American Academic System

By the time Americans attend college most students have completed 13 years of formal education: 6 years of elementary school, 3 years of middle school, and 4 years of senior high school. Undergraduate college programs generally require four to five years of study, while masters programs involve two additional years of study, and doctoral programs three or more years beyond the master’s level.  A high proportion of the population completes secondary school and many students attempt some kind of post-secondary education at the undergraduate level. The American educational system does produce specialists, people who study a limited range of topics in great depth. Specialization comes later in the U.S. system than it does in most other countries. It is not until the third year of undergraduate work that a student concentrates on the study of his “major” field.

Academic Honesty

Students are expected to demonstrate a high standard of academic honesty in all phases of academic work and college life. Academic dishonesty represents an attack on intellectual integrity without which there can be no true education. In taking tests and examinations, completing homework, laboratory work, and writing papers, students are expected to perform honestly. Savannah Technical Colleges takes academic honesty seriously.

The Grading System

The quality of a student’s academic work is measured by means of “grades.” There are 3 grades which are considered “passing” grades for students at Savannah Technical College: A, B, and C.

For students, the grade which designates “failing” is “F”. Each grade carries a designated number of “points” per credit.

While a student may earn a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 which includes one or more grades of “D,” it is well to remember that grades below “C” will prohibit progression to the courses for which the current course is a prerequisite and will not count toward graduation.


The quantity of academic work a student does at the Savannah Tech is measured in “credits,” The number of credits a course is worth usually depends on the number of hours per week that it meets. A “three-credit course,” for example, will meet three hours weekly for one semester. At the end of the semester, the student who has achieved a passing grade in the course has earned “three credits” or “three credit hours.” A student must earn a specific number of credits in order to graduate. This number varies among departments. Further information about specific requirements may be founded on the STC website.

Objective Examination

An objective examination tests the student’s knowledge of particular facts. International students sometimes have difficulty with objective examinations, not because they do not know the material on which the test is based, but because their knowledge of English sometimes is not sophisticated enough to enable them to distinguish subtle differences in meaning. There are different kinds of questions commonly found on objective examinations such as multiple choice questions, true and false questions, and matching questions.

Subjective Examination

These test items require the student to write an essay in response to a question or statement. This kind of examination tests a student’s ability to organize and relate his/her knowledge of a particular subject. Because the time allocated for each essay question may be short, you must be able to put your thoughts quickly down on the paper.

Keys to Academic Success

  • Expect to Adjust to a New Environment
  • Select Courses Wisely
  • Ask for Help Immediately
  • Work hard from the Beginning
  • Talk to Professors
  • Understand the Assumptions behind the Educational System

Some content on this page courtesy of Savannah State University