Once Classes Have Begun

How do I access my online classes?

UF uses the Canvas platform for online classes. To access Canvas, go to one.uf.edu -> Student Self-Service. Click on e-learning in left-hand menu. Log in to e-learning (Canvas) and your courses should appear on your dashboard.
For helpful hints, see this Youtube video about Navigating e-learning at UF.

How can I talk to an advisor about academic concerns or to make academic plans?

If you want comprehensive advising (e.g., review a grad plan, talk about potential majors or double majors/minors, overseas studies, etc.), see an advisor after drop/add but within the first month of classes. Demand for advising begins to grow as registration for the next term approaches and advisors will have less time as the semester goes on.

In addition, during busy times many college advising offices will adopt strategies that allow them to assist the greatest number of students – so after a certain point, they may see students on a walk-in basis only or appointments may book up quickly.

If you are unsure of where to receive advising, see the college advising contacts.

I’m not doing as well in my classes as I’d like, what can I do?

Many new students struggle in early in their academic career because they are in a new environment with different expectations. You may think you need tutoring when you actually need to enhance your study strategies—what worked in high school will NOT always work as well in college. Of course, tutoring may help as well – take advantage of all the resources available to you at UF.

Our Academic Success Resources page offers suggestions and resources to help you improve your grades.

When is registration for next semester?

All students receive an email about one month into classes with information about registering for the next term. You’ll be directed to a section on one.uf.edu -> Student Self-Service called ‘Registration Prep’ that shows your current major, your advising contact info, your degree audit, holds and your registration start time. Go to Registration Prep as soon as you receive that email.

Students are assigned a registration start time by number of credits earned, so students closer to graduation are more likely to get the courses they need to graduate. Students with disabilities, veterans and other small groups of students who need priority are able to register before seniors. Honors students are also able to register early for a limited number of credits – they will receive information from the Honors office.

What do I have to do before I can register for next semester?

  1. You MUST clear any holds that start with the words “You may not register”. Some of these holds you can clear yourself (e.g., updating emergency contact info). Others will direct you to do something specifically – or contact an office (e.g., Admissions or Bursar). You should follow the instructions in the hold. The ONLY way for the Campus Clarity hold to be lifted is for you to complete that online program. It takes a while so complete it at least several days before registration begins.
  2. You have a degree audit that should include any posted incoming credits as well as current courses and shows how those credits are applying to degree requirements. Degree audits are not hard to read, but they are not intuitive. It can help to go over them with an advisor (see “How can I talk to an advisor” above).
  3. Finding seats in desired classes/sections can be challenging. You should identify lots of options – but also, if a class is closed in during advance registration, that doesn’t mean it won’t open up at the end of this term or the beginning of next. There are many schedule adjustments going on over those months, so keep checking!

How do I know what grade I am earning in a class?

Grading in any class is determined by the professor. The syllabus usually outlines grading in detail. Read it and ask the professor if you are unsure. Many classes are not on a 0-100 point system, so it’s important for you understand the grading system for each class. Once you have begun to earn grades in a class, questions for the professor are best addressed in office hours, where the discussion can be more private.

I’m having difficulty understanding my professor because he/she speaks with an accent. What can I do?

Throughout your life and future careers you will likely encounter culture and language barriers and it is always a learning experience. Give yourself some time to adjust. Sit at the front of the classroom so you can be focused on what the professor is saying. Eventually you usually get an ear for their accent and how they speak. You can meet with the professor one-on-one in office hours to clarify any information that may be unclear from lectures. If there are TAs for the course, you can also get assistance from them.

You may also find it helpful to find a couple of classmates and form a study group to review the material. Several minds working together can help to clarify the material and better everyone’s understanding of what is going on. At the end of the semester, there are also instructor evaluations that are highly valued and allow students to anonymously give feedback about instructors and courses.

Why do I have exams scheduled outside of class (a.k.a., assembly exams)?

