A Guide to Enrolling for the Online Student

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SOWELA is proud to offer some of our programs fully online. Online programs offer the convenience and flexibility that many students seek when choosing a college. This guide will take you through the process of enrolling without ever having to step foot on our campus. If you have any questions while you are a student at SOWELA, you can contact the One Stop Enrollment Center at onestop@sowela.edu or by calling 337-421-6550. Below is a helpful checklist of steps to enroll, and the pages that follow give an in depth explanation of each step.

Checklist to Enroll at SOWELA:

  1. Choose your program of study.
  2. Fill out an Admissions Application and submit the required items such as Immunization records or waiver and proof of Selective Service Registration for male students.
  3. Set up your student LoLA account.
  4. Take a placement test or submit official scores from the ACT or SAT test.
  5. Work with an Academic Advisor to determine what classes you need to schedule.
  6. Register for classes.
  7. Apply for financial aid.
  8. Pay for classes.
  9. Participate in Online Orientation.
  10. Purchase Textbooks.
  11. Begin your classwork via Canvas, SOWELA’s online portal.

1. Choose your program of study:

Currently SOWELA has two programs that are offered fully online—Culinary Arts and Business Administration. Our website offers information on these programs as well as the programs that we offer on our campus. We encourage students to spend some time researching our college before committing to a program of study. For more information on SOWELA programs, visit https://www.sowela.edu/programs/.

2. Fill out an Admissions Application and submit the required documents such as proof of immunization:

  • Visit https://www.sowela.edu/application/ and click on your Student Type
    • First-Time Freshman (A freshman is a first-time student who has never attended an accredited college.)
    • Returning Student (Returning students have previously attended SOWELA but did not attend during the immediate prior semester.)
    • Transfer Student (A transfer student is a student who has previously enrolled at any college or university. Transfer students may enroll at SOWELA if they are eligible for readmission at the last school attended. To receive credit, transfer students must submit official transcripts to the Enrollment Services One Stop Center.)
    • Visiting Student (A student who is attending another institution but wishes to take courses for one term.)
    • Non-Matriculation Student (A student who does not fit into any of the above categories and wishes to enroll may take classes for non-credit.)
  • Click on Step 1 to Submit an Admissions application.
  • Create an Account or Sign in if you previously created an account.
  • Fill in the prompted items in order to complete the admission application.
  • In addition to the admissions application, the following items are required.
    • Proof of Immunization as specified below* or the student can sign an immunization waiver (opens new window).
    • Proof of registration with selective service. Submit proof of registration with military selective service for male applicants between the ages of 18 and 26 (in compliance with State Law R.S. 17:3151). You can register now with selective service at www.sss.gov (opens new window).
  • *Immunization Requirements: Submit proof of immunization compliance if born after 1956
    or sign the immunization waiver (opens new window).
    Per Louisiana R.S. 17:170, students are required to have the following immunizations:

    •  Two (2) doses of measles vaccine; at least one (1) dose of each of rubella and mumps vaccine;
    •  One (1) tetanus-diphtheria booster (Tdap) dated within 10 years;
    •  One (1) meningococcal vaccine after the age of 16.

    Please do one of the following to satisfy the missing immunization requirement:

    3. Set up your student LOLA account:

    • Go to https://my.lctcs.edu (opens new window). Click on Change Your Password.
    • Click on Get Started. Type in your social security number and your birthdate. Click on Continue.
    • Once your username pops up, check the box next to, Yes, this is the username I use to log on to LoLA, then click Continue.
    • Enter a password of your choice, following the password requirements listed. Click on Change Password.

    4. Take a placement test or submit official test scores from ACT or SAT.

    All scores must be no more than 3 years old. If you do not have ACT or SAT scores, SOWELA administers the ACCUPLACER Next Generation placement test. If you do not live near a SOWELA campus, you may take the test at another testing center in your area. If you need assistance locating a testing center, please email FASTadvising@sowela.edu or call 337-421-6577 for more information. If you test at another center, please have the scores sent directly from that center to SOWELA. The scores can be emailed to Onestop@sowela.edu. For the test to be valid, you must test in the areas noted below.

    • ACCUPLACER Next Generation Reading
    • ACCUPLACER Next Generation Writing
    • ACCUPLACER Next Generation Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra, Statistics (QAS)
    • And if applicable: ACCUPLACER Advanced Algebra Functions (AAF)

    5. Work with an Academic Advisor to determine what classes you need to schedule.

    Call 337-421-6577 to speak with an advisor or email FASTadvising@sowela.edu and someone will follow up with you. All inquiries are responded to within 24-48 hours.

    6. Schedule your classes via LoLA.

    Visit the following link and click on “How to Register” for complete instructions.
    https://www.sowela.edu/guide-to-registering/

    7. Apply for Financial Aid.

    We encourage all students to apply for government aid as well as scholarship aid. For this reason, students should fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a SOWELA Scholarship Application. Please note that at this time SOWELA does not participate in the federal student loan program. Follow the steps on the next page, and should you have questions, a staff member can be reached at 337-421-6550 or at onestop@sowela.edu. If you are a Veteran student and have questions about accessing your Veteran’s educational benefits, please email us at onestop@sowela.edu.

    Applying for Financial Aid

    1. 1)

      Before completing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you and your parent (if applicable) will need to set up the Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) (opens new window). This will permit you to sign your FAFSA electronically.

    2. 2)

      To apply for federal and state financial aid, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (opens new window).

    3. 3)

      Add SOWELA’s School Code 005467 to your FAFSA.

    4. 4)

      To qualify for Title IV aid (aid available through FAFSA), students must have earned a high school diploma or GED.

    5. 5)

      Fill out a SOWELA Scholarship Application.
      https://www.sowela.edu/scholarships/.

    6. 6)

      Once SOWELA receives your FAFSA, we will send you an email regarding any follow up paperwork that is needed to determine your eligibility. The Department of Education randomly selects a percentage of FAFSA(s) for verification. If you are selected for verification, you will be notified via email of this requirement. SOWELA partners with a company called Inceptia to complete verification for our students. All Inceptia communications will be sent to you via the email address that you provided on the FAFSA.

    7. 7)

      Once you complete all paperwork with Inceptia, if applicable, the college will be able to determine for what you qualify. An award notification will be sent to you via email. The email will instruct you how to log in to LOLA and view your awards. Please follow all steps listed in this email to accept your aid award. This is the final step to applying the aid to your tuition balance.

    8. How to pay for classes.

    • If a student is applying for financial aid, follow the steps in the previous section to make payment.
    • If you are paying your entire tuition via check, you can mail your payment with your student ID listed to SOWELA Business Office, PO Box 16950, Lake Charles, LA 70615.
    • If you are paying your entire tuition via credit card, you may do so via LoLA in the Student Account section.
    • If you need to set up a payment plan, you may do so via LoLA in the Student Account section. You will need either a valid checking account, credit card, or debit card to set up a payment plan.
    • If payment for courses is not received by the payment due date, your classes will be purged for nonpayment.

    9. Attend Online Orientation.

    Visit this link for instructions: https://www.sowela.edu/online-orientation/

    10. Purchase your textbooks.

    Visit this link for options: https://www.sowela.edu/bookstore/

    11. Begin your classwork via Canvas.

    On the first scheduled day of classes you will need to log in to Canvas to begin your coursework. For information on setting up your student email account and logging in to Canvas, click this link: https://www.sowela.edu/sowela-online.


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