Frequently Asked Questions

How does the U.S. grading scale work?

Grades in the U.S. are generally given on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being a perfect score, an A+. For undergraduate final course grades, these numbers are then converted to letter grades of F, D-, D, D+, C-, C, C+, B-, B, B+, A-, A, and A+. The GPA (Grade Point Average) is then determined by assigning a 0-4 number to the letter (e.g. 4 = A+). For more details on the GPA, see the Grading System in the Bellarmine Course Catalog.

Each class will have a syllabus that details the grading standards of the instructor and what components will determine your grade. Participation in class, through attendance and discussion, is frequently part of your final grade. If you have questions, discuss them with your instructor to make sure you understand their expectations.

How do I register for classes? How do I know which classes to take?

New students will complete a pre-advising form provided by Admissions. That form will be used by your academic advisor to register you for your first semester of classes. You can contact your advisor and change your schedule as necessary (please note that some programs have less flexibility, especially for graduate students). You will have meetings with your advisor every semester regarding your progress. Undergraduates will be assigned an advisor from the Student Success Center. Once you finish your first year, you will be assigned a new advisor (a faculty member in your declared major). Graduate students are always advised by a faculty member in your program.

What if my visa expires while I am in the U.S.?

If your visa expires before you have completed your studies, but your I-20 is still valid, you may remain in the U.S. in good status. However, you will not be able to exit and re-enter the U.S. without a valid visa. To renew your visa, you must exit the U.S. and apply for a visa at an American embassy with the appropriate paperwork. You cannot apply for a renewed visa from inside the U.S.

Can I change my visa status while in the U.S.?

Yes, but we recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney about visa categories and the requirements for each. Instructions vary depending on which visa category you may be pursuing. J-1 exchange visa holders can consult with Bellarmine DSOs.

Are there different requirements for Canadian students?

Because of treaty agreements between the U.S. and Canada, students from Canada do not need to obtain an F-1 visa. However, Canadian students must still hold a valid I-20 and remain in compliance with all the same rules required of F-1 international students.

What do I need to do for graduation?

You will need to declare your intent to graduate; instructions regarding this process are sent from the Registrar in your final year. Check that the end date of your I-20 matches your graduation date. If you plan to have family members attend commencement, please contact International Support so that we can provide letters of support for visitor visa applications, if necessary.

In your final semester, you have three options: to depart the U.S. after your studies, to apply for post-completion work authorization in the U.S., or to pursue another degree in the U.S. You have until 60 days after the end date of your I-20 (your “grace period”) to finalize one of these options. International Support is happy to help guide you through these options.

What if my I-20 end date and graduation date are different?

The I-20 end date must be accurate, at the end of the semester you are graduating: spring, summer, or fall. If the I-20 end date is after your graduation date, we will need to shorten the I-20. If the I-20 end date is before your graduation date, we will need to extend the I-20 before its end date and discuss the situation with your academic advisor. An accurate I-20 end date is a legal requirement.

What is the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement for J-1 visa holders or INA 212(e)?

INA 212(e) makes certain J visa participants ineligible for an H, L, or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status until they have returned to and been physically present in their last country of citizenship or permanent residence for a minimum of two years after completion of their J exchange programs. This means that a person in either J-1 or J-2 (dependent) status subject to 212(e) cannot reenter the U.S. in H, L, or immigrant ("green card") status until the two-year requirement has been fulfilled. Furthermore these persons cannot change to another visa class while in the U.S., other than A or G, without first fulfilling this requirement. INA 212(e) does not affect eligibility for other visa classes such as a B tourist, an F student, or an O outstanding scholar. Nor does it prevent a person from entering again in J status. It only prohibits H, L, or LPR. For example, a person subject to 212(e) may leave the U.S. and return in F status to pursue a course of study. However, the F-1 remains subject to 212(e) and remains ineligible for an H, L, or LPR visa.