Read below for information and resources on how you can achieve academic success here at CBU and in the United States.
- Academics in the United States
The education system in the United States can be very different than that of other countries. A few notable differences that we often see international students struggle with are:
- Classroom interaction. In the US professors expect their students to think critically and respond when a question is asked. Many collegiate classes are discussion-based, and professors welcome responses. Often times international students are surprised when their domestic peers openly disagree with a professor in class, but respectful disagreement in the classroom is common in the US education style.
- Failing a course. In many countries a student who fails a course can take an exam in the future in order to pass that course. In the United States, however, if a student fails a course the student must retake the entire course in order to receive a passing grade. This can set a student back in their academic progress.
- Copying content without citation. Quoting or referencing someone else's work in a paper, project or assignment is considered plagiarism in the United States, and is considered highly inappropriate academically. You can read more about plagiarism below and how to avoid it in your academics.
Plagiarism, or taking someone's else's work and saying it is your own work, is a violation of the CBU Honor Code (referenced on page 16, item 21 in the CBU Student Handbook), and can result in serious academic consequences. Each course syllabus you receive should all address the seriousness of plagiarism, and encourage you avoid plagiarizing work in order to receiving passing grades for your assignments and courses.
In order to help ensure you avoid plagiarizing in your submitted assignments, be sure you:
- Always cite your sources, and use proper citation according to your academic field. If you pull a quote, data or other information from somewhere that you did not originally create then reference that source.
- Use proper citation. Citation styles vary based on your field. Please be sure you know how to properly cite sources for your field's writing style.
- Avoid using apps or websites that will translate or "change up" content from another source.
- Write your papers, projects and assignments yourself. Asking someone else to complete an assignment for you is considered plagiarism.
- Getting Academic Assistance
There are a lot of resources on campus if you are in need of help with your academics. Below are a list of offices that may be helpful to you regarding your academic status or progress during your time at CBU:
- Student Success Coaches - Register for classes, answer questions about which classes to take, request to withdraw from a class, etc.
- Office of the University Registrar - Request a copy of your transcripts, apply for graduation, answer questions about transfer credits, etc.
- Tutoring Center - Peer-to-peer tutoring
- Writing Center - Assistance with university-level writing for CBU courses.
One of the best ways, though, to get help with your academics is to talk to your professor directly. In the American education system it is very common, and even encouraged, for students to seek help from their professors. Your professors at CBU will be happy to help you, either through email or by visiting them during their office hours. We encourage all international students to take advantage of this resource, and to contact his or her professor if there are academic challenges in a particular class.
If you find that you are having difficulty with academic English please contact Heather Snavely, the Director of Intensive English Programs. Professor Snavely would love to help you improve your English, and connect you with resources to help you succeed in your classes!
- Academic Probation
Students who fail to maintain the eligibility requirements for their program may be put on Academic Probation. These requirements vary based on if the student is an undergraduate or graduate student, and in which program the student is enrolled. Being placed on Academic Probation is a good opportunity for students to take advantage of the academic resources CBU has (some are listed above), and to put a greater emphasis on improving grades and overall GPA.
Failure to improve academically while on Academic Probation may lead to Academic Suspension or Disqualification, both of which would have an impact on an F-1 student's I-20. Should you be placed on Academic Suspension or Disqualification please do the following immediately:
- Follow any instructions listed in the email notifying you of your Academic Suspension or Disqualification. This could include information about an appeals process, which often has a strict timeline that needs to be followed.
- Contact your International Student Advisor to notify them of the situation and request their assistance.
- Being on a Reduced Course Load
Certain situations allow an F-1 student to drop below a full course of study and be on an academic Reduced Course Load (RCL). This RCL must be authorized by a DSO prior to approval, and if approved for a RCL you may also see a reduction in your scholarships, approved CPT hours or approved on-campus employment hours.
- Below are reasons that an F-1 student may be approved for an RCL:
- Illness or medical emergencies
- Academic difficulties
- Final semester of study
- Part-time commuter student living outside the United States
You can read more about each of these Reduced Course Load reasons here, on DHS’s Study in the States website.
If you believe you are in need of a Reduced Course Load and meet one of the eligibility requirements please do the following:
- Contact your Student Success Coach to confirm that taking a Reduced Course Load will not affect your program rotation or anticipated graduation date in a negative way.
- Contact your International Student Advisor and ask for a "Request for a Reduced Course Load" form.
- Complete the Request for a Reduced Course Load form and email it to your International Student Advisor and Student Success Coach.
- Below are reasons that an F-1 student may be approved for an RCL:
- Taking a CBU Online Course
F-1 students may be eligible to take one online CBU course per semester if that course is not offered in-person within the student's normal degree completion plan. While the availability of online CBU courses may help a student complete his or her degree on time, there are some things to consider before requesting to take an online course, or enrolling in one.
The majority of online CBU courses are designed for students who cannot attend traditional, in-person classes. Due to that, both the format of an online course and the instruction style are different than in-person courses. Here are are some main differences to be aware of before enrolling in an online course:
- CBU online courses are taught on a condensed timeline: They are only 8-weeks long. This means there is a lot more content in each week, and the course moves at a faster pace than a traditional in-person course. Workloads may be more intense or assignments due more frequently as a result.
- Professors may work remotely and not have office hours on-campus for easy access should you have a question. Most likely all communication with your professor will be through email, and your professor may not be able to respond as quickly as professors who work on campus.