Academics & Student Life
The American Academic System
By the time Americans attend college, most students have completed twelve years of formal education: six years of elementary school, two years of junior high school, and four years of senior high school. Undergraduate college programs generally require four to five years of study, while masters programs involve two further years of study, and doctoral programs three or more years beyond the master's level. The American academic system, as a whole, is intended to provide a broad education for as many people as possible. Many institutions of higher education require exams for admission evaluation, however there is no screening examination that directs a student into an academic or vocational area at an early age. A high proportion of the population completes secondary school and many students attempt some kind of post-secondary education at the undergraduate level. Within the American society there is a conflict between those who advocate earlier and greater specialization in a field and those who believe in a broader "humanistic" or "Liberal Arts" education. Because of these differences in philosophies, emphasis on requirements may vary from university to university, or from department to department within the same school. The American educational system does produce specialists, people who study a limited range of topics in great depth. Specialization comes later in the U.S. system than it does in most other countries. It is not until the third year of undergraduate work that a student concentrates on the study of his "major" field. There is further specialization in graduate work, especially as students undertake research for their thesis or dissertation.
UF Computer and Software Requirement
The following is the official UF policy on the student computer requirement, taken from the UF Student Guide:
Access to and on-going use of a computer will be required for all students to complete their degree programs successfully. Effective Summer B 1999 term, the University of Florida expects each entering student to acquire computer hardware and software appropriate to his or her degree program. Competency in the basic use of a computer is a requirement for graduation. Class assignments may require use of a computer, academic advising and registration can be done by computer, and official university correspondence is often sent via e-mail.
While the university offers limited access to computers through its computer labs, most students will be expected to purchase or lease a computer that is capable of dial-up or network connection to the Internet, graphical access to the World Wide Web, and productivity functions such as word processing and spreadsheet calculation. Costs of meeting this requirement will be included in financial aid considerations.
Interpretation of the policy
For the Freshman and Sophomore years, these functions can be provided by most currently available standard computers. A student computer configuration should include an office software suite and printer. Appropriate networking and Internet software is available to students at no additional cost from the University. Sample minimum computer configurations, current as of Spring 1999, are provided on the website. Individual colleges may have additional requirements or recommendations for lower division, upper division, graduate and professional students.
Further information about the UF computer policy can be found at the following website: http://www.circa.ufl.edu/computer.htm
Leadership and Extracurricular Activities
While American academic institutions encourage the learning of facts, most also advocate the student's personal growth. A variety of activities attract student participation on American campuses, and these extracurricular activities are believed to develop "leadership" qualities in students, which will enrich their lives after they graduate from school.
Information regarding minimum test scores and requirements for admission to the University of Florida may be found in the "Admission" sections of the undergraduate and graduate catalogues, or at the Admissions Office, located in S201 Criser Hall. Many universities require students to take nationally administered examinations, which permit the school to evaluate the student's skills in relation to other students across the country. Some universities require a minimum score on these examinations before they will accept an applicant. International students must also take these examinations before they are considered for admission.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) measures a student's mastery of the English language. Most universities require international students to take this examination before admission to graduate or undergraduate schools. Many schools also require international students to take the Test of Spoken English (TSE).
Undergraduate admission may depend upon one's score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Testing Program (ACT). These tests measure verbal and math skills of high school students. High scores on the College Board Achievement Tests (also known as "advanced placement tests" or "APT") in English composition, mathematics, social sciences, and sciences may give an entering student advanced placement in the University. Some schools will approve credits for university-level courses if the student's score is high on these examinations.
The most common test for graduate school admission is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This test measures proficiency in English, mathematics, and logic. Professional schools also require entrance examinations. Students who wish to earn a Master's degree in Business Administration (MBA) must complete the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Students applying to law school generally take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). Medical school applicants take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).
The Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey administers the majority of these examinations. Students may write directly to the ETS for registration forms and information. Their address is: Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ, 08541-6151. Several offices on campus stock registration pamphlets for these tests as well: the Office for Instructional Resources in 1012 Turlington Hall; the Registrar's Office in S222 Criser Hall; the Graduate School in Grinter Hall; the UFIC in 170 Hub, and the English Language Institute in 313 Norman Hall.