The only secure way to give a common exam to very large classes is to schedule the exam when all students can take it at the same time. This means many classrooms are needed at the same time. So exams are scheduled based on room availability, usually in the evening, when students typically have fewer courses and therefore fewer conflicts. Courses make a request to have the exam scheduled within a certain window and get assigned the dates. There are a lot of classes with assembly exams (math, science, business core) and of course they want exams around similar times depending on number of exams in the class. So they are fit in as well as possible. Your professor normally does not control the assembly exam schedule. See the Undergraduate Catalog for more information.

I’m thinking of dropping a class (after drop/add), what do I need to consider?

When should you consider dropping? If you are passing the course with at least a C or better and can realistically maintain that grade at the end of the semester, it is generally not recommended you drop. Consider using all resources to help maintain or improve your current grade by seeing the instructor, seeking tutoring or study skills assistance, etc. Generally if you are earning less than a C in the class and cannot reasonably improve that grade by the end of the term, then you should consider dropping.

Talk to the instructor to make sure you accurately understand where you stand in the course. Then talk with your college/major advisor to determine the potential academic consequences of dropping the class. Dropping may be a better option than getting a D or failing, but you should understand the potential consequences either way. Also, you have a limited number of drops and each college has policies about dropping, so consulting your advisor is key. Finally, if you receive any financial aid or scholarships, you should discuss with your Financial Aid counselor how dropping would impact your aid.

If your current situation is due to extenuating circumstances over which you had no control (e.g., serious medical illness or illness within the immediate family, recent death of immediate family member, family/personal crises), then you may be able to petition to have the drop considered a ‘medical drop’. See https://www.dso.ufl.edu/care/medical-withdrawal-process/.

Although this situation is not likely for new students, if you do not have drops left, then you will need to file a petition requesting an additional drop with your college’s advising office. Keep in mind petitions are not always approved, so you should continue to attend and do the work for the course. If denied, you should do your best to earn the highest grade possible.

Key points about dropping a class:

  1. The deadline to drop a class shows in the Dates and Deadlines section of the Catalog.
  2. Dropped courses appear on the transcript with a W, but do not calculate into the UFGPA. For students registered full-time (12+ credits), they are considered by UF as having attempted a full-time load.
  3. Dropping a class can put you off-track for the major (though earning a D or E will usually do the same thing AND lower you GPA). You need to understand your individual situation, so meet with an advisor.
  4. You should consult with Student Financial Affairs about how scholarships and financial aid are affected by a drop.

Students may also withdraw from all courses via a similar process with the same deadline and should absolutely speak with an advisor as well as Student Financial Affairs first.

How do I drop a class after drop/add?

Speak with an advisor and your financial aid counselor (if you receive aid) before dropping a class.

  1. To drop, go to one.uf.edu -> Student Self Service, under Registration, click “Request to: Drop a Course(s)” in the left-hand navigation and follow the instructions.
  2. Some colleges may require that you speak with an advisor prior to dropping a class.
  3. Some colleges may accept in-person requests to drop a class. Please speak with an advisor in your college if you have questions.
  4. Submit your request no later than the published deadline.

Finals are coming up, how do I do my best on my final exams/assignments?

