students in classroom.

Frequently asked questions

How do I obtain an F-1 visa?

Once all forms are submitted and verified, Sandburg will issue a Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility. You will not be able to request your Form I-20 until all of your information has been turned in to the DSO/PDSO that you have been working with at Sandburg.

Once you submit all the required documents and your Form I-20 has been issued, additional steps are required to obtain an F-1 visa. Visit the U.S. visa website for the detailed steps. To pay the I-901 fee, link to pay I-901 fee.

Please be aware that Sandburg does not issue an F-1 visa. The Form I-20 is issued by Sandburg and has F-1 printed in the top, right corner; however, this is NOT your visa. You must follow the additional steps to obtain your visa.

Can I apply for scholarships?

The Carl Sandburg College Foundation offers scholarships to all Sandburg students, and international students may qualify for some of these funds.

Talent scholarships for athletics, theater, art or music may be available and given at the coach or coordinator's discretion. Learn more about our talent scholarships for theater, art or music, and learn more about our athletic programs. If you are interested in athletics, please contact the coach for scholarship availability. 

How are Sandburg courses structured?

Degrees and certificates

We offer students the option to complete an associate degree or a certificate, which typically require a minimum of two years of coursework. Selected degrees may require coursework prior to acceptance into the program, which can take one year or more. Certificate programs typically require a year of coursework, and some certificate programs may be completed after one semester.

Credit hours

Courses at Sandburg are based on credit hours. The college uses the Carnegie Unit as the basis for the credit hour. One semester credit equals 50 minutes of faculty instruction time per week for a minimum of 15 weeks along with a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week during the semester, for each credit hour. An equivalent amount of work is required for all forms of learning activities including online, blended, laboratory work, studio work and courses meeting on a shortened schedule. Generally, most classes are 3 credit hours. Some of the science and math courses may be additional credit hours.


Carl Sandburg College has three semesters each academic year. Our academic year begins in August and ends in July.

  • Fall semester: August-December (16 weeks)
  • Spring semester: January-May (16 weeks)
  • Summer semester: June-July (8 weeks)


Classes at Sandburg are listed by discipline, course number and section number. For example, Freshman Composition 1 would be listed on the student schedule as ENG.101.100 (i.e. ENG (Freshman Composition). 101 (1). 100 (Section Number)).

Full-time status

All international students must be registered for a full-time credit load to be in compliance with their F-1 visa status. Full-time consists of taking at least 12 credit hours per semester, which is four classes per semester. Most full-time students take 15 credit hours per semester, which is five classes per semester.


Grades are issued at the close of each semester on a letter basis indicating the quality of academic work. The grades and their grade point equivalents are as follows:

  • A: Superior work. Carries 4 grade points per semester hour.
  • B: Good work. Carries 3 grade points per semester hour.
  • C: Average work. Carries 2 grade points per semester hour.
  • D: Poor work. Carries 1 grade point per semester hour.
  • F: Failing work. Carries 0 grade points per semester hour.
  • I: Incomplete. Incomplete indicates the student has, for acceptable reasons, been unable to complete the required work by the close of the semester. "I" is permissible only when the student has maintained a passing grade as revealed by the class record. An "I" should be changed by the instructor to an appropriate letter grade by mid-term of the following academic term, or it may default to a grade of "F." The instructor may extend the deadline for the incomplete when appropriate.
  • N: Administrative withdrawal; non-punitive. The completion rate or grade point average are not impacted. The "N" grade will only be used in extreme situations that affect the entire campus such as natural disasters or pandemics.
  • P: Satisfactory work. Credit granted. Not calculated in grade point average.
  • U: Unsatisfactory work. No credit granted. Not calculated in grade point average.
  • T: Audit. A course taken without credit.
  • W: Withdrawal. No credit. Not calculated in grade point average.
What should I expect upon arrival to campus?

When you arrive on campus, you will first meet with the dean of student success, who will verify attendance and explain your next steps before assisting you in scheduling these activities.

  • Take placement testing (Accuplacer). Reading and mathematics placement is required for all new students. Placement test scores determine your mandatory placement into college-level courses (classes with course number 100 and above), developmental education courses (classes with course number <100). Our goal is to ensure proper placement into appropriate courses for your skill level. There is no charge to take the placement tests (up to two attempts). Test results are valid for five years. Learn more about placement testing, including online study resources.
  • Meet with your assigned academic advisor to register for classes. Academic advisors specialize in programs and will be assigned based on your chosen program of study.
  • Pay tuition and fees.
  • Purchase books and supplies.
  • Attend Charge Up orientation. Your academic advisor will schedule your orientation session during your registration appointment.
  • Begin classes on the first day of the semester.

