So I have decided that I want to study off campus. What do I do first?
First, talk with your academic advisor – preferably in your major – to discuss how OCS will fit into your academic plan at Wooster. Then, attend and OCS 101 group informational session. You should complete the Advising Worksheet provided during the meeting and make an appointment to come in to the OCS office (Babcock 103) to speak with the Director of Off-Campus Studies. During this one-on-one meeting you will discuss programs in further detail as well as OCS policies and procedures. You can also research programs online beforehand.
I am a chemistry (or math, or psychology…) major. Can I still study off-campus?
Any student who meets Wooster and program requirements and applies on time is able to study off-campus with careful advance planning. It is more challenging for some majors to study off-campus, so you should discuss your plans with your advisor as soon as possible.
Can I study off-campus and still graduate on time?
Yes, students of every major have the possibility of studying off campus during their time at Wooster with careful planning. Talk with your advisor and the Director of OCS as soon as possible in order to plan for off-campus study.
Can I get credit for my off-campus study?
Yes. As long as you study on an endorsed/approved program, all of your credit with a grade of C or higher will transfer to Wooster as elective credit as soon as Wooster’s Registrar receives your transcript from the program.
Can I earn credit towards my major/minor/distribution requirements?
Yes, but you must discuss this with the department chairperson in the department where you would like the credit to transfer. The department chairperson will approve the course for transfer to fulfill a requirement. A Transfer of Credit form must be completed and submitted to the Registrar’s office. It is best to discuss this possibility with department chairpersons prior to the off-campus experience.
I am taking five (5) classes during OCS. Will this count for five (5) credits at Wooster?
It depends. One Wooster credit is the equivalent of four (4) semester credit hours. Your credits will transfer back to Wooster accordingly. For example, if you take 15 semester credit hours, you will receive 3.75 Wooster credits. You must maintain seven (7) Wooster credits over any two consecutive semesters in order to remain a full-time enrolled student, and earn 32 total credits in order to graduate.
Can I study off campus anywhere I want to?
You may study off-campus with transfer of financial aid and credit (with a grade of C or better) on any endorsed off-campus program. If there are no programs on the endorsed list that will allow you to fulfill your academic goals, you may petition for a one-time special endorsement of the program (contact the Director of OCS for more information). Otherwise, you may withdraw from The College of Wooster to attend your program of choice. Transfer of credit and financial aid is not guaranteed for this option. Contact the Dean of Students office for more details about the Withdrawal process.
How do I know which programs are endorsed/approved by The College of Wooster?
The endorsed program list is available on the OCS website. It changes periodically, but updates are posted regularly.
The program I want to enroll in is not endorsed by Wooster. What should I do?
If there are no programs on the endorsed list that will allow you to fulfill your educational goals for off-campus study, you may petition for a one-time special endorsement of the program (contact the Director of OCS for more information). Otherwise, you may withdraw from The College of Wooster to attend your program of choice. Transfer of credit and financial aid is not guaranteed for this option. Contact the Dean of Students office for more details about the Withdrawal process.
There are so many program options available! How do I choose?
First, think about your academic, personal and professional goals for off-campus study, as well as your priorities. Think about the type of program that suits you best—university, field research, internship, service learning, or language immersion programs, for example. Discuss your plans with your academic advisor – preferably in your major – and the Director of OCS. To help guide your reflection, you should attend an OCS 101 session and complete the Advising Worksheet prior to making an appointment with the Director. Research by reading over program websites and Wooster student program evaluations and talking with students who have attended the program before or professors who have experience with the program, university or country. Don’t hesitate to contact the program directly, or stop by the OCS office, with any questions.
How much does off-campus study cost?
Costs vary depending on the program and location, but in general the cost is roughly the same as at Wooster, not including airfare, travel and personal expenses. More information about billing and finances is available on the OCS website.
Can I use my financial aid to study off-campus?