  • Review the syllabus for each course. What does it say about the content/form of the final exam or final project/paper? You should be clear on what the expectations are—is it a cumulative final exam, is it a project with several parts, etc.? If the instructor has mentioned/described the final in class and it does not match what is the syllabus, talk to the instructor ASAP to resolve this.
  • Confirm the exam time/deadline for paper/project AND place (to take the exam or turn the paper/project in). Again, this should be in the syllabus, but confirm with the instructor (especially the place, since with large classes students may be spread around campus for the same exam). Every semester we have students who miss a final because of a time or place change (or because they wrote the info down wrong in the first place).
  • Make a list of what needs to be done between now and the end of term. Prioritize the list by deadline date AND by value of the assignment to the final grade in the course. This means consulting the grade information in each syllabus and reviewing it to be sure you are clear what weight is given to remaining assignments/exams/papers.
  • Make an outline of the few weeks before finals and identify when you are going to do what. Be realistic. You should have some idea now about how long it might take to prepare for an exam in a certain class, or how much time drafting and editing a paper may take. Final exams/projects/papers may be longer than in-term assignments, if so, prepare to spend extra time.
  • It’s important to build in breaks around once an hour and to include time to eat, move/exercise, and sleep. Taking a break improves brain function. Try not to get sucked into online distractions during breaks as that is less refreshing than moving. Eating well and movement contribute to optimal brain function as well as stress reduction. If you are not a gym rat, go for a long walk – without using a device – everyday. (But don’t leave valuables unattended in a public area; get someone to watch books and take phone/laptop with you.) Set an alarm on your phone so you get back to work after 10-15 minutes.
  • Get a decent night’s sleep every night. Sleep is especially important for memory – some processing of information in the memory ONLY happens during sleep.

What should I know about final grades?

  • You can view your final grades in one.uf.edu->Student Self-Service.
  • Check you Gatorlink email periodically over break. Colleges/advisors will use email to contact students who need advice based on their final grades, especially if the student is now off-track. Reading these messages and following the instructions is likely to help you more quickly and simply resolve any issues.
  • If you need advice before next term classes, see if your advising office is available during break.
  • If you have not registered for next term classes, the deadline to do so is 5:00 pm, on the last business day before classes begin. Students who have no classes on their schedule at that point and then begin to add classes after 5:00 pm will be charged a $100 late registration fee.
  • If you feel an assigned grade is erroneous, first contact the instructor and arrange a time to meet and discuss the situation. These discussions are best handled in person, not via email. Many faculty and graduate teaching assistants may be away during break, so you will likely not be able to arrange a meeting until the beginning of the next term. (Note: Being dissatisfied with a grade does not necessarily mean it is erroneous, students should consult their syllabus to see if the grade was assigned properly according to the course grading policy.)

My grades are lower than I anticipated, what now?

  • You may be disappointed to get your first B, first C (or lower) and also have dropped a course. Success can be defined in many ways – sometimes earning a C is worthy of a celebration because of the effort and grit it took to pull the grade up from a bad start.
  • Maintain a sense of perspective if you haven’t earned the desired grades. The first year transition is a challenge for many students and rougher on some. This is the first of what for most students will be eight semesters at UF. So ultimately, your first few terms will play a smaller and smaller role in your overall academic record.
  • If you feel you could have done better, focus on what you learned about yourself as a college student. Maybe you can identify right now mistakes made and create a plan to avoid them in the future. A plan is important – academic development should not be a New Year’s resolution, but something you follow up on day by day. If you are have trouble following through on changes, consider something like Gatorwell’s wellness coaching, which helps students develop an action plan and coaches them through it.
  • If you don’t really know what you could have done differently to improve your grades, an academic advisor can probably help. In addition, taking advantage of all the resources available through UF’s Teaching Center (including Study Skills workshops, etc.) can also help. It’s important to start utilizing these resources at the beginning of the term.
  • Most students learn how to be more effective each semester. They tend to figure out which study approaches work better for which classes, they get better at budgeting their time, they get better at recognizing early when a class is going to give them trouble, or even if they are perhaps pursuing a field that does not engage them or does not play to their strengths. See this semester as part of the process of you becoming a successful college student and, ultimately, graduate. You got into UF because you are smart and capable, you just have to be prepared to adapt and try new strategies and pathways in order to achieve success at UF.
  • Finally, there will be a few students for whom the semester went very poorly. If your GPA is less than a 2.0 (C average) or you earned a C- or lower in any class, then you should be talking with an advisor before the break or at the very beginning of the next term. You really must have a plan to recover and improve next semester.