Study Abroad: Tips for Faculty Advisers

Study Abroad: Tips for Faculty Advisers

Adviser Information

Students planning to study abroad for a semester or full year

About the Process

  • Deadlines: Students apply approximately nine months in advance.
  • Timeframe: Students complete programs in their junior or senior years, with the exception of science majors, who can study abroad in their sophomore year. Schreyer Scholars should do so in their junior year, because they complete their theses in the senior year.
  • Course Equivalency: Penn State accepts all credits earned in a University-sponsored program. Students must complete an online Course Equivalency Form, which is forwarded to a faculty member in the course discipline to assign the Penn State course equivalent. If there is no direct equivalent, courses are designated by subject and numbered as foreign study 199 to 499, as appropriate. They can also be designated as X97 (special topics) courses.

Students should be prepared for their appointments with you. They should have:

  1. Information about the courses and programs they are considering. Students are given a list of programs that have the potential to fulfill their degree requirements and advised how to narrow their choices. They’re helped to find course descriptions, syllabi, and a list of courses that have already been through the equivalency process. The detail of information varies by overseas university. If they do not have course information, send them back to the Learning Resource Center to get it.
  2. Their current degree audit.

Advising tips

  1. Help decide which semester students should study abroad—based on prerequisites for upper-level courses and course offering cycles. Indicate which courses they must take here.
  2. Show them where they have flexibility on their RAPs and/or check sheets.
  3. Make suggestions about which courses would enhance their major and make them more competitive candidates for graduate school or employment.
  4. Watch for emails from overseas advisees. Students who must make changes when scheduling overseas, due to unexpected course unavailability, will need your advice.

About Recommendations

Any faculty member can recommend a student. It need not be a student’s adviser. In the case of students who must apply by the end of their first year, we hope they have made a connection with at least one faculty member, but there are some who have not. You could be the only instructor they have met with individually. An interview about their interests, co-curricular activities and views on topics of mutual interest can give you the insight you need to write a letter of support. Of course, if you feel the student is not a good candidate, you should decline to give the recommendation.

Recommendations are submitted electronically. There is no need to write a letter. Once selected by the student, the faculty member will receive an automatic email from Education Abroad that includes the student's name, program, term of application, and student ID. Make a note of the student ID number, as it is required to submit the recommendation. A URL is listed in the email—follow it to get to the form. The form presents specific questions regarding the student's readiness to go abroad. Recommendations are essential to the selection process and are taken seriously. Your candid input is greatly appreciated.

More Information

Contact Ruth Pflueger, extension 6418 or via email.