Family Guide to Student Excellence

Dear Parents and Family Members,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the University of Florida Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. The Engineering Advising Center is privileged to provide opportunities and services that promote development of the whole student academically, socially, emotionally, and

Our First Year Advising Team has put together this Family Guide to Student Excellence to further engage and enlighten you about your student’s experience, available resources, and ways you may support them during their first year in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering.

We are dedicated to excellence and continual improvement of this guide. Please let me know ( if you have any suggestions. Again, welcome, and I wish you and your family an enjoyable year and college experience.

Yours truly,

Curtis Taylor, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, University of Florida

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First Year Academic Excellence Program

The Center for Student Excellence in 204 Weil Hall supports first-year and exploratory engineering students students in their transition from high school to the university by providing comprehensive academic, personal and professional development (APP) programs.

Professional academic advisors and career coaches are available to all students in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. We are dedicated to supporting students in achieving academic, personal, and professional success. Helping students identify goals, master concepts, and develop soft skills such as communication, leadership and service, provides a foundation for excellence.

Advising and coaching are partnerships. Rather than prescribe a plan, we engage each student in developing a meaningful pathway to reaching goals. Students must be proactive and aware of the many resources available to assist them with academic planning, study skills, time management, choosing the right major, gaining practical experience, building resumes and preparing for interviews.

Yes, we will make course recommendations each semester, but we also expect each student to be involved and be familiar with the curriculum for his or her intended major.

AP, IB, and AICE credits

Many students enter the university with AP/IB/AICE accelerated credit. Some of these credits may be used to meet degree requirements.

Whether or not the accelerated classes actually count toward a major, these courses provide students with a strong foundation in course concepts and study skills. In engineering, our math placement recommendations are based on the skills built in university level calculus that are required for success in upper division engineering courses. We work with each of our students to ensure that they begin in the appropriate course.

Credits earned by accelerated credit can be found on the UF website.

Advanced Placement

International Baccalaureate



Suggestion for additional topics

Do you have a question that we have not addressed? Send an email to with “Family Guide Suggestion” in the subject line.

Preparation for newly admitted students

Summer (whether you begin in summer B or fall, complete this list in the summer)

New students who declared an engineering major on their application will receive an email from the EAC prior to Preview.

  • Complete the Preview Prep checklist from the New Student Programs Office
  • Register for Preview
  • Apply for engineering Summer Bridge programs – STEPUP and EFTP
  • Review the curriculum plan for each major you are considering
  • Take the ALEKS placement exam, even if you have AP/IB or AICE credit
Academic planning and career coaching

Engineering students are required to meet with their academic advisors at least once each semester. However, most students utilize the resources of the Engineering Advising Center more frequently than that. We encourage students to stop in whenever they have questions or concerns.

Who is my advisor?

If your last name begins with: Your academic advisor is:
A – C Ms. Maureen Cox
D – HOU Mrs. Andrea Fabic
HOV – MON Mr. Joel Parker
MOO – SEL Mrs. Deborah Mayhew
SEM – Z Mr. Matt Williams
All INNOVATION ACADEMY students Dr. Janna Underhill

Course selection and registration process.

Students are asked to be engaged in the development of an academic and professional development plan that includes courses, internships, research and study abroad depending on their unique goals. Advisors review the plans, make recommendations, and provide information and resources to the student.

All students are assigned a time when the system opens for them to register for classes. These times are assigned by the Office of the University Registrar. Generally, more advanced students are given earlier registration times. This does not mean that students should wait to see their advisors, though.

Students register for their classes online. Advisors do not register students for their classes.

When should students see an advisor:

  • During the academic planning and advance registration periods.  Students will receive an email message and a Canvas announcement with instructions.
  • If test grades are poor, or if course materials seems overly challenging. Early intervention can helps students make a plan for improving academic performance.
  • If students are having trouble with the transition to college life. There are resources available to assist students in making the adjustment to the university environment.
  • Whenever you or your student has questions about academic planning and the professional development process.
Choosing a major

Engineering students should be prepared to declare a major by the end of their third semester at the university. It is not unusual for students to change majors in their first year, whether they choose to pursue a different engineering discipline or change to an entirely different field of study. It can take time to discover your interests, passions and aptitudes. Academic advisors and career coaches work with each student to help them identify their goals.

Resources for exploring engineering majors

EGS1006 Introduction to Engineering:  This 1-credit seminar style class is offered in summer B, fall and spring. It takes students through each of the engineering majors offered at UF and provides information on the kinds of research and industry opportunities available to graduates.

Review the course plans: Understanding the curriculum can go a long way to helping students choose a major. Visit the departmental web sites, too, for an overview of what each engineering discipline does. Keep in mind that engineering is interdisciplinary, so there is always overlap among programs.

Competition teams and student organizations: Getting involved in engineering related organizations can provide hands-one experience and industry contacts. Students can attend the New Student Welcome in the fall to see all of our student organizations and their activities. More information, including meeting times, is listed on the Benton Engineering Council site.

