First-Year Programs

Surviving the First Year

Now that you have started your academic journey here at FlU, you will learn that is it important to balance your social and your scholastic lives, and understand how important it is to: Get organized. Attend all your classes. Get advised early in every semester and avoid the last minute rush. Manage your time well and make room for homework, social activities, work and most importantly time to study. Do not procrastinate. Use available resources such as the library, tutors, workshops, etc. When in doubt, ASK an Academic Advisor. They are here to guide you to success. Remember, to be good academic standing, you need to maintain a Grade Point Average (CPA) above a 2.0.While focusing on your academics, you also need to get involved on campus, as this is an important part of your education. There are numerous programs to choose from, such as Invitational Scholars, National Student Abroad or Education Abroad. If those are not your interest, you can visit Campus Life to find out about all the other activities that are available.College is a stepping stone to your future, remember to have fun, stay focused and enjoy your education!

Surviving First Year

What You Need to Know During the Beginning of the Semester

Things Freshman Students Say Before their First Semester

  • I can write papers the night before and get A's and B's. It won't work in college because the expectations are higher.
  • My (fill in the blank) can talk with the professor and "fix" things if I get in trouble in a class. It won't work in college. You are responsible now.
  • If I miss a test or turn in an assignment late, I can make it up. In college, this may not be the case. The professor has the final word on late work, so read his or her syllabus carefully.
  • Cheating seemed okay in high school and if someone got caught nothing much happened. In college, you will probably get an "F" in the class and might even be suspended or dismissed from the University depending on the circumstances.
  • I don't really have to do too much homework. In college, the workload will be more than you even thought possible. If you don't keep up, good luck!
  • I've known exactly what I want to major in since 10th grade. Really? Most freshmen change their mind at least once in their first year of college.
  • I've worked 30 hours a week and still received good grades. You can do this in college too if you do nothing but go to work, study and attend classes.
  • I want all my classes between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Classes in college are offered at all times of the day and night, including weekends. You will not always find classes you need at the time you want them.
  • I don't want to take too many hard classes. Hey, they're all hard classes and you probably need them for that major you've wanted since 10th grade (now you know one of the reasons freshmen change their minds about majors.)
  • I'm undecided and I don't want any hard classes yet. They are all hard classes and most freshmen are undecided. Contact Career Services for some additional guidance about areas that might interest you.

The Freshman 411

  • Freshmen and Seniors register first!
  • You need a Personal Identification Number (PIN) available at orientation or from the Registrar's Office, and your social security number to register.
  • Make sure you show your academic advisor any transfer, dual enrollment credits, &/or AP scores.
  • Build a file/folder to keep all of your academic and university documents together. Bring this to every advising session.

The University CORE Curriculum

The Heart of the University CORE Curriculum (UCC): The Dos and Don'ts!


  • Get advised each semester to make sure you are following the University Core Curriculum.
  • Attempt to complete a few UCC classes each semester
  • Take UCC classes for letter grades.
  • Keep track of which UCC courses you have taken, as well as the grades you have earned in them.
  • Keep copies of all of your FIU advising/university documents.
  • Be sure to take UCC courses here at FIU.
  • Fill out the Intended Major form once you have earned 30 credits, completed a majority of the UCC requirements, and have a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 or above (higher for some majors).


  • Randomly pick courses, expecting that they will count towards the UCC ; they MUST be the classes that are specified on the UCC sheet to count for the CORE requirement.
  • Take two UCC English, Mathematics, or Gordon Rule writing courses in the same semester.
  • Take classes at other institutions and expect them to transfer back to FIU as UCC classes; once you start the UCC at FIU you must finish it at FIU.

Student Responsibilities

  • Get advised every semester
  • Avoid the rush and make your appointment early to get advised for the next semester. If you are in the First Year Experience course, your class might have an academic advisor come in for advising during one of your class sessions. Ask your instructor.
  • Register for appropriate classes
  • Intend and declare your major
  • Maintain your academic Grade Point Average (GPA) for successful completion of your coursework and graduation!


  • Budget your time - make room for work, social activities and, most importantly, your study time in your schedule.
  • Use all available resources - library, kiosks, web site, teachers, tutors, workshops, etc.
  • Read the Undergraduate Catalog (found in the Office of Admissions) especially pages 1-47!
  • When in doubt, ASK! It's our job to help guide you to success

Time and Organization Management

Thinking Through your workload
Listed below are a number of the activities required each week. Think about each one carefully and figure out how much time you need to spend on each item per day and per week. After you have totaled up all the items you can think of, see how much "free time" you have each day and week.

