General Academic Information
New Styles of Learning and Writing
Even students with excellent skills in English, or who are from an English-speaking country, may experience difficulty adapting to American English. Students who speak or read English may experience trouble writing in the academic style required at Augustana.
Upon arrival on campus, students will take an English assessment exam, which will help us determine which level of English course is most appropriate. If we feel a specific English course is needed, we ask that your student accept our recommendation. These courses will give your son or daughter the skills to understand academic lectures, write papers, cite their sources, and to be able to give oral presentations to a class.
At most American schools, many faculty conduct interactive classroom techniques. This means that the student who just sits in a class, takes notes and memorizes the textbook will not perform well. U.S. professors often expect students to talk with them during a lecture, possibly to disagree with the professors' opinions and to write papers and do research on the student's original thoughts rather than on the thoughts of the professor.
Augustana students must be able to hear the information, comprehend the material they are learning, to have original thoughts on a given subject (whether they agree or do not agree) and be able to express their thoughts orally or in writing.
It often takes a term or two before international students are able to do well in this situation. Consequently, they may get a poor grade. We ask that you be patient and supportive of them as they adjust to the differences in academic style and teaching between the U.S. and your home country.
Exams are held the 11th week of each term. No final exam may be changed from its scheduled period except with the approval of the College Registrar. NOTE: travel arrangements, vacations, employment plans and convenience to the student are not considered as sufficient reasons to change the exam.
Missing classes will be detrimental to your student's grades. Only the professor can excuse an absence. If your son or daughter must miss a class due to illness, a family emergency or other difficulty, encourage them to contact the Office of International Student Life and to talk with the professor.
If the emergency occurs during the evening or weekend and there is not time to contact anyone before your student leaves campus, be sure to contact the office as soon as possible. We will inform those who need to know and then work with your son or daughter upon his or her return to campus.
Communication with Augustana
We encourage you to maintain open and honest communication with your student. It is important that your student still feels like a part of your family even though they are thousands of miles from home. Phone calls, email and letters mean a great deal to international students. Our hope is that your son or daughter will share his or her experiences with you and that the college's major role will be one of support and advice.
We treat your Augustana student as an adult. Within limits, created by the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), we protect your student's right to privacy and confidentiality. This means, in part, that we will initiate contact with parents for a very limited number of reasons. A general rule is that we contact parents only when an event occurs which is life-threatening or may significantly jeopardize a student's ability to continue at Augustana.
Paper copies of grades will not be sent to students or parents. However, with your student's permission, we can verify grades and academic status. When students face disciplinary action, we do not contact parents (though we do encourage the student to do so) unless their enrollment at Augustana is in jeopardy.
Likewise, for illnesses or injuries, we encourage students to contact parents, but we will contact you only if the situation appears extremely serious or if we judge the student will be unable to continue at Augustana without parental involvement.