College Catalog

Academic Policies

  • Definition of a Lake Forest Credit

    Lake Forest credit is earned, recorded, and tallied by courses rather than by semester credit hours. For the purposes of definition and transfer of credit, a Lake Forest course is valued at four semester credit hours or six quarter credits. A Lake Forest semester lasts 15 weeks (14 weeks of classes plus a 5-day final exam period). The Lake Forest calendar also includes three four-week summer sessions. Regardless of the term, each regular Lake Forest course (1.0 Lake Forest credit) includes at a minimum the equivalent of forty-two 50 minute instructional hours per term. Students are expected to devote a minimum of three hours of out-of-class work for each hour in class. Courses that include additional class meeting times, laboratories, or discussion sessions may require proportionately less out-of-class work. Semester-length Lake Forest courses carrying 1.0 course credits should require students to devote a minimum of 12 hours of total work per week (in-class time plus out-of-class work). Full-credit courses taught during shorter periods of time (e.g., during summer session) should require an equivalent amount of work as a semester-length course. Courses offered for fractional course credit (e.g., 0.5 or 0.25 course credits) should require an appropriate proportion of the total workload of a full credit semester-length course.

    Internships: For each credit, approximately 150 hours of on-the-job experience is required. Students are also required to complete a substantial paper, a project, or a study on issues related to the internship as well as a reflective paper on the internship. The number of hours of on-the-job experience may be proportionately reduced if the internship involves significantly more written or creative work, as required by the Internship Supervisor.

    Practica: a minimum of 40 hours of work is required for 0.25 Lake Forest credit. Independent Studies do not have established meeting dates/times. The learning objectives and academic requirements for these courses are determined by the faculty member and the student, with the expectation that the total work completed will approximate that required for a regular Lake Forest course receiving 1.0 Lake Forest credits (as defined above).

    Course Load

    A normal course load for a degree-seeking student is four course credits per semester (the equivalent of 16 semester credits), but a student may choose to take any load between three (the equivalent of 12 semester credits) and four and one-half course credits (the equivalent of 18 semester 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 music ensembles may be added to the normal course load. Consult with the Registrar for complete information regarding credit for these courses.

    For the purposes of federal financial aid, full-time status is defined as 3 or more Lake Forest credits (the equivalent of 12 or more semester credits); three quarter time is defined as between 2.1 and 2.99 Lake Forest credits; half-time is 2.0 Lake Forest credits and less than half-time status is fewer than 2.0 Lake Forest credits. See “Financial Aid and Costs” for further information about federal and state grants

    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 Fees” 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.

    Credit Distribution

    Exceptions to the following rules may be granted only by the Academic Appeals Board.

    Of the 32 credits required for graduation, the following rules apply:

    • At least 8 but no more than 15 must be taken in the student’s major field. More than the minimum of 8 may be required.
    • A student may not take more than 15 credits, including internships, in any single discipline (as listed in the College Catalog under the heading Major and Minor Programs).
    • No more than 16 transfer credits (60 semester hours) may be counted toward Lake Forest College degree requirements.

    Twelve of the last 16 credits earned must be Lake Forest College credits. The last 4 credits are required to be Lake Forest College credits. A student may petition the Academic Appeals Board for an exception to either of these rules. Students interested in studying off campus in their last semester should consult with the Director of Off-Campus Programs.

    Academic Standing and Progress

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

    Course Changes and Withdrawals

    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.

    Because the full-time 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 3 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).