Application Process for Off-Campus Study

Colby Policy on Transfer Of Credit From Abroad

Colby’s Office of Off-Campus Study (OCS) approves all study undertaken abroad and in certain approved domestic programs during the fall and/or spring semesters. Credit from abroad during a semester cannot be transferred to Colby and financial aid is not applicable without OCS approval. 

Approval for off-campus study (domestic or foreign) during Jan Plan and the summer, or for study at most domestic institutions during a semester on leave, is obtained by filing an “Application for Transfer of Credit” with the Registrar’s Office.

To be approved for off-campus study through the OCS application process, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.7 and be in good academic and social standing. They may not be on academic probation. The institution from which credits are to be transferred must also meet certain guidelines; these include, but are not limited to:

  • The program or university must provide an academic program which is consistent in quality and quantity of work required at Colby.
  • With the exception of a foreign accredited university, the program must be sponsored by an accredited US college or university whose academic standards are high.
  • For all programs in non-English speaking countries, students must study the language of the host country for the duration of their program.
  • The program or university must provide a cultural experience substantially different from that of a typical U.S. campus experience.
  • The program must have a duration of at least fourteen weeks of class time (including exam time but not including vacations and excursions), to match the length of a semester at Colby.
  • The program must be situated in one host country (with the exception of certain specific approved programs). Touring or shipboard programs are not acceptable.


Semester and/or Academic Year (fall, spring, or full year)


Preliminary Proposal for Approval: by November 15
Petition Deadline: by March 1
Colby Application for Approval:  by March 15
Program/University Deadlines (variable)

November 15 is the deadline for completion of your Preliminary Proposal for Approval to indicate your intention to study off-campus either in the fall semester 2013 or the spring semester 2014 or for the full year 2013-14. The preliminary application will be available on-line in early October. All sophomores will receive an email notification when the application is accessible. Since your advisor/s must approve your initial plans, we strongly suggest that you submit your preliminary application to your advisor/s no later than November 10.

March 1 is the deadline for petitions of any kind. These may include: low GPA (under 2.7), study abroad for more than one semester, non-approved programs and/or study in a country under U.S State Dept. Travel Warning.

March 15 is the final deadline for the Colby Application for Approval and/or application for admission to a Colby Of-Campus program (Colby in Salamanca, Dijon, St. Petersburg, and Bigelow Laboratory). Different applications are required for each of these situations, but all must be submitted by March 15, regardless of whether you plan to study abroad in the fall semester of 2013 or in the spring semester of 2014.

Variable are the application deadlines directly to the Non-Colby Program / University to which you are applying. Early application is usually recommended.


All Colby students who wish to study off-campus must follow these steps:

Step 1:  Attend the Sophomore Information Session in September of your Sophomore year

Step 2: Attend the Off-Camus Study Fair in early October

Step 3: Use the Choosing your Off-Campus Program resources and explore the list of approved/petitionable opportunities. (in handbook & on website)

Step 4: Submit the preliminary Preliminary Proposal For Approval To Study Off-Campus by November 15 of your sophomore year.

Step 5: In March of your Sophomore year you will then submit 1-2 Colby Applications for Approval to study at a specific programs/universities off-campus.

Step 6: Apply to the program/university you have decided to attend and for which you have gotten Colby approval. (Except if you are attending a Colby program, in which case this step is not needed).

Step 7: Prepare to depart. See Pre-Departure Planning resources (in handbook & on website)

Review the application guidelines and timeline here.


If you intend to apply to study abroad during either semester of your junior year, you must follow these guidelines:

Attend the mandatory Sophomore Information Session on Off-Campus Study in September
        B.  Read the Off-Campus Study Handbook in your mailbox or online
EXPLORE where you want to go and what you want to do.
  • Attend the Off-Campus Study Fair at Colby in October
  • Consult with your academic advisor. If you have not yet declared a major, think about doing so before the November 15 preliminary application deadline.
  • Consult program information in the back of the OCS handbook, the OCS library (Eustis 103), and on the OCS Opportunities list on Web site.
  • Consult with the off-campus Faculty liaison in your department.
  • Talk to students who have recently returned from study abroad
  • Attend any relevant information sessions (in October-November).
  • Consult with Off-Campus Study by appointment - call (207) 859-4500

Departmental and/or OCS Advising

Consult with your academic advisor, Departmental OCS liaison and/or an OCS staff member to discuss your plans and options.
Submit PRELIMINARY PROPOSAL (Online) - due by November 15
       Requires academic advisor approval.
Departmental and/or OCS Advising
The OCS office may contact you to set up an appointment to discuss your off-campus study plans if you have an issue that will require special attention or will need to petition. If your program has an early deadline or if you need extra help in the planning stage, contact the OCS office. You can make an appointment at any time by calling 859-4500 or stopping by Eustis 103.
Submit PETITIONS (if needed) - Due by March 1 (with online application)
Requires a meeting with an OCS staff member by appointment - call (207) 859-4500
Submit COLBY APPLICATION(S) FOR APPROVAL (Online) – due by March 15
•    Faculty approval
•    Course approvals
•    Student and parent signatures

Submit OFF-CAMPUS PROGRAM / UNIVERSITY APPLICATION (deadlines vary) (except for Colby programs off-campus i.e., Salamanca, Dijon, St. Petersburg, or     Bigelow)

In addition to the Colby application for approval, you are responsible for the application form appropriate for admission to your intended program (Except for a Colby program where there is only one application). Application forms for most approved programs are available on-line at the program Web site.  Students alone are responsible for applying to the program approved by the OCS office within the provider's stated deadlines. Some providers have deadlines that are earlier than the Colby deadline and many have rolling admissions so we recommend not to wait until the deadline to apply or you risk not getting in. Please read your program provider's information carefully.  Incomplete and late applications are usually not considered by most providers.

