Common Academic Challenges

  • English as a Second Language – Some students struggle with English, especially in their first or second semester on campus. The Department of Homeland Security requires F-1 and J-1 students to maintain full-time enrollment in the fall and spring semesters. There are a few exceptions, however, for which the International Student Services Office (ISSO) can authorize a reduced course load. Before dropping any classes, the student should meet with an international student advisor. The advisor will provide information about options and any impact on visa status.
  • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods – Many countries emphasize social consciousness over individual independence. Joining in classroom discussions, critical thinking and self-promotion are foreign concepts. These students may be unfamiliar with the expectation that they actively participate in classroom discussions.
  • Plagiarism – Some international students are used to group work, sharing ideas and information, without citing sources. In their home culture this shows that the student has integrated the knowledge successfully. These students may find the UT Dallas Maintaining Academic Integrity webpage helpful.

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