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CSU: Student Guide 2010 (1 Viewer)


Oct 3, 2007
First off, I should probably say that this is my own work, and my views etc are mine and not necessarily representative of CSU :) Thats there for my sake.

Also, I initially wrote this for a friend of mine, so if there are any random bits where it changes tense, or the name Tristan pops up, sorry! I tried to change it so it was appropriate!


Ok, I’m a second year student and I did a lot of research in when I first started at CSU, so I thought I would give some pointers in regard to CSU in general.
It can be a bit of a rough road, so I thought I would try to help out.

CSU in General:
You’ll probably get told a lot of this in O-week, but I guess this would be good as a reference. http://www.csu.edu.au/division/studserv/support/ is a good starting point if you are a little lost.

Key Things of Note as a “Jaffy” (You’ll find out what that means) for CSU:
In short, MyCSU is your academic lifeline to your classes. Primarily, it gives you access to your forums, interact, your eBox and Timetable... and a lot of other links in regard to everything else a student could possibly need.
There are a lot of spaces in which can be used for your own personal organisation system, such as an address book etc.

From here, you are able to access your interact pages via the “My Subjects” box. A normal subject load is four subjects. Eg, I have BMS130, CHM107, LAW100 and MCR101 in my subject box.
A break down for coding, the letters represent where the subjects are coming from, eg BMS=biomedical Science, VPA=Visual and Performing Arts etc. The number represents the year eg, a 1xx subject is first year, 2xx is second year and so on.

Also, if you see the “My Forums” box, you are able to put your course forum there, along with your subjects, or anything else you find important. The course forum is very important, it allows you to communicate with other students in your course from any year, and gives you public access to your course coordinator.
You may also note the “Password” box with the red “XX days to change password”. Do not for the love of God let your password expire. You lose MyCSU, you have to talk to the IT staff to get back in. Passwords are on a 60 day rotation.
I just have a word which I put a different number on for each new password. It works.

If you are looking for something specific, but you aren’t sure where it is, you can always use the tabs in the lower left corner, there is a A-Z function for search.

You will be able to access your
  • Banking Details
  • Personal Details
  • Enrolment
  • Transcript
  • Timetable
  • Interact
  • Scholarship stuff
  • (etc, etc, etc)
From these tabs, but there should be other ways to get them if you get lost

Ok, Interact. Your one stop shop for academic resources. Nearly everything for subjects goes up on interact. There are tabs, for me, MCR101, BMS130, CHM107, –More Sites-. You can access your other subjects (amongst other things) from there.

Announcements; are really important; make sure you have them set to send all high priority messages to your email at the very least (Via the My Workspace tab, in settings). They may clog your email, but you want to make sure you don’t miss anything from your subject coordinators.

Forums; this is the link to the public subject forums. Whatever you write here, anyone in the subject can see. I have a separate dot point on them down below! There will be a pop-up to open them.

Resources; is where your subject coordinator or lecturer will upload lecture notes, general notes, slide shows, and other random stuff to help further your education. Some people take lecture notes to the lecture already printed off, others write them down in lectures. You’ll find out what works best for you after a while.
Just remember though, having notes already done may be convenient, but you may need to write some notes in order to retain them.
Your subject outlines and study guides may be placed here, or be placed in the Subject Outlines tab.

Test Centre; You may have “electronic minitests” as part as your assessment structure. You should be able to access them here (I did for most of my subjects anyway). Pretty much open the tab and click the test you want to do and go for it. Make sure you are prepared to do the test completely. The Pause button in the system DOES NOT WORK and the timer will keep timing down even if you press it.

EASTS; Assignment submission centre FOR DISTANCE EDUCATION STUDENTS ONLY. It won’t work for internal students which is what you should be (for the most part). If you have any distance education subjects, which you may, this is what you use. Very simple to use, but it doesn’t print in colour just so you are aware.

Calendar; May have dates, may not. Not all people use it.