If you submit your ACT/SAT scores with your other admissions documents, you may be eligible to register for classes prior to arrival on campus. Once on campus, you will be asked to take the placement test to confirm you're placed in the appropriate courses.

What are the classroom expectations?

We realize our international students come from different educational experiences and sometimes have challenges adjusting to the classroom expectations in the United States.

Students attending Carl Sandburg College courses are expected to:

  • Attend class regularly. Attendance in class is essential to the successful completion of the course. Some courses may award points for attendance while others may deduct points for absences. Please read and understand the attendance policies for each course included in your syllabus.
  • Read, understand and abide by the classroom policies established in the course syllabus. Each course may have different classroom policies, and you're responsible for following these established rules.
  • Meet homework deadlines, and come prepared for class.
  • Work outside of the classroom. On average, students spend five hours per week reading the textbook and taking notes, two hours per week preparing for and taking practice quizzes and two hours per week preparing study questions.
What services and resources are available to me?

International students have access to many student services and resources to help them be successful in courses.

Academic advising

Upon enrollment, you'll be assigned an academic advisor, who is your contact person during your enrollment at Sandburg. Academic advising is an interactive process between you and your academic advisor. Each term prior to registration, you'll meet with your academic advisor to discuss courses for the upcoming semester. The academic advisor is also a valuable information resource for you regarding program requirements, college graduation requirements and transfer coursework. Learn more.

Computer labs

Carl Sandburg College has multiple computer labs on campus available for your use. While it's helpful to have a personal laptop, it's not required. Students can print up to 500 documents for free each semester.


Carl Sandburg College has a library with helpful staff who can assist you with research, database searches and various other services. Learn more.


Our Tutoring Center is the place to go for help with all your core classes, from math and science to writing and general study skills. Tutoring is available primarily on a walk-in basis, though you can call ahead to schedule an appointment.

You have access to tutoring any day, any time with a free online resource, Brainfuse. If you have internet access and a Carl Sandburg College student email account, you can take advantage of this resource. Learn more.

Student life

Carl Sandburg College is an active and engaging campus offering a wide variety of opportunities for you to get involved and get the most from your college experience. From student organizations to guest speakers to campus-wide festivals, there is something for everyone to do! Learn more about campus life.


We're a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and host five men's sports, five women's sports and one co-ed team. Many of our students enjoy attending our sporting events and take pride in being a Charger! Visit the athletic website for more information.

Public safety

Our Department of Public Safety's mission is to provide a safe and secure community in which the college may carry out its educational mission. The campus is patrolled 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Learn more about public safety.

Does Sandburg offer student housing?

Carl Sandburg College does not currently offer on-campus student housing. In the Galesburg area, there are numerous private housing options for students. Most of these options come unfurnished; however, a few may offer assistance in securing furnishings.

View the names and locations of available housing options.

Is there public transportation in Galesburg?

The Carl Sandburg College main campus is located on the north side of Galesburg approximately 1 mile from Henderson Street, which is home to many local businesses. The nearest student housing option is located approximately a half-mile from campus.

Galesburg transit

Students can ride the bus for free anywhere on Galesburg transit routes. Students will simply obtain their student ID and show the ID each time they ride.

Galesburg public bus system makes stops on campus approximately every hour on the half-hour. For a map of the bus route and for more information, visit the Galesburg transit website. Carl Sandburg College is serviced by the Route 3 Red bus line.

Restaurants and food 

Galesburg offers multiple restaurants, grocery stores and supercenter shopping stores offering food, housewares, clothing and personal supplies. These businesses are located close to campus and serviced by the bus line. Carl Sandburg College offers onsite eating options at Innkeeper's Coffee, Building B.   

Nearest airports

Galesburg is located in west-central Illinois and is approximately three hours southwest of Chicago and three hours north of St. Louis. The nearest airports are Moline, IL, and Peoria, IL, both approximately 45 minutes from Galesburg. Students may fly into any of the two airports in Chicago or the airport in St. Louis, but have the added challenge of securing transportation to Galesburg from these locations. (See train service below.)

Train service

Galesburg is also serviced by the Amtrak train from Chicago. Students who fly into either Chicago O'Hare International Airport or Chicago Midway International Airport may take a Chicago public transportation to Union Station located in downtown Chicago, and then ride the Amtrak train to Galesburg.