Yes. If you apply through Wooster's application process and are approved to study off-campus, The College of Wooster will apply all financial aid to an approved proposal for one endorsed off-campus program (semester or year-long). This includes private, State and Federal grants, loans, awards and scholarships. However, when the number of proposals exceeds the projected off-campus study budget for any given year, OCS will rank proposals to distribute institutional financial aid based on the quality of your OCS proposal. If a student’s proposal is not granted institutional financial aid, the student may still study off-campus, but institutional financial aid will not be available.
Some programs offer additional scholarships, and outside funding options are available. Consult the Director of OCS for more information.
Do I need to pay for my travel expenses/airfare myself?
Unless it is included in your program fee, you are responsible for any travel expenses. Check with your program to determine what is included in your program fee.
What are the requirements for off-campus study?
- Attend an OCS 101 informational session and meet one-on-one with the OCS Director prior to submitting a proposal;
- Meet with your academic advisor prior to submitting a proposal;
- Have sophomore or junior standing while participating in the program;
- Be enrolled at Wooster the semester preceding off-campus study;
- Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75 (some programs require a higher GPA) [Note: Students whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.75 or who are placed on academic probation at the end of a semester prior to their off-campus study program will not be allowed to participate in the off-campus program.];
- Maintain good standing under The College of Wooster’s Codes of Academic Integrity and Social Responsibility;
- Submit all Off-Campus Study Proposal forms by February 1st;
- Attend the mandatory pre-departure orientation;
- Create an e-portfolio: upload essays and resume prior to OCS, revise essays and resume after OCS;
- Complete an OCS Program Evaluation, to be submitted electronically to OCS within three weeks of return to campus. Failure to do so will result in a hold placed on registration for the following semester.
Do I have to be a junior to study off-campus?
Wooster students may study off-campus as sophomores or juniors. First-years and seniors cannot study off-campus.
Do I have to know a foreign language in order to study abroad?
It depends. Some programs have language requirements while others do not. Many programs occur in countries whose native languages are not taught at Wooster, but core courses are taught in English. Regardless, we encourage you to have some prior experience with the host language of the country where you will be studying.
Can I complete my I.S. while off-campus?
According to College policy, junior and senior I.S. is completed on campus, in close collaboration with a College of Wooster faculty member. Exceptions to this rule must be approved by the department and students must petition for an exception to academic policy.
I have a scheduling conflict—is it okay for me to miss the Pre-Departure Orientation?
This event is required and you are not permitted to miss the event. Please let the OCS Director know immediately if you are unable to attend so that alternative plans can be put in place, if possible.
How do I apply for off-campus study?
In order to study off-campus, you should submit an OCS Proposal, copy of your transcript, advisor’s reference and release of liability form (signed by you and your parents/guardians). Everything is due to the OCS office by February 1st of the year preceding off-campus study. Once you have been approved by Wooster, you may apply directly to your program, per your program’s application requirements and deadlines (available on each program’s website).
I am ready to submit the Declaration of Intent form, but I don’t know what program I want to study on. What do I do?
You do not need to have your program/semester of off-campus study determined on the Declaration of Intent deadline (December 1). Your preferred program on this form may change prior to submitting your application. After submitting the Declaration of Intent, talk with your academic advisor and the Director of OCS. You should be sure of your OCS plans by the time you submit your OCS application.
I forgot to submit my Declaration of Intent. Can I still study off-campus?
YES! The Declaration of Intent is a non-binding, non-required form that helps OCS, The College of Wooster, and you plan for off-campus study. If there were to be a question about your application, we would verify if you had submitted a Declaration of Intent form demonstrating your advance planning for OCS.
I have missed the OCS application deadline. Can I still study off-campus or is it too late?
You must petition for an exception to OCS policy. Please contact the Director of OCS for more information about the petition process.
My program is on rolling admissions. Can I submit my OCS application early for early approval by The College?
OCS will only review applications after the OCS Application deadline.
I am not going to study off campus until the spring of next year. Why do I need to have all of this paperwork in so early?
The College has a single application deadline each year in order to facilitate planning for the institution as a whole, and in order to encourage you to plan ahead for your off-campus experience.
