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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I have to list a program for the fall and spring?
What is an academic impediment?
How is financial aid handled and how much will my program cost?
What should I do if a language professor is unable to fill out a recommendation for me because they no longer teach on campus?
Do I have to list specific courses in my 4 year plan? or How do I fill out the Proposed Courses form if courses aren't listed for my program?
How are credits handled?
Do the AP credits I transferred have any affect on my off-campus study credits?
Can I change my program or proposed courses?
Can I change the semester once I am approved?
Can I study off campus for a year?
Can I study off campus for the summer?
Can I study off campus as an international student?
Will I need a passport or visa?
How should I obtain a parent/guardian signature for forms?
How will I register for classes while I am off campus?
What are my storage options while I am off-campus?

 

Do I have to list a program for the fall and the spring?

Yes. If the program is offered both semesters, list it for both fall and spring. Some programs are offered for a single semester. In this case, you must seriously consider the program options available to you.  Every effort is made to give students their first choice semester and program.  However, the college must achieve a balance of students between fall and spring and some students may not be granted their first choice.  Decisions are made on a competitive basis, taking into account your academic rationale for studying off campus, reasons behind your first choice program and semester, GPA and recommendations.  Be sure to provide a full explanation for your preference in the designated area of your application essay regarding extra-curricular and personal reasons.

Exceptions

  • If an academic impediment exists to studying in a particular semester.
  • If you will be studying away in your 4th year, you will only need to present an option for fall.  

What is an academic impediment?

It is an academic reason preventing you from studying off campus in a particular semester. It exempts you from having to list an option for both the fall and spring semesters.  Accepted academic reasons are: inability to complete a major or a concentration, take courses in sequence or complete the prerequisites for your off campus program. If you and your adviser determine an academic impediment exists for a semester, fill out an Academic Impediment Form with your adviser. 

How is financial aid handled and how much will my program cost?

Read information regarding financial aid, merit aid and billing of program costs under Tuition and Aid.

What should I do if a language professor is unable to fill out a recommendation for me because they no longer teach on campus?

Select another professor you have taken coursework with and send it to them.  Please note the name of the language professor and that they have left in the comments field of the email request.

Do I have to list specific courses in my 4 year plan? or How do I fill out the Proposed Courses form if courses aren't listed for my program?

Courses vary from year to year and may not be available for you to complete the form.  Ask your adviser to approve a tentative OCS course-plan. General courses may be listed such as English Seminar. Specific courses can be chosen when the schedule of courses is published. 

The same is true for your 4 year plan.  You may need to list Senior Seminar if specific courses aren't available.
   
Your academic adviser and the Off-Campus Study Board must approve any changes you make to your course-plan after receiving approval to study off campus.  We suggest working out an agreement in advance with your adviser on acceptable sorts of substitute courses you could take if your first choices are not available or conflict with others.  In this section, you may list both first-choice and alternative courses, putting an asterisk (*) by approved alternatives .  

Approval for any changes in course-plan can be made by contacting your adviser by email (copying the ocs@grinnell.edu on the message).  If the course change is acceptable to your adviser, the OCS Office will check with the Registrar to verify the course is transferable to Grinnell (liberal arts course equivalents).  Request approval for any changes from your original plan to guarantee Grinnell credit. The Registrar may deny any unapproved credit transfers.

How are credits handled?

Read about course credits and grades under Policies.

Do the AP credits I transferred have any affect on my off-campus study credits?

The 24 credit maximum of AP credits do not affect the transfer of your off campus study credits.

Can I change my program or proposed courses?  

Yes, you may be able to change your program or a proposed course(s) within the semester you were approved. Changes must be approved by your academic adviser and the Office of Off Campus Study. Approvals from your academic adviser by email must be sent to ocs@grinnell.edu. 

Can I change my semester once I am approved?

Appeals may be made to the OCS Board with a valid academic reason from your academic adviser.  In some years the numbers of students applying may not allow changes in semester to be made. Contact one of the OCS Directors by email.

Can I study off campus for a year?

Approval to spend a year off campus is limited to the approved programs which require attendance for the academic year. Special requests with the support of a faculty member may be brought to the OCS Board. Make an appointment with the OCS Directors.

Can I study off campus for the summer?

Yes, however, the Office of Off-Campus Study does not manage summer study and financial aid does not transfer to summer programs. You may be able to transfer credits if approved by your academic adviser or department and meet the guidelines established under Transfer Credit. The office is unable to advise regarding summer programs.

Can I study off campus as an international student?

We encourage all students to take advantage of international academic experiences. Please remember your admission to another country - including any transit countries (which may require a transit visa) - depend on your country of citizenship and the country of the program you wish to participate. Research potential visa needs, factoring in connecting flight countries. Some destinations may have requirements regarding your U.S. visa. Contact program providers early to seek out advice. The Office of International Student Affairs has an information sheet for students with F1 visas considering off campus programs. (Grinnell login credentials required for access.)

Will I need a passport and/or visa?

If your off campus study program is not in the United States, and you are a U.S. citizen, you will need to apply for or you may need to renew your passport. Passports typically need to be valid for 6 month's after a program's end date. Most answers to questions, such as fees or processing times, can be found on the U.S. Passports & International Travel site. Locally, the Grinnell Post Office (641-236-5353) provides in person passport application services. In addition to the application, you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate or a previous U.S. passport, proof of identity such as a driver's license, two official passport photos and a payment method. It is recommended you apply as soon as you are able.

Visas grant permission to reside in a country where you will be studying for a certain length of time. Visa requirements and fees vary from country to country. Your program will provide you with information once you send in your deposit confirming your place. In most cases, visa stamps are obtained by sending your passport to the embassy or consulate of the country where you will be studying. Please take this into consideration when you are making travel plans before your program begins that will require your passport.

Make copies of your passport and visa page and keep them separate from the originals. Leave a copy with family or relatives as a precaution. Safeguarding your passport is essential while you are travelling.

How should I obtain a parent/guardian signature for forms?

You can scan and email the form or provide a link. They can print, sign and scan it (a phone app or camera phone may be used) and send it back to you. Faxes may be an option as well. Don't forget to sign the form yourself before you scan it and upload it to your application.

How will I register for classes while I am off campus?

Instructions on how to register while off campus.

 What are my storage options while I am off-campus?

You will receive an email from Student Affairs regarding closing and storage options. Posters will also be available in Residence Halls with detailed information on instructions, available times and costs. You can direct storage questions and concerns to C&K Storage at (641)236-3418.