Academic Adviser’s Role

The education abroad preparation and international course selection processes can be confusing and, at times, frustrating because students have to shuffle between their Education Abroad adviser and academic adviser. This section will explain the role of the academic advisers so that students understand what questions they should be asking to whom – and when!

The Application Process

  • The study abroad application may ask which classes the student plans to take abroad.  Ideally, students should meet with their academic adviser to discuss preliminary course selections at the time of application.
  • Almost all study abroad programs require an academic recommendation from a Penn State faculty member or academic adviser.  We advise students to discuss their study abroad plans with their academic adviser before asking the adviser to complete the recommendation.

Pre-Departure Preparation

  • After being accepted to an education abroad program, students may have even more questions about how the courses abroad will fit into the Penn State degree audit.  This is known as ‘course substitution,’ and it’s an important conversation to have before going abroad!

While Abroad

  • The course equivalency process occurs while the student is abroad. Students should compare final course schedules to the historical course lists on the program's Education Abroad bochure page and then confer with their academic adviser about degree requirements.
  • Often while abroad, students have to schedule their classes for the following semester. They should be sure to touch base with their academic advisers about which courses to enroll in so they can stay on track to graduate!

After Returning from Abroad

  • Once the student is back on campus, they should meet with their academic adviser again to make sure the courses are displaying in the degree audit properly.