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Online Campus - New Student Orientation Guide

Welcome to Western Seminary! 

New Student Guide

We exist to equip people like you who desire to make a difference, and we’re excited to help you prepare for strategic kingdom impact. Please know that our staff and faculty are available to assist you each step of the way.

This New Student Guide has been designed to help orient newly-admitted students to Online Campus at Western Seminary. Please set aside about 10 minutes to carefully review it before attending the on-campus Orientation.  We believe that the information we have provided you throughout the guide is essential to your success as a Western student.   If you have other questions or would like further assistance, please feel free to call the Student Services office (Keane at 503.517.1811 or Drew at 503-517-1808) and we will be happy to help.

Provided you have been admitted, upon completion of this guide you will have the opportunity to login to SIS and register for classes.   Please make sure to submit the online information form at the end of this "New Student Orientation Guide" to start communicating with your advisor.

Thank you.  And again, welcome!

Your Role as a Student

Student Handbook

Our Student Handbook includes all of the important policies and procedures that relate to student life at Western -- from academic information, to guidelines for conduct and character, to special student programs and benefits. It's available online and we ask that you familiarize yourself with its contents.  You'll find the Student Handbook at

 In addition to providing you with helpful information and resources, the Student Handbook serves as a contract between you and the school.

Email Communication

Our primary means of communicating with you will be via email – confirming your registration in a class, letting you know about a course schedule change, sending the important email updates, or responding to Financial and Academic petitions. Please plan to check your email account often. If you change your email address while attending Western, please let us know right away. Updates can be made from your S.I.S. account. If you don’t have an email address and need help creating an account, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help..

Forms You May Need to Complete

As a student at Western, you may complete and submit the following forms. If you’ve already completed these forms, you do not need to submit them again. Please bring your completed copies to your on-campus Orientation or send them to us.
  • Student ID Card  Your student ID card will allow you to check out books with our partner libraries and receive student discounts at local businesses.
  • Authorization to Release Information  To protect your privacy, we will never release information about your grades, registration, or student account balance without your advance written permission.  If you anticipate that a spouse, employer, or other party may have a legitimate interest in your student records during the course of your studies, please submit this form so that we can work with them accordingly.
  • Other Student Services Forms  Here is a list of forms you may need to use while at Western Seminary.

Transfer Credit

Western Seminary is designed to train students who have never had any previous theological education. However, you may have recently graduated from a Bible college, Christian university, graduate school or seminary. If that’s the case, you might qualify for transfer credit or advance standing. Please review the Transfer Credit & Advanced Standing Memo to find out more about these options.

Transfer CreditsDSC 3289

Students who have completed relevant graduate-level studies at another institution may be eligible for transfer credit. Normally, transfer credits are accepted from schools accredited by the Association of Theological Schools or regional accrediting associations. For credit to be granted, the student must be admitted to a degree program, and the previous work must be approximately parallel (80% or higher equivalence) to the content of a Western Seminary course. If you believe you are eligible to receive transfer credit, please submit the Transfer Credit Request Form and all required materials prior to or during your first semester of enrollment at Western Seminary. The turnaround time to hear back about transfer credit is at least one semester.

Advanced Standing/Advanced Substitutes

Students who enter seminary with knowledge of the Bible, theology, hermeneutics, etc., may be eligible for advanced standing and/or advanced substitutes. Students will be tested on their current knowledge of the course content, usually in an informal interview. If the evaluator determines that the student has a competent, current understanding of approximately 80% of the course content, then the student would be eligible for advanced standing and/or advanced substitutes. The following comparison will help you understand the difference between advanced standing and advanced substitutes:

Advanced standing credits are waived from the degree program, reducing the number of credits required for degree completion.

Advanced substitutes are substitution of advanced divisional courses for required courses (no actual reduction in credits).

Applicants or admitted students who believe they may be qualified for advanced standing/advanced substitutes should submit the Advanced Standing Request Form.

Please note that students must complete advanced standing assessments prior to or during their first semester of enrollment at Western Seminary.

Registering for Classes

Academic Advising

Upon admission, each new student is matched with a staff or faculty member who will serve as his or her academic advisor.  You’ll find his or her name listed in your admittance letter.  Your advisor serves as your advocate and primary source of academic, spiritual and emotional support during the course of your studies at Western. Please plan to talk with your advisor each semester before registering for classes to check in regarding your degree program progress and discuss scheduling options. While we have designed on-campus Orientation as an opportunity for you to meet your advisor, you are welcome to contact him or her now to discuss your goals, program of study, and classes to take first.  If you need help scheduling an appointment, please feel free to contact us (Keane at 503.517.1811 or Drew at 503-517-1808).

Classes to Take First

If you register for something now, and your advisor later indicates that it would be better to change your course selection, you will be able to do so at no charge.  Drop fees are waived during your first semester of enrollment. More information about our courses is available at the end of this guide.

Course Schedules

Course schedules for the entire academic year are posted on our website.  Refer to course schedules to learn which classes are available for audit, where each class will be held, whether or not a particular course has a prerequisite, and the schedule for each course we offer. Course schedules are subject to change, and regularly updated on our website.  This can be found under the right menu tab called, "Online Campus Courses".

How to Register through the Student Information System

What can I do through the Student Information System (SIS) online?

  • Add and drop classes
  • Pay tuition
  • Check grades
  • Update your personal information in our records (address, email address, phone number, etc…)

To access SIS, go to our website and click on the link at the lower right corner of a web page.  You will need two things to access SIS: your student username and password.  The first time you log in to SIS, you will also be prompted to answer a challenge question, which will allow you to re-set your password in the future, should you forget it.

