester and take ADE from spring to fall instead.

No for SCOPE, because the projects run on the calendar year, and students are not able to sufficiently meet learning goals by working for one semester each for two different projects.

There may be special cases, and students should use the petition process with the ARB to determine if further exceptions are needed for these cases. For example, students who have already completed one semester of ADE who need to take two semesters off would need to petition. 

Q: Will there be alternative capstone options for the Class of 2021? For example, can we work for a company and have that count as a co-op?
A: Unfortunately, Olin does not have designated alternative work or coursework for the engineering capstone requirement. In general, most internship experiences would not meet the learning objectives of the capstone experiences, which are about substantially more than accumulating work experience and instrumental skills development. Even in the case of a viable alternative, the College would need to have significant involvement in vetting and assessment to verify and document its veracity to meet and maintain regional and national accreditation of the degree programs.

July 15, 2020

ACADEMICS FAQs

Q: Will students know which courses will be offered and how they will be delivered (face-to-face or remote) before re-registration or before they make decisions about physically returning to campus? 
A: Yes. We intend to provide students with some curricular (offerings and mode of delivery) information in the July 21 information package provided with the Student Intent Survey, before students are required to commit. Additional details (i.e. schedules, etc.) will be provided closer to the re-registration date. We are committed to offering largely the same curriculum that students previously registered for.

Q: Will all classes offered have an entirely online option?
A: Yes, classes will be available to students both on and off campus.

Q: Understanding that curriculum is still under development, will virtual classes change to a more “traditional” format (e.g. lectures, non-interactive)? Will they cover the requisite curriculum in a thorough manner?
A: While our modes of delivery need to be modified, each faculty member and teaching team is working to create an experience that enables students (both remote and in person) to meet the learning objectives of the course and keeps the interactive character of the course to the greatest extent possible.

Q: The magic of Olin is the hands-on experiential education. Can you give one specific example of how faculty will reconfigure their class to meet that challenge?
A: An example from last spring that we intend to build upon is that for a fabrication heavy course, each student received a LEGO-based kit to complete their work remotely. We are exploring modifying and scaling hands-on experiences to make them accessible from any location.

Q: If a class is completely remote, will there be any hands-on opportunities or other ways students can engage in the material when they live on campus?
A: This will be determined on a course-by-course basis. Students are always encouraged to form (appropriately socially-distanced) peer-learning groups for discussions and explorations of course material.

Q: What will the curricular experience be like for incoming first-year students?
A: We are paying particular attention to the overall first-year academic and student life experience, with the understanding that students had an emotionally and academically interrupted spring of their senior year of high school. Students will be taking the typical Olin first-year courses, with their signature interdisciplinary experiences, appropriately modified for our circumstances.

Q: If a student wants to take a semester-long internship in the fall, would Olin be available to help with matching students with employers?
A: Yes. Post Graduate Planning is here to help, always.

Q: Will there be consideration of internships for credit?
A: No, unfortunately we are not able to offer credit for internships at this time.

Q: How many faculty members will be back on campus?
A: As per state and College guidelines, most faculty members will not be on campus most of the time. Additionally, we anticipate that some students will be working remotely. We are coordinating course schedules and classroom arrangement in order to allow for teaching of hybrid courses involving in-person instruction.

Q: What is the support for if a professor gets sick? How will that class proceed in a way that still supports the students and respects the needs and health of the professor?
A: This really isn’t different than any other year except that we are now more adept at working remotely. If their illness is so severe that they cannot teach for a substantial amount of time, we will make sure that the course is covered by another faculty member in order to make sure the class completes.

Q: Can students still cross register at Babson and Wellesley?
A: Students can cross register for courses at Babson and Wellesley, but they will be limited to online only classes. Please note: scheduling may be more difficult for Wellesley classes given that they are using different semester and daily schedules than Olin.

Q: Do we know if there will be any flexibility in cross enrolling in multiple classes at Wellesley/other institutions since study abroad (where lots of people were planning to taking all/most of their AHS concentration classes) isn't likely?
A: There may be increased flexibility through a variety of mechanisms that we are currently exploring. Please see the forthcoming (July 21 and end-of-month) information packets.

Q: What about international students? Will they be able to obtain visas under the current regulations?
We are closely monitoring the immigration regulations and understand that the July 14 announcement does not apply to incoming students. We have a commitment to our international students and are working to ensure that our first-year curriculum provides in-person learning opportunities.

Q: Why does Olin think it is safe for students to be together physically in a classroom, but not safe enough for the professors to be in the classroom with them?
A: Each member of our community will need to make their own decisions about what feels safe for them while also following relevant guidelines. Based on student feedback, we have prioritized providing an option that allows students to be on campus if they choose to be.

Q: How long does it typically take to get approval for Leave of Absences?
A: Leaves of absence (LOAs) can be approved rapidly. Students wishing to pursue an LOA should be in contact with their advisors and Adva Waranyuwat, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.

Q: Is there a current thought on what graduation might look like? Should we be expecting an online ceremony unless the situation gets drastically better?
A: We don’t have an answer for this and we will keep the community updated as the public health situation evolves over the academic year.

Q: Will there be a way to register for a less than normal course load (say just SCOPE) at a prorated cost if we need to make alternative plans for the fall (rather than enrolling for a full course load)?
A: Updated on July 21, 2020 (see above)

Q: What do we know about SCOPE and ADE?
A: We have great projects lined up and we are working on making sure that students can engage in them if they are on campus or participating remotely. Both programs are also working to support remote students and mixed-mode teams.

Q: Will there be alternative capstone options for our class? For example, can we work for a company and have that count as a co-op?
A: Updated on July 21, 2020 (see above)