New Student Resource Guide: What You Need to Know

New Student Resource Guide: What You Need to Know | Ashford University

You’re officially enrolled as an online student at Ashford, and you’re about to kick off a whole new adventure, filled with excitement, opportunity, fulfillment and, no doubt, a little bit of fear. 

In preparation of Day 1, you’ve likely entered your student portal to poke around and review your course materials and assignments. By now you also should have set up your student email account, downloaded the mobile app, and taken a tour of Canvas, Ashford’s online classroom. 

Despite these initial steps, things can still feel a little overwhelming, and looking into the portal alone may not make you feel ready to start this new journey.

However, going back to school as an adult should not be stressful, and we’re here to make sure you have everything for a successful student experience. To ensure you are settling in and have what you need for the most positive Day 1 and beyond, we’ve compiled this resource guide to help you along the way. 

Need to know how to access the library? Want to network with fellow students to get real-time feedback from those who are in the same boat as you? Know you’re going to need a tutor to freshen up on your math or English composition skills? Think you might qualify for a scholarship? Looking for career advice? Seeking connection in a club or honor society? We’ve covered it all here. 

Be sure to keep this guide handy as you progress through your degree program and check back whenever you need some direction. If you have any questions, email us at [email protected] or contact your advisor.

Good luck, and we’ll see you at commencement! In the meantime, here’s our guide!

Facebook Groups

It’s late, you have a paper due, and you need help NOW. What do you do? Log on to Facebook and head to one of Ashford’s nine Facebook groups, of course. Our groups are private and currently support more than 10,000 students. You can search content for answers to your questions or post your question in the group. There’s a good chance someone will be burning the midnight oil like you and will be there to offer advice. These groups are ideal for support, encouragement, and guidance. We take academic integrity seriously and encourage students to do the same.

To join a Facebook group, simply answer the membership question prompts, and our community manager, Natalie Mell, will review and approve your request. Start with Ashford Connections, a group for general support. Then review the list of additional groups below, and find the one that best suits your interests:

Student Organizations

You are not alone! Earning an online degree can be a collective experience. Beyond our Facebook groups, there are more than 20 clubs and organizations you can join to network and connect with like-minded peers. Whether you are into business management or you can’t get enough of coding, there’s a club for you. Check out the list below, and sign up today! If you have any questions, send an email to [email protected].

Live Chat

Hey, Ava, write my paper for me! Ashford’s Virtual Assistant can’t help you write your paper (that would be cheating!), but she can assist with nearly anything else Ashford-related, including tuition information, catalog details, student resource guides, and much more. If you stump Ava, don’t fret. We also have student advisors standing by to chat during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 6 am to 6 pm PST. The next time you’re in a bind, visit and click the CHAT icon on the right side to connect.


No, we’re not talking about the Big Dipper. Constellation is Ashford’s interactive platform that stores all your digital course materials in one place. Most books feature audio options, so you can listen while you drive, clean, etc. Additionally, there’s a feature that allows you to digitally highlight important pieces of information you want to make note of and remember. To learn more about these features, visit: the app, and get started. 

The Office of Student Access and Wellness 

The Access and Wellness office fosters equal opportunities for student success through accessible educational programs, disability-related advocacy, faculty and staff education, and an enhanced awareness of individual abilities and contributions. A member of the Office of Student Access and Wellness, your Student Advocate provides guidance, counseling, and support if you are referred to the office.

Ashford supports students with a wide variety of disabilities and chronic health conditions. Services include disability-related advocacy and advice, as well as authorizing requests for specific accommodations. For more information, contact a member of Ashford’s Student Access and Wellness staff at [email protected] or 866.974.5700, ext. 20050, or you can request accommodation by submitting the Accommodation Request form and an Access and Wellness Counselor will reach out to you.

Honors College

Do you consider yourself an academic all-star? The Ashford University Honors College engages a community of exceptional students in educational opportunities that promote leadership, innovation, global perspective, and civic responsibility. To be eligible for acceptance into the Honors College, students must be actively seeking a bachelor’s degree, complete 15 or more credits at Ashford University with a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher or complete 30 or more transferrable credits with a cumulative college GPA of 3.75 or higher. Visit for more information.

Academic Honors Societies

Ashford University celebrates academic excellence and believes those who achieve it deserve to be recognized. As such, your success at Ashford can earn you the opportunity to become a member of one or more of eight distinct honor societies. To get more information on these societies, click on the name below:

Dean’s List

By now, you’ve likely heard of the Dean’s List, but you may be wondering what it is, and how you can get your named added. To become part of this prestigious group of students, undergraduates must complete 12 or more credits; have a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or above; have completed at least one course since the time the previous Dean’s List was determined; be currently enrolled, attending, or on an approved Academic Leave; and be in good academic standing. We encourage you to reach out to your assigned Academic Advisor to review your file and provide guidance on how you can reach this goal. For more information, check out:

Smart Track

Did you know that at Ashford, you can start taking master’s degree-level courses while earning your bachelor’s degree? SMART Track lets you enroll in up to nine applicable credits of graduate-level coursework to fulfill the elective credit requirements for your bachelor’s degree. In addition to other criteria, you must be a senior-level student with 108+ credits earned toward a bachelor’s degree at Ashford University. To learn more about this program, visit For details on courses, visit the Ashford University course catalog.



