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SMC|Enrollment Development|International Education Center|Other Common Questions

Other Common Questions

How can I contact my instructors?

Most full-time instructors have offices on the main or satellite campuses and only some of the part-time instructors have an office to meet with students.  Refer to the Campus Directory to determine your instructors’ office locations, telephone extension and e-mail addresses.  


Will my instructor drop me if I miss too many classes?

Most instructors drop students who do not consistently attend classes, however, some instructors will not do so.  It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to drop themselves by the established deadlines if they no longer wish to remain in a class or risk getting a failing grade.  For students whose attendance is inconsistent, instructors may drop them if the number of absences exceeds the amount allowed by the instructor.


What do I do if I drop below 12 units during the semester?

This may be a serious problem.  If this occurs within the first half of the semester, check the SMC website for possible late-start classes that you can still enroll in.  If classes are unavailable you should discuss your reasons with a counselor immediately.  A referral will then be made to the International Education Center for a status review.  If it is determined that you are out of status, the IEC will instruct you on steps you need to take to reinstate yourself. 


What do I do if I am ill or unable to attend classes? 

Contact your instructors as soon as possible to let them know what is happening.  Ask them about turning in make up work or taking make up exams, if applicable.  Keep in mind that some instructors are unwilling to allow for make up work or exams no matter what the reason.  Instructors generally let students know their policy on make up work at the beginning of the class. 

If the illness or unforeseen event occurs at the end of the semester or session where only the final is needed, the student may want to discuss with the instructor the possibility of getting an incomplete for the course.  Incompletes must be approved by the instructor. 


What can I do if I am feeling overwhelmed or depressed?

The best thing you can do for yourself is get help!  Meet with a counselor as soon as you feel you are losing your focus on your school work.  These feelings are very common for students studying abroad for the first time and with over 3,300 international students, our counselors have had lots of experience assisting our students.  Our counselors can also work with International Education to see whether a reduced course load would be possible.  In many cases, our counselors may refer students to our Psychological Services Center for personal counseling.  This service is free of charge to our enrolled students. 


What happens if I fail my classes?

You need to meet with a counselor immediately to discuss your continued status at SMC.  If you are placed on probation, you will be limited to 12 units but will be allowed to continue your studies for one more semester.  If you fail to improve your grades and are disqualified, you will be asked to sit out for one or more semesters.  Again, if you reach this point, you are advised to meet with a counselor to discuss your options.  It may be possible to appeal your disqualification and continue attending SMC. 

Students who earn a D or F in a class may repeat the class once more without any approvals.  If you fail it again and wish to retake it, you will need to meet with a counselor for approval.  If your request to repeat the class a second time is denied, you may be advised to repeat the class at another college.


What can I do if I feel my instructor is being unfair?

If you believe you are being treated unfairly in class, try to discuss your concerns with your instructor.  If you are still unsatisfied, you have the option of speaking with the Department Chair or the campus Ombudsperson


How will I be graded in my classes at SMC?

At the beginning of each class, instructors will usually distribute a course syllabus explaining how students will be graded for the class.  Some instructors may place heavy emphasis on such things as attendance and class participation in addition to actual grades on exams and homework.  It is important for students to become familiar with each instructor’s policy, especially with regard to missed exams and assignments due to illness or other reason.  These policies tend to vary widely among instructors.  Final grades are assigned in one of two ways.  Most common are letter grades of A, B, C, D or F, with A representing the highest mark.  Less common is a final grade of P or NP for pass or no pass.  P represents a passing grade of either A, B or C.  NP represents a failing grade of D or F.  With the exception of a few classes such as Counseling 11, the pass/no pass grading option must be requested through the Admissions Office during the first few weeks of the semester or session.  To download the Pass/No pass request form and eligibility information go to the Admissions website.  Before requesting pass/no pass, we recommend students meet with a counselor.  


What financial resources are available to F-1 visa students?

F-1 visa students are eligible to apply for private scholarships through the SMC Foundation once they have completed 12 units at SMC.  Scholarships are limited and amounts generally range from around $200 on up.  Besides private scholarships, F-1 students enrolled full-time in a minimum of 12 units may also apply for part-time student assistant jobs on campus.  If the financial situation of a student’s sponsor changes dramatically after the first year of study and the sponsor is no longer able to provide for the student, the student may be eligible to apply for an off-campus work permit through the International Education Center.  If granted an off-campus work permit, students will be allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week. 


Can F-1 students work on campus?

International students who are enrolled in 12 or more units are allowed to work part-time on campus for a maximum of 19.5 hours per week. Job opportunities are listed on the Career Center website.  Please note that F-1 students can only apply for jobs designated as "student assistant" positions. Those positions designated as college work study are reserved for students on U.S. government financial aid. Students who are offered a job are then given the necessary paperwork to apply for their Social Security Card.  A Social Security number is required before a student can begin working. If a student does not have a social security number and is offered a student assistant position on campus, the Career Center will advise the student on how to obtain their social security number.