Advice From Experts

Time Management

“The early bird gets the worm” isn’t just a saying – it’s true. Students are most successful when working ahead of the game. Deadlines are extremely important at university. Sometimes a missed deadline can mean a failed class for the semester, or money not applied in a student’s account in financial aid. Late arrival to classes and meetings can have an impact on your academic progress which can affect your financial aid.

Aside from that a student must balance everything else. Meals, clean laundry, a clean room, study sessions and a work schedule can all pile up quickly. Mapping out time-blocks and breaks can prevent your student from feeling overwhelmed and burned out. Your student is also adjusting to living alone on campus (or commuting back and forth if they are local). This is a new social setting, often without the same friends and connections from high school.

Academic Calendar (when students can stay and when they can visit home)

The Academic Calendar outlines important dates and deadlines for students every semester. Sometimes a student has plans for a semester, but then plans change. Students should always plan for what is coming up to complete their current semester and look ahead to the following semester. Students should also be aware of when graduation is approaching and which semester their graduation will take place in, since many do not realize they will have to apply for graduation by a certain time.

Students should speak with their advisor to determine the necessary classes for their major, the best course sequence, and which semester has the class available, etc. When in doubt, always check with your academic advisor!

University Terms on the Academic Calendar

So you’re looking at the academic calendar, but what do all these terms mean?

  • Registration – the open period for students to sign up for courses on time and without penalty before the semester begins
  • Course – a specific class, such as ENC 1101, FMU 101, etc.; all courses are found in our Catalogs and Courses
  • Advising – counsel given to each student to determine a plan of action for completing their degree requirements
  • Add/Drop – the period at the beginning of the semester/term can sign up for new courses or drop courses that they are currently in without
  • Late Registration – the point of registering for a course after the deadline; there is also a late fee that comes with this which is why it is important to pay attention to the academic calendar, to seek advising early and to take early action
  • Withdraw – do not confuse this with dropping a course; it is choosing to not participate in a course after the deadline; a “W” will be placed on the student’s transcript and no grade will be given for the class; “W”s do not count against a student’s GPA but there should not be too many posted to the transcript
  • Midterms – an exam or project given near the middle of the semester/term to measure a student understanding of the concepts being taught in the course
  • Final Exams – the last exam for the course before the semester ends
  • Baccalaureate – a ceremony held for the graduating class which focuses on a more reflective time to consider progress, growth, and achievement
  • Graduation – the ceremony when the student receives their degree or diploma upon completing their course of study; students must apply, get signatures, and pay a fee in order to prepare for graduation
  • Semester /Term– one of the periods in which the year is divided. Here at the university there are three semesters:
    • Fall: Mid-August to early December
    • Spring: January to early May
    • Summer: Mid-May to July
      • Students can decide if they want to take classes in the summer, return home or take an internship. Internships are positions taken in organizations to gain work experience or qualifications. Every student should complete at least one internship. Some internships are paid, and some are unpaid. There are internships available throughout the year, but many students take advantage of the summer offerings because their time is more flexible. Students can take summer classes at the same time as long as they’re capable of managing their time to address all of their responsibilities.
      • The summer has three divisions. Students can choose to take classes in one, two or all three sessions. Again, students do not have to take summer classes at all. It depends on the number of classes that a student has remaining:
        • Summer A: Mid-May to Mid-June
        • Summer B: Mid-June to July
        • Summer C: the entire summer, from Mid-May to July

Holiday Breaks

Each semester has a variety of breaks depending on the time of year. Reviewing the Academic Calendar between semesters is best. For students who live on campus or locally in their own off-campus housing, they may choose to stay in Miami, return home or go on vacation on these three-day weekends. The three extended breaks include:

  • The December holiday break: campus is closed from mid-December until the first week of January
  • Summer break: a student may or may not choose to take classes and summer housing options (return home, on campus, off campus or internship housing) will need to be determined – more is explained in the summer semester below)
  • Spring Break: the exact week may change, but it is always a week; students can stay on campus, go on vacation, or return home
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