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Off-Campus Study: Multi-Year Planning and Preparation Timeline

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Off-Campus Study: Multi-Year Planning and Preparation Timeline

First-year Students

Fall term

  • Be on the watch for the Study Abroad fair in October. Here you can collect brochures on the different programs available to Knox students and visit with program representatives.
  • Attend the Study Abroad introductory info session offered during Fall Institute Day in October.

Spring term

  • Begin discussions with your parent(s) and advisor on study abroad options. Create a list of pros and cons for different programs / destinations / lengths of stay. Review the Guidelines and Application Process for Knox Students webpage on the Stellyes Center website (see the nav bar on the left-hand side - it's the top link). See also the Study Abroad Decision page by the Best Colleges organization for a good general set of reflective prompts as you consider when and where to study abroad. 

Sophomore / Junior Students 

Fall term

  • Stop by the Stellyes Center for Global Studies (Alumni Hall) for materials in the resource room and conversation with the Director.
  • Attend the Study Abroad Fair to talk with program representatives and collect program brochures.
  • Meet with your academic advisor to discuss study abroad options. Start working on your educational plan (the Study Plan will be a form you complete in the internal Knox application for approval process). Choose which term(s) you will be gone. Share your ideas with your advisor to be sure your plans are workable and will not slow your progress toward your degree.
  • Choose coursework that prepares you for the specific off-campus experience(s) you've chosen. Talk with faculty advisors and mentors about where you want to go and why - and if you plan to use any off-campus credits toward major or minor requirements.
  • ATTEND the Application Workshop held at Fall Institute Day in October. This is MANDATORY.
  • Choose your program!
  • If the program you are applying to is NOT pre-approved by Knox, you will have one additional step: You must meet with the Director of the Stellyes Center on or before December 1 to discuss your program choice. The Director will then research the academic quality of the program, evaluate the appropriateness for Knox students, and may contact faculty in appropriate fields for input. Once this is complete, the Director can provide instructions on applying to non-pre-approved programs.
  • Begin exploring external scholarship options such as the Gilman, Boren and Foundation for Education Abroad programs.
  • Attend information sessions and luncheons with visiting program representatives, faculty advisors and returned students.
  • Before you leave campus for winter break, contact faculty recommenders to request letters of recommendation (make sure you let the faculty member know you won't need the recommendation until you return in January, and that she or he should watch for an email from the application system with instructions about uploading the letter into your application file. Make arrangements by email to visit a counselor in the Office of Student Financial Services to complete your Financial Declaration and Cost Estimate Worksheet form in January - schedule ahead, sharing information about your program choice and the term or semester in which it will occur.
  • Open your application account in the Knox online application portal, You will be charged a one-time per year administrative fee (no matter how many programs you apply to - for example, if you are applying for one program for fall semester and another program for spring semester).

Winter break

  • Over winter break finalize plans with your parent(s). Their signature is required on the Student Contract (for the Knox Besancon, Barcelona and Buenos Aires programs) and on the Financial Declaration and Cost Estimate Worksheet form mentioned above. You will find these forms in the Knox online application portal,
  • Begin writing your off-campus application essay. Share the essay with your advisor or a writing tutor and ask for feedback.
  • Apply for a passport or renew your passport if necessary (be sure that your passport's expiration date is six months beyond the end point of the program you have chosen).
  • Check into competitive scholarships such as the Gilman, Boren and Foundation for Education Abroad programs and, if you are eligible, begin the application process. Find out if your program provider (DIS, CIEE, IES, SIT SFS, etc) offers its own financial scholarship programs (most do).

