Students typically focus their explorations of programs in the fall semester of their second or third year. A student might start in their first year, but the experience of a full academic year at Grinnell, and the opportunity to reflect during the summer between the first and second year, make the fall of a second or third year the prime time for advising conversations. The first half of the fall, before fall break, features a number of visits from outside program providers, as well as other opportunities for a focused exploration of programs. Then during fall break, the online application portal opens for students to start developing their applications for Grinnell approval. Students are strongly encouraged to establish their first and second choices of semester program before beginning the online application.

Below you will find different sources of advice to help you find an off-campus study program that is a match for your academic objectives, your other global learning goals, and your background. Each resource offers helpful and different perspectives and considerations. To help you refine your search for a good match of program, students are strongly encouraged to complete an advising worksheet.

Academic Advisers

Talk with your academic adviser. Your program choice(s) must be connected to your academic interests and four year plan, in part to help you graduate within four years.  Discuss how programs and courses offered could be beneficial, how program affects your four year plan, and what prerequisites you might need for your desired program or to complete your major. Advisers want to know which programs attract you and may offer suggestions. If you have not declared, seek advice from a professor within your intended major department about program choice. Determine whether you have an academic impediment to studying off campus in a particular semester. An academic impediment is an inability to complete one or more of the following: your major (declared or intended), a concentration, a set of courses in sequence or the prerequisites of your off-campus study program. If you have an academic impediment, you may not have to submit a program option for that semester. Ask your adviser to fill out an Academic Impediment Form. See Semester Preference for further information.

Campus Program Advisers

Meet with Program Advisers. Each program has a Grinnell College faculty member or an OCS Staff member listed in the Fact Sheet portion of its brochure. Program Advisers are prepared to speak to what a certain program can do for a student’s academic goals and other global learning objectives. You are required to meet with the Program Adviser of the program(s) for you wish to apply. The adviser will sign a form to confirm your meeting as part of your application. 

Office of Off-Campus Study

If you need help comparing and contrasting programs and have completed the advising worksheet contact the Office of Off-Campus Study. Broad staff knowledge of considerations and the range of programs available can help a student make sense of options in a way that complements other advising resources. OCS staff can also suggest programs you may not have considered. 

If you would like to make an appointment with OCS staff, send a message to ocsappt[at]grinnell[dot]edu. Give a range of times when you would be free for a thirty minute appointment from 8:30 to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Be sure to mention the program(s) you want to discuss, subject areas that interest you, or particular questions you may have. Submit your advising worksheet online prior to your appointment.

Program Representatives

Most programs are offered in cooperation with other colleges and universities. Program representatives are available to answer questions, particularly about details such as housing, internships, and co-curricular activities, by phone and email. During the fall semester, many programs hold information meetings on campus. Look for notices and emails about the sessions. 

Financial Aid Counseling

Financial aid can be applied to off-campus programs. The section Tuition and Aid provides a general overview of billing and deposits. Estimated aid calculators and aid policy can be found on the OCS website.  Individual financial aid counseling is available through the Office of Financial Aid at  641-269-3250. 

Peer Advisers

Every semester, large numbers of Grinnell students return from studying off campus. Talking with returned students about what they learned on their programs, what they liked about them, how they grew as people, and what they wish they had asked or known is essential to making an informed decision.  A list of past students and the student advice blog are available on Off-Campus Study's page on  GrinnellShare

International Students

Grinnell College is fortunate to have a remarkably diverse student body from many parts of the world. Grinnell's international students may provide you with valuable insights and information to help you in making a decision about where to study off campus. The Office of International Student Affairs can provide names of students from specified countries.