First Year 101

First Year Course Matching

UAA believes it is important to start college on the right track, and First Year Course Matching is important to your success!  Course Matching helps you and your First Year Advisor make informed decisions about which classes are best for your first semester.

  • Will I have to take any exams? 

    Well, it depends on your course matching survey results.  Some people need to take placement exams to make sure we determine your best writing and math courses. UAA relies on standardized exams as part of the course matching process.  It is important for new students to complete their placement exams soon after they are admitted to UAA and before they attend orientation.

    • Mathematics and Statistics: Incoming students must complete ALEKS PPL unless they meet the following exceptions:
      • Students who qualify for nontraditional credit (examples include AP exams, CLEP exams, IB) may not need to take the ALEKS. Visit the UAA Academic Catalog to learn more.
      • Students who have mathematics credit from another regionally accredited institution may not need to take the ALEKS. Visit UAA’s Transfer Evaluation System to learn more or talk to a First Year Advisor.
    • Writing: Incoming students will need to complete a Writing Sample or take the Accuplacer test unless they meet the following exceptions:
      • Students who have ACT or SAT scores that meet the minimum score requirements for WRTG A110 may not need to take the Accuplacer. See if your ACT or SAT scores qualify and send those scores through the SAT and/or ACT system to UAA.
      • Students who qualify for nontraditional credit (examples include AP exams, CLEP exams, IB) may not need to take the Accuplacer. Visit the UAA Academic Catalog to learn more.
      • Students who have Writing or English credits from another regionally accredited institution may not need to take the Accuplacer. Visit the UAA’s Transfer Evaluation System to learn more or talk to a First Year Advisor.
  • How do I take these exams?

    ALEKS PPL for Mathematics and Statistics  

    ALEKS PPL is not just a test . It is a learning system that covers materials from Basic Math through Precalculus and will take about 90 minutes (but no more than 3 hours) to complete. After you take it, a customized study module is available for review so you can take it again and improve each time. Students have the opportunity to complete the ALEKS up to five times!

    This proctored exam is free can be taken through the following ways:

    • Option 1: Login to ALEKS virtually through a desktop or non-Chromebook laptop/tablet with a working webcam. (For a screen reader friendly version of the ALEKS exam, contact Disability Support Services.) Follow the prompts to download the Respondus software that launches a browser lockdown and webcam recording before proceeding to complete the test. To check the system requirements for this option, visit
    • Option 2: Schedule an appointment to complete the ALEKS through the UAA Testing Center.

    To complete the ALEKS, students need their UA login credentials. Visit ELMO to retrieve your UA login information.

    View the Getting Started Guide to help you through this process!

    ALEKS Placement Exam Score Chart

    Writing Samples

    Writing Samples are an academic essay students write, in response to a prompt provided by the Writing Department faculty. Faculty then evaluate the student's writing, along with self-assessments done by the students, to recommend a placement in a Writing Course. Students can complete a Writing Sample for free: all you need is a computer and your UA username and password.

    See below for instructions on how to access the Writing Sample:

    • Click on the Link "Access the Writing Sample".
    • Read the instructions on how to prepare for, submit, and complete the Writing Sample.
    • Click on the green button “Click Here to Begin your Writing Sample”
    • Sections 1 and 2 of the form are information about you and your experiences with reading and writing. Section 3 of the form will direct you to submit the form. Upon submitting the form, you will receive your Writing Sample prompt via email - please note you will have 2 hours to complete your Writing Sample before the email link breaks, so be prepared to complete it in one sitting.
    • Access your email and open the link, which will take you to a Word Document with your survey responses on the first page.
    • Scroll down to the last page to find your Writing Sample prompt and type your Writing Sample in the Word document. Be sure to close the Word document when you are done writing your essay, so that it will upload for the faculty to review. Congrats, you are done with the Writing Sample!
    • Your Writing Sample result will be sent to you via email within two or three business days.


    Access the Writing Sample


    Accuplacer for Writing 

    Accuplacer is UAA’s computerized exam to assess reading comprehension and sentence skills.  This exam must be scheduled and can be taken at the Testing Center in room 215 of the Consortium Library or remotely. The $21.50 cost is payable by credit or debit card at the time of scheduling the exam date and time.

    The Accuplacer can be taken remotely for an additional $25.00 fee.  To take the remote Accuplacer, students need access to the following items:

    1. a valid photo ID,
    2. a laptop or desktop computer,
    3. a microphone,
    4. a web cam, and
    5. high-speed internet.  

    Please keep in mind: Should the proctor believe that the student taking the remote Accuplacer has participated in questionable behaviors or activities while the exam is in-progress, the proctor will forcibly stop the exam and notify the UAA Testing Center of possible academic dishonesty.   Students without access to the above technology can contact the Office of First Year Advising at 907-786-0338 or 

  • What if I have more questions?

