Academic credit is a very important part of your program — it is, after all, Study Abroad. To ensure your credit abroad will fit in with your degree program here on campus, it is important that you work with your academic advisor and Study Abroad staff as often and early as possible, as they will work with you to select the program and term that will give you maximum academic success and allow you to graduate on time.
Determining which courses you will take abroad requires consultation with your academic advisor and any department at Valpo that will be approving the credits and any requirements they will fulfill in your degree program. Most students choose to earn elective or general education requirements abroad (in addition to language credit, where applicable), though it is possible to earn major or minor requirements at the discretion of the Valpo department. It’s important to start this conversation as early as possible so that you can fit Study Abroad into your degree program here at Valpo. This will help you determine which courses you can take abroad versus which ones you are encouraged or required to take here on campus.
It’s important to note that, with some programs, you may be able to choose and enroll in specific courses ahead of time, but there are some programs where you may not be able to officially determine and enroll in courses until later, or even after you’ve already arrived. It is important that you understand what types of courses you need so you can ensure you are taking appropriate courses abroad. Your Study Abroad program advisor can help you find information on courses offered by your program — or, alternatively, course listings from a recent semester that would allow you to tentatively plan with your academic advisor and department.
Study Abroad Learning Agreement
This document is very important and will be made available to you once you are accepted into your Study Abroad program. This is how you can receive official approval for the courses you take abroad and document what they will fulfill here at Valpo (i.e. elective, major requirement, etc.). There will be places for your academic advisor to sign as well as the appropriate department contacts. Once this document is complete, it is submitted to International Programs – Study Abroad, who then sends it on to the Registrar so they can ensure their records are updated with the information.
All students will enroll in an AAA placeholder (simply indicating that you were abroad) according to their program. For some programs, students will only need to enroll in the placeholder. For others, (namely Study Center programs), students will also enroll in additional, specific courses that they will be taking abroad. Your International Programs – Study Abroad program advisor will help you determine what you need to enroll in and assist you in filling in the appropriate form and submitting it to the Registrar.
For those students who are enrolling in specific courses in addition to the placeholder, resident directors will work with Study Abroad staff to input grades into DataVU just as faculty normally do at the end of a semester at Valpo.
For those who are enrolling in the placeholder only, students will need to be sure to request a transcript from the host institution or provider. An official transcript needs to be provided to the International Programs – Study Abroad office. Institutions may send those to the following address:
International Programs – Study Abroad Office
1700 Chapel Drive
Valparaiso, IN 46383
If you are not sure if you will need to request a transcript, be sure to ask your Study Abroad program advisor.
One more important thing to be aware of: there is often a delay with processing these transcripts and grades. Often, the institution where you took classes has an entirely different credit and grading system, and we have to involve other campus departments in order to translate those into their Valpo equivalents before they can then get posted to your Valpo transcript. We do everything we can to complete this process as quickly as possible, but typically it can take six to eight weeks. Be sure to inform your academic advisor and home department of the possibility of delay.
Students choosing to participate in a non-Valpo program will take a leave of absence from Valpo for the semester. There will be no need to enroll in anything here, and students will need to be sure to get a transcript sent to Valpo. Credits will come in as transfer credit, and grades will not be recorded on the transcript. For this reason, students must plan early and be sure to involve their academic advisor and department to ensure transfer credit will be accepted and be allowed to count for degree requirements as applicable.