Academic Advising for Study Abroad

Academic advisors are critical to the mission of sending students abroad and ensuring their success while they are there. Our students tell us that academics are one of their biggest, if not the biggest, priority when considering study abroad, and is a major factor in their program choice. Below is information for you as you work with students on their course planning and approval process.

Initial Advising

The Office of Global Education always advises students to start planning early. Most students may not know which program they want to participate in as a freshman, but discussing which term(s)/year(s) would work best, and which courses they will want to plan to take abroad is an important first step. The earlier this can be incorporated into their degree program plans, the better. It will also help them focus as they are considering which program offerings meet their needs as well as peak their interests.

We never expect advisors to serve as experts in our programs and their course offerings, but we share as much detailed information as we possibly can for each program in our online database. From there you can search for particular programs with the sort options or see everything currently available.

Each program should have an Academics section. For many programs, course information will be available. We’re fortunate that for many, the information is quite detailed, although for others it may be more limited based on when/if our partner updates that information. For some we may be able to look at a previous term’s offerings, or the program advisor can help determine what previous students have taken to provide a sense of what will be available. While Global Education encourages students to do their research and share proposed courses with their advisors for consideration and planning, should you wish to review any information on the website, it is there for you. Certainly, the Study Abroad staff is a resource as well, should you have any questions.

Semester/Year Study Abroad Application Process

As part of the initial application, students are required to complete the following:

  • Meet with the Study Abroad Coordinator
  • Request a recommendation from their academic advisor (online through the application system)
  • Request a recommendation from a general academic reference (online through the application system)
  • Request a language evaluation (if applicable, online through the application system)

The recommendation requests are completed through the online application system. This approval form is a great place for any final notes that would be helpful in considering the student’s application or in ensuring support is in place for them to be successful in their program abroad. This approval form may include as little or as much detail as you feel is needed but is not intended to take longer than 5-10 minutes.

Course Enrollments

All semester/year students will be enrolled in an Off-Campus Study course starting with AAA. This course maintains their full-time student status while they are abroad. Students will enroll with our partner abroad as needed, but specific course information will be input after the program has ended upon our receipt of a transcript/grade report. This ensures there are no problems with their Valpo enrollment should they need to change courses while they are abroad.

It’s possible that some students may take courses remotely that are taught here on campus and may need to specifically enroll in those. Their AAA course will be adjusted to ensure they are still able to maintain full-time status without going into overload.

Post Acceptance/Approval Process

After students have been accepted/approved for their semester or academic year program, they will complete a course planning worksheet. The Study Abroad Course Planning Worksheet will help students lay out as much as possible of the courses they plan to take abroad. Advisors are approved/pre-approved each course, discuss any requirements students will have upon return for final approval (such as submitting a copy of the syllabus, any work they completed, etc.) and make any notes that may be helpful. Students submit the form as a PDF of a Google Doc, so signatures are added digitally, and each planning sheet can be shared with the necessary departments and chairs and deans as needed. The Google Doc is editable by the student, so as their course selections are finalized while abroad, they can update their course planning sheet, keeping everyone informed as changes happen. Advisors, Deans, and Chairs that have been added to the document can then add new approvals as course selections are finalized.

This process applies to students on any semester or academic year study abroad program – including Non-Valpo programs.

Students are also required to attend a Culture and Identity Workshop and a site-specific orientation and read through the Blackboard course. The Blackboard course contains helpful information and links about preparing to study abroad, health & safety, packing lists, and more.

Post Program Final Course Approval Process

After the program has ended, Global Education must receive a transcript/grade report. Courses/grades cannot be added to Valpo records without this.

Once we receive the record, the Director of Study Abroad Programs will fill out a post-program course approval form using the information provided in the planning worksheet. Then they will send an e-mail to the student and the academic advisor(s) listed on the planning worksheet. If all courses on the transcript/grade report are listed on the planning worksheet and have received approval, nothing further will be needed. The Director of Study Abroad Programs will send the paperwork over to the Registrar’s Office for processing. If there are any courses that need final approval, the Director of Study Abroad Programs will highlight those and the student will need to work with their academic advisor(s), and/or department heads to secure any remaining approvals per the requirements discussed during the initial meetings prior to departure. The completed form must then be submitted to the Office of Global Education who will share it with the Registrar’s Office for final processing.

Spring Break & Summer Program Process

For faculty-led programs over Spring Break and most programs over the Summer, students will not need to complete a planning worksheet or any other documentation as they will be enrolling in the specific course(s) that they will take abroad. For some summer programs, especially non-Valpo summer programs, students will need to complete the course planning, enrollment and approval process as outlined for semester/year programs above. The Director of Study Abroad Programs can assist in determining what will be necessary for courses to be reflected in their Valpo records.