Everyone's Base: 7 days X 24 hours = 168 hours per week

  • Dressing, personal grooming _____hrs/day _____hrs/week
  • Travel time to class _____hrs/day _____hrs/week
  • Regularly scheduled classes _____hrs/day _____hrs/week
  • Study, review _____hrs/day _____hrs/week
  • Study, new information _____hrs/day _____hrs/week
  • Library, special projects _____hrs/day _____hrs/week
  • Preparing meals and eating _____hrs/day _____hrs/week
  • Outside physical activity _____hrs/day _____hrs/week
  • Planned recreation activities _____hrs/day _____hrs/week
  • Social activities _____hrs/day _____hrs/week
  • Personal activities _____hrs/day _____hrs/week
  • Sleep _____hrs/day _____hrs/week
  • Other activities _____hrs/day _____hrs/week

TOTAL HOURS USED _____hrs/day _____hrs/week

NUMBER OF HOURS 24 hrs/day 168 hrs/week

SUBTRACT TOTAL HOURS USED _____hrs/day _____hrs/week

TOTAL FREE HOURS _____hrs/day _____hrs/week

The Center for Academic Success Free Tutorial Services

The FIU University Learning Center offers free tutorial services for students in the areas of reading, writing, language, and mathematics. Many students take advantage of the free workshops that the center provides on note taking, test taking, time and organization management.

Contact information:
Modesto Maidique – GL 120 /348-2441
Biscayne Bay Campus - ACI 160/919-5927

Visit the University Learning Center to check out these services.

Check out some of these other tutorial services on campus.

College Prep Students

College Preparatory Requirements

The Florida Department of Education (DOE) has determined a minimum set of SAT/ACT scores for all students attending Florida universities. If your scores are below these minimums in one or more of these areas, you are required to fulfill additional course work in the appropriate areas at a community college during your first twelve credits of enrollment at Florida International University (FIU). Failure to adhere to and fulfill these requirements will prevent you from registering at FIU in future semesters.

SAT/ACT Miniumus
SAT I Fall 2000
Verbal Reading & Writing) 440
Quantitative(Math) 440
ACT Fall 2000
English 17
Math 19
Reading 18

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. There an alternative to College Preparatory Course? No, passing the placement test or retaking the SAT/ACT and submitting higher scores are the only options.
  2. Can I take the placement tests again? Placement tests are given only once to entering students. You may test or re-test at a Florida community college, if they allow the re-test.
  3. What happens if I do not complete these requirements? You may not be able to register for courses at FIU.
  4. What happens when I do complete these requirements? Your registration will not be restricted.
What You Need to Know During the Middle of The Semester

Academic Blues

Do you have academic blues?

Here are some things you can do if your grades are suffering:

  • Make an appointment to see an academic advisor to try and figure out why you are having trouble.
  • Cut down on work hours so you can increase your study time.
  • Assess your study habits and make adjustments if necessary.
  • If you find that you are too involved on campus, prioritize your life and put your education first.
  • Talk to someone if you are having problems at home; you can find good listeners at the Counseling and Psychological Services.
  • Get some tutoring for that tough math course at the Center for Academic Success.
  • Attend a workshop on note-taking skills at the Center for Academic Success if you have a hard time understanding your own notes.
  • Consult with your advisor regarding courses that you have failed and wish to repeat. Use the Forgiveness Policy to improve your cumulative GPA. Not all failed courses should be repeated, remember there is a limit of (3) Forgiveness Policy applications.
  • Take fewer courses to make sure you do your best and are accomplishing your goals.
  • Be honest with yourself when it comes to your major - is your intended major really for you?
    Learning Center Link
  • The FIU Center for Academic Success offers free tutorial services for students in the areas of reading, writing, language, and mathematics. Many students take advantage of the free workshops that the center provides on note taking, test taking, time and organization management.
    Center for Academic Success contact information:

    Modesto Maidique campus - GL 120 /348-2441
    Biscayne Bay Campus - ACI 160/919-5927

Dropping and Adding Classes/DR deadlines

Dropping a Class

Be sure to mark your calendar for the drop deadline date. This is important because this allows you to drop a course (because you are failing it or struggling in it) with a DR on your transcript rather than a low grade. A DR will not affect your GPA, but a low grade will. Check the The FIU Academic Calendar web site for this particular date and remember it!

