Hill College - Counseling - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the first steps in entering college?

Just as a student registered for different courses in high school when changing from one year to the next, in college, students must register for college by completing the following information:

  • Admissions Packet - To give background information to the college
  • Financial Aid Packet - If you need financial assistance
  • Housing - If the student wants to live on campus

The Academic Advising and Student Success Center staff assists in academic advisement by assisting enrolling students with:

  • Degree Plans - Degree plans give students a guide for their college program - deciding on which courses to take, how many hours to take, and what field of study to choose
  • Assessment and Interest Testing - Assessment testing gives students the best information on which courses to take, which job field they might choose to study, or a better understanding of how they learn.

What is the THEA test and why do I have to take it?

  • The Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEATM) is an instructional program designed to ensure that students attending public institutions of higher learning in Texas and students entering educator preparation programs in Texas have the academic skills necessary to perform effectively in college-level work.
  • The THEA test or an alternative is an assessment test - meaning it tells the college where students are academically so the college will know what courses students should take.
  • If a student is deficient in basic skills, they will take developmental courses to learn skills to help them pass the THEA or alternative test. Developmental courses are a part of the process of entering college if students are deficient in specific skills in language arts, math, or writing.

What if you're a high school student taking concurrent courses; do you still have to take the THEA test?

  • High School students taking concurrent courses must either be exempt by TAKS, SAT, or ACT (have high scores in all areas), or take the THEA test or an alternative test. Alternative testing is available at the Testing Center at Cleburne or Hillsboro

What is a credit hour? How many should I take?

  • In high school, students needed a specific number of credits to graduate - usually in the range of 20-25 credits. In college, students need more credits to graduate, but credits are slightly different. Three college hours or three credits means the class meets three hours a week. So if a student is taking three courses, its three hours times three courses or nine credit hours. Most students take at least twelve hours as a minimum and should take fifteen hours a semester as a regular load. If a student takes fifteen hours a semester and only attends college in the long semesters (fall and spring) that's fifteen hours times two which equals thirty hours a year. If it takes 62 hours to graduate with an associate's degree, a student could possibly finish within two years if he/she is taking the correct courses.
  • 3 credit hours = class meets 3 hours a week
  • 3 courses X 3 credit hours = 9 credit hours
  • 12-15 credit hours a semester is normal load
  • 15 credit hours a semester X 2 (fall semester and spring semester) = 30 hours a year
  • 30 hours X 2 years = 60 hours
  • Most associate degrees are 62 hours, so most people can graduate in two years with an associate's degree

Can I be exempt from the THEA?

  • Exempt in college has a different meaning than exempt from testing because of special education accommodations in high school. Exempt in college means a student scored very high on a test, therefore, he/she doesn't need to take the test, i.e., such as the THEA test.
  • You do not have to take the THEA Test if you have a high score on the SAT, ACT, or TAKS, or if you enroll in a certificate program of 42 semester credit hours or less at a public community college.

What is a degree plan and when is it prepared?

  • In high school, students are required to take four English/Language Arts classes, a specified number of math and science courses, electives, etc. In college, students are required to take certain courses dependent upon their choice of majors. A major is a field of study, such as if a person wants to teach, he/she would study education. If a student wants to study computers, he/she would study computer science.
  • A degree plan is a plan of the courses a student will take in college.
  • When entering college, students sit down with a counselor/advisor to discuss what field they're interested in. Many students don't know what they're interested in studying and that's alright. There are tests which can help students decide what to study or a student can take the core curriculum courses which are courses which transfer to all colleges. It's a basic set of English, Math, History, Science, and electives. It's a good choice.
  • Degree plans are updated as students’ complete courses. It is vitally important that students check with their counselors and academic advisors before and during each semester to make sure the correct courses are being completed for graduation.

If I haven't ever been to college, what can I do to start, especially since I'm older than most college students?

  • The normal college student today isn't the traditional student who leaves high school, goes to college, attends four years, graduates and gets a job. Today college students are all ages and more and more non-traditional students are entering college to get better jobs, to earn more money, or because it's a lifelong goal.

For more information, please contact the Academic Advising and Student Success Center, at (254)659-7650.