Do I need to pay the application fee for my program myself, or does the College include that in my tuition?
You are responsible for paying the application fee yourself. We encourage you to apply to your program of choice online when possible, since many programs reduce or waive the fee for online applications.
Do I need to pay the confirmation deposit myself, or does the College include that in my tuition?
You are responsible for paying the confirmation deposit yourself, directly to the program. The College will reimburse this deposit to you on your bill for the semester.
I would like to study off-campus in the summer. Do I need to apply through Wooster’s OCS office?
Only if you would like financial aid to transfer. Note that each student receives eight semesters of financial aid. Transfer of one semester for summer study means that you will have one less semester of financial aid for the regular academic year.
Can I study off-campus for a full-year instead of one semester?
Yes, if you have good academic justification, it is possible to be approved for a full-year of off-campus study. Financial aid will transfer to one term – summer, semester or full-year – of off-campus study to a single location. Any exception to policy requires a petition. Please note that advance planning is necessary for full-year off-campus study. Discuss the length of your off-campus experience with your academic advisor.
I don’t want to be away for a full-semester. Are there any shorter options for off-campus study?
Yes, you may attend a summer program either through The College of Wooster—the College has two to three “Wooster In...” program each year—or through an outside organization. Note that transfer of one semester for summer study means that you will have one less semester of financial aid for the regular academic year.
Does Wooster limit the number of students who may study off-campus?
No. However, when the number of proposals exceeds the projected off-campus study budget for any given year, OCS will rank proposals to distribute institutional financial aid. If a student's proposal is not granted institutional financial aid, the student may still study off-campus, but institutional financial aid will not be available. Also, The College of Wooster tries to balance the Fall and Spring enrollment numbers, so students may be asked to study off-campus in a certain semester.
My original off-campus study plans have changed since I applied. How do I go about changing my desired semester/location/program for off-campus study?
Please contact the Director of OCS immediately if you wish to modify your OCS plans. Any changes from the proposal require a new Release of Liability form and approval from your academic advisor in order to be considered by the OCS office for final approval.
Registration & Housing
Should I enroll for classes at Wooster for the semester that I will be off-campus?
Unless you are unsure of your ability to study off-campus in the subsequent semester, do not register for classes.
How can I sign up for classes for the semester following my time off-campus?
You will register on ScotWeb, per the normal registration procedures. If you cannot obtain internet access at the time of your registration, please contact the Registrar with your preferred courses and back-up options. The Registrar will complete registration for you.
What do I do about my housing situation for the first semester after I return?
If you are participating in general room draw, you need to designate a proxy to act on your behalf. If you are planning to live in a program house or hall, complete the application process prior to departure. Consult the Residence Life website or contact Residence Life with further questions.
Passports & Visas
Do I need a passport and/or visa?
The passport is your home country’s permission to travel abroad. The visa is the host country’s permission for you to enter and remain for a specified period of time. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain both the passport and visa (if required by the host country). Not all countries require a visa, but an increasing number do. Visa regulations differ from country to country and often from consulate to consulate. For example, the regulations at the Spanish consulate in New York may be different from the Spanish consulate in Chicago. Some may accept documentation through U.S. postal service while others might require you to send documents via FedEx or DHL, or even appear in person.
What do I do to get a passport and/or visa?
You need to start thinking about passport and visa requirements early. Passports take 4-6 weeks to process and must be obtained through the U.S. Department of State. Visas vary in processing times, but you should start thinking about applying at least three months prior to your departure. Do not leave this to the last minute or assume that exceptions will be made. For U.S. citizens, a good place to begin is the U.S. Department of State. Look for your host country’s Entry/Exit requirements. You should also be aware that if traveling through another country to reach your final destination (e.g. U.S. to Russia via Toronto, Canada), you may need a transit visa.
Who can help me?
The OCS office can provide counsel and advice for the process, but cannot be responsible for securing your visa. For students participating in third-party programs (e.g. SIT, IES, Arcadia, etc.), their offices can and will provide guidance in this process.