International Student FAQ

I'm registered for 12 credit hours and I wanted to drop a course that I don't like. What should I do?

Students on an F-1 Visa are required to be registered for at least 12 credit hours each semester to maintain their F-1 status as undergraduate students. There are a few approved scenarios in which students can drop below full-time status, through a Reduced Courseload Form. Check with your academic advisor to see if your reason for dropping a course fits the criteria as well as talk about options for moving forward. The Reduced Course Load form is available on the ISO website

I'm registered for 12 credit hours and I earned an R (Repeat) grade for one of my courses. What does this mean for my overall ac

Students on an F-1 Visa are required to earn at least 12 credit hours each semester. An R grade designates that you need to repeat the course. The R grade doesn't affect your GPA, but you do not earn any credit hours from the course, which puts you behind. A repeated course, in terms of immigration status, means that you have not completed the course requirements and is considered to be the same as withdrawing from the course. Please check with your ISO Immigration advisor before you repeat the course, especially if you are enrolled in 12 credits as this will lead to an unauthorized drop below full time status and put your immigration status in jeopardy. 

I'm struggling in one of my classes. What should I do?

The first step is to set up an appointment to meet with your professor to talk about your concerns and how to move forward in the class. After that meeting, you may need to look into other resources such as working with a TA (Teaching Assistant), finding a tutor, or talk with your academic advisor to discuss whether or not dropping/withdrawing from the course is an option. 

I have a paper due for one of my classes. Can I use recourses without citing where they came from?

When asked to write any paper in which you use resources, you are required to cite where the resources came from by using a variety of formats (APA, MLA, Chicago). Speak with your professor if you have questions or concerns about your paper first. You may need additional resources such as the Writing Center, or the EAP Writing Center as well as librarians from the Gelman Library to help, and such cases you should reach out for help. 

I am required by my country to participate in military duty. Can I take a break from school so that I can complete my military

Students are allowed up to 4 semesters, or 2 years, away from the University through "leave of absence" and "continuous enrollment". Please communicate your requested leave of absence to your ISO immigration advisor and discuss your military service with them so your immigration status can be properly closed without affecting future visa issuances. Failure to notify the ISO of your leave of absence can result in the termination of your immigration record which could affect your return to the US. To notify your academic advisor you wish to take a leave of absence for scheduled military duty, please fill out the Military Duty Leave Form

I want to back go to my home country for the summer and take courses at a university nearby. Can I do this?

Students can take courses in their home country, but are limited in the number of credit hours you can transfer (same as domestic students studying at home), which is 9 credit hours. Contact your academic advisor to talk about your plans and then reach out to a study abroad advisor in the Office for Study Abroad depending on where your home country is. Read through the policies on transferring credit post matriculation:, as well as the policies on home country study from the Office for Study Abroad.

I want to withdraw from all my courses this semester. What should I do?

First contact your academic advisor to discuss deadlines and dates to withdraw from courses. Then contact your ISO advisor, to discuss whether or not you can withdraw from all your courses and whether you fit the criteria for a Reduced Courseload. Once you get that information, stay in contact with both advisors to discuss your decision and how to move forward in withdrawing from your courses as well as returning to the University in the future. 

I scheduled my flight to return home before final exams begin. What can I do?

First contact your professors to discuss whether or not you can take the final exam before you leave. If you are having difficulty working with your professors, then contact your academic advisor to discuss other options. 

Can I take online courses at GW if I am enrolled in 12 credits?

As an international undergraduate student enrolled in 12 credits you may only take 3 credits of online courses, the rest of your 9 credits must be on-campus courses. If you intend to take 6 credits online then you must be enrolled in 15 credits total; 6 online and 9 on-campus credits

I feel homesick and unable to utilize time management skills to cope with classes at GW. Are there resources available to assist

Yes, in addition to counseling services, the UCC- University Counseling Center offers many opportunities for students to learn new skills while here in the US. It can be hard to adjust to a new environment and educational system here in the US, however the UCC is here to support you be successful in both your academic and social life at GW. For more information visit the UCC website

Who is my ISO immigration advisor?

The International Services Office has many different advisors that are assigned to specific colleges here at GW. To find your ISO advisor please use the Advising Assignment page to help.