Evaluation of Performance in School
The quantity of academic work a student does at the University is measured in "credits." The number of credits a course is worth usually depends on the number of hours per week that it meets. A "three-credit course," for example, will meet three hours weekly for one semester. It might meet for three fifty-minute sessions, as undergraduate classes normally do, or for one three-hour session, the more common pattern in graduate classes. At the end of the semester, the student who has achieved a passing grade in the course has earned "three credits" or "three credit hours." A student must earn a specified number of credits in order to graduate. This number varies for undergraduates and graduates, as well as among departments. Further information about specific requirements for various degrees may be found in the catalogues or through the departments.
The Grading System
The quality of a student's academic work is measured by means of "grades." There are seven grades which are considered "passing" grades for undergraduates at the University of Florida: A, B+, B, C+, C, D+, and D. For undergraduates, the grade which designates "failing" is "E" (or "F" in some schools). For graduate students, "passing" grades are more stringent: A, B+, B, C+ and C (although graduate students must maintain a "B" overall grade point average). Grades lower than a C may be considered failing grades in graduate school. The official explanation of grades at the University of Florida may be found in the University catalogues. Each grade carries a designated number of "points" per credit. These point designations and computations may be found in the catalogue under the headings "Grades" and "Averages."
Students may also choose to be evaluated for some classes which have an optional "satisfactory" ("S") and "unsatisfactory" ("U") grading basis. An explanation of this option may be found in the catalogue under the category "Grades." Students considering this option should consult with an advisor to understand how a course taken under this type of evaluation will affect their competitive standing with other students.
Students are expected to complete their own work, without any dependence on other students or sources. One of the worst violations a student can commit while studying at an academic institution is to engage in academic dishonesty. Students should never look at other students' papers during an examination. To "cheat" on an examination by getting answers from other students or from materials illicitly brought to the test can result in a failing grade for the examination and in disciplinary action. Severe penalties, including expulsion from the University, may result if the student is found guilty of academic dishonesty. The University catalogue contains "Academic Honesty Guidelines" which explain officially what constitutes "cheating," "plagiarism," bribery," "conspiracy," or other forms of academic dishonesty. Because these offenses are so serious in the academic environment, all students should read these guidelines to make themselves aware of the seriousness of this offense.
University of Florida Teaching Methods
The most common method of instruction at the University is the classroom lecture. The lectures are often supplemented by "discussion sections," which are led by professors or teaching assistants, by reading assignments in textbooks or library books, and by periodic written assignments. Early in the morning a professor may teach a class that is videotaped and replayed on television for classes held later that day.
In classes that are too large to permit questions and discussion, a "discussion section" is often arranged for students to pose questions to the instructor leading the section. It is very important for students to contribute to the discussion in the classrooms, as this is one aspect in which students are evaluated for grades. In some countries it is "disrespectful" for the student to question or challenge the teacher. In this country, by contrast, questioning or challenging the teacher is viewed as a good sign of interest, attention, and independent thinking. In many classes, your grade will be determined in part by your contribution to class discussion. If you sit in "respectful" silence, the professor may assume that you are not interested in what is being said in the class, or that you do not understand any of the discussion.
Many courses have co-requisite laboratory courses, where the theory learned in a classroom is applied to practical problems. This means you must take the discussion course and the laboratory course. For further information please, check with the department offering the course.
If for some reason you do not have the opportunity to raise questions in class, you can visit privately with your professors during their office hours. These are designated times when the professor will be available in his/her office to answer questions. Professors usually announce their office hours during the first few meetings of the course. Some professors will make appointments with students who have a conflict with their office hours.
In many courses students are required to write a "term paper" (also called simply a "paper"). A term paper is written based on study or research the student himself/herself has done in the library or laboratory. Teachers normally assign term papers during the early part of the course. Students are expected to work on the paper during the semester and submit it near the end of the semester when it is due. The grade the student receives on the term paper may constitute a significant portion of his/her grade for the course. It is wise to complete term papers in advance of their due date so there is time to ask another person to review the paper and suggest revisions. Many students consult with their professors before writing their papers. The library and bookstores have books that explain the format of term papers, including the use of footnotes and bibliographies. In particular, Kate Turabian's book, Manual for Writers of Theses and Dissertation and the Chicago Manual of Style are well-known guides to term paper format. Questions about term paper assignments should be discussed with the professor. Professors prefer typewritten papers to handwritten papers. The Student Activities Center at the J. Wayne Reitz Union has computers which students may use free of charge. Most students type their papers on the computer, using the school's word processing system.
