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When should I begin planning and applying?
When should I begin planning my of-campus study experience?
It is never too early to start! The Colby office of Off-Campus Study will contact all sophomores in September of their sophomore year to inform them of the start of the application and planning process for studying off-campus during their junior year.
If you do not respect these deadlines, it is likely that your off-campus study plans will not be approved and you will not be able to get credit for them.
All Colby students who wish to study off-campus must follow these steps:
Step 2: Attend the Off-Camus Study Fair in early October
What are the requirements for off-campus study?
Colby requires that you:
How should I decide when and for how long to go?
How should I decide which semester and for how long to study off-campus?
The answer to this question really depends on many factors including your goals for study abroad, where you want to go, what your major is, what requirements you need to fulfill, whether your program is available either semester, what plans you have for senior year and many other factors specific to your individual situation, use the Choosing your OCS Program Worksheet and some advantages of of-campus study during the fall semester (below) to help you figure this out.
It will not usually be possible to extend your stay once you are already abroad as a junior; the request for more than one semester off-campus must be made as part of the sophomore-year application process. If you are going abroad to study a language or increase your fluency in a language we highly recommend applying/petitioning for a full year off-campus in advance.
What are some advantages of of-campus study during the fall semester?
NOTE: Keep in mind that certain opportunities may not be possible in the fall (i.e. study at certain UK universities) and if studying in the Southern Hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand, South America, South Africa) the equivalent of our fall semester stats during the summer (usually July to late November/December) according to their academic calendar.
Can I apply to spend a full year off-campus in one place or in one place in the fall and another in the spring?
With the exception of language and area studies majors (studying in the target language both semesters), applicants to the Dartmouth Engineering Dual Degree program, and students who enroll in the fall Colby at Bigelow program, all others are required to petition the Advisory Committee on Off-Campus Study. When you request to study off-campus for a full year that is considered above and beyond the norm and there are a limited number of slots available for full year off-campus study. We do the best we can to accommodate student wishes.
Can I do an Internship for credit?
International internship programs are encouraged, but must meet Off-Campus Study requirements and conform to Off-Campus Study and Colby College policies in order to earn academic credit. In addition to general policies, internship programs must include a non-paid internship with considerable academic work done in tandem and not to exceed 4 credit hours. The internship should be done as part of a study abroad program that is predominantly credited in terms of the courses taken. Typical models consist of 16 credits with the internship counting for 4 credits and three other courses counting for 4 credits each).Please consult with OCS if you are interested in choosing an internship program abroad to assure that it will meet these requirements and that you will receive credit.
For other types of international or domestic internships for transcript notation or JanPlan credit please see Career Services.
Can I do an independent study while studying off-campus?
In some cases, an independent study project (ISP) may be approved as long as you are working in conjunction with a Colby faculty member. If you participate in an SIT program where an ISP is required, you must bring your ISP project and any work back to campus to be reviewed by a Colby faculty member upon return. Before you go, you should identify a Colby faculty member who is willing to read and evaluate your project. Select someone familiar with your expected topic and discuss it with them.
What about language?
Do I need to know another language before I go?
Do I have to study the local language while I am abroad?
Why do I have to apply to Colby for Approval?
Why do I have to apply to Colby for Approval?
The purpose of the Preliminary Proposal For Approval To Study Off-Campus (due by November 15) is primarily intended to get you started thinking and planning your off-campus study plans. This also notifies the college of your intention to study off-campus and help the college to balance and predict college enrollments on campus for the following year. The subsequent Colby Application for Approval (due by March 15) assures that your off-campus study plans are sound, will complement your course of study at Colby, and have the approval of your academic advisor(s).
Will I be able to go in the semester I have chosen?
When you submit your preliminary proposal for approval for off-campus study in November, you must indicate your choice of a semester for off-campus study and you will be asked to justify your choice of semester on specific academic grounds. You should be aware that you may not be able to study abroad in the semester of your choice, due to the need for balanced on-campus enrollments.
Does Colby limit the number of students who may study off-campus?
At a small college such as Colby, the process of preserving the balance of students on campus throughout the year is a challenging one. A large enrollment imbalance is created when too many students choose to go abroad during the one semester (usually spring). Such imbalances affect all aspects of the college from housing, to faculty, staffing, and finances and they create inefficiencies and waste resources. In such situations, our office looks carefully at students' plans and academic justifications for their choice of semester to study abroad, weighing them compared to those of other students. During the preliminary application process in the fall, students are asked to provide an academic justification for their choice of semesters to study off-campus. When too many express a desire to study off campus in one semester (usually the spring), some students whose academic justification is not compelling enough, will be approved for the fall or placed on a waitlist for spring. In most cases in past years, the wait list usually clears in time for students to go off-campus on the program of their choice but we cannot guarantee when or if they will be cleared.