Subject Outlines

Welcome to your self contained guide for your subjects. Each of your (presumably) four subjects will have one. It has;
  • Subject regulations
  • Assessment Tasks
  • Who your subject coordinator is
  • University policies
  • Textbook(s)
  • Schedule
If it is accessed via the interact page, the “online learning materials” tab may contain your study guides etc J
I’m not sure how it will work for 2010, but you may not get it in paper form.

Public communication centre!

In short,
Red=Important person, like your subject or course coordinator
Black= Not so important person, like a student
Some important people may be in black however (no idea why).
Not sure about your course progression or something? Post J
If you click the “Forums” tab, you get another page:

Here you can access ALL the forums open to you. Other than your course and subject ones, an important one is the Student Services forum. If you aren’t sure about something, like an academic appeal, chuck a post on, and someone in the know should respond and point you in the right direction. Classifieds may also be of interest.

Your Email Directions
Ok, within O-week, you will be required to confirm your enrolment. I recommend you take some time to do this and if you need help, just ask an O-week coordinator, they are very friendly.
Pretty much, put your details in, and make sure they are right.
Also confirm your subjects.
I highly recommend you shove your normal email in as the “redirect” part. Makes everything a lot easier. Just be prepared to check your junk mail every now and then for CSU stuff J.

Enrolling in Subjects and The Trimester system.
Now the good thing is, CSU enrols you in all of your first year subjects (not sure about electives though, coz I don’t have them).

Your semester codes are as follows;
  • 201030 is first/autumn session
  • 201060 is second/spring session
  • 201090 is third/summer session
This gets complicated but simply, first and second semester are compulsory. You must have at least one subject or apply for leave of absence. The third semester is voluntary.
Pretty much, if you want to accelerate your course, you can choose to do some of your course subjects over the Christmas break. Currently, it will be via distance education. As this has only just opened up this year, you may not have any subjects available to you yet (I know I don’t).
You can also use summer session to repeat a subject you have failed in the year (if it is offered), but remember that the subject will nearly always be offered the next year as well.
You must reenrol yourself between October-February for the following year. If you aren’t sure, email your course coordinator.

Your eBox. This is the way the head honchos at CSU will contact you with important info. Rivcoll, the student union :)evilfire:) will spam you occasionally as well. You will get your results sent to you eBox, along with requests about surveys, academic misconduct info, support messages and other important stuff. Read them.

Timetable (Via timetable link on mycsu)
This may or may not make your head explode. If you aren’t sure, find your school building and you should be able to get a simple print version, or email your course coordinator.

Some things may overlap, or there may be more classes listed than need be. You may get to choose, or you may be assigned.
I recommend you go through this during O-week at the latest so you at least have a vague idea. You may get 8am lectures. They hurt.

As far as classes are concerned:
  • Lectures; Don’t have to go, but seriously, don’t recommend missing one
  • Pracs; Go, or you will fail your subject. I mean it. You can usually miss one, but if you miss more, you are out the door. Doctors certificate=only way to get out of it, short of a major family disaster (eg death).
  • Tutorials; May or may not be compulsory. Go. They help a lot.
At CSU, we are a fan of the APA referencing system. http://www.csu.edu.au/division/studserv/learning/pdfs/apa.pdf is the guide on it
This isn’t like School. If you don’t reference properly, you can fail a subject. And then they can put academic misconduct charges. This is damn serious business.
You will get lots of help on it in O-week and your first couple of subjects. In fact, you may have whole assignments based on referencing.
Referencing takes a while to adjust to, but you will get there in the end, so don’t worry.

Ok, when you get your results for each semester, they build up into a Grade Point Average.
The GPA is used as, well, an average of your overall results (funny that). You find the number for your mark, you combine your subjects, and divide them by the amount of subjects. You can do this at the end of every year, semester, whenever...

Grade:: (Total subject mark) ::points
  • High Distinction HD :: (85%+) :: 7
  • Distinction DI :: (75-84.99%) :: 6
  • Credit CR :: (65-74.99%) :: 5
  • Pass PS :: (50-64.99%) :: 4
  • Fail F :: (<50%) :: 0
eg; say you got these marks;
  • SubjectA= CR
  • SubjectB= DI
  • SubjectC= PS
  • SubjectD= HD
GPA= 22/4 = 5.5, which is a mid credit average.