Both in the preparation of the term papers and in doing assignments for classes, students are likely to use the library quite often. It is important, therefore, to learn how the library system works at the University of Florida. There are several libraries on campus, all of which are listed in the campus phone book. In each place, the librarians can answer questions about the library's organization, location of specific materials, reference materials, the LUIS computer system that locates books by subject, author, or title, and other features. You will need your University of Florida Gator 1 identification card in order to check out materials.
Students will take many examinations while they are in school. Nearly every class has a "final examination" at the end of the semester. Most have a "mid-term examination" near the middle of the semester. There may also be additional "tests" or "quizzes" given with greater frequency, perhaps even weekly. All these tests are designed to assure that students are doing the work that is assigned to them, and to measure how much they are learning. There are two general types of tests, objective and subjective, and these may be administered in a variety of forms.
An objective examination tests the student's knowledge of particular facts. Foreign students sometimes have difficulty with objective examinations, not because they do not know the material on which the test is based, but because their knowledge of English sometimes is not sophisticated enough to enable them to distinguish subtle differences in meaning. There are five different kinds of questions commonly found on objective examinations. Multiple choice questions require the student to choose from a series of answers, selecting the one (or more) that is most appropriate. True and false questions demand that the student read a statement and indicate whether it is true or false. Matching questions involve pairing the words, statements, or phrases from two columns. Identification questions ask the student to identify and briefly explain the significance of a name, term, or phrase. Fill-in-the-blank questions require the student to write information in an incomplete statement in order to make it complete and correct.
Subjective examinations. or "essay questions"
These test items require the student to write an essay in response to a question or statement. This kind of examination tests a student's ability to organize and relate his/her knowledge of a particular subject. You are usually expected to write a long "discussion-style" answer to an essay question. Because the time allotted for each essay question may be short, you must be able to put your thoughts quickly down on the paper. Help with essay writing can be arranged through the Writing Center in 2109 Turlington Hall.
Keys to Academic Success
Expect to Adjust to a New Environment
A period of adjustment to a new educational system is often necessary before students are able to perform to the best of their abilities. International students sometimes earn lower grades during their first semester in school in the U.S. than they are used to do in their home countries. Then, as they become accustomed to the system, their English and their grades improve. They should not expect to do outstanding academic work during their first semester here, since they are exposed to so many new things.
Select Courses Wisely
Especially during the first semester, students should not take more courses than necessary. As all international students must be registered full-time, it is important to choose a combination of more-demanding and less-demanding courses rather than only "difficult" ones which require unusually heavy amounts of work. It is also recommended never to take more than two computer courses at one time, as the time and facility limitations often frustrate students who take an overload of computer courses. When arranging their course schedules, students should consult not only with their academic advisors, but also with experienced students who are familiar with available courses and teachers. International students may be tempted to register for more courses than necessary in order to earn their degree more quickly. The usual result from taking too many courses may be discouragement, and poor academic performance. Students should be familiar with pass/fail options, as well as the procedure for dropping courses, which may be found in the catalogue. The advisors at the different departments, as well as at the ISS, work to help students in difficult academic positions such as these. You have to see an advisor at the ISS before you can drop a course or withdraw. Any time you are experiencing academic difficulties, or are having trouble selecting courses, consult with an advisor at the ISS immediately.
Ask for Help Immediately
If you find that the course load you are taking becomes overwhelming, you should speak to your advisor, professor, or a counselor at the ISS immediately. If a problem is identified early, the chances are greater for a positive resolution of the situation. Students may be directed to tutoring services, assisted in "dropping" a course, or advised in other ways to remedy the situation.
