Resources for Advisors
Prior to EnrollmentIncreasingly, parents and students are asking about study abroad/away options prior to enrolling. Luckily, students in every major can (and do!) study away. It’s possible as long as students start early, work closely with faculty advisor(s) and consider summer as a viable study away period as well as the regular academic year. There are many options open to Illinois Tech students!
- Talk to students and parents even before the students enroll
- Recognize that study away is important in the college selection process
Students participating in Exchange, Partner, Provider, External programs are required to have a course approval form completed as part of the pre-decision process. Students must have course approvals before the Student Mobility Office will approve them to go on a program. Students applying to the Global Engineering Education Exchange (GE3) have a slightly different process. Since the GE3 application process requires students to rank their top 3-4 options, these students do not need to to submit their course approval form to Illinois Tech until GE3 has placed them in a single school. This prevents students, advisors, and UGAA from having to review courses for multiple schools. GE3 students do need to complete a course approval before they are fully approved by the Student Mobility Office.
Course Approval Forms
The form is linked here: Course Approval Form. You can also contact the Student Mobility Office for a copy. Academic Advisors should work with UGAA and academic departments to confirm courses at host institutions meet students' Illinois Tech requirements. In general, advisors should treat approving courses from study away programs for IIT equivalents similar to how they would approve transfer courses from a US institution - looking at contact hours, course descriptions, course objectives, etc. If the course information available for the program isn't sufficient (a short description where a syllabi would be better, for example), the Student Mobility Office can coordinate reaching out to our partners for more information. This does tend to take more time given the number of people and potential time zones involved. The biggest difference is how different countries' educational systems determine credits. Most of the European Union uses the ECTS or European Credit Transfer System which has a standard 2 ECTS credits = 1 US credit equivalency. It is recommended to look at the contact hours if they are listed to help with determining credit amounts. Here's some resources on credit equivalency between the US, the EU, and the UK:
- European Credit Transfer System breakdown
- Chart from Trinity College Dublin (multiple countries to ECTS)
- UK credits to US credits from the University of Manchester
Since Faculty-Led programs are run by Illinois Tech faculty and the courses are already Illinois Tech courses, students participating in Faculty-Led programs do not complete a course approval form. Students may be required to meet other requirements before approval such as pre-requiste courses, submitting a statement of purpose, or meeting with the faculty leader.
Academic advisors acknowledge that working study away into the curriculum takes extra planning, patience and time – as well as initiative on the part of the student. That said, many faculty and students recognize that studying, working, and volunteering away are vital and desirable parts of the college experience for many Illinois Tech students.
General Advising Tips
- Start talking to students as early as their first year!
- Help students to determine specifically where study away will fit into their major(s) and identify the best term(s) to go away.
- If study away won’t fit into their semester curriculum, suggest a summer away or a short-term program.
- If the traditional model of studying away isn’t appealing, students can consider volunteer, research, or internship away experiences.
- Encourage students to check out the Student Mobility website!
- Help promote Study Away Information Sessions/events and individual advising appointments.
- Suggest that students prepare a list of questions prior meeting with the Study Away Office.
- Refer students to the Study Away Office and Financial Aid for financial aid and financing questions.
Academic advisors acknowledge that students vary in their ambition to have a study away experience. For a good number of students, the seeds were planted long before they arrived on our doorsteps. For others, the seed may be planted here in Chicago. Illinois Tech advisors use a variety of tools to encourage students to consider study away. By the way, many of these same tools also help in verifying and supporting the experiences of returned study away students!
Encourage Students to Think About Study Away
- Plan a group advising or info session by major and invite the Study Away Office and students in your major who’ve been on an away experience.
- Require that students who have been on an away experience submit reports and/or present to first-years.
- Feature returned study away students on your department’s website.
- Publicly display journals and drawings following return from study away.
- Suggest that students consider working, researching, and interning away as an alternative to a traditional study away experience.
Many of our students experience “reverse cultural adjustment” when they return from abroad. Symptoms may include depression and/or frustration with family, friends and university norms. Some advisors report that it’s hard for students to get back into the swing of things, particularly students who studied where regular homework was not required. The Study Away office and home department advisors play an important role in encouraging students to share their experiences in meaningful ways and to verify the relevance and importance of their cross-cultural experiences.
Welcoming Students Back to Campus
- Invite returned students to present to first-year students and departmental study away information sessions.
- Feature returned study away students on the departmental website.
- Displays journal, drawings, and photos of returned students.
- Suggest that students highlight their new skills (language, cross-cultural, problem-solving, etc.) during interviews and on their resumes.