One Stop FIU
What You Need to Know As You Approach the End of the Semester

Academic Warning/Probation and the Dean's List/Honors College

Academic Warning and Probation

If you have been placed on academic warning or probation, meet with an advisor to look over your options and begin working on the next semester's schedule that will be successful for you. Begin to strategize which courses to do a Forgiveness Policy on, which courses to re-take, and ways to improve your GPA. You won't be able to register for next semester's classes until you meet with an advisor to lift your WP and UC holds.

Dean's List

Any fully admitted undergraduate student who earns a semester average of 3.5 or higher on nine or more semester credit hours of coursework, for which grade points are earned, is placed on the semester Dean's List. This achievement is noted on the student's semester report of grades and permanent academic record (transcript).

Honors College

The Honors College provides an opportunity for students to get the most out of their undergraduate experience. Their immediate association with a small group of students and teachers with similar capabilities and aspirations make the transition into higher education easier. The undergraduate experience is enhanced significantly by the broad liberal arts focus of the curriculum. From the first day on campus the opportunities to work closely with experienced faculty, and the opportunity for graduate and professional study, are greatly expanded for students because of the range of activities and experiences made available.

Calculating Your Grade Point Average (GPA)

GradeGrade ValueCreditsGrade Points
A 4 3 12
A- 3.67 3 11.01
B+ 3.33 3 9.99
B 3 3 9
B- 2.67 3 8.01
C+ 2.33 3 6.99
C 2.33 3 6
C- 1.67 3 5.01
D+ 1.33 3 3.99
D 1 3 3
D- 0.67 3 2.01
F 0 3 0
To calculate the cumulative (overall) GPA:
  1. Add the current semester's grade points with the previous semester's overall grade points.
  2. Add the current semester's credits with the previous semester's overall credits.
  3. Divide the total amount of grade points with the total amount of credits to get the cumulative GPA.


Accounting A 3
English C 3
Spanish B+ 5
  1. First multiply the grade value by number of credits in the course:

    GradeGrade ValueCreditsGrade Points
    Accounting A (4.00) x 3 12
    English C (2.00) x 3 6
    Spanish B+ (3.33) x 5 16.65
  2. Then, add up the grade point values

    GradeGrade ValueCreditsGrade Points
    Accounting A (4.00) x 3 12
    English C (2.00) x 3 6
    Spanish B+ (3.33) x 5 16.65
  3. Finally, divide the total Grade points with the total amount of credits.

    GradeGrade ValueCreditsGrade Points
    Accounting A (4.00) x 3 12
    English C (2.00) x 3 6
    Spanish B+ (3.33) x 5 16.65
    34.65 Total

G.P.A = 34.65/11=3.15

Choosing a Major

Choosing a Major, Pursuing a Career

Within the first 30-36 credits you will complete the General Core Curriculum, which allows you to explore different subject areas as possible majors. Once the Core Curriculum is complete it is important to have a general idea of what area to pursue because you may be able to begin taking courses in the major. Use the following steps to help you determine an area of interest for a major:

Know Yourself

Career Planning is a serious process which will take a bit of time to evaluate your values, interests, aptitudes, abilities, personal traits, and desired life style. Resource to help with this: Services (GC 230): Speak with a Career Counselor about using SIGI+ which is a career assessment tool.

Narrow down your options

Get a list of all the majors offered at FIU (visit the website below, or use the FIU course catalog). Eliminate all the majors you would NOT want to pursue based on information from Sec. I. List the areas you are considering.
Helpful resource:


Make a note of any limitations within each major that may affect your decision. Majors such as Architecture, Interior Design, Biology, Chemistry, and Engineering need to be started as soon as possible because they require a strict, and sequential, regiment of courses.
Some majors have GPA requirement of above 2.0 to apply/declare (see dept.) For example:
Education 2.5 Business (except Accounting) 2.25
Accounting 2.5 Nursing 3.0 Social Work 2.5/p>

Establish a list of possible majors and do some research.

Helpful Resources:

  1. FIU Course Catalog: look up the requirements for each major in the catalog.
  2. Individual Depts.: Speak with an advisor/faculty member in the dept.
  3. Career Services Website: Career Service

Contact someone in the field/s you are considering and conduct an informational interview to get first hand information about the nature of the job/s.

Consult the Occupational Outlook Handbook: Occupational Outlook Handbook

What do I do with a major in...? Information at this site will be helpful:

Once you determine your major, see your Academic Advisor (PC 249/ACI 180).

