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Division of Student Affairs

General Academic Information for International Students
General Academic Information for International Students
It is important that International Students become familiar with the American academic structure at FMU.

General Academic Information

Structure
The undergraduate bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to complete, each year typically known as the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years of undergraduate study.  The academic year includes the Fall Semester (Mid-August through early December) and the Spring Semester (Early January through early May).  Academic course loads during the Fall and Spring semesters average 15-17 hours, which is 4 or 5 classes and a lab.  Additionally, three academic terms are held during the summer months (Late May, June and July) and students may take one or two courses during these terms.  More information is available from the FMU Admissions Office on these issues.   

New Student Orientation
Orientation is a term used by U. S. institutions of higher learning to describe a formal program of introduction to the institution.  At FMU, Orientation is a program specifically designed to assist the parents and families of our newest students in their transition to Francis Marion University.

You will be provided with information about the resources and services available. This information will help you succeed at Francis Marion.  Most international students choose to participate in the Orientation program scheduled immediately prior to the first week of classes in August or January.  During the Orientation program, students will become familiar with the academic requirements and register for classes. 

Please note that ALL incoming students must participate in a New Student Orientation Program.  Additional information about Orientation may be found at the FMU Web Site. 

Course Registration
Course registration for a student’s initial term of enrollment at FMU typically occurs during their orientation program.  Registration for future semesters usually occurs during the preceding term in accordance with the following information. 

The Registrar is responsible for the management of the registration process by which students enroll in classes. Registration procedures for each term are described in the schedule of classes for that term and on the University's web site.

Each student should meet with his or her faculty adviser to select courses to be taken. The student may enter his or her schedules via the web, in their academic adviser's office or in the Office of the Registrar. Students must confirm schedules and pay fees in the Cashier's Office.

Through the registration process, students assume academic and financial responsibility for the classes in which they enroll. They are relieved of these responsibilities only by formally terminating enrollment by dropping or withdrawing in accordance with procedures and deadlines specified in the schedule of classes each term.  Please remember that International Students must maintain a full-time course load to maintain legal status in the U.S. 

Academic Life
Expectations concerning attendance, participation, involvement and other important issues may vary from class to class.  It is important for all students to develop a clear understanding of the expectations in each class.  To assist with this, course instructors provide a “syllabus”, which is a course outline containing course objectives, material to be covered, schedule of assignments, examination dates, textbooks, the instructor’s contact information, and general course expectations (attendance, participation, and other issues).

It is important for students to seek assistance if experiencing difficulty.  Instructors typically maintain scheduled “office hours” during which they are available to students, and will often schedule appointments to discuss student concerns.  A common mistake among international students is failing to seek assistance from their course instructor.  In addition to individual assistance, the instructor may refer the student to other university academic resources, including the Tutoring Center (a service in which students may receive assistance from upper-class students with assignments), the Writing Lab (a center located on campus that provides free assistance for students with writing assignments), or study groups(typically these are informal and organized by students taking the same class). 

Last Published: March 10, 2004 11:17 AM
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