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STRATEGIES FOR ADVISING International Students While there are many general guidelines for advising, some populations of students have specific concerns and needs. The following strategies adapted from information provided by college staff members who work with these students, attempt to make advisors aware of some of the commonalities and needs among some specific populations of students at Edgewood. In most cases, students must maintain full-time status (12-17 credits/semester), as required by the provisions of their U.S. visa. Students should contact the International Student Office about any credit load questions. Advisors should also be aware that students have limitations on employment options due to their visa status. International students are concerned about their language proficiency in the classroom and in social settings, and adjusting to our cultural practices. Advisors will want to take their English language skills and level of comfort into consideration when recommending courses and credit loads. Advisors will want to be extra patient when communicating with students for whom English is a second language: o speak slowly and clearly (not loudly), at least initially o use formal English rather than slang or casual language, and avoid acronyms and idioms, at least initially o for clarification, restate what you hear the student saying o ask open-ended questions rather than those that require yes/no responses o when possible, put information in written form as well as explaining verbally Refer to the Foreign Language Guidelines for information about students for whom English is not their first language. Advisors should be attuned to some common cultural differences. Students from abroad are: o highly focused on taking courses that are directly relevant to their major field of study o used to following a prescribed curriculum vs. selecting from many curricular options o often unaccustomed to frequent writing assignments, exams and group work o used to accepting the teacher's word on matters (i.e., an authoritarian style) vs. raising questions and challenging thoughts; therefore, may respond politely rather than critically o often unfamiliar with the skills of analyzing and synthesizing course materials o sometimes not used to interacting with faculty informally o unaccustomed to the complexities of registration and other college procedures o used to having help from family members when making decisions International students are often unaware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism in American colleges, so advisors will want to point out the guidelines for academic honesty in the student handbook and remind students to ask questions when they arise. Advisors should be prepared to explain the value of liberal arts courses and the philosophy of higher education in the U.S. Encourage open views about different lifestyles; acknowledge cultural differences. Encourage involvement in the college community. Emphasize deadlines; some students are not accustomed to the value we place on them. When in doubt, consult the Director of the International Student Office.
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