Registration Highlights

  • Registration occurs three times a year - November for Spring, April for Summer, and August for Fall. Be sure to visit the FIU Academic Calendar so that you can take note of important registration dates: OneStop FIU
  • Listing of available classes will be accessible via the web several weeks prior to registration, and in hard copy, the week before registration. Visit this website:
  • You should be advised before you can register. Make an appointment early in the semester to be advised for the following semester. Note: As the registration period approaches, opportunities for advising appointments decrease.
  • It is mandatory for all Freshmen, students on Warning/Probation, College Preparatory students, Athletes and new Transfers to be advised.
  • Your access dates and times for registration will be available the week before registration at the kiosks or at the Registrar's website. Again, check the FIU academic calendar website for these dates: OneStop FIU
  • After registering for your classes you can make adjustments to your schedule up until the end of the first week of classes. Check the above FIU academic calendar website for this exact date.
  • Make certain you print out, and keep hard copies of any adds and drops processed over the phone and/or via the web. There are kiosks around campus that provide access to the registration system and print outs of your schedule.
Registration Highlights for Summer School Enrollment
  • During the summer, FIU offers three summer terms for summer school enrollment. There is term A (the first 6 weeks of the summer term), term B (the last 6 weeks of the summer term), and term C (the entire summer term - approximately 12 weeks).
  • Six credits during terms A and B is considered a very full schedule. Between nine and twelve credits during term C only is considered a good schedule. If you are restricted to full time status during the summer because of financial aid, scholarship, or housing reasons, check with them first to find out what is considered full-time status by their standards. Full time status according to the Registrar is 12 credits throughout the entire summer semester.
  • Each summer term (A, B, and C) have different dates for tuition deadlines, late registration fees, last day to Drop/Add, last day to Drop a class, etc. Refer to the FIU Academic calendar for these specific dates - THEY ARE IMPORTANT!
    OneStop FIU
  • Classes offered during the summer may be limited, so plan accordingly. Check the interactive course schedule on line for class availability, and remember to get advised early so that you can plan your work schedule and vacation around your summer classes.

Your Your Panther Degree Audit (PDA) Report

  • A Panther Degree Audit (PDA) is an unofficial copy of a your academic progress. It tells you what you have taken, how it applies to the major in which you are interested, and what you have left to take. You can obtain a PDA from the kiosk on campus or via the website.
  • If you want to see how your courses apply to other majors you can do a "What If" selection for the appropriate major on the internet.
  • On the PDA, items that are marked OK next to the category means you have fulfilled the requirement. IP means you will complete the requirement this semester if you achieve the grade necessary for the course. NO means you still have to complete the requirement.
  • You should print out a PDA every semester to make certain your AP, IB or transfer credits appear, and they are fulfilling the proper requirements. Also, if your department adds new requirements, or makes any changes, you will become aware of those changes from your PDA.

Your PDA is found in and you can also select the "What If" option to see what your requirements would be if you were to change your major.

Important Opportunities

Invitational Scholars Program (ISP)

The Invitational Scholars Program (ISP) is an established university scholarship program which provides academic and financial support to Miami-Dade County public school students who successfully complete Florida International University's pre-collegiate program called Partners in Progress (PIP I and PIP II). The ISP award is designated as $600.00 each fall and spring semester, for a total of 120 credit hours of undergraduate coursework at FIU. Additional activities that enhance the academic, social, cultural, and intellectual environment of Invitational Scholars are also offered by the program. The ISP has assisted in the graduation of over 200 students since its establishment in 1982. For more information, please contact a member of the program staff: MMC (PC 249, 305-348-6106) and BBC (ACI 180, 305-919-5754/5925).

National Student Exchange (NSE)

The National Student Exchange (NSE) is a program for undergraduate exchange within the United States and Canada. Instead of crossing oceans, NSE students cross state, regional, provincial, and cultural borders. The Program provides an exciting opportunity to attend one of 200 colleges and universities at in-state tuition or at little or no more cost than you now pay! NSE is now placing 4500 students for exchange annually.

MMC (PC 249B, 305-348-1292) and BBC (ACI 180, 305-919-5754).

Study Abroad Programs

Florida International University is dedicated to enabling you to become a global citizen equipped to respond to the changes and challenges that affect our local and global communities. The Office of Study Abroad is here to support you on your journey to global citizenship by providing you with the opportunity to engage in an international experience during your time here at FIU. Each year, more than 600 FIU Panthers like you study, research, or intern abroad in dozens of countries throughout the world. Experience the world. Discover other communities. Become a global citizen.

Study Abroad: Your Worlds Ahead experience begins here!


11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
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BBC AC1 180
3000 NE 151st Street
North Miami, FL 33181
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