Lawrence offers a wide variety of Off-Campus programs that have each been chosen to create a well-rounding portfolio of options. When you are looking through the options, it's important to know what you want to get from this experience and to allow time to plan for your off-campus study. This page will start you on the path to finding the program that is right for you.
As you plan to study abroad, there are some initial questions you should ask yourself in order to guide your research.
- Why do you want to study abroad? As you are researching and thinking about program options, consider your goals. What do you hope to gain academically or professionally? What do you hope to achieve personally? Allow these goals to guide your search.
- Where do you plan to go? Do you want to study in a target language or in English? Do you prefer large, urban settings or rural locations?
- How long to you intend to go? Lawrence offers programs that are term, semester, academic years in length. Please also consider that some countries' academic calendars are quite different than our own.
- What do you want to study? Are you looking to study in your major/minor or are you planning to explore outside of your field of study? Are you looking to do independent research? Do you want field experience? Do you want an internship? Do you want to study in a different academic culture?
- What sort of housing are you considering? Do you want to live with a local homestay family? Do you want to live in student dorms or apartments? What are the benefits of each and how will they fit with your goals?
Planning and Requirements
Unlike many schools that limit off-campus study to the junior year, at Lawrence you can pursue this experience virtually anytime in your sophomore, junior, senior, or super senior year as is appropriate for your academic program. It is important to know that applications for off-campus study are due in the winter or spring terms of the academic year before the proposed study. Therefore, it is never too early to start planning. As you think about your degree requirements and academic schedule for your Lawrence career, you should consider what subject(s) you would like to study on an off-campus program and explore what programs are available to you in this area.
Some students think that they will not be able to participate in off-campus study because they have too many requirements to complete on campus or that required courses are offered at times that prevent them from leaving campus. At Lawrence, this is not the case - as long as a student plans appropriately. All Lawrence sponsored and affiliated programs grant academic credit that transfers back to Lawrence. Information about how the credit from off-campus study applies to your Lawrence academic record is available from the Credit, Course Load, and Grade Info Sheet. Many students choose to complete general education requirements at a program like the Lawrence London Centre, leaving time on campus to pursue courses in their major. Other students use off-campus study as a capstone experience by studying at a university in their second language, pursuing research for a senior project, or participating in an academic internship. And some students choose to do both by studying off-campus on more than one program in their Lawrence career.
Another important factor in planning for off-campus study is that the trimester system provides a great deal of flexibility in scheduling. Having three distinct times each academic year to study off campus allows students to work an off-campus program into almost any schedule. While it is true that there are some majors where courses are more sequential and structured, this does NOT mean that students in these areas cannot work in an off-campus experience. It only means that it is all the more important for students with more rigid major requirements to plan ahead.
Once you have figured out which program or kind of opportunity best suits your needs, take special consideration of the program's prerequisites and schedule of course offerings as well as the requirements for your major/minor and/or general education requirements. This will help to find the time when the program will best fit into your schedule as well as plan for the courses from your off-campus program 'count' toward your requirements at Lawrence.
Ask the Experts
It might sound like there is a lot to think about when choosing a program but there are many resources available to help with this process. The Off-Campus Programs Office is available to provide advice and assistance during each step of the off-campus study process - from recommending programs that match your interests to understanding how credit from off-campus study will transfer back to Lawrence, to helping with the application process, and suggesting resources to make the most of your experience. To make the most of your meeting with the Off-Campus Programs Office, it's helpful if you've looked through the program options and have some idea of what you are hoping to gain from this experience.
Additionally, students should talk with their academic advisor(s) about their interest in off-campus study. Advisors can often provided students with information about various programs they have had students participate in the past. Consultation with your advisor is a great way to start planning early for off-campus study and getting more information about programs that will match well with a student's interests and major/minor area.
Some programs (in particular, programs sponsored by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM)) also have faculty program advisors who serve as campus resources on a particular program. Students can contact these faculty members for further information about a program.
There are also a series of informational sessions and visits from representatives from many of our programs where you can get more information on programs. Many of these visits happen in fall term and you should look to the Lawrence calendar and watch for posters about when and where these will occur. These sessions and visits are great opportunities to talk with program providers about the programs and ask any questions you have.
Paying for Off-Campus Study
Funding off-campus study is also a concern for many students. Participation on some of our programs will likely cost more than the equivalent amount of time spent on campus. It is important to know, though, that there is help for this potential obstacle. Firstly, we strongly suggest that all students considering off-campus study schedule a time to talk to the Financial Aid office. The financial aid officer will talk to you about how participation in a particular program would impact your particular aid package. Secondly, know that there are many resources available to encourage off-campus study and we encourage you to apply for various types of scholarships and aid. Please see our page on scholarships and funding to start you in this process.
The bottom line is that with some planning and a little attention to administrative detail, you should be able to take advantage of nearly any off-campus opportunity.
The right choice for your friend or roommate may not be the right program for you. Consider your own goals and be willing to leave your comfort zone.
Don't look at study abroad as just a way to travel the world. Look at it as a way to expand your education and view of the world.