Work Hard from the Beginning
It is not possible, in the American system of higher education, to wait until the latter part of the semester to begin studying. If you do not begin studying on the first day of classes, you are likely to find yourself behind and may experience academic difficulty.
Talk to Professors
Professors expect students to ask questions in class or immediately following the class. They When students have problems or need advice, they should make an appointment to visit the professor during his/her office hours. If a student is not doing well in class and does not go to see the professor to discuss the situation, the professor is likely to assume that the student is not really interested in the course. Professors may, in fact, have a negative or indifferent evaluation of a student who never raises questions or challenges in class, or who does not visit the professor outside of the class to discuss academic issues.
Understand the Assumptions behind the Educational System
From past experience in your own educational system, you may have developed certain assumptions about the nature and purpose of education, and about the way your field of interest should be studied. For example, students may have been taught that it is important to be able to memorize large quantities of information that are provided by professors, authors, or other experts. In the American educational system, international students may find that being able to memorize material is less important than being able to analyze and synthesize material from many sources (to read several things and to reconstruct a theory or a system in one's own way) as they develop their own ideas and viewpoints. It is important to realize the differences that exist between the U.S. and other educational systems. New students will need to adjust their thinking if they are going to succeed academically. Whether or not the student personally accepts the values of the educational system here, he/she will find it easier to act in accordance with them while he/she is here.
Know How to Study
The study habits that were appropriate for the educational system in your home country may not be appropriate for the educational system here. Students may need to approach their studies in a different way while studying here. The Reading and Writing Center offers classes in study skills. Workshops are offered around campus in many different subjects. Please refer to the section on Academic Assistance, which follows, for more information about the Reading and Writing Center and other tutoring services.
Organize your time
Students have a large amount of work to do and a limited amount of time in which to do it. Schedules permit the student to maximize the efficiency of their performance by planning different sections of the day or week in which to accomplish their tasks. Specific time periods should be devoted to sleeping, eating, enjoying personal activities, attending classes, and studying. Adjust your schedule to allow adequate study time. Reading the course syllabi for each of your courses at the beginning of the semester will enable you to set completion dates for assignments at different times during the semester. The important point is to organize one's time so that all assignments and demands can be accommodated.
It may not be possible to memorize all the reading materials for the entire semester, or even to study them in depth. In general, students are expected to familiarize themselves with the main points from each reading and to be able to relate what different writers have said regarding the same issue. Learn to draw the main points from a large number of readings.
Here are some suggestions: Skim: contents, the titles of chapters, the headings of various sections of chapters, the "topic sentences" which begin most paragraphs, and the summary paragraphs or sections. This gives the reader an outline of what the author is saying.
Read: Review the material more carefully this time, noting the main points, conclusions, and contentions. Write notes about these main points, following the outline of the reading itself. Question: Rather than passively accepting what the writer has written, ask yourself, "Why is the writer saying this?" "What is the evidence for that?" "Does that agree with what this same writer said earlier, or with what another writer on the same subject said.
Review. Skim the reading again. Look at your notes again. Try to retain in your mind the main points of the readings. If the student finds that he/she is reading slowly or that his/her vocabulary is inadequate, the Reading and Writing Center and other support services are available. Feel free to consult with the ISS concerning this type of problem.
Derive as much as Possible from Classes
Since attendance and participation in classes are such important parts of the academic system here, it is worthwhile to gain as much as possible from your classes. Be prepared for class. Read in advance. If you have read the assignments that relate to a class, you will understand the material in the class better. In class, questions relating to the readings may arise. Take notes. Write down the main points which the professor makes. Many professors will use phrases that will help the student to identify the points they believe are important and that students should therefore listen attentively. After the class, review the notes. Complete the information that you might have left out in class. Mark items that are still unclear. Reviewing the notes after class helps students to remember the material. Ask for help if necessary.
Remain current in your studies. If a student falls behind on reading or assignments, he/she will have difficulty preparing adequately for tests. Schedule time to review. Before the test, review notes from lectures and readings. Anticipate what the professor will ask on the test by recalling the points that were emphasized during the lecture.
