F-1 students must be enrolled full time each academic semester. For undergraduates, full time is defined as 12 credit hours per semester (fall and spring). For graduate and professional school students, full time is defined by the academic division or school. Audited courses do not count toward the fulfillment of this requirement. For students who have been enrolled in the spring semester and will be enrolled in the fall, summer enrollment is optional. For any students for whom the summer term is the initial term, full-time enrollment (as defined by the Office of the Registrar) is required.
Dropping below a full course load is a violation of your immigration status. There are limited exceptions to this rule, but they require authorization by an international student advisor before the drop may occur. For more information, please see our section on reduced courseload authorization.
F-1 students are also required to make normal progress toward the completion of the program of study. Failure to do so will result in a termination of status.
Students who need to withdraw from the university for personal reasons will also have their status terminated. However, following the proper procedure will result in "authorized early withdrawal" rather than "unauthorized withdrawal."
Authorized early withdrawal will have no negative impact should you decide at a later date to apply for readmission to the university and the United States. Students with an authorized withdrawal have 15 days to leave the U.S.
Unauthorized withdrawal could have a negatives impact and, even if a new non-immigrant status is granted, could result in difficulties at the port of entry. For unauthorized withdrawal, students must exit the U.S. immediately. For these reasons, and others, it is vitally important that any F-1 student considering a withdrawal from the university consult with a designated school official (DSO) in the ISSS office and obtain authorization prior to withdrawing from classes. Your advisor may also be able to assist you in discovering alternatives to withdrawal that will better meet your needs.