Advising Students in Choosing Off-Campus Travel

Transporting WaterThe primary advising for domestic and international off-campus study is done in the Center for International and Cultural Education by the Study Abroad Advisor. However, students often ask faculty for advice about off-campus study, and should at a minimum be in conversation with their major advisor to help in this important planning process.

Good things to talk about with your advisees:

  • What are their goals for study away? Are they hoping to meet general education or major requirements? Are they interested in studying something they couldn’t otherwise get at Gustavus? Are they just interested in seeing a certain part of the world? Do they want to learn – or improve – a language?
  • Help them understand why global perspectives are important for them to develop, and even why it might be important in terms of the discipline in which they are majoring!
  • Remember: You do not need to know everything (or even anything) about every program to help your advisee! That’s our job. Feel free to call us if you have questions while a student is there in your office.
  • And please refer all students to our office for the most comprehensive advising about off-campus study. They can sign up for an appointment with a peer advisor who is trained to answer questions and help students plan for the application process.

Remind your advisees that study away is:

  • a great investment academically, personally, and professionally.
  • affordable because financial aid is applied to the cost of the program.
  • has a direct impact on future employability since employers increasingly are looking to hire people with some international experience.
  • is academic – credits transfer back!

The following information should be helpful in explaining the kinds of programs available to students.

Semester or Year-Long Programs

The faculty of Gustavus Adolphus College has approved a large number of domestic and international off-campus study programs, each lasting a semester or a full academic year. These programs enroll a significant number of Gustavus Adolphus students each year. Students and faculty evaluate them regularly.

Gustavus academic credit is routinely granted for successful participation in all of these programs. Although the approved list does not presume to include every quality program, the programs on the approved list are judged to be of high quality.  Students who select from this list can assume a quality of instruction, program services, and academic relevance to the Gustavus Adolphus curriculum. They can also assume that appropriate faculty are familiar with these courses and programs. In general there is a readiness to apply these courses to general education and/or major requirements.

The list of current approved programs is available here. Click "programs" in the menu bar at the top of the page. Contact Bryan Messerly, Study Away Program Cooridnator, for additional information on approved programs and their descriptions.

January Interim Experience

January off-campus travel courses offer brief (four week) but highly focused opportunities for students to study with a Gustavus instructor. Each year January travel courses are held in many places around the world, with a variety of themes. When advising students on January travel courses, good questions to ask focus on student interests in a particular part of the world or in a particular discipline.

First year students should be strongly advised to enroll in a January Interim off-campus study course (semester or year-long study is not available to students in their first year and they may not enroll in career explorations or independent studies). Individual January course instructors make the final decision about student applications for their course.

Student Selection Criteria

The selection of student participants for off-campus study programs is handled in two or three phases: First, CICE screens all applicants for minimum Gustavus requirements for participation in an off-campus study program.  The second step is to send the Gustavus approved application to the faculty advisor or the faculty director of the off campus program or course for approval.  The third step is to send the application to the provider, if other than Gustavus Adolphus College, who makes final decisions regarding student participation in direct-enroll programs at host institutions.

The following criteria are approved by the IDPC and may be used by Gustavus faculty who are involved in approving students for January Interim Experience or semester length programs:

  • Reason for choosing an off-campus study program.  Motivation for applying.
    • Academic reasons
    • Non-academic reasons
  • Grade Point Average.
  • One faculty recommendation and approval signature from faculty advisor.
  • Review of student’s history of compliance with college policies.  (This occurs in two ways: First, student self-disclosure on the application form and second, by sending a list of applicants to the Registrar’s office and the Dean of Students office to identify any students who may be on academic or disciplinary probation).
  • All other things being equal:
    • Seniors and juniors have priority over sophomores;
    • Regularly enrolled students will have priority over graduated students;
    • Gustavus Adolphus students will have priority over non-Gustavus Adolphus students
  • Personal qualities/Interpersonal skills:
    • Maturity
    • Independence
    • Adaptability
    • Ability to interact with a group
    • Willingness to initiate cross cultural opportunities
    • Ability to function in stressful situations
  • Program specific needs.

Material on the Information for Faculty pages is from the IDPC Program Manual originally approved by the faculty on May 5, 2008. Revisions approved April 30, 2010.