Who approves my Colby application for approval?
Both the Preliminary Proposal For Approval (in November) and the Colby Application for Approval (in March) are reviewed and approved by your academic advisor(s) in your major(s). When consulting with your advisor, it is important to discuss requirements for your major and what type of courses may count from abroad. If possible, we suggest that you bring course descriptions and information on your program to this meeting.
Do I need to declare my major(s) and minor(s) before applying?
If possible yes, as your academic advisor will need to approve your plans. It is best to have all your academic planning in place before you go abroad, so as to know how it will be completed during and after you return from abroad.
On what programs can I study?
What is a Colby Program?
Can I petition to study on a non-approved program?Colby policy is that students who wish to study in a country in which there is a Colby-approved program available, for which they qualify, must attend this program. Where there are no such programs available, or when the approved programs do not meet the student’s academic needs, the Off-Campus Study Office will work with the student to try to find an acceptable program. The student must meet with a member of the Off-Campus Study office to submit a petition to the Advisory Committee on Off-campus Study by March 1 and approval of the major advisor(s) is also required. See program petition guidelines.
The program decided upon must meet certain guidelines; these include, but are not limited to:
What else can I petition?
A petition to the Advisory Committee on Off-Campus Study will be required by March 1 in the following circumstances:
Please note: Students can only petition the OCS Advisory Committee one time and all materials should be submitted by March 1. All petitions will be approved at the discretion of the Off-Campus Study Advisory Committee and within the space constraints of the enrollment goals of the College.
Must I choose a program related to my major?While most students select a program that is related to one of their majors or minors, some students see study abroad as an opportunity to study something different altogether. Some students choose to do something related to potential career interests.
Do I apply directly to the program or university off-campus?
Do I also have to apply to the program or university off-campus?
Yes, in addition to, and after your Colby Application for Approval has been approved, you will apply directly to your program/university for admission (unless it is a Colby program). Application deadlines and materials are usually found on the program/university’s website.
How many programs may I apply to?
The most important thing is to spend some time figuring out which program(s) are the best fit for you using the tips provided here. In most cases, one or two programs will be sufficient. Students generally get in as long as they meet the eligibility guidelines and apply on time. Keep in mind that applying to programs takes time, and money for application fees and transcripts.
Is it hard to get in?
Not in most cases. Students generally get in as long as they meet the eligibility (GPA, language, pre-requisites) guidelines and apply on time. If you fear that you may not get in, have a backup plan just in case. When students are not admitted, it is usually because they applied too late and the program is full.
Who signs the "study abroad advisor approval" or “home school nomination” form for my study abroad application?
Most off-campus study programs require a “home school nomination” or "study abroad advisor approval" form as part of their application on which they ask about any disciplinary or academic probation in the student’s history, among other things. You must bring this form to OCS (Eustis 103) and we will complete it truthfully. You or your Advising Dean may be asked to provide additional information. In most cases, any past infractions or probation do not impede admission to the program as long as you show a good record since and the College approves your application.
Can I earn credit towards my major, minor, distribution or diversity requirements off-campus?
Yes but approval of courses toward the major, minor, distribution or diversity credit is decided by academic departments. For course credit to count toward your major or minor or a college requirement, these courses must be approved in writing by the appropriate academic department according to its policies.
How many credits do I have to take?
You are required to register and complete a full course-load which must be at least the equivalent of 15-16 Colby credits for the semester (you may transfer up to 20 credits back to Colby). In some cases, the course load required by Colby may be higher than that recommended by your program provider. In some cases, the course load required by Colby may be higher than that recommended by your program provider. Information on credit equivalencies and minimum/maximum course loads is available from the program or university you are attending or from the OCS course load requirements table.
How will my credits transfer?
If your plans are approved by OCS you will receive a full course load of 15-16 credits per semester. Upon completion of your program a transcript will be sent to Colby and credits, courses and grades will be posted on your Colby record.
Whom should I ask for a letter of recommendation?