To register for classes, enter your student username and password and click on “Registration.” Select “Online Campus” for online courses.  Select the semester for which you want to register.  Take a moment to read through the notice regarding add and drop fees and requesting registration changes.  Then click on “I Have Read the Above” to proceed to registration.

Courses are listed in alphabetical order.  To register, simply click on the course ID, and then indicate if you would like to register for credit or audit (if applicable).  You will be automatically returned to the main screen, where your courses will be listed.  Please click on the button labeled “Submit for Registration” to send a notification email to your advisor.  This allows him or her to approve your registration and complete the process.  You will be notified via email once your courses have been approved.

You must click “Submit for Registration” after adding each new class in order for the registration to be processed.

If you have any questions or would like additional assistance, please feel free to contact Mark Baker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503.517.1900.

Course Syllabi

Once you’ve registered for classes, please download and review the course syllabi for each of your classes.  Many of our courses will require that you have already read material or completed initial coursework before the first day of the course.


You can find required textbooks on your course syllabi. We recommend that you purchase your books online. Websites like often enable you to purchase your books at discounted rates.   This is Amazon's search link

Please be aware that should you decide not to enroll in a class or should your book requirements change, you will be responsible for returning your books. Expenses for textbooks are typically $450 per semester for the first year and approximately $350 per semester for subsequent years.

Logos Bible Software

For each term you are enrolled in classes, an Educational Resource Fee will be applied to your student ledger. This fee goes to provide you with Logos Bible Software access (when enrolled in eligible degree program), S.I.S. and other technology improvements and other library and information resources. (Note: your Logos access will start when the term starts, you'll receive an email invitation to download the software. Upon graduation it will be yours to keep.)

Once you've registered and been approved for your first term classes FaithLife (the parent company of Logos Bible Software) will send you an official activation email. You must follow the instructions in this email to download your software package. If you loose this email or need account help, contact the FaithLife customer service number at 800-875-6467. They will have a list of all Western students and be able to grant you access.

Access Logos Training Resources online under the Students/Resources section.

Paying Tuition and Fees

Tuition is due in full by the Friday before the start of term. S.I.S. will post tuition due date as will an automatic email from the Business Office. You are expected to pay in full or make payment arrangements before attending classes.

We highly encourage students to pay their tuition safely and securely through S.I.S.. You may pay by echeck for free or use a debit/credit card for a service charge. Western does offer monthly payments for eligible degree students. Detailed payment options can be found on our tuition payment page. Please feel free to contact our Business Office cashier at 503.517.1800 to discuss your balance, make a payment or ask questions related to tuition.  

If you are waiting for Financial Aid loans or grants, you are still expected to pay and or make arrangements for your tuition bill by the Friday before term deadline. One way to do this is to set up monthly tuition payments. This will require you to agree to make on-time monthly payments. See Tuition FAQs for more details.

If you are a student with VA, WorkSource or other arranged tuition aid, we are here to help certify your tuition needs. Planning and communication are key, so please work with the Western VA representative for your campus and the Registrar's Office. See Additional Information for Veterans.

Attending Orientation

The Purpose of On-Campus Orientation

Our on-campus Orientation is designed to provide you with the most important information you’ll need to know to successfully embark on your studies at Western.  During orientation, you will have an opportunity to meet President Randy Roberts and hear firsthand his vision for the seminary and prayer for you as a student.  At all of our orientations, you will meet other students in your degree program and learn how your specific program has been designed to equip you for ministry.  You will learn about the distinctive elements of your program and have your questions answered. Finally, you’ll receive some academic advising and gain an overview of your first year and beyond.

Our Staff: We're Here to Help You

Now that we’ve provided you with a general overview of seminary life, we invite you to contact us directly to answer additional questions or provide further assistance. Don’t know where to start? Feel free to email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the office at 503.517.1800. A student services team member will be happy to connect you with the appropriate staff member. 

Campus SERVICES Directory

Other Helpful Links

Please review the following links to see which resources may be of interest to you.

Concluding Questions

It is our desire that you succeed with your studies here at Western Seminary.

Let us together start the advising process with these online questions on the form below.  After you finish this, you will be ask to submit this to your advisor.

Student ID:    (Your ID number can be found on your admission letter)
Oline Campus expected credit load your first semester (in credits)   

What is your objective(s) in coming to Western Seminary?

Please clearly state your goals and anticipations.
Are you wanting to start courses this upcocming semester?


What types of support systems do you have around you to achieve your goals? Please make reference to some of these things (spouse, family, employers, friends, pastor, church, and/or doctors)
Please check all the items that you are currently involved with:

Time Disciplines:

Activity Weekly Hours

Devotion Prayer, Bible study, meditation, etc.
Meals Don't forget preparation, dining, and cleaning.
Sleep / Hygiene 8 hours of sleep per night is 56 hours per week.
Church / Ministry Gatherings, small groups, preperation, activities.
Transit Travel time to and back from home, work, church, seminary.
Family Don't forget date-night.
Fun Television, movies, games, parties, recreation.
Chores Laundry, shopping, cleaning

Total Life Hours

Credit Hours 4 = half time, 8 = full time
Class Time Usually equal to the credit hours.
Homework 2 hours for every class hour (in some cases 3 to 1)

Total Study Hours

Grand Total
168 hours in one week

Free Time
% Committed

Will your current life load work with a seminary schedule?
Please indicate your academic advisor  (Your advisor's name can be found on your admission letter)
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