The Academic Advisor's Role

Faculty/staff academic advisors play a vital role in helping students study abroad, and are involved at several points in the process. Below is a general timeline for when academic advisors are involved and how they assist students.

See UVM Faculty and Staff Roles in Study Abroad to learn how students are advised about the distinctions between your role, that of a study abroad advisor, and that of UVM Transfer Affairs.

When a student first decides to study abroad

Students should talk with their academic advisors about their desire to study abroad as soon as they enroll at UVM, using the Academic Planning form for Study Abroad specific to their UVM School/College. Advisors should be able to speak with students about when might be best for them to study abroad (based on their degree requirements, and course sequencing and availability), what types of courses students should look for while considering their study abroad program options, and what electives, distribution or other degree requirements students may want to ‘save’ to take while abroad. Students attest in GoAbroad that they have met with their academic advisor to have these discussions.. Sometimes students might ask non-academic questions in this meeting, or questions that generally academic advisors are unprepared to answer. See the roles of Study Abroad Advisors and the Office of Transfer Affairs, so that you can refer the student appropriately.. 

Before a student is accepted to their study abroad program

About a year before the student plans to study abroad, they should begin to actively work on the UVM study abroad application and approval processes. At this time, they should attend a Study Abroad 101 information session, or thoroughly read the Getting Started page on the OIE website. They should also start using GoAbroad. GoAbroad is where students can search for approved study abroad programs, and apply for UVM approval to study abroad.  

All students planning to study abroad (except for short-term Travel Study courses) are required to meet with an academic advisor during this time period, if they did not do so in their first semester at UVM. See “When a student first decides to study abroad” above for details. 

After a student is accepted into their study abroad program

After a student is accepted into their chosen study abroad program, they will have a new UVM study abroad approval process checklist in GoAbroad to complete. A large part of this post-acceptance checklist deals with UVM policies and processes for transferring credit from study abroad. 

  • Students will be required to read about earning credit abroad through the Academics and Study Abroad portal. They will take a quiz on this material and will be required to earn 100% on the quiz before they move on.
  • Students will sign a document saying that they understand a set of transfer credit policies and agree to follow them.
  • Students can learn about grade and credit conversion rates for their study abroad program using the spreadsheet maintained by the Office of Transfer Affairs (conversions subject to change, credits will be verified once final transcript is received).
  • Students will complete a Course Planning Worksheet, on which they plan out courses they are thinking of taking while abroad and learn about how they might transfer back to UVM. This worksheet is not collected but can be used by the student for their own planning purposes, and students are instructed to bring it to their meetings with academic advisors for study abroad approval (see below).
  • Students from all Schools/Colleges will meet with their Academic Advisors one last time to complete a Faculty/Staff Advisor Study Abroad Approval Form. These forms are different for each School/College, but they require the student and their advisor to discuss their School/College and academic department's rules requirements, and the types of courses a student should look for abroad. In GoAbroad, the student is instructed to bring a blank approval form with them to their meeting with you, along with their completed Course Planning Worksheet. 
  • Student Services Offices in CALS, CAS, CEMS, CESS, and GSB will have admin access to GoAbroad to attest that the student is in good academic standing, and has the School/College approval to study abroad. (Students in CNHS and RSENR receive School/College approval directly from their faculty advisor.).

While a student is abroad

While a student is abroad, they may need to contact their Academic Advisor and/or Transfer Affairs with questions or changes to their course schedules. It is very common that students might need to change their course plans based on what courses are available to them once they are abroad (for example, if a course is full before they can register for it). OIE recommends that students email their Academic Advisor and Transfer Affairs to let them know of any changes to their plans. For many programs course syllabi are not always available until after the student arrives abroad and starts their classes. Once classes have started, students can email their syllabi to their academic departments for further review and evaluation, if needed, to determine how the new course might apply to the student’s degree requirements.