Most programs will require 1-2 letters of recommendation. If you are going on a program that requires previous language study, ask a language professor who has recent knowledge of your proficiency. Otherwise, ask a professor in your major, or in the subject you wish to study off-campus, and who knows you well personally. (Give faculty members at least 2 weeks to write your letter. Give them the form or information on who to address the letter to.)
How do I get an official copy of my Colby transcript?
You must request this yourself from the Colby Registrar’s website under “Forms for students”. You may have it returned to you or sent directly to the program/university's address).
Should the Off-Campus Study Office review my application?
This is not necessary, but you're welcome to contact the OCS office with questions or concerns.
You will need several photos for a passport and visa as well as some program applications. They must be recent, in the “passport format” and cannot be scanned. You can have passport size photos taken in Waterville at:
How can a get a document notarized?
If you require notarized documents for your visa, you may take them to any notary public. One of the notary on campus is Alan LaPan in the student mailroom in Pulver on campus.
Should I wait to send my application until it is complete?
In most cases, you can send your completed application form and have your other paperwork follow. You should, however, check your program provider's instructions to be sure they will accept an incomplete application.
What happens if there is a travel advisory issued for the country where I want to study?
Colby College discourages travel to countries and participation in a program in a country for which there is a U.S. State Department Travel Warning in effect at the time of departure. Students wishing to travel to a country currently under U.S. State Department Travel Warning are required to submit a petition to the Travel Warning Review Committee providing a complete description of and justification for their study/travel at a Travel Warning site. If approved, the student and his/her parents will then be required to sign a second waiver as part of the application for approval process.
In the event that a country goes under U.S. State Department Travel Warning after a student has been approved, the student will be required to submit a petition, and sign a second waiver, in order to proceed as planned.
Students on programs already in session when the Travel Warning is issued will not be required to return, but will be advised of the Travel Warning by the OCS office.
Countries such as Kenya, Nepal, Lebanon and Israel are currently on this list. For a listing of countries currently under Travel Warning consult the U.S. State Department.
Can I change my mind after I submit my application?
Can I change my mind about my semester or program choices after I submit my applications?
If you change your plans (change of semester, change of program, decide not to study off-campus, change your courses) at ANY time, you must notify OCS in writing as soon as possible. Your new plans will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will require the approval of your academic advisor.
What if I apply to study off-campus and then decide not to go?
If you change your plans (change of semester, change of program, decide not to study off-campus) after you submit the preliminary application in November, you must notify OCS in writing ASAP to be removed from the list and have your leave of absence modified to make sure you have housing and can register for classes on campus.
What if my courses change after arrival?
If you change the courses you are taking, you must notify OCS as soon as possible. If you hope to receive credit towards a major/minor/distribution requirement, you should follow the course approval process BEFORE your courses are finalized or you risk not getting approval.
What do I need to do after I've been accepted to my program/university?
What do I need to do after I've been accepted to my program/university?
Once you are accepted into a program, you should:
Your program/university may require a medical/physician exam as part of your program application (not all programs do require this), usually after acceptance into the program. This may be done at the Colby Health Center or at your local doctor at home. You will need to bring the forms required by your program so that the physician may sign them.
Do I need a passport and visa to study abroad?
Yes, you will always need a valid passport (valid for 6 months after your expected return), U.S. or foreign, to travel to any country.
What about summer and JanPlan or domestic study?
Do the same requirements apply to off-campus study during the summer, JanPlan or at another college/university in the U.S.?
Not necessarily, please refer to the procedures for applying for off-campus study during the summer, JanPlan or at another college/university in the U.S.?
While many students choose to study off-campus for a semester or year during their junior year, in some cases this may not be feasible for a variety of reasons. You may consider off-campus study during the summer. There is no list of Colby approved summer programs but OCS can assist you in selecting an appropriate quality program to meet your needs. A sampling of recommended summer programs and application procedures can be found in the OCS library in Eustis 103 and website.
Yes. You may consider off-campus study or an international experience during JanPlan including a Colby off-campus JanPlan course led by a faculty member, an independent study experience, or a JanPlan course taken through another institution. See some suggestions and application procedures.
Colby has Exchange programs with The Claremont Colleges, Howard University, and Clark Atlanta University. For this or for the Dartmouth College Engineering program, students apply via the Off-Campus study office during their Sophomore year. For any other off-campus study at another U.S. institution during the summer or academic year, students must seek approval in advance through the Registrar’s office using the Transfer of Credits Form available on the Registrar’s webpage under “forms for students”.