For many students, adjusting to the educational system of the U.S. can be a challenging experience. Students may often find that classroom expectations, behavior, and structure are very different from their home country. Here are some tips and advice for adjusting and succeeding at Georgia Southern:
- Participate in class! In the U.S. students are often expected to complete group projects, give presentations, provide their opinion, and even respectfully disagree with the professor. Students should get accustomed to fully participating and be aware that their final term grade may depend on being fully involved in class.
- Attend all class meetings. Not only does this increase your chances of success, but, remember, maintaining your visa status requires actively attending all of your classes. If you are not in class, you are missing important material and announcements from your professor.
- Visit your professor during office hours. In the U.S., faculty members are here to assist and guide students who require extra advice or are having trouble with the course subject. Office hours are designed for students who require extra clarification, another example of a concept, or have questions you don’t feel comfortable asking in class. All professors keep office hours and most list them on the syllabus. If you have a conflict with the listed office hours, ask to make an appointment.
- Attend a tutoring session! At Georgia Southern, tutoring is typically fee and easy to access. Students can take advantage of the Academic Success Center or check with the academic department. Many departments – such as Math, Physics, Foreign Languages – have their own tutoring programs.
- Get help early in the semester. Don’t wait until the end of the term when you are overwhelmed and too many assignments have already passed. Ask for assistance immediately when you need it. In the U.S., people ask for help openly and often – there is no shame attached to this practice.
- Be advised! Schedule an appointment and meet with your academic advisor in a timely manner every single semester. This will help you stay on track, make good course choices, and complete your program in the time allotted by your I-20.
If you are having trouble adjusting to US classroom teaching methods, or are having initial difficulty with English language or reading requirements, and have questions about requesting a Reduced Course Load (RCL) for reason of academic difficulty, please contact the ISAP office. Remember- an academic RCL is only possible in a student’s first semester at current degree level, and must be requested by the university’s class withdrawal deadline for that term (after this date a withdrawal must receive Dean of Students office approval). Requesting an RCL and/or withdrawal from a class to avoid getting a bad grade is not an acceptable reason.
Last updated: 1/31/2024