    The Office of First Year Student Advising and Success is here to talk with you about placement exams and the course matching process.


Are You Online Ready?

If you are nervous about taking remote delivery courses, consider taking our Online Readiness Assessment (SmarterMeasure).  It will help you determine your level of readiness for taking online or technology rich courses.

  • What is it?
    A tool that will help you assess your strengths and opportunities for growth related to learning in online formats.
  • How long does it take?
    It will take about 15-20 minute from start to finish, but you may log out and complete it later if necessary.
  • How do I take it?

    To login go to and input the following username and password.

    •       Username: Seawolf
    •       Password: 2020

    After you login, you will receive an email from SmarterMeasure with a PIN number that will allow you to log back in later or view your results again.

  • Will this keep me from registering for classes?
    No.  Your score will not prevent you from registering for your classes.
  • What does it measure?

    It will ask you questions about how well you can use a computer, how organized and self-directed you are, and how you prefer to learn more information.  The specific areas of the assessment include:

    •       LMS Competency (Learning Management Systems skills/abilities)
    •       Individual Factors (time management, academic attributes, etc.)
    •       Life Factors (things going on in your life, how much time you have to study, etc)
    •       Technical Skills
    •       Technical Knowledge
  • How will I receive my results?
    You will receive a full color report immediately following the completion of all areas of the Learning Readiness Indicator.
  • What do I do with my results?

    We highly recommend you read through your results, email yourself a copy of the report, and try at least one Resource for Support listed for each section of the report. 

    You may also choose to email this report to your academic advisor. 


Tips for First Year Success

In each stage of your first-year college experience there are many steps to be successful. Below are a few checklists and links:

To Do:
  • Follow and complete the New Student Checklist.
  • Make sure you have your preferred email address confirmed in UAOnline. 
  • Confirm your residency status in UAOnline. Click on the "Student Services & Account Information" tab: Student Records > View Student Information. 
  • Submit your final high school or any college transcripts to be fully accepted and to receive financial aid.
  • Review dates and deadlines for the semester.
  • Download Navigate when you have registered for classes.
  • Know where your classes are with the UAA map.
  • Check your UAOnline “Financial Aid” tab frequently; you may need to submit additional documentation. 
  • Accept or decline financial aid award offers. On UAOnline in your Financial Aid tab, click "Award" to see your offer.
    • If you accept loans, be sure to do BOTH the Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling.
  • If you are unable to attend your first term, postpone admission up to one year before the postponement deadline.
  • Need a refresher on UAOnline or how to use the Schedule Planner?  Chat with a First Year Advisor today!
  • Once you're registered for classes, you'll need to find your books.  Check out the UAA Bookstore website!
  • There is a difference between Week One and Week Two of the Add/Drop Period. During Week Two, you must receive instructor approval if you would like to register for (add) a course. If you have questions, please call your first year advisor.
  • If you need to drop a course, be sure to drop it before the Friday of Week Two; otherwise, you will be responsible for paying the full cost of the course. 
To Do:
  • Make sure you are happy with your class schedule by the end of the Week One during the Add/Drop Period.
  • Read your syllabi and add assignments/quizzes/exams to your calendar.
  • Go to your classes daily.
  • Check your preferred email daily.
  • Check your UAA account balance in UAOnline. 
  • Drop by your instructors' offices and introduce yourself.
  • Make a friend in each class.
  • Check out student organizations and clubs.
  • If you need to return a textbook, do so within the first two weeks of class. 
  • Explore resources on the Navigate app. 
  • If you are on a class waitlist, set your preferred email address as the account. Otherwise, you may not receive a notification to register for the class if you are using a personal account (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.)
  • Do you need to adjust your schedule?  Chat with a First Year Advisor today!
To Do:
  • Attend all classes and complete all assignments.
  • Keep checking your email for anything you may need to address.
  • Check your account balance monthly in UAOnline. 
  • Pay your bill or set up a payment plan by the payment deadline.
  • Update your calendar with assignments/quizzes/exams.
  • Schedule your advising appointment to plan for next semester and talk about your current progress.
  • Complete the next year's FAFSA and UA Scholarship Application between October 1 and February 15. 
  • Communicate with your instructors if 1) you are worried about your academic progress or 2) you are experiencing personal challenges. 
  • If you would like to withdraw from a course, please talk with your advisor beforehand so you are aware of any unforeseen consequences. 
  • Visit the Learning Commons's Writing Center or Math Lab for help with your writing and math courses. 
To Do:
  • Are you in the habit of checking your email yet?
  • Meet with your advisor.
  • Address any account holds in UAOnline.
  • Register for classes and order textbooks.
  • Complete the next year's FAFSA and UA Scholarship Application between October 1 and February 15. 
  • Review dates and deadlines for the next semester.