Prepare for Tests
Rest well before the test. Most people perform better on tests if they sleep adequately the night before the exam. "Cramming" for the examination, that is, attempting to study all the material on the night before the examination, usually results in exhaustion during the examination and poor performance. Read test instructions carefully. Know what questions are being asked in the test, and answer only what is being asked. Many students miss points because they do not properly answer the question that was asked. Schedule time accordingly. Notice how much time is available during the test period, how many points are awarded for each question, and evaluate the time involved in answering the different types of questions. too much time on only one or a few questions.
The Academic Environment at the University of Florida
The academic environment at the University of Florida can be overwhelming to new students, and may discourage them from seeking resources that can help them. This section will introduce students to some of the resources on campus.
The Undergraduate and the Graduate Record, which are the university catalogues for undergraduate and graduate students, contain official regulations and information about the University. In the University catalogues you can find admissions information, graduation requirements, lists of registered student organizations, academic information, information about student life, and much more than is covered in this handbook. You can find these catalogues in The Registrar's Office, in S222 Criser Hall.
University Telephone Directory
All registered students can receive a free copy of the University telephone directory, which is printed annually. The telephone directory contains campus department listings, faculty and staff listings, student listings, student support services, NEXUS tapes information, campus building and college abbreviations, the academic calendar, listings of the University libraries, recreation and entertainment facilities, and campus dining facilities. Telephone books are available in S222 Criser Hall.
UF Student Guide
This booklet explains the student conduct code, academic facilities, and support services on campus. It is available through the Office of Student Services in P202 Peabody Hall.
Guidelines for Writing Theses and Dissertations
This publication, available from the Graduate School Editorial Office in 168 Grinter Hall, specifies the Graduate School's format and grammar expectations for theses and dissertations submitted by graduate candidates.
Undergraduate students must satisfy general education requirements, as well as the requirements of their upper division colleges before they receive their bachelor's degree. During the first two years of study (freshmen and sophomore), students choose required and elective courses. Because the upper division colleges require their applicants to have successfully completed certain prerequisites before admittance, students should plan their schedules very carefully. Academic counselors located in the Academic Advisement Center on Fletcher Road will explain general education requirements to students. These counselors normally handle questions of students classified as "1UF" and "2UF," (freshmen and sophomores who have not declared a major) as well as students who remain in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Counselors in the Academic Advisement Center and advisors in the upper division majors should be consulted when students plan course schedules for their first two years. Please refer to the following section entitled "Undergraduate Student Academic Regulations--80-Hour Rule" for more information about why it is important to choose courses very carefully. Upperclassmen (juniors and seniors) should visit their department's undergraduate advisor when planning their course schedule. The course selection guide, which is printed each semester, lists these advisors. A semester or two before graduating, all students should request a graduation check from their College, to ensure they have completed all necessary major, College, and University graduation.
Graduate Students should consult with their graduate advisor about course work. These requirements differ with the degree sought, and may be found in the Graduate Record catalogue. The Graduate School, located on the second floor of Grinter Hall, can answer questions concerning graduation requirements, thesis/dissertation completion, oral and written examinations, and supervisory committee selection
Undergraduate Student Academic Regulations
The regulations listed here are not the only regulations with which students must comply, but are also the most commonly misunderstood rules that pose serious consequences for students if not followed. The University catalogues list other regulations of special concern to students and are the official academic regulations of the University.
The College Level Academic Skills Test (C.L.A.S.T.) is an achievement test which measures the reading, writing, and computational skills of students at the sophomore level of school. The Board of Regents requires students of the Florida State University System to pass this examination before they have completed 60 semester hours of class. Students who do not take the exam are not permitted to enroll at the University until they have passed it successfully. The Registrar's Office, located in S222 Criser Hall, and the Office of Instructional Resources, located at 1012 Turlington Hall, have applications for the exam. Students who need assistance in preparing for the test can ask about preparation courses offered by the Reading and Writing Center, located in Turlington Hall, or can purchase books which prepare students for the exam from the Campus Shop and Bookstore.
