Case of the missing college credits

Keeping track of study abroad transfer and substitution credits

It’s not even Christmas break yet and I already have spring break on the mind.

Last Sunday evening, as I hammered out a long-procrastinated Latin American History paper due the following morning, an email from my advisor jingled as it popped into my inbox. It’s contents informed me that I’m several credits short for graduation, putting me more than a semester behind.

What ensued was a tantrum of stomping up and down the hallway of our home and yelling phrases of frustration at my laptop screen (not an unreasonable reaction when such news is sprung upon someone). How could I have possibly overlooked multiple courses despite meticulous planning of my college career? That just couldn’t be… something had to have been overlooked with my transfer credits from studying abroad.

The following blog is intended to share my experiences with other students who are currently or preparing to study abroad. While I can’t give exact advice on what to do if you encounter a situation like mine — simply because every university has their own, albeit similar procedures for transferring credits and substituting classes — I can help you understand the transfer credit process and how credits can be accidentally overlooked. Continue reading

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Advice for aspiring study-abroaders, Part 2

SA part 2 (3)Picking up where we left off in Advice for study-abroaders, Part 1, Part 2 will review how I selected my country, university and program, and the considerations I had to make for each one.

When you study abroad, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your ULTIMATE GOAL is to graduate from college. But whether you’re determined to graduate in exactly 4 years or you’re OK with taking an extra semester to make up a few credits can play a role in deciding where to study abroad.

If you have a country in mind that seems perfect, aligning with your travel aspirations of swimming in the ocean, climbing mountains or learning French and whatever else floats your boat, head to your university’s study abroad office and see what advice they can offer you on programs and universities. Because even if you’re dead-set on going to a particular country, your decision might change depending on what universities are available and the courses they offer.

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Examples of study abroad program books

My university’s study abroad department has a little online search engine where I can enter the duration of time I want to study abroad, my major and the country I wish to visit, and it will bring up a list of options. Most study abroad advisers will also hand you a bunch of program books, such as API, CEA and AIFS that offer study abroad in your country of interest.

But to be completely honest with you, Books + Online Materials = Confusion & Uncertainty!

All of this can add up to information overload, so take it S.L.O.W.L.Y. Start planning in advance so you’re not trying to take it all in a week before the application due date. Continue reading