Research: Conducting research under the supervision of a university faculty member provides insights into cutting edge applications of classroom concepts. Research opportunities are available to students at all levels, including freshmen. The Center for Undergraduate Research offers assistance in finding research projects. Students can also conduct their own research projects through the University Scholars Program.

Career Connections Center: The Career Connections Center offers multiple resources for exploring a wide range of majors, including a career interest inventory called CHOMP.

Peer Advisors: Engineering Peer Advisors are happy to talk with you about their experiences in engineering majors, their goals, and how they determined the best fit for them.

Dropping a class

Students who enter the university as freshmen are allowed two drops in their first 60 hours at UF, and two drops after 60 hours. AA degree transfer students are allowed two drops.

Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor if they are considering dropping a class. While dropping a class can be the right decision, students should be aware of options and possible consequences.

Students who are thinking of dropping a class due to grades, may benefit from restructuring study time, joining a study group, or taking advantage of tutoring resources.

Students can request a drop via Student Self Service, but they must speak to an advisor so that the request can be approved.

Communication: How we communicate with students

Gatorlink email is a primary means of communication with students. Encourage your student to check his or her Gatorlink account regularly. We cannot communicate via outside email accounts.

All First Year students are also added to the First Year Engineering Canvas site. This uses the same format as classes. Announcements, critical dates, forms for academic planning, and other information are posted on Canvas.

If a student does not see “First Year Engineering” on the list of Canvas courses, then he/she should come to 204 Weil to be added.

FALL SEMESTER email notifications

  • Week 1 — Advisor assignment notification and Canvas information
  • Week 3 — Developing a 5 semester pan and scheduling an advising meeting
  • Week 6 — Quick check, registration info
  •  Week 9 — Registration preparation follow-up, drop/withdraw deadlines, mid-term evaluation
  • Week 11 — Preparing for finals
  • Other messages and announcements will be sent during the term and posted to the Canvas site
Communication: How students should communicate with us

Although we rely heavily on email to help us get information to students, email is not the most effective means of communicating if an issue is urgent or requires immediate response. Students are encouraged to come to the Center for Student Excellence in 204 Weil or to call us at 352-392-0944.

Students can email their assigned advisors at the addresses listed on our staff directory. General questions from parents, guardians, or prospective students can be sent to

We do our best to respond to email messages within 48 hours, not including weekends and holidays. During peak periods, the response time may be longer.

Critical dates and deadlines

Critical dates and deadlines are published by the university for each academic term.

Encourage your student to pay close attention to:

  • Drop/add (A period for adjusting schedules. After the deadline, students are fee liable for all courses on their schedules.)
  • Fee payment
  • Drop/withdraw
  • Drop/withdraw by college petition

Students can come to 204 Weil Hall, the Center for Student Excellence, with questions.

Critical tracking requirements for engineering majors

Critical tracking (CT) courses provide the foundation for success in upper division engineering courses. CT courses include calculus, physics and chemistry for all engineering majors. Some majors have additional CT courses. CT courses are identified in boldface type in the University of Florida catalog.

To remain in good standing in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 in CT courses. Students are also expected to complete the CT course work within 5 semesters (not counting summer terms for regular students or not counting fall terms for Innovation Academy students).

Students are allowed two attempts at CT courses. If a course is repeated, the college will use the higher grade in calculating the CT GPA. However, a student who needs to repeat multiple CT courses will need to work closely with an academic advisor to develop a plan for moving forward, whether in engineering or in another program of study. Students who must repeat critical tracking courses will be placed on probation. Students who need to repeat more than two critical tracking courses may not be allowed to continue in an engineering major.


Peer Advisors

Our team of dedicated professional advisors is supported by 20+ certified College Peer Advisors, who staff our office Monday through Friday. They are available to provide information, support and resources to all engineering students.

Students who have completed their first year of engineering course work can apply to become Peer Advisors where they will gain leadership, communication, and service skills.

Study skills

Many freshmen excelled in high school with relative ease. As a result, they may expect that the study habits that they used In high school will allow them to succeed in college. In fact, they may need to make significant adjustments to studying in order to succeed in university level courses.

Engineering students should expect to spend 10-12 hours per week outside the classroom on each math, science, and engineering course. Students are encouraged to treat their programs like a full time job.  With planning, there is plenty of time for studying, involvement, and fun. Study skills workshops are offered each semester to assist students in developing an effective study plan.

Time management is a key factor in mastering concepts and recognizing how to apply them both in exams and in projects. It is important to study in a way that allows the student to fully grasp underlying concepts, rather than cramming before exams. Last minute studying does does not promote retention of learning which can cause problems later in courses where success depends upon mastery of material in foundation classes. Grades matter, but mastery matters more.

Summer requirement

The State of Florida requires that undergraduate students complete 9 hours of summer credit at a Florida state university. Summer hours at a state or community college do not count toward this requirement. Please review the official university policy in the catalog.

Engineering students who complete a full-time engineering summer internship, summer research, or 6 credit hours of summer study abroad can petition to waive the 9 credit hour requirement once they have completed at least 76 credit hours. Documentation is required.

The summer requirement can also be waived for military obligations, financial hardship, or other extenuating circumstances.

Students should see their academic advisors for a supporting statement prior to submitting the petition.


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