By the time they complete 80 semester hours of classes, undergraduate students must apply for admission and be accepted by one of the upper division colleges. Students who are not accepted by an upper division college by this time will not be permitted to enroll further at the University of Florida. This ceiling of 80 hours requires students to plan the course work for their first two years carefully. All colleges require applicants to have completed prerequisites before admission to the college, so the student may plan to register for these courses as early as the first semester. Waiting until the third semester may be too late, as students may be forced to enroll in more than 80 hours of classes before they have completed the requirements necessary for admission into the college. In order to avoid dilemmas such as these, students should consult with academic advisors in the program in which they hope to enroll as well as with the counselors in the Academic Advisement Center or the ISS.
University regulations require that an undergraduate student remain classified in the same college for a particular amount of time before graduating from that college. This requirement ensures that students do not switch from one college to another arbitrarily. This requirement and others are discussed in the section entitled, "Student Academic Regulations" in the undergraduate catalogue.
Applying for Graduation
It is the student's responsibility to apply for graduation on time and to request that a "graduation check" be done in the semesters prior to graduation. The University maintains deadlines for graduation applications. Consult the section entitled, "Academic Regulations" in the University catalogue for more information about graduation requirements.
Maintaining "Satisfactory" Progress
The University considers "satisfactory progress" for undergraduates to be a minimum 2.0 overall grade point average (or "GPA"). A student who falls below this average may find himself/herself on academic warning, probation, or suspension. While this problem is a serious one for American and international students alike, it presents many complications for international students, who are issued their visa on the condition that they will progress satisfactorily towards an academic degree. If you find yourself in academic trouble, it is especially important for international students to seek help immediately. The counselors at the ISS will try to resolve difficult situations such as these. There may be many reasons for poor academic performance, such as language problems, cultural adjustment or medical problems. More detailed information about satisfactory progress and grade point averages is discussed in the "Academic Regulations" section of the university catalogue. Students must take responsibility themselves for seeing that these requirements are met. If you find that you are having trouble interpreting the catalogue or other regulations, ask the counselors in the ISS or your academic advisor for help.
Graduate Student Academic Regulations
Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average in their graduate course work. A more detailed discussion about acceptable grades for classes, course levels, and study loads may be found in the graduate catalogue in the section entitled, "General Regulations." Students should also consult with their departments about the department's definition of satisfactory performance.
Applying for Graduation
Graduate students must satisfy requirements for the department as well as for the Graduate School. In addition, students must apply for graduation by the date specified in the catalogue. For more details concerning graduation requirements and degree awards, consult the graduate catalogue. Other regulations vary between departments and between degrees sought. Consult the graduate advisors, the Graduate School and the Graduate Record catalogue for specifics.
The University of Florida uses a petition procedure to evaluate whether particular situations may be worthy of exception to University rules. For example, someone with very unusual and legitimate circumstances may petition to have money refunded for courses dropped, to be permitted back into the University when they have been suspended, etc. Petitions are not always granted, but they are an option. If you feel you need to petition, speak with a counselor at the ISS. They can help you present your case at the Petitions Committee.
Academic Assistance Tutoring
Several academic counseling centers at the University provide assistance in special areas of study. Some students may need special tutoring to strengthen their weaker academic areas. Listed below are a few sources of academic assistance:
Professors and Departments
The immediate sources of help for students are the professors and graduate assistants for the particular course. Professors hold office hours during the week, during which times they are available. In addition, graduate assistants and graders hold office hours to help students with problems or questions. If these sources are not adequate, the professor may know of other students who will tutor. Please contact the ISS for further information regarding academic assistance.
The Reading and Writing Center
The Reading and Writing Center, located in 2109 Turlington Hall (392-0791), offers noncredit mini-courses, independent study sessions, and some credit courses in reading and writing. The Center is part of the Office of Instructional Resources. The Center aims to help students with communication skills. Summer and Fall courses are offered for freshman. Conversation skills courses are offered every semester for international students. The teachers are trained to assist students who speak English as their second language. They have experience in helping you improve your test-taking skills (for the C.L.A.S.T., G.R.E., and other similar tests), writing papers, theses, and dissertations, and spelling are only a few of the areas in which the Center offers help. For more information, contact the Center.
The Linguistics Department in 112 Anderson Hall (392-0639) normally offers a course in English as a Second Language for students who need help with their spoken and written English. For more information about the course, contact the Linguistics Department.
