May 27, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Advising & Student Success

Student Success Navigation

Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) utilizes a holistic and comprehensive advising model to better support students in achieving their academic goals. Advising services are provided in a centralized, one-stop format with options for in-person, phone at (850) 502-2895, and virtual (web-based) sessions. Service areas covered in this model include admissions, registration, records, financial aid, and academic advising, which includes degree and career pathway planning. All services are provided by Student Success Navigators under the authority of the Student Success Navigation department.

All first-time-in-college students, and transfer students with 29 or fewer transferable credits, are required to meet with a Student Success Navigator for new student advising prior to registering for their second term of classes at NWFSC. Students are strongly encouraged to continue regular meetings with Student Success Navigation throughout the duration of their studies. Student Success Navigators are available for advising services via phone, live chat (web), in-person and virtual meetings at all campus locations.

In compliance with our Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Defense, DoD Instruction 1322.25, and NWFSC Board of Trustees Policy SS 7.00, for Service Members receiving Military Tuition Assistance, the College is required to refrain from high-pressure recruitment tactics such as making multiple unsolicited contacts (3 or more), including contacts by phone, email, or in-person, and engaging in same-day recruitment and registration for the purpose of securing Service member enrollments.

Faculty Advisors

Students admitted to selective admission programs may be required to meet with faculty advisors as directed by the associated academic department. Students are encouraged to reach out directly to academic program staff for more information.

International Student Advising and Policies

International students on F-1 Student Visas are required to meet with a designated school official (DSO) prior to registration for each semester. Additionally, F-1 students must physically appear before a DSO at the beginning of each semester to demonstrate presence on campus.

International students are required to maintain full-time enrollment (12-semester credits, 9 of which must be in-person courses) for each semester unless on authorized annual vacation or pending completion in the immediate term. A registration hold will be applied to each F-1 student’s account to prevent unauthorized registration changes one week prior to the beginning of classes for each semester. The hold will be lifted upon the opening of the registration period for the upcoming semester and replaced one week prior the beginning of classes. A DSO will audit F-1 student registration during the schedule adjustment period for each term. Students who are out of compliance will be notified in writing. Students who remain out of compliance beyond the final schedule adjustment period may risk violation of F-1 status and revocation of legal presence in the United States.

The US Department of Homeland Security defines further rules and regulations and may be found online at Consult a DSO for additional information.

On-Campus Employment for International Students

International students on F-1 Student Visas are permitted to work on-campus with the approval of a Designated School Official (DSO) and under specific guidelines. USCIS requires the work must take place either at the school or at an educationally affiliated (associated with the school’s established curriculum or part of contractually funded research projects at the postgraduate level) off-campus location. On-campus employment must not displace a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR).

An F-1 student has three main employment-related guidelines:

  • May work at any qualifying on-campus job that does not displace a U.S. citizen or LPR
  • May work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session (full-time during those periods when school is not in session or during the annual vacation)
  • Should report offer of employment to a DSO and receive a certification letter to present to the Social Security Administration in order to be able to receive a Social Security number

Not complying with these guidelines for on-campus employment may be a violation of status that could result in the F-1 student having to leave the United States.

An F-1 student may begin working as much as 30 days before the start of a program of study. they should inform the DSO before they begin work.

If an F-1 student finishes a program (such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree) and starts another program of study at the same campus, the student may continue on-campus employment as long as the student plans to enroll in the new program of study for the next term. If otherwise eligible, an F-1 student may continue to work on-campus with a pending application for reinstatement or change of status.

To learn more, speak with a DSO or visit

Practical Training for International Students

F-1 students have the option of training in the United States by engaging in practical training during a program of study or after the program of study ends. Practical training can provide valuable work experience by sharpening and adding the skills the student is learning in school. There are two types of practical training available for F-1 students: curricular practical training (CPT) and optional practical training (OPT).

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

  • CPT is integral to the program of study and the experience must be part of the program of study.
  • A DSO will provide a new Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” that shows that the DSO has approved the employment.
  • The student can work on CPT either full-time or part-time.
  • CPT requires a signed cooperative agreement or a letter from the employer.
  • If the student has 12 months or more of full-time CPT, the student is ineligible for OPT, but part-time CPT is fine and will not stop the student from doing OPT.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

  • OPT must relate to the program of study.
  • The student can apply for 12 months of OPT at each education level (i.e., 12 months of OPT at the associate’s level and another 12 months of OPT at the bachelor’s level).
  • A DSO will provide you with a new Form I-20 that shows the DSO recommendation for this employment.
  • For work authorization, the student must mail a completed Form I-765, “Application for Employment Authorization,” to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and pay a filing fee. USCIS will send a Form I-766, “Employment Authorization Document,” (EAD) upon approving the Form I-765.
  • The student must wait to start work until after receipt of the EAD.
  • While school is in session, the student may work only 20 hours per week.
  • The student must report changes in name, address, employer, and loss of employment to a DSO within 10 days of any change.

Annual Vacation for International Students

An annual vacation is an authorized break in a student’s studies that is taken once per academic year and lasts one term. F-1 students are eligible to take an annual vacation after completing their academic year requirement at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school and once every year after that. For this purpose, Northwest Florida State College defines the academic year as three semesters.

Annual vacation differs from a school break, which occurs when the college closes for a short period of time during a school term (i.e. Spring Break).

Before taking their annual vacation, F-1 students should speak with a designated school official (DSO). A DSO can confirm the student’s eligibility for vacation and should sign the student’s Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” if the student plans to travel outside of the United States.

F-1 students must be enrolled in a full course of study any time they are not on annual vacation.