Advising for Study Abroad
Generally, advising for study abroad can be broken down into these categories:
Advising First-Year Students
Although students typically begin their application for study abroad during their sophomore year, advising for study abroad should begin as early as the first year advising process. Here are some important highlights that faculty advisors can review with a first-year student:
- Planning early. Students can begin researching programs and developing a plan of study that will complement their major or field of interest. Because Clark's programs are designed to enhance the major, students should be well into their major studies and need to have declared a major when they apply. Students should attempt to "map" out their requirements to determine which courses are absolutely necessary to take at Clark and which courses might be taken abroad.
- Fulfilling language requirements. Most of our programs in non-English speaking countries require at least two years of college-level language work. Students need to successfully pass a language evaluation before they can study abroad on these programs. Students can begin fulfilling language courses early to acquire the necessary language proficiency (click here for a list of language requirements for each program).
- Fulfilling Perspectives, or save some perspectives for study abroad. Your student may want to fulfill perspectives early in order to primarily focus on the major courses abroad, or take another strategy by saving one or two perspectives for study abroad. Overseas courses can be a particularly great opportunity to fulfill Global Comparative Perspective Courses or Historical Perspective Courses (particularly focusing on the host country), and Values Perspective courses, in addition to others. Note: Perspective courses abroad would need to be pre-approved by the Academic Advising Center, x7468.
- Encouraging them to attend an information session. "Study Abroad 101" information sessions are held throughout the academic year. At each session, we go over the nuts and bolts of studying abroad, as well as offer helpful guidance. Returned students usually help present on various topics.
- Thinking in terms of outcomes and goals as well as the destination. While the host country, destination city/town, and culture are all important factors in any decision to study abroad, students should also try to think of what outcomes they would like to achieve. Each program has its particular educational strengths and weaknesses. Some programs are designed for more field- and community-based immersion in the host culture, while other programs are traditional, direct-enrollment programs at a university abroad. Begin talking with your student about learning outcomes for study abroad and what the student hopes to achieve.
Our main pages describing the Application Process should give you a sense of the general advising process for study abroad, including information on deadlines, application procedures, and Clark requirements for studying abroad. We have also assembled a collection of resources that may help you in the advising process.
When students have reached the application stage, they are typically asking you for advice on course selection and course approvals.
Course Selection and Approvals
Here are some notes on course selection and approvals:
- It may be helpful to take a look at the different "models" of study abroad programs offered at Clark.
- Since Clark programs are designed to be an extension of the university classroom, all courses taken abroad (with some exceptions) will earn at least general Clark credit and will count towards the students' cumulative GPA. (Please note: this does not apply to Non-Clark programs.)
- Each department/faculty advisor makes a determination on major/minor credit awarded for each course taken abroad. Courses taken abroad must be pre-approved in advance. Students should provide you with course descriptions/syllabi to make the determination on major/minor credit awarded. You will then sign the student's Course Approval Form approving the student's plan of study overseas, and initial each course that will be awarded major/minor credit. If you need additional information on this process, please let us know.
- The department also determines how the course will count for a particular course level or how the course will count for credit within the major. Note: all study abroad courses are designed to be 200-level or higher.
- Students earn the full 4 units of Clark credit for successfully completing the semester, or the full 8 units for the academic year. This means that students must complete at least 15 U.S. credits per semester to earn 4 Clark units. In some cases, students will complete 16-18 U.S. credits, but they will still earn 4 Clark Units. Because every program is structured differently, please contact us for information if needed.
- No "5th courses" are allowed; no more than 4 Clark Units can be earned per semester.
- Students usually have the option to change or alter their course plan when they arrive overseas, either through on-site course registration or through the host program's add/drop period. In this case, it is the student's responsibility to update his/her faculty advisor or department chair on his/her new course plan. If the student is hoping to have major or minor credit approved, you will need to approve these changes via email. The student should provide an updated syllabus for each course change. Either the faculty advisor or the student should forward this email to our office so we can update the students' course file.
- Except for when built into the program itself (such as with the London Internship Program), students are not permitted to do independent studies, internships or research projects during a semester or year study abroad program. There are some exceptions to this rule. Please contact us if you have questions.
- In general, the Clark capstone and/or honors thesis cannot be completed overseas, although students may begin work on these projects or do initial research by individual arrangement with faculty members.
- Credit and application policies differ if students want to study on a Non-Clark program, although similarly, all credit must be approved in advance through the faculty advisor and the Study Abroad Office.
Research Paper Agreements
A few Clark programs include research papers or projects as an integral part of the program's components. These programs are typically active-learning oriented and involve an internship or service project.
Students may ask you to be a supervising professor on this research paper/project. If you agree, you will assist the student in selecting and forming a topic, consult with the student while he/she is abroad, and grade the final work. If you have questions, or would like to form an alternative arrangement, please contact us.
Advising Returned Students
Once the student completes his/her program, a transcript will arrive directly to the Study Abroad Office. We evaluate and translate this transcript to the Clark system, note where major/minor/perspective credit is awarded (based on the Course Credit Approval Form), and send the completed transcript to the Registrar's Office. Students should not expect to receive their grades from study abroad until the beginning of the following semester.
When the student returns, he/she may be looking for guidance on how to build upon and process the study abroad experience. We have assembled a collection of resources for faculty on study abroad curriculum integration, as well as workshops and activities for students to either read on their own or participate in throughout the academic year.