Maintaining Full-Time Status and Remaining in Good Standing
As a J-1 Exchange Visitor in the non-degree student category, you are required to be enrolled as a full-time student at all times during the academic portion of your authorized program. A full-time undergraduate course load can range from 12 to 18 credits depending on the host institution. When registering for classes, it is your responsibility to check with your academic advisor and/or international student advisor to ensure that the course load you are enrolled in meets this requirement and any other minimum academic requirements set by your host institution.
BSMP policy requires you to comply with the academic standards of your host institution at all times and you will be subject to the penalties of your host institution for any violation of its academic policies. If you do not maintain full-time status or if you are dismissed from your host institution for any reason, including academic performance, you are effectively ending your BSMP scholarship and will need to return to Brazil immediately.
Add/Drop Period and Course Withdrawals
There is a period during the academic semester (usually within the first week or two) when students are allowed to add or drop classes without penalties. Each host institution has its own procedures of how to successfully and officially add or drop a class during its designated period without penalties or necessary advisor approval. Should you decide to add or drop a class after this period you must contact your academic advisor and/or international student advisor or registrar’s office for guidance. They will be able to guide you through the process properly. In general, after the add or drop period you will not be able to add or drop a class by simply emailing or speaking with your professor.
What courses can I take?
BSMP policy requires students to be enrolled in courses that are academically relevant. In other words, at least 75% of your total earned credits must be in courses directly related to your field of study. The remainder can be non-academic (badminton, yoga, photography, etc. for students that are not in art & design).
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Can I enroll in graduate level courses?
Yes. During your first term, however, we strongly encourage you not to take on too much nor enroll in graduate-level coursework as these classes may be more rigorous and laborious. You should give yourself time to adjust to the culture, language and life as an undergraduate student in the U.S. before you enroll in advanced level courses.
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What if I decide to drop a class after the add/drop period?
If you decide you do not want to take a course after the add/drop period, then you will need to officially withdraw from the course. Withdrawals appear on student transcripts as a “W” and do not factor into the student’s grade point average. Many host institutions also have a set deadline for withdrawing from a course. Again, contact your academic advisor and/or international student advisor or registrar’s office for guidance.
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Can I drop a course after the add/drop period and be below full-time status?
If you are having significant problems with a course, it is acceptable for you to withdraw from that course without prior approval from IIE, but only if you can still maintain full-time status.
Should you be in the situation where you feel you need to withdraw from a course and drop below full-time status, then you need to contact IIE immediately. J-1 visa regulations only allow a few specific situations during students’ first term of coursework where they can drop below full-time status without jeopardizing their J-1 visa status.
Under no circumstances "realizing you took too difficult classes" or "not enough time to participate in extracurricular activities" are valid reasons to fall below full-time status. It is important to note that if you do reduce the number of credits that you are taking after your host institution’s deadlines, even if you did not attend the course, you may be held responsible for paying any tuition or fees pertaining to the credits dropped.
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Please read the instructions carefully and complete the forms as appropriate. These forms will need to be printed, signed and sent to IIE at the e-mail address indicated on the form.
You must also indicate the name of the form on the Subject Line of your e-mail.
You will also receive e-mail notifications from IIE requesting that you complete the forms listed below by the deadline stipulated by IIE.
Student Report Initial (188 KB, PDF)—After you have registered for your first semester courses you must submit the form to IIE listing the courses you are taking for the semester.
Student Report Mid-Program (195 KB, PDF)—After completion of your first semester you must submit this form listing your grades for the previous semester and the courses that you have registered for the preceding semester.