Winter term

  • YOU will need to take several steps in the month of January. Plan ahead!!
  • Your Knox internal application for approval for study abroad / off-campus study is due February 1.  In several cases, programs may have an even earlier deadline and thus the Knox internal deadline is earlier (i.e., ACM/GLCA Japan Study and IES Oxford programs). Late materials require special permission and incur $100 late fee.
  • Meet with your advisor to confirm your plan and complete the Study Plan form, which you will then upload into your application account.
  • Meet with a counselor in the Office of Student Financial Services to review programs costs and get the counselor's signature on the required worksheet (email a scanned copy of the completed worksheet to when you email to make an appointment).
  • Download a free unofficial transcript from the Registrar's Portal and upload it into your application account.
  • Revise and submit your application essay.
  • If you did not request faculty recommendation letters before you left campus in November, ask for letters of recommendation at least two weeks in advance of the Knox deadline. It is okay to send a follow-up reminder if the letters have not been uploaded into your application account by late January.
  • By the end of Winter term, you will usually find out about Knox approval (via email). If Knox approves your application, you are ready for the next steps.
  • In most cases, this means that you apply directly to the program provider of your chosen program. Most have online application portals; a few programs first need a list of approved Knox students from the Stellyes Center (but then you will have additional information to enter into the program's web portal). Usually, you'll NOW complete the application for admission into your chosen program on your program provider's website.  You will begin working closely with your chosen program provider on admission to the program, visa application processes and pre-departure orientation specific to that program (watch for deadlines, required forms, and non-refundable deposit information - all specific to your selected program provider).
  • Watch for (and act upon) major external study-abroad scholarship competitions such as the Gilman International Scholarship, the IIE Freeman Asia Scholarship, the Fund for Education Abroad Scholarships, the Boren, and so on. Some competitions are annual; several have multiple cycles depending on when in the following year you will study abroad.

Spring term

  • Attend mandatory pre-departure meeting in spring term (usually April).
  • Be sure to stay in good academic standing.
  • Make sure you get your FAFSA paperwork in for financial aid.
  • Let the Stellyes Center for Global Studies know when you are notified by the program provider of your acceptance (or, sadly, in some cases, denial) or if you change your mind and no longer plan to study off-campus in the following year. You must let the Stellyes Center know if you decide not to study off-campus as this affects your billing!

Summer vacation prior to departure

  • Prepare by reading about your host country.
  • Stay in good communication with your chosen program provider (CIEE, DIS, FIE, IES, SFS, SIT, etc), watching for and responding to emails, completing forms and pre-departure orientation on-line workshops, and so on). Act on the program's guidelines and timeline for visa application and communicate with your program counselor if you have difficulties with program forms or with your visa application.  Do not neglect emails from your program provider over the summer!
  • Be sure that your passport is up-to-date, with at least six months' validity beyond the end-point of your study abroad program.
  • Keep language skills fresh by reading newspapers, watching films, and conversing with native speakers. There are several on-line services that allow you to practice with native speakers through Skype and other platforms.
  • Brush up on U.S. politics and current events. Many people you meet abroad will want to discuss these with you.
  • U.S. citizens: Register with the U.S. State Department's STEP: Smart Traveler Enrollment program - this is a free service allowing U.S. citizens and permanent residents traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

While you are off campus

  • Send your advisor and the director of the Stellyes Center a progress report. Are you learning what you expected to learn? Are you meeting the goals you outlined in your application essay?
  • If your plans change, contact the Stellyes Center for Global Studies immediately.

Junior / Senior Students

Returning to Campus

  • Confirm/reactivate your meal plan and bring your housing items out of storage!
  • Attend the Welcome Back dinner (in fall term or winter term, depending upon the timing of your return to campus) sponsored by the Stellyes Center for Global Studies.
  • Make yourself available to students exploring study in the same program or in the same part of the world.
  • If you expect to use some of your off-campus coursework toward major or minor requirements, you will need to fill out the appropriate form with your advisorThis won't happen automatically.
  • Consider how best to incorporate your study-abroad experience into coursework, community engagement and career preparation. Visit the Career Center to talk about presenting the skills you have developed in your resume. Consider the Peace Corps and/or World Teach.
  • Don't hesitate to seek counseling if you experience reverse culture shock - many students do experience this. It takes time to re-enter, just as it took time to acclimate to a new place. Be patient with yourself.
  • Don't allow your experience to disappear! Share your experiences in classes and through clubs and organizations. Get involved in I-Fair and other, similar events. Reach out to help welcome international students to campus. Engage in a research or Honors project focusing on your host country.
  • Consider applying to the Student Fulbright program, to the JET program, or for a Boren Fellowship (for intensive language study in graduate school), or for the Payne or Rangel graduate fellowships (and other, similar, competitive scholarship and fellowship opportunities with an international scope. See the Opportunities for International Advanced Study and Research and the Beyond Knox pages on the Stellyes Center website).
Knox College

Printed on Monday, July 22, 2024