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First Year Start-up Guide

How do Office Hours Work?

Each professor at JMU holds at least 5 scheduled office hours per week. This means that the professor is available at that time to meet without an appointment. To attend office hours, you simply show up to your professor's office within the scheduled time. It is generally a good idea to get there as early as possible, especially if something is due, because office hours can be quite busy. You should not feel like you are taking the professors time when you attend office hours. Part of the reason faculty members join a teaching school like JMU is that they love working with and advising students. One-on-one interactions during office hours are certainly a part of what makes the job great. If you are not going to office hours then you are missing out on an essential part of JMU.

You can find CS professor office hours on the Faculty Office Hours page. Additionally, the syllabus for each of your courses should list the office hours for that professor. Always check the syllabus before sending an email asking when office hours are.

Departmental Clubs

JMU computer science has a number of active clubs. Some of these run as official university clubs while some are unofficially run in-house in the department. All of our clubs are listed on Clubs page. If you are interested in joining or just finding out more information you can reach out to either the student contact for the club or the faculty advisor for more information. Clubs are a great way to get to know other CS students, deep dive into specific CS topics,, volunteer your CS skills, work to make CS a better and more inclusive field, and much more. All of our clubs take first-years and we encourage you to get involved early.

So I registered for and began my first semester, now what?

Registering for classes can often be a stressful time for students, especially when trying to figure out what to take as a freshman going forward. In terms of CS classes, a good place to start would be using the graduation requirements found by downloading the checklist of the year you started at JMU here. Using this checklist, prerequisite tree found here, and the online catalog available (showing when classes are often taught) within MyMadison, it is highly recommended that you make a spreadsheet with each of the semesters you intend to be at JMU, fill it first with your graduation requirements, followed by any interested minors, and lastly electives. Having a preliminary plan of what you are planning to take from start to finish can be a good visual way to alleviate the stress you may have on class registration. Feel free to share this spreadsheet with your advisor for comments as well!