Wheaton College has organized the academic year on the semester system. This academic year has two periods of 18 weeks each the first beginning at the end of August and the second in January. Generally speaking, international students are admitted to begin classes only at the fall term, which begins at the end of August. This allows students new to the North American continent the time required to become adjusted before the cold winter weather begins. Exceptions are made occasionally for students already studying in the U.S. A third, shorter, semester is held immediately following the spring semester, usually beginning the week after graduation. The subjects studied in any semester are completed during that semester. New courses are begun at the beginning of the following semester.
The semesters at Wheaton are divided into "quads". Some classes are taught for only one quad--for one-half of the semester. Others are taught for the full semester. Credit hours refer to the number of credit hours given for each class. Quad courses receive 2 credit hours, while semester classes receive 4 credit hours. The number of credit hours needed for graduation varies from one program to another, but each semester all international students must carry a full class load, which is 12 credit hours. Undergraduate students usually carry an average load of 16 credit hours.
Most examinations at American colleges and universities are written, rather than oral, and they are administered more frequently than in many other national educational systems where only one examination is given at the end of the school year. In addition to a written exam, students may also be required to write research papers. Plagiarism (copying material without attributing the source) and cheating are strictly forbidden and may result in expulsion from the college.
You will have two advisors while at Wheaton: your academic advisor and the international student advisor. Your academic advisor will assist you in determining what classes you should take. The international student advisor will help you if you have difficulties of a personal nature or need advice about such matters as banking, housing, etc. Whenever you have a problem you cannot deal with alone, the first person to contact should be the international student advisor.
(from Wheaton College International Student Guide)