Academic Advisors and Study Abroad
Academic advisors play an integral role in the study abroad process for students. Students need to know that they can both study abroad AND graduate on time. Many times students meet with an academic advisor to discuss what courses are best suited for an international experience, when is the best time to go abroad, and other questions related to study abroad. We are hoping that this section of the website will equip academic advisors to advise students who are interested in a study abroad experience. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!
Students may be required to meet with you as part of the application process, or they may be referred to you by an Office of International Programs staff member. Regardless of how the students find you, we want to ensure that you have the resources to successfully support your students who come to you to discuss studying abroad.
The SHSU Office of International Programs administers more than 600 study abroad programs across all continents. Students can study abroad during the summer, fall semester, spring semester or full academic year. Participants in SHSU study abroad programs earn SHSU credit and grades for their studies, so that they may maintain progress toward degree completion and remain eligible for financial aid and scholarships.
This guide outlines the typical study abroad process and your expected role. Because program admission requirements will vary and because students vary in their abilities, personal situations, and objectives, one student’s path will be different from another’s. Just the same, here’s how you can handle the moment when your advisee says, ‘I want to study abroad.’
- Academic Advising for Study Abroad
- When a student initially consults a Study Abroad Coordinator, the Study Abroad Coordinator will always inquire if the student has already spoken with you. In particular, the Study Abroad Coordinator wants to know if (a) you are aware that the student is interested in studying abroad, and (b) if you have given the student any instructions or information that will affect their choice of program.
- The study abroad discussion you have with your student typically involves the following:
- Assess their academic progress: how many credits does the student have under their belt, when does the student expect to graduate, and what are the remaining requirements on their degree plan?
- Determine which of these remaining courses can be taken abroad, i.e., you could generate a list of specific courses or categories of courses which can be replaced by courses from an overseas program.
- Discuss academic or departmental matters that may affect study abroad plans. Knowing these constraints and relevant factors will help the student and the Study Abroad Coordinator when considering program options.
- Does your student’s academic program have any restrictions?
For example, does the academic program involve sequential courses that make a semester study abroad program in the junior or senior year challenging? If this is the case, then suggesting your student study abroad in their sophomore year or during the summer.
- Does your student need general or advanced electives to meet degree requirements?
Students with general elective hours are the ideal study abroad candidate since this would mean that they can take any course abroad.
- Does your student have any language requirements as part of the degree?
Encourage your students to study the language abroad! Languages are best learned in an immersive setting where the language can be used and experienced daily. Students can even study languages not offered at SHSU and have them count toward their degree. For most languages we can find a program where the students can complete all 14 hours (beginning and intermediate) of a language in a semester or even summer. Ideal for a student that might have delayed completing their language requirement and are at risk of not graduating on time.
- Is there an opportune time to study abroad?
For example, are your majors required to take courses that are only offered at the beginning of their junior year? Will your students need to be on campus when they begin developing their senior projects? If so, then come up with a plan of study in which studying abroad should be completed no later than the spring term of the sophomore year.
- Are there faculty-led programs that you should be promoting to students?
Each year a variety of SHSU departments offer faculty-led programs open to all students or specific majors. In all likelihood, you know what courses these faculty-led programs are offering but the students may not.
- Does your student’s academic program have any restrictions?
- Encourage your student to take courses that are culture or location specific so he or she can have a better understanding and appreciation of the host country.
- Suggest that your student take courses not available at SHSU, but which are pertinent to their degree program.
- Discuss courses that will help with graduate school plans or courses that will give the student a greater degree of expertise in their chosen field and impress potential future employers.
- You and your student can also plot a strategy for how the upcoming international experience will pay off when the student starts interviewing for jobs or applying to graduate school.
- In addition to assisting a student with their plan of study, there are other ways you can encourage your students to ensure a successful experience abroad:
- Studying abroad and your involvement in your student’s plan can leave a lasting impact on their life. Long after your student has graduated from SHSU, you will most likely be remembered not only as the academic advisor but also as the person who steered them to success for life after SHSU.
- Course Approval
- Once your student is ready to apply to a program he or she should have a pretty good idea of the courses that are available at the host institution, the courses he or she will/can/wants to enroll in, and the degree requirements these courses fulfill (major, minor, elective, general education).
- We recommend that the student obtain all course approvals through the Course Equivalency Form before or shortly after they have applied to a study abroad program to ensure this is the right program for them academically. Your student will most likely consult you about a tentative study plan as they prepare for this stage.
- You and the student can tentatively select overseas courses that seem to be suitable replacements for the SHSU courses on their list. While the student will consult you about their plans to study abroad and will work out a tentative list of study abroad courses with you, only SHSU department chairs can make the final decision about SHSU course equivalencies for overseas coursework and sign the Course Equivalency Form.
- Our Different Types of Study Abroad Programs
- Programs are arranged by SHSU faculty members in consultation with the Office of International Programs.
- Faculty-Led programs offer SHSU courses in departmental inventories. Students receive SHSU grades and credit, not transfer credit.
- Eligible students have been at SHSU for at least one semester, are currently enrolled at the university, and meet the GPA requirements for their chosen program.
- The required GPA is most often between 2.0 and 3.0. Program leaders must approve students' participation prior to enrollment.
- As the advisors, please ensure that students have met all prerequisites and are correctly enrolled so that credits earned will count toward graduation and note if any course substitutions must be filed.
- SHSU faculty teaching classes abroad
Semester & Year Long Exchanges:
- Students must apply for exchange student status with the Office of International Programs.
- Students are enrolled at SHSU while studying at partner institution.
- Students will be enrolled in SABR 1000 courses as placeholders and will pay SHSU tuition and fees.
- Students will earn resident credits.
- Exchange program coursework must be pre-approved.
- Grades earned through an exchange program will be transferred to SHSU as Credit or No Credit, not letter grades.
- Attend a partner university
- Participate in a program with an approved provider
- Students must apply with the Office of International Programs before applying with the chosen provider.
- Students are not enrolled at SHSU while participating in an affiliate program.
- Students will be enrolled in SAB3 1000 courses as place holders to be able to use financial aid but will not be charged SHSU tuition.
- The required GPA is most often between 2.5 and 2.75. Be sure to check the chosen program's specifics.
- Affiliated program coursework must be pre-approved.
- Students receive transfer credit from the university they attend while abroad as well as letter grades.
- Explore the resources listed below designed to help you help your students take their education globally.
Course Equivalency Guide
- Help plan your student's study abroad by exploring the Course Equivalency Guide. The Guide is a compilation of classes students have taken while abroad and what SHSU credit was awarded. Please note that this is only a guide and not a guarantee that the same courses will be approved again as SHSU courses and courses abroad change.
Information About Credit
- Finding course equivalents can be confusing especially when credit hours are calculated differently all over the world. Most countries in Asia use the same credit hour system as we do while most countries in Europe use ECTS credits where 1 SHSU credit hour = 2 ECTS credit hours. Our Study Abroad Coordinator would be happy to assist you with any questions about credits for students.
Connect with Us
Participate in Events
- Attend one of our upcoming events and encourage your students to attend.
Helpful Hints for Advisors
- considering study abroad
- applying to study abroad
- currently abroad
- recently returned
- Tips for assisting your student who is…
Financing a Study Abroad Program
- Highlights of financial aid, grant and scholarship resources for students.
Connect with Us
Study Abroad Coordinator
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