The Ashford Library is your one-stop-shop for all things research. The online resource is available 24/7 from your device or desktop and gives you access to a wide selection of scholarly journals and articles, ebooks, academic videos, newspapers, business research tools, and more. A Distance Learning Librarian will you help you navigate the library and make the research process easy, effective, and efficient. Learn more here, or you can access the library through your online classroom or your Student Portal.

Writing Center

Get your papers reviewed before turning them in. View useful videos and webinars. Access your free Grammarly account, get help with proofreading, and receive instant feedback on how to correct errors. From formatting your research paper to establishing discussion topics using the APA writing standard, the Ashford Writing Center is available to help every step of the way. Have a quick question about writing or APA style? Easily connect with a tutor by clicking on the Writing Center tab from your class. Tutors are available to help 24/7. Online Writing Consultants will be there to help you succeed. You can reach the consultants at the Ashford Writing Center by chat or email at [email protected]. You also can access the Writing Center here.


CHAMPS, which stands for Collaborative and Holistic Academic Mentoring for Peer Success, promotes success by connecting mentees who need additional support with mentors who are interested in developing their leadership and marketability. The peer mentoring program creates the best mentee-to-mentor match possible and leverages emerging technologies to create a digital space for new and supportive relationships to blossom. You also might be a great mentor, too, and CHAMPS is always looking for students to help their peers. You can find applications to participate as a mentee or mentor in the CHAMPS Peer Mentoring system. You can also email [email protected] for more information.

Scholarships and Grants

Ashford University offers several scholarships and grants to assist you with paying for your education. They range from local scholarships in San Diego to scholarships for business majors in the Forbes School of Business & Technology. Click on the items listed below to learn more.

Scholarships include:

Grants include:

Career Services

Ashford University’s Career Services team is available to assist you during your years in school and beyond. A specialist will provide advice, guidance, and resources as you earn your degree and seek professional advancement. Whether you need to optimize your resume, search for a position, or prepare for an interview, Career Services can help. Visit “My Career” in your Student Portal to start your journey at Ashford University’s Career and Professional Development Center. You can also contact Career Services at 866.974.5700 ext. 20057, or email [email protected] to take advantage of the tools and services.

Academic Leave

Although Ashford University encourages continuous enrollment from the time of matriculation through graduation for all students, from time to time circumstances may arise that warrant a short break in enrollment. Should you experience an extraordinary personal situation that would require a request for an academic leave from the program, you are encouraged to discuss the matter with your Academic Advisor. You must complete the Academic Leave Request form, which is under My Forms in the student portal. Keep in mind that failure to return to school on or before the scheduled/approved re-entry date will result in a termination of the academic leave.


So, what’s all this for? The paperwork, assignments, late nights, and early mornings will all be recognized at commencement—which takes place in San Diego in the spring and fall during a weekend celebration that culminates in a special ceremony. Take part in our pre-commencement celebration activities, explore the city, and join your fellow graduates as you complete this chapter of your life and start a new journey. In order to graduate, you must fulfill everything on this list:

  • Complete all courses required for your program.
  • Meet the required GPA, as specified in the Ashford University Academic Catalog.
  • Submit the Petition to Graduate form within six months of graduating.
  • Pay the $150 graduation fee. 
  • Pay all fees, tuition, and balances in full.
  • Clear any holds. 

If all of these requirements are met after a final audit, your school status will officially change from pending grad to graduate, and you will receive a petition to graduate. Diplomas will be mailed out 6–8 weeks after you’re placed into graduate status. In order to be eligible to walk at commencement, you will need to submit certain documentation, which will be available in your student portal.

For the most up-to-date information, check out the newsletter, which can be found on our graduation home page, here:

You can also follow along with this graduation checklist to stay on track in preparation for your big day:

For more information, check out these FAQs or send an email to [email protected].


Your relationship with Ashford doesn’t end after you graduate. As an alum, you will be invited to join the Ashford University Alumni Association (AUAA) and also enjoy additional benefits including:

Contact Alumni Relations at [email protected] or 866.974.5700 ext. 20057

Numbers You May Need:

Keep the following contact information handy for all things support:

General Ashford line: 866.974.5700
Canvas (classroom) Tech Support: 844.690.9180
Student Portal Tech Support: 800.285.9796 Option 1
VitalSource Customer Service: 855.200.4146
Office 365, Student Email, Ashford Mobile: to chat or call 800.285.9796 Option 2
ALEKS Customer Support: 800.258.2374 or to chat, visit
Library Tech Support: Text 855.838.2989
FAFSA Support: 800.433.3243; FAFSA School Code: 001881


Written by Ashford University staff

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