Planning Ahead

Student enjoys life abroad.Educational Planning

Study abroad can fit into every student's schedule. However, planning ahead is critical to meeting your educational needs and for graduating on time. We recommend meeting with us and speaking with your faculty advisor about your study abroad plans as early as your first year. Once you have a rough idea of the courses you need to take to complete your degree requirements, it will help you determine the best time to study abroad and which courses are best to take while abroad.

Whittier Scholars Program majors wishing to study abroad to fulfill the off-campus requirement should secure study abroad approval early to ensure that all major requirements are met.

How does registration work if I plan to study abroad for an academic year or semester?
At the pre-departure orientations, you will fill out paperwork to enroll in INTD 380 – International Programs for 12 units. This lets the Registrar’s Office, Business Office, and Financial Aid office know that you are a continuing full-time student, participating in a Whittier College-sponsored study abroad program.

How does registration work if I plan to take a Whittier faculty-led course?
The Office of International Programs will give you permission, so that you will be able to add yourself to the course through, when the registration period opens. Similarly, in some cases, Whittier may pre-register you for the class. Please note that you must have met program requirements in order to receive this permission, including required forms and payments. Whittier OIP can give you permission to register for your course; however, it cannot remove any other holds placed on your account that might prevent you from registering, including advisor and Business Office holds. Getting other holds removed is the responsibility of the student.

For non-Whittier students only: If you are taking a Whittier fac-led course for credit, you must first submit a Non-Degree Application to the OIP, and then the above steps can be taken. Afterward, upon completion of the course, you will request a transcript from the Office of the Registrar, to be sent to your home institution, so that the course credits can be transferred there. The corresponding application and transcript fees will be covered by the OIP.  Please note: It is the responsibility of the non-Whittier student to find out if his/her home institution will accept Whittier College transfer credit.

Do I get credits towards my major for courses taken abroad?
You may earn credits towards your major for courses taken abroad, but you will need your department’s approval in order for these credits to count for specific requirements within the major. This should be taken care of before your time abroad. It is strongly suggested that you keep all course work and syllabi from your classes abroad to show Whittier faculty in the event there are questions after your return.

Can I fulfill liberal education requirements abroad?
You may be able to fulfill certain liberal education requirements while abroad. Approval for the courses must be granted before you leave. A petition form is dispensed during pre-departure orientation and should be turned into the Registrar’s Office. Keep all course work and syllabi from your classes abroad to show Whittier faculty in the event there are questions after your return.

How do I guarantee that my courses taken abroad will transfer back to Whittier?
You must turn in a Concurrent Enrollment form before your semester abroad. This form is part of the pre-departure paperwork and will go to the Registrar’s Office. Completing this form helps to guarantee review of credit for the courses taken abroad. However, no credit will be granted for courses taken that duplicate previously completed college-level work.

How will I receive credit for Whittier faculty-led courses?
For Whittier faculty-led courses, you will receive Whittier credit upon completion of the course. Because these faculty-led courses are already Whittier College courses, a Concurrent Enrollment form is not required.

Do my grades count in my Whittier GPA?
All courses taken abroad are on a credit/no credit basis. This means that grades earned at the host institution of the program will not be calculated into your Whittier grade point average. It should be noted, however, that any graduate schools you may apply to in the future will most likely request an official copy of the program’s transcript, which will reflect your actual grades. These transcripts can be obtained by contacting the program provider and requesting a copy. 

Dispelling Common Myths

Think studying abroad isn’t possible for you? Think again!

MYTH #1: I can't study abroad and graduate in four years.
Yes, you can! Planning early for a term abroad or a faculty-led course helps ensure that students stay on track to graduate in four years. As a freshman, students are encouraged to map out their four-year plan to include a term abroad.

MYTH #2: Studying abroad isn't possible with my major.
Students from all disciplines can study abroad. Courses fulfilling major, minor, WSP, general education and/or liberal education requirements are commonly taken abroad. Additionally, the Office of International Programs can direct students to programs that have specialties in subjects like science, business, history, and child development, among others. With advance planning, students can easily go abroad more than once.

MYTH #3: Studying abroad is way too expensive.
A term abroad is more affordable than you might think. Financial aid is available. The Office of International Programs can assist you in finding the right program that fits your budget.

MYTH #4: I can only look at English-speaking destinations because I don't know a foreign language.
Actually, you can go just about anywhere! Courses are offered in English in most destinations, but this is also an excellent opportunity to gain proficiency in another language.