Advising international students can be challenging yet extremely rewarding. The advising process will be most successful if the advisor asks many questions, takes time to become acquainted with the student and her/his situation, and encourages the student to utilize the multitude of resources available at UWG.
Full Time Enrollment
In order to maintain legal status in the United States, international students must adhere to the following credit requirements each Fall and Spring Semesters:
- Undergraduates: 12 credit hour minimum
- Graduates: 9 credit hour minimum
Violation of this rule can result in falling out of status and deportation. There are a few exceptions for students, but they are very rare and must be approved by USCIS. If you feel your student needs an exception, have them come to the ISAP office and we can discuss their options with them.
Summer Semester Enrollment
Summer is generally considered a vacation term. Students can take as many or as few classes as they would like. Students are not required to enroll in classes during the Summer Semester.
If students choose not to enroll, they are still eligible to work (if they will be enrolling the following Fall semester). Students also do not have to leave the country if they are not enrolled.
The one exception to the summer vacation term is if it is the student's first or last semester at UWG.
Students are able to count only 1 online class toward their full time enrollment. The rest of the courses must be face to face instruction. Hybrid classes that are 50-99% online count as an online course.
Students can take more than one online couse each semester, but it must be on top of their full time enrollment. For example, a student can have the following schedule:
- Computer Concepts (online) 4 credit hours
- American Government (In person) 3 credit hours
- English Composition I (In person) 3 credit hours
- College Algebra (In person) 3 credit hours
A student with this schedule can choose to add more online classes, but cannot remove any of the in-person classes.
Maintaining Status Quiz
Each semester, all UWG international students must take a submit a Maintaining Status quiz to ensure everyone is up to date on the current immigration rules and regulations. A registration hold is placed on your account at the beginning of each semester and is not removed until they score a 90% or higher on the quiz.
Quiz can be found HERE.
Reduced Course Loads
The Federal Regulations list very few situations in which an exception to the full course of study or typical full course enrollment requirement may be deemed appropriate. The F-1/J-1 student must meet with an ISAP Staff Member and seek approval PRIOR to dropping or withdrawing from courses when the drop would put the student below the required minimum. If the student does not follow proper procedures, the student will lose lawful F-1/J-1 student status.
An F-1/J-1 may be authorized to reduce his or her course load to six credit hours (and no less) one time, due to academic difficulties.
The following reasons are acceptable academic reasons for a student to reduce his or her course load:
- placement in an inappropriate course level
- initial difficulty with the English language (FIRST SEMESTER ONLY)
- initial difficulty with reading requirements (FIRST SEMSTER ONLY)
- unfamiliarity with American teaching methods (FIRST SEMESTER ONLY)
- documented illness or medical condition (UP TO 12 MONTHS ONLY)
- credits needed to graduate will be exceeded (LAST SEMESTER ONLY)
In the case of a reduced course load request based on a medical necessity, the student must provide medical documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist to ISAP to substantiate the illness or medical condition. The regulations state that students experiencing a “temporary illness or medical condition” may reduce their course load “for a period of time not to exceed an aggregate of 12 months while the student is pursuing a course of study at a particular program level.” If the student’s medical condition does not permit him/her to pursue a full course of study beyond these 12 months, the student may be required to return to the home country.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students who must complete an internship course in order to graduate from their current degree program.
- Employment starts at the beginning of the semester or summer session and completes at end of the semester or summer session.
- The use of CPT does not impact eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT) unless the student uses more than 12 months of full-time CPT. When the student uses 12 month of full-time CPT, they will not be eligible for OPT.
CPT Eligibility Requirements
- Must have been enrolled in school full-time for one year on valid F-1 status (except for graduate students where the program requires immediate CPT as defined in the catalog)
- The CPT employment must be an integral part of the degree program or requirement for a course for which they receive academic credit
- Must have received a job offer that qualifies before they submit the CPT authorization request
- Job offer must be in major or field of study
When to Apply
- They can apply once you enroll in the internship class as well as other necessary classes and have all the necessary documents. There is no deadline, but we are not able to guarantee processing of the application before the employment start day if the application is submitted at the last minute. ISAP processing time is 10-14 business days.
How to Apply
- Enroll in the internship course. In the fall and the spring semester, enroll in other necessary classes.
- Register full-time (9 for graduate students and 12 for undergraduate students). Classes cannot be taken through online or distance education.
- Submit CPT application to ISAP office.
- Up to 20 hours per week during Fall and Spring Semesters
- Up to 40 hours per week during Summer Sessions
CPT I-20 Application
CPT Application required the following:
- Academic advisor or departmental letter (if applicable), printed on official letterhead (use this template or department form, if applicable).
- Employer letter, printed on official letterhead.
- Photocopy of your passport valid for at least six months into the future.
- Photocopy of recent I-94 arrival record. Students will either have a paper I-94 card or will have an electronic I-94 record. If you have an electronic I-94 record, you can find it at i94.cbp.dhs.gov/.
- CPT applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. You may receive an email or call from the ISAP for additional requirements or immigration advisement.
International students admitted to UWG are academically strong and accustomed to academic success. However, adapting to the American college life may prove to be a little diffcult at first.
- Some universities require students to attend classes 8am - 5pm, so the student may not be accustomed to so much time out of class.
- Many other countries do not have core classes or elective requirements. Explaining the idea behind these types of classes may help them understand why they need to take them.
- Academic integrity is a cultural concept. Definitions of cheating a plagiarism are culturally dependent. International students may struggle with these issues, as sharing work or copying an expert's work may not be considered cheating in their country.
Not All Students are Degree-Seeking
UWG has exchange partnerships with many different universitites all over the world. It is likely that you will come in contact with a J-1 visa student who is studying in the US for either a semester or a year. Contact Education Abroad office for help with their schedules.