Academic Policies

  • Course Credits and Course Loads

    Credit is earned, recorded, and tallied by courses rather than by semester hours. For conversion purposes, a course is valued at four semester hours. A normal course load for a degree-seeking student is four course credits per semester, but a student may choose to take any load between three and four and one-half course credits to be granted full-time status. Students also may be non-degree-seeking students or attend the College part-time, with commensurate charges. Courses in education that are required for certification but not credited toward a degree. Private music lessons or performance ensembles may be added to the normal course load with the permission of the Music Department.

    Consult with the Registrar for complete information regarding credit for these courses. An overload is any course load in excess of 4.5 credits in a given semester. With the permission of the advisor, a student may register for an overload if the total is not greater than five course credits in any semester. (See “Tuition and Expenses” for course overload fee.) A student has full-time status if he or she is registered for at least three course credits (the equivalent of 12 semester hours) per semester. Students must register for a full course load for the entire year, unless they are seniors needing less than a full course load to graduate on time.

    Academic Standing and Progress

    Students with fewer than seven completed credits are classified as first-year students. Those with at least seven credits are classified as sophomores, those with at least 15 credits as juniors, and those with at least 24 credits as seniors. Normally, a student is expected to fulfill graduation requirements within four years.

    Course Changes

    During a designated registration period, a student must make any changes in registration using the online registration system provided on my.lakeforest and have those changes approved by an advisor (also on my.lakeforest). If this procedure is not followed when a student wishes to drop one course in favor of another, a grade of F will be recorded for the course in which the student is officially registered, and the student will not receive credit for the other course.

    Since the normal course load is defined as 3 to 4.5 course credits per semester, a full-time student is permitted to reduce his or her registration to fewer than three course credits during a semester-in-progress only with prior written approval of his or her faculty advisor and the Dean of Students. Within the first two weeks of the semester, a course withdrawal is regarded simply as a permissible change of registration. Only the courses in which the student remains registered will appear on the transcript.

    In a regular semester course (15-weeks), the last day for approved withdrawal from a course with an automatic W will be the last day of the ninth week of classes (unless a Medical Withdrawal has been authorized). After the end of the ninth week, withdrawal results in either a W or a WF, depending upon the instructor’s evaluation of the student’s progress in the course at the time of the withdrawal. A student may not withdraw from a course after the last day of classes (that is, during the reading or examination periods).