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EIU General Studies Degree Program

What Do I Do Next?

As a new EIU student, there are a variety of things that you must do in order to get started. We’ve included this checklist to help you!

Read through the New Student Information on the B.A. in General Studies website

  • There is a lot of information included at this site for new students. As you read through the material, write down any questions that come to mind.

Make an appointment with your advisor

  • You were assigned an advisor when you were admitted to the B.A. in General  Studies.  However, you have the option of working with whomever is most available to you.  We will work with you via email, face-to-face, over the phone, or via Skype.
  • Kim Redfern, an academic advisor, is on the main campus in Charleston, IL.  Those office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  You can reach Kim by calling 217-581-5618.
  • Jackie Janesku, an academic advisor, is located in the Chicago area, and divides her time between various locations in Chicagoland.  You can reach Jackie at 217-549-3347 or by email at
  • We also have advisors available at our Parkland Office in Champaign.  Lori Brewer, an academic advisor, and Dr. Johnson, the program director, work out of that office.  You can reach them at 217-353-2255 or by email at
  • Also, feel free to email us at and someone will reply to you as soon as possible.

Join the BGS Listserv

  • We use the listserv as a way to communicate with BGS students. As a member of the listserv, you will receive notification of off-campus schedule release dates, important deadlines and other important program announcements.

Familiarize yourself with the PAWS system

  • PAWS (Panther Access Web Services) is the University’s information resource for all students. Via PAWS, students register for classes, view grades and transcript evaluations, as well as obtain information about financial aid.

Set up your EIU student e-mail account

  • All EIU students have an EIU e-mail account that is essential and vital to their education. It is used by the University to send important information to all students. You should already have received your EIU Net ID and password, which gives you access to your EIU e-mail account; if you experience any problems, contact the ITS Help Desk at  217-581-4357.

Browse the off-campus schedule via PAWS

  • This will show you the classes that are offered at various locations. Remember, you have a variety of ways to take classes! We offer weekend, evening, and internet courses.
  • EIU’s numbering system is: 1000 for freshman level courses, 2000 for sophomore level courses, 3000 for junior level courses and 4000 for senior level courses. If you need only upper division hours to complete your degree, be sure to register for courses numbered in the 3000’s and 4000’s. The courses numbered 5000 and above are for graduate students.
  • The EIU undergraduate catalog limits the number of credits that can be earned through one-credit-hour courses to five.

Register for BGS 2985 – Adults in Transition

  • This is an orientation course for all BGS students and should be taken the first semester you are enrolled at EIU.

Request your EIU student id card

  • The University issues non-photo student identification cards to continuing education students. This card grants the student the same access to library resources as on campus students. Once you receive your ID Card, it will be valid until the end of the semester in which it was requested. Cards will automatically be reactivated when you register for a class. Please note that if you already have an active Panther Card, you will not receive a new ID card.

Understand the Electronic Writing Portfolio

  • The Electronic Writing Portfolio (EWP) is the method by which the University is able to ensure that all graduates communicate as effective writers. It is a requirement for all Eastern students. The portfolio is a compilation of three samples of a student’s writing. Those three EWP submissions may come from any undergraduate course for which the student has completed an appropriate writing assignment.

Read about the guaranteed tuition rate plan

  • The guaranteed tuition rate plan provides for a constant tuition rate, as set by the Eastern Illinois University Board of Trustees, for four continuous years beginning with the term of an undergraduate qualifying student's initial enrollment at Eastern Illinois University. For more information, please go to

Familiarize yourself with Textbook Rental Services

  • If you live within Coles County, you are required to come and pick up your textbooks at Textbook Rental Service. If you live outside Coles County, your textbook will be mailed to you via UPS.  Since they do not deliver to P.O. boxes, a street address will need to be provided. For complete information, please go to

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