Meet with your Advisor
If you are a first-year student...
(you cannot study abroad just yet, but you should definitely be planning ahead)
1) Tell your academic advisor that you plan to study abroad during your tenure at Saint Mary’s College so that the two of you can work out a four-year plan that includes a semester or academic year right from the start.
2) Reserve some of your general education requirements and electives! These are much easier to fulfill while abroad than the Saint Mary’s core requirements (Seminar, Religion, etc) or the courses for your major & minor.
3) Research program opportunities now by exploring the website, attending an Information Session or hanging out at the Study Abroad Fair.
If you are beginning the study abroad application process...
(a semester or academic year prior to the semester you plan to study abroad)
1) Make an appointment with your Academic Advisor and Department Chairs early. Do not leave this until the last minute- it creates unnecessary stress for you and for your professor.
2) Bring the following forms to your meeting:
3) Be prepared and have supporting documentation
Course descriptions & syllabi
Have course descriptions and, when possible course syllabi from the host university where you plan to study abroad. You Academic Advisors and Department Chairs need to decide if the course you are taking abroad fulfills the SMC requirements and/or is equivalent to the academic content you would be receiving if you were studying on campus. The more information they have, the more helpful they can be in approving your courses abroad. You can find this information on the program-specific page found under Explore Your Options.
Upper division versus lower division courses
Course number systems differ from country to country. Do not expect your Academic Advisors and Department Chairs to be versed in the many systems. Bring the following document to your meeting to help guide your decisions about which courses at the host institution are lower division or upper division courses, click here (PDF).
4) Have alternative options and be flexible
Remember, this is the PRE-approval process. In most cases, you will be choosing courses from the prior academic year since many international institutions do not release their current academic schedule until months (maybe weeks) before classes begin. It is likely that some of the courses you had pre-approved will be cancelled, filled, or not offered as you anticipated. Have alternative courses pre-approved by your Academic Advisor or Department Chair and refer to your Transfer Credit Approval Form when registering for classes.
For more information on course approval and/or changing courses while abroad refer to our FAQs.