Broward Hall Teaching Center
This Center, located in the basement of Broward Hall (392-2010), provides help for students in several subject areas, including physical, biological, and social sciences, humanities, other disciplines. The tutoring is geared towards undergraduates and graduate students. Tutoring schedules allocate different times for different subjects. This schedule is available at the Teaching Center.
Math Anxiety Group, Counseling Center
The Counseling Center, located in P301 Peabody (392-1575) organizes group support sessions for students who have problems with mathematics. The group meets weekly during the semester. Students interested in joining the group should call the Counseling Center.
International Students Support Services
A student's academic performance can be affected by circumstances that lie outside of school. Difficulties with cultural adjustment, family or friends, or other pressures can influence a student's concentration, time and attention to studies. When concerns such as these arise, it is important for the student to acknowledge that the condition exists, and to seek help if the condition persists. More often than not, an ignored problem does not improve, it gets worse. Support services on campus are there to help students through difficult periods that everyone has. Seeking help is an acceptable practice in the United States. In fact, it is expected of students to seek help if they need assistance since they pay tuition not only for courses but for services on campus as well, so taking advantage of services is making use of your educational investment. The University catalogue also explains these services in the "Student Affairs" section. The Office for Student Services publishes the "Student Lifesaver," a card which lists telephone numbers for these support services. If you do not know where to begin, call the UFIC (392-5323) or the Student Services Office (392-1261) for direction. These offices can put you on the right track. Students must use their own initiative to seek help themselves. The University is just too large for the various offices to seek out students who need help. See the sections on Health Safety and the Appendices for more information regarding counseling.
The International Student Services (ISS)
The ISS is a department within the University of Florida International Center which is part of the UF Office of Academic Affairs. ISS assists students with immigration questions, admissions, academic counseling, personal counseling, emergency assistance, and referral to other support services. The office is open between 8.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m., Monday through Friday. It is located in 170 Hub (392-5323 ex 600).
The Office for Student Services
Located in P202 Peabody (392-1261), the Office of Student Services assists students with academic withdrawals* judicial affairs, disabled student affairs, minority student affairs, women affairs, fraternity and sorority issues, and many other areas of concern. (*Please notice that international students always have to go to the ISS before they can drop or withdraw from classes.). BACCHUS (Boost Alcohol Consciousness and Health of University Students), the Campus Alcohol Information Center, PLUS (Physically Limited University Students), and SOTA (Students Over Traditional Age) may be reached through this office. The Office for Student Services is an excellent clearinghouse for all types of campus information. If the staff themselves cannot answer a student's question, they will know the right person to contact on campus.
The University Counseling Center
The Counseling Center in P301 Peabody (392-1573) assists students and their spouses with personal, career, and academic concerns. The psychologists and peer counselors counsel people individually, offer group workshops and programs, and teach courses. Some topics which may be of interest to students include assertiveness workshops, test anxiety and math confidence groups.
Other Sources of Counseling
The Campus Ministers Cooperative is a consortium of different religious leaders in Gainesville. Membership in this cooperative is voluntary. Members of the cooperative may be found in the front pages of the campus telephone book. Information about churches may be found in the "Yellow Pages" of the Southern Bell telephone book under the heading "churches" or "synagogues." Many faiths are represented in Gainesville; if you are not able to find the faith of your choice in either telephone book, ask at the ISS.
The NEXUS Tape Information Service
This is a selection of tapes about matters pertaining to the University and student life. The Counseling Center sponsors the "CounseLine" telephone tape program, part of the NEXUS tape information system, to help students with specific concerns such as, "How to deal with the loneliness," "Vocational Decision Making," and "Friendship Building." The CounseLine tapes are listed in the front pages of the campus telephone directory. In order to hear a tape, a student should (1) dial 392-1683, the NEXUS number, (2) ask for the appropriate tape number, and (3) listen to the tape. A complete listing of NEXUS tapes may be found in the blue pages of the University telephone directory. Operators answer the phones between 7 a.m. and 12 midnight, Monday-Sunday. The caller remains anonymous, so it is easier to inquire about topics that may be sensitive or embarrassing if discussed face-to-face with another person.