If you got for next semester,
  • Subject2A= CR
  • Subject2B= DI
  • Subject2C= DI
  • Subject2D= HD
GPA= 24/4= 6.00, which is a distinction average.

Now, combine those results, 5.50 + 6.00 = 11.50

11.50/2* = 5.75 = 46/8**
Total GPA = 5.75, which is a high credit average.
*(Divided by two because you are taking into account both semesters)
**(Total subject points accumulated, divided by amount of subjects done)

Credit average (5 flat) is the benchmark for further study (eg Honours) and retaining scholarships.
GPA accumulates over the years, so every single subject you do counts. CSU goes to two decimal places for calculating GPA.
You can find your GPA on your transcript, but it is good to know how it is calculated.
One fail can demolish a GPA quite well... it is much easier to lower your GPA than it is to raise it.

For your Midsession and end of session exams (MSE and ESE), have your student card.
Draft timetable and real timetable can be accessed via the links on the MyCSU page.

Key Subjects.
This is important. A key subject is one which you must be careful of.
You fail it twice, and CSU will kick you out. Full stop.
You may not have key subjects though, I don’t.
You can find them for your course via the above link

Other Stuff:
There are some more points but I won’t go into depth.
If you want to look at other specific academic things, this is the website to go to; http://www.csu.edu.au/acad_sec/academic-manual/
This is the academic manual. It has all general rules and regulations for the whole university. Have a look at the awards and prizes section; there may be some specific for your course alone, or for subjects you do.

If you want some other more general, less specific advice, can’t go past the other guides which are available on BOS:
General University Discussion - Bored of Studies
Within this link, as stickies you will find the;
Idiots Guide to Uni:
Really Good guide this one, it gives you a good set of definitions that are handy to know!!
Other Guide Threads

Another thing which may help you is creating a little flow chart for your subjects! I have one for me and it really helps me stay focussed.
To find more out about your subjects, you can just type in the code into the search CSU site Search function and you will get a brief rundown.
Sometimes, you need to pass the previous subjects before you can do the next ones. I’m not really sure if many arts subjects have these, but you may want to have a look. You can find prereqs when you look at the brief subject description.

You may want to have the flow chart so you know what electives you do J and the codes so when you have to re-enrol at the end of next year, you can do it without needing to go searching for the subjects.

You will (or at least, should) be given a Year Planner and a diary.
Use the year planner, preferably the CSU one, as it has all dates for holidays, census dates, exam periods etc.

Money Stuff

HECS... pretty much do uni now, pay fees later.
You can find the 2010 HECS guide on the The Going to Uni Homepage site, but I’ve placed a version on here as well (28/12/09) Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP

Certain subjects cost more than others due to their banding. Eg. As an Arts(phtg) student, you would have mostly Band 1 subjects whereas I, being a Med Sci/Biotech-er, have Band 3 and 4 subjects.
If you want to have a look at what your subject bandings are for your years, simply type “feeinfo” into the CSU search function, and you will get an Excel file. Use the drop box to get your codes. To find codes, use the 2010 handbook.

For example, I had a look at bandings for first year BA(Photography) and they are

Session 1
  • VPA101 Fundamentals of Design Band 1
  • VPA104 Introduction to Digital Imaging Band 1
  • VIS101 Visual Communication Band 1
  • [Studio elective] Band?? Depends on what you do
Session 2
  • PHT115 Black and White Darkroom Photography Band 1
  • PHT114 Digital Imaging Band 1
  • ART222 Art, Technology and Culture Band 1
  • [Studio elective] Band?? Depends on what you do
Now, according to
Division of Finance - Charles Sturt University , Band 1 subjects cost $660 EACH (As a commonwealth supported student). So for BA(photography) first and second semester, you will have fees of

3x~$660= ~$1980 (Plus there is the elective which I have NOT included in this cost.)

