Handling Academics
Chronic conditions / disabilities have the potential to interfere with academic, which a new experience for many high-achieving U-M students.

Addressing any problems sooner rather than later can help minimize or even prevent academic problems.  But how can students navigate the large and complex world of the U?  Below is helpful information you can use as you progress towards graduation.

Plan your course load:

  • Meet with your academic advisor to determine a plan of study and to select courses that not only interest you, but will best allow you to use your talents.
  • Arrange your classes so that you are not taking too many that are similar in topic or level of challenge.  Work to develop a balanced schedule to maintain your interest level while avoiding burnout.
  • Think about how many credit hours will be manageable for you. Many students make the mistake of enrolling in too many classes and become overwhelmed. 
  • Discuss with your academic advisor the option of including a class that may improve how you manage stress and promote healthy coping skills such as meditation, yoga or spiritual/religious courses.
  • Consider your personal needs while registering for example; if you need additional sleep then you may want to avoid registering for an 8 AM class. 

Take advantage of academic resources available:

  • Many classes offer study help, including office hours, Graduate Student Instructor meetings or study guides.
  • U-M offers many free Academic Support Services, including tutoring, writing and science consultation.
  • If you are an international student and need help making the transition to using English for academic writing, consider taking a courses at the English Language Institute.

Be familiar with academic procedures and policies:

Requesting accommodations: Make an appointment with Services for Students with Disabilities if you think you could benefit from Accommodations. Accommodations must be "reasonable."  NEED MORE TEXT

Students with certain chronic conditions/disabilities may request a waiver from Services for Students with Disabilities, stating that they are taking a lower course load due to a disability and should therefore still be considered a full-time student. The waiver may be helpful for financial aid, insurance, or immigration purposes.  For more information on registering with Services for Students with Disabilities, see Accommodations.

Disclosure: Students need to determine to whom, how and when to disclose. NEED MORE TEXT. See Disclosure.

Withdrawing from classes: The process for withdrawing from classes varies according to the requirements of each college and the timing of the withdrawal.

Impact on financial aid: If you are receiving any form of financial aid, it is very important to understand how your course selections and withdrawals may affect your financial aid package.  Many financial aid awards, including scholarships, require that the recipient complete a certain course load (for example, at least 14 credits per semester) or maintain a specified minimum GPA.  Withdrawing from classes may cause you to lose funding from University or other funding sources.  Some funding sources are sensitive to the concerns of students with chronic  conditions, and such organizations might allow you to take fewer credits without jeopardizing your financial aid.  However, financial aid sources are not required to do this.  Speak with the financial aid officers for each type of financial aid you receive (loans, University scholarships, private scholarships, etc.) to understand exactly how your course selections or withdrawals will impact you financially.

Health insurance:  If you are covered by your parents’ health insurance, make sure you learn how your course selections will affect your insurance coverage.  Many insurance companies only cover dependents who are full-time students (that is, taking at least 12 credits per semester).  If you drop below this minimum course load, you may no longer be eligible to receive coverage from your parents’ insurance.  In many cases, you may also be unable to return to your parents’ insurance if you return to full-time student status in the future.  However, this procedure varies by insurance plan.  

Some providers might consider a student full-time if he/she was a full-time student at any point during the calendar year.  For example, a student who took 12 credits during Winter semester but less than 12 credits during Fall semester would still receive coverage for the entire year.  Additionally, students with certain conditions might be able to request a waiver from Services for Students with Disabilities stating that the student is taking a lower course load due to medical difficulties and is therefore still considered a full-time student. Insurance procedures vary widely depending on the provider and the situation, so contact your insurance provider to understand how your course selections will affect your insurance coverage.

International students: If you are an international student, make sure you learn how part-time enrollment will affect your immigration status.  Many international students are required to maintain full-time enrollment, though the number of credit hours considered full-time may vary depending on whether you are an undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral student.  The U-M International Center offers immigration advising services.

Suspension of Classes:  Some students find themselves in a position where they need to take a semester off of school, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Tuition Refund Plan:  This plan may be especially useful if students have a health condition that could compromise their ability to complete a term. The cost of education is a substantial investment, and students and parents may face significant financial loss if students are unable to complete a term due to illness (physical or psychological). See Tuition Refund Plan.