This will usually include, among other items:
  • The program application form itself (usually, but not always, online on the program/university's website)
  • Faculty letters of recommendations (Give faculty members at least 2 weeks to write your letter. Give them the form or information on who to address the letter to. Have the letter returned to you in a sealed envelope and enclose with your other application materials or have it sent directly to the program/university.
  • An official Colby transcript (Request it from the Registrar’s website. You may have it returned to you or sent to the program/university's address)
  • Application fee
  • Home school nomination or study abroad advisor approval form may be required and must be signed by OCS before the program will accept you.  Keep in mind that our office cannot sign this form for you until you have submitted a completed Colby application for permission to study abroad. Drop off in Eustis 103, mail, fax, or email form to Juliette Monet.
Colby College Office of Off-Campus Study
4500 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, ME 04901  
Phone: (207) 859-4500
Fax: (207) 859-4502





  • Mandatory Sophomore Information Session
  • Off-Campus Study Fair


  • Think about your off-campus study goals (see Choosing your program, Types of programs)
    Research available programs (Opportunities list, student evaluations, discussion with faculty, students, and OCS)
  • Attend departmental info sessions (to be scheduled) 
    Discuss plans with your Academic Advisor, your Dept’s OCS Liaison, and/or Off-Campus study staff (call OCS at 859-4500 for an appointment)
  • Submit Preliminary Application online before November 15


  • Continue to think about your off-campus study goals & research available programs. (see Choosing your program, Types of programs & Opportunities list, student evaluations, discussion with faculty, students, and OCS)
  • Gain approval for your plans with your Academic Advisor, your Dept’s OCS Liaison, and/or Off-Campus study staff (call OCS at 859-4500 for an appointment)
  • Prepare and submit petitions by March 1 if needed (Appointment with OCS required)
  • Prepare and submit Colby Applications for Approval by March 15
  • Prepare and submit program/university applications for early deadlines or fall/year programs (check deadlines, apply early)


  • Attend pre-departure meeting for fall/year OCS (early May)
  • Pre-departure planning for fall/year away (physical exam, inoculations, passport & visa, etc..)
  • Submit Study Away Budget for Financial Aid if appropriate (for fall/year away)
  • Prepare and submit program/university applications for spring programs (check deadlines, apply early)


  • Prepare and submit program/university applications for spring programs (check deadlines, apply early)


  • Pre-departure planning for spring away (physical exam, inoculations, passport & visa)
  • Submit Study Away Budget for Financial Aid if appropriate (for spring away)
  • Attend pre-departure meeting for spring away (early December)


Summer Off-Campus Study

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 or international experience during the summer or JanPlan. 

Transfers of credit for summer off-campus study or leave to study at another U.S. college/university during the summer or academic year must be approved in advance through the Registrar’s office using the Transfer of Credits Form available on the Registrar’s webpage under “forms for students”.  If your summer off-campus program requires an approval signature from a study abroad advisor or home school approval please bring that form to OCS along with your completed Transfer of credits form.

While Colby's Office of Off-Campus Study does not administer study during the summer and OCS policies do not apply, OCS staff can assist students with advising on opportunities and other matters.  For international study, we recommend starting the search among the many off-campus opportunities Colby approves for the semester and/or year. Study abroad provider organizations such as CIEE, IES Abroad, and IFSA Butler for example offer many summer programs worldwide and so do many American and foreign universities. You may also search,, or to identify opportunities worldwide.

Note: Colby financial aid is not portable to summer off-campus study. Certain departments on campus may have special funds available. Ask your academic advisor.

Before you go review the many resources available on the pre-departure page (keeping in mind that many of the academic and financial aid policies may not apply).



Jan Plan Off-Campus
  • All Colby Jan Plan courses, including those abroad, are planned and administered by Academic Departments in conjunction with the Dean of Faculty's Office. Please refer to the Faculty leader or Department for more information or application, requirements, and deadlines. Jan Plan offerings change each year. A full description of Jan Plan courses is available on the web in October, and students may elect January courses at that time. Review the Jan Plan Student Handbook for more information on what you will need.
  • Other off-campus courses may be taken at another institution by seeking faculty approval by filing an “Application for Transfer of Credit” with the Registrar’s Office and registering for "transfer credit" during Jan Plan registration.
  • Credit for study or ISP in a country under U.S. State Department Travel Warning: 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, in advance of their application, 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. Due by October 15 for Jan Plan. If approved, student and parent will then be required to sign a waiver as part of the approval process.

Note: Colby financial aid is not portable to Jan Plan off-campus study. Certain departments on campus may have special funds or scholarships available. Ask your academic advisor.

Before you go review the many resources available on the pre-departure page (keeping in mind that many of the academic and financial aid policies may not apply).



Leave To Study At Another U.S. College/University

Colby has Exchange programs with The Claremont Colleges (Pomona, Scripps, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, and Pitzer Colleges), Howard University, and Clark Atlanta University. For this or for the Dartmouth College Engineering program, students apply via the Colby Application for Approval process 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 by filing an “Application for Transfer of Credit” with the Registrar’s Office.

Keep in mind that financial aid is not portable to summer or domestic study while on leave from Colby.