Awarded the highest honors by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), the University of Florida executes on an Academic Advising plan for its online students comprising three components.

Transition Advising

Pre-admissions coaching and post-admissions orientation programs have been designed to help students evaluate their readiness for online learning, and to ensure that students have a realistic understanding of expectations. The first year will include monitoring of student engagement, one-on-one interactions with a transition advisor, and a series of online workshops that focus on organizational skills, study skills, time management, and other critical issues for success. Transition advisors will partner with the Dean of Students Office in developing and teaching a college success course for online learners, similar to the on-campus First Year Florida course. Online students of the University of Florida will also learn how to access key support services such as financial aid, bursar, registrar, IT support and counseling services.

Major Advising

In order to ensure their academic success, students admitted to UF are immediately assigned to an advisor in their college. That advisor then becomes a consistent and direct point of contact throughout their time at the University of Florida and is responsible for initiating regular contact with the student. In this way, students are set up so that they have easy access to advisors, sufficient time available during their advising sessions, and receive reliable and timely information when they need it.

Group Advising

Another means of bolstering the success of UF students is by building a strong sense of community and connection as well as effectively delivering quality advising to a large number of distance students through group advising. Relevant activities include active and directed online chats as well as online workshops led by advisors (which will be delivered synchronously and asynchronously).

While each major has a recommended semester plan, your personal situation will determine the pace at which you’ll complete your degree. Online students of the University of Florida are strongly encouraged to work with their advisors to plan their academic schedules.

Here are some general guidelines:

Course Load

  • Students are advised to take no more than 15 credits per term.
  • If you work part-time, consider taking only 12 credits (three or four courses) per term.
  • If you work full-time, consider taking up to six credits (two or three courses) per term.
  • Taking one course per term is allowed though doing so will significantly extend your expected graduation date.
  • Students can take a semester off, but if you take two or more semesters off in a row, you will need to apply for readmission to UF. Students in good academic standing will be readmitted.

Selecting Courses

  • Check your degree requirements
    • Make sure to meet all of your lower division requirements.
    • Take prerequisite courses as soon as possible in order to qualify for enrollment in more advanced courses.
  • Pair heavier courses with less difficult courses
    • For example, if your strengths are in writing, plan to pair writing-based courses with math or project-based courses in any given semester.
  • Review the schedule of courses and consult your advisor
    • Consider taking courses that are offered less often (once a year) before courses that are offered every semester.

The work required for online courses can take a variety of forms such as lectures, discussion boards, reading, interactive labs, group projects, problem sets, research papers and recorded presentations. In general, you should allot three to four hours of work per week for every credit. Therefore, for an average course load of 12 credits per semester, students should schedule 36 to 48 hours of study time per week.

Here are some suggestions to help manage your coursework.

  • At the start of each term, read the calendar and syllabus for each course you’re enrolled in to understand:
    • the work required for the course
    • assignment and exam deadlines
  • Plot out your coursework in your calendar.
    • Set specific times to work on course materials.
    • Give yourself time to absorb the content; shorter, more frequent study sessions will improve comprehension (and stress levels) than one massive study session per week.
  • Communicate with your instructors and classmates.
    • Ask questions, participate in online discussions and take advantage of additional study sessions.
    • Form study groups with other UF students, especially those living in your area or region.
  • Solve technical issues before an assignment is due.
    • If you’re asked to use unfamiliar software or hardware, review all of the requirements at least a week before you plan to use it.
  • Always complete extra credit, low credit or “completion credit” activities.
    • A few points can make the difference in making the cutoff for final letter grades.
    • The more you interact with course materials, especially those highlighted in these types of activities, the better you’re likely to do in exams and final projects.
  • Review past or practice exams on the course website as these reflect:
    • what types of questions the instructor asks
    • how the instructor expects the questions to be answered
    • what subjects you may need to focus on
  • If applicable, try to involve your family with your study sessions by having them:
    • take on additional chores to free up study time for you
    • work on their school assignments or quiet reading at the same time
    • help out in other ways that fit your living situation
  • UF Library for Distance Learning Students
    The Libraries of the University of Florida form the largest information resource system in the state. Collections cover virtually all disciplines and include a wide array of formats — from books and journals to manuscripts, maps and recorded music. Collections are increasingly becoming digital and accessible on the Internet via the library web page or the library catalog.
  • Academic Advising
    When you’re having problems with your courses, your academic advisor — assigned to each student upon enrollment — can provide you with concrete strategies for handling your situation; offer advice on how to best juggle your personal life, work and school; and provide you with prompt administrative assistance.
  • Instructors and TAs (see your syllabus or the UF Phonebook)
    Your instructors and TAs are available during the office hours that they post on their course syllabi. You can reach them via the course website, phone or email. If you’re not performing well on your quizzes and exams, contact your professor or TA early on in the semester so they can help you with the course material.
  • Disability Resource Center
    The UF Disability Resource Center (DRC) provides accommodations to students with physical, learning, sensory or psychological disabilities. Register with the DRC in order to secure accommodations.
  • UF Undergraduate Catalog
    The Undergraduate Catalog contains course descriptions, semester dates and deadlines, academic regulations and more.
  • UF Bookstore
    The UF Bookstore stocks the correct version of the required and recommended books for all UF courses. That said, UF students can order their books from any retailer.
  • UF Teaching Center Study Skills Videos
    The UF Teaching Center has a series of helpful videos designed to help students improve their academic performance. Topics include improving your memory, test and note taking, time management, and mid-term and final exam prep.

The University of Florida ranks among the top 15 of the nation's best public universities.

"Top Colleges 2014: Public Colleges," Forbes, 2014