Another Example, my degree structure for 2009 was;

Session 1:
  • BMS105 Introductory Medical Science Band 3
    [*]BMS129 Physiological Sciences 1 Band 4
    [*]CHM104 Chemistry 1A Band 4
    [*]STA201 Scientific Statistics Band 4
Session 2:
  • BMS130 Physiological Sciences 2 Band 4
    [*]CHM107 Chemistry 1B Band 4
    [*]LAW100 Australian Legal System Band 3
    [*]MCR101 Introduction to Microbiology Band 4
~$528x3 + ~$1104= ~$2688
So, each semester, I had ~$2688 in course fees.

So, payment options.
You can charge it to your HECS account. So that means you do not pay your fees now, but you instead leave them for when you are in the work place and pay them off via a special HECS tax on your salary once you earn over a certain amount per annum.
You can also put voluntary $500+ chunks in after you have finished, with an additional bonus attached to them.
You can pay it upfront. If you pay it upfront, or at least some of it upfront, you get a discount on your course fees. I think its 20% for me (2009 starter), but as you are starting in a different year, it may have changed for you.
You have until the “census date” to pay fees upfront. It is usually about month into a semester.

Welcome to the bane of every university student’s existence. In short, bloody expensive.
First thing, become a member of the Co-op bookshop. DO IT! You get a discount on your text books if you do, and trust me, if you are spending $500 on textbooks every semester, you want that discount!
You can apply online (http://www.coop-bookshop.com.au/) or in the store.

To find your textbooks, you can have a quick look on the web site
Textlist Search���|���The Co-op Online Bookshop���
At the time of me writing this, its not up, but you should find your textbooks under
Charles Sturt University –**REGION**– **Study Mode** 2010, or something like that anyway.
Type in your code and click the search button (you have to click the search button or it goes crazy).
In O-week, the Bookshop will have the listings in store if you need them.
Distance Education students should get a message sent to their eBox about their books.

Second Hand textbooks? Gold!
Sell yours once you are sure you’re done with them, and try to find and buy others!! Hell of a lot cheaper, for the same content. But before you buy, just email your subject coordinator and make sure the one you are thinking of buying is still current J
Remember the Forums I mentioned above. Best bet are the course forum and classifieds.


Apply. Do it. Start writing your applications now. It takes ages. Apply for everything. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  • Duke of Ed?
  • Sport?
  • School Competitions, like Mock Trial, or Tournament of Minds?
  • Gap Year?
  • Sport Captain/SRC?
  • Any charity fundraising/community service you have done?
Remember, intelligence does not equal ATAR, and ATAR is not the direct basis for scholarship selection!
You have a lot to work with! J remember in your application: no negatives at all. Only talk about how good things were, and how they have helped you develop skills.
As it says, type them up first, then go through the submission process.
just so you are aware I think each section is ~350 words

Just download the fliers and see if you meet the conditions.

Applications close at the end of O-week. Apply. Do it.
There are also other ones. Have a look at myfuture.edu.au and the scholarships offered by external bodies on the CSU page.

Receiving results;
You will get your results via your eBox as I mentioned, but if you have any money owing to CSU, they will hold your results until you pay.
ANY money (not including HECS).
If you have a 1 cent in printer costs owing, they will hold it back.

I live at home, so this is probably a bit out of whack for on campus students, but:
at the start of the year, put at least $5 on your internet account and your print account.
Also put at least $10 on your student card for photocopying and bus trips if you are ever going to use the bus ($1 each way via card or $2 cash). There is a value adding station in the library (for Wagga students).
This helps prevent you going under.

OH! Also, you don’t directly pay for study guides etc, they get charged to your account. You will be periodically sent invoices telling you to pay your account (eBox). You pay at the cashier office.



If you need help with something, just ask J
Last edited:


Oct 3, 2007
lol, no, I just have a friend who is starting next year, and I wrote this to help him :)

Yes. I have far far far far far too much time!


Oct 3, 2007
I don't! I'm a student :D
I don't see you going after the other people who do guides


Sep 24, 2011
As a prospective student, a little daunted by Uni next year, this is wonderful! Thanks for posting :)

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