Choosing an Off-Campus Study Program
Off-Campus Study programs exist in most regions of the world. You will find information on a very wide range of programs on the Off-Campus Study website.
The programs featured on the Off-Campus Study website have been carefully selected and are believed to represent some of the best opportunities available today in off-campus study. From among the broad academic and geographical diversity of options, most students should be able to identify a program well suited to their academic goals.
Types of Programs
Most programs offer you the opportunity to enhance your major, concentration, or other area of academic interest while broadening your liberal arts education by learning about another area of the world. In some programs, the courses offered are linked by a common theme, such as women’s studies, environmental studies, or global development studies. In others, coursework may be closely connected to a particular major such as biology or economics. Programs may be organized and operated by American educational institutions, universities abroad, or a combination of both in a cooperative arrangement. Formats vary from traditional classroom-based instruction to fieldwork, independent study, and internship.
It is important to note that off-campus study programs vary considerably in competitiveness. While some programs are highly competitive, accepting only students with higher G.P.A.s and specific course preparation, others may have more relaxed criteria for admission. Specific prerequisites and G.P.A. requirements are normally set out in the program information materials. Campus Program Advisers are also able to advise you regarding your eligibility for a particular program. Normally, Grinnell students apply to only one off-campus study program. Denial of admission to Grinnell students is rare because of the screening that takes place during the on-campus approval process.
Approval to attend yearlong programs is limited and is granted by the Off-Campus Study Board on a competitive basis to students demonstrating exceptional academic achievement, strong written rationale, and support for their plans from their major department. The Off-Campus Study Board gives preference to well-focused proposals designed to deepen the student’s knowledge of a single culture within the context of a single integrated program. Successful applications for yearlong approval normally involve a request to study in one program in one country.
Assessing the Importance of Off-Campus Study
You may already have a good idea about where and what you would like to study off campus. However, if you are just beginning to explore the possibilities, you should reflect seriously on what you are planning to do. Personally, at this point in your life and education, you are likely to be at the optimal point in your capacity to learn by living and studying in a new and challenging environment. Since an optimal point occurs by definition only once in a lifetime, and off-campus study may hold valuable personal, academic, and professional benefits, the careful choice of an appropriate program may well be one of the most important decisions you make during your college career.
Core Rationale for Off-Campus Study
Grinnell requires that you select a program compatible with your academic goals, which you will clearly set out in a four-year course-plan and written rationale for off-campus study. It is up to you to define your goals in consultation with your academic adviser. Since your choice of program must be linked to your academic objectives, you should begin by thinking about why you want to study off campus, i.e., your core rationale. Most students choose to link their off-campus study to their major or concentration while others may wish to use the experience to enhance their understanding of other subjects studied on campus.
Additional Objectives for Off-Campus Study
In addition to the core rationale described above, your choice of program may be partly determined by additional academic objectives you want to achieve. For example, you may wish to broaden your liberal arts education by studying a language or taking courses not offered at Grinnell. You may also have broader educational goals connected to the experience of living in another culture. The possibility of community service, fieldwork, or an internship might be an important consideration. Additional objectives such as these are important to consider along with your core rationale and will help in selecting a program that is right for you.
Campus Program Advisers
A Program Adviser is assigned to every off-campus study program featured by Grinnell College. These advisers are very familiar with the programs they represent and can provide you with detailed program information as well as answering any questions you may have.
Every semester, large numbers of Grinnell students return from studying off campus. Talking with other students who have already studied on a program of interest to you is essential to making an intelligent decision about off-campus study.
Grinnell College is fortunate to have a diverse student body from many parts of the world. International students may be able to provide you with valuable insights and information to help you in making a decision about where to study off campus. The International Students Office will provide names of students from specified countries or regions.
- College Catalog