Off-Campus Study: First-Years and Sophomores — Fall 2020 Family Information Session

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Learn about the programs and opportunities offered by the Office of Off-Campus Study (OCS) at Colgate. Director Joanna Holvey Bowles and other members of the OCS team cover the application process and deadlines, and how this fits into the degree process and use of financial aid. In addition, we address the way in which COVID-19 has impacted international and domestic programs.

Questions Asked during the Webinar

While most Colgate students choose to study off campus for a semester during their junior year, some qualifying sophomores also complete semester-long programs, usually in their spring semester. Also, students are able to study off campus in their senior year, although the logistics can be complicated by senior seminar requirements and student desire to participate in Commencement activities on campus in May. Current sophomores should apply in the current cycle for off-campus study in their junior year, 2021–2022. 

The OCS portal is open to accept study group applications for the 2021–2022 academic year from October 7 – November 4. Candidates for study groups will be invited for individual interviews with faculty directors in November and offers will go out in December. Students will be asked to accept or decline offers and commit to a study group by a deadline in early January. 

Applications for permission to participate in an Approved Program are received from November 4, 2020, until February 3, 2021. See our instructions for how to apply.

Yes, you and your student can learn more about the fall 2021 and Spring 2022 study group programs and watch videos made by the faculty directors describing their programs on our website.

Yes! Students who meet the prerequisites and have the minimum GPA are likely to be selected to participate in a Colgate study group. Some study groups receive a greater number of applicants than others, and are therefore slightly more competitive.

Students applying to participate in a Colgate study group can select up to two programs. If a student isn’t selected to participate in a study group, they can apply for permission to participate in an Approved Program. The deadlines for Approved Programs come later in our application cycle to provide students with the most options possible. Once a student is approved by OCS, they usually apply to two or three external Approved Programs. Our office is committed to making sure all students interested in an off-campus experience are appropriately placed.

Our office is collaborating with many academic departments to provide increased opportunities for the current juniors whose off-campus study plans were disrupted by the pandemic. If there is an increase in qualified applicants for the upcoming Colgate study groups, faculty directors may elect to take a larger group than usual. If a student is not selected to participate in a Colgate study group, they are encouraged to pursue an Approved Program. Keep in mind that short programs such as our Colgate extended studies also offer great ways for students to have an experience off campus. Summer study-abroad programs may also provide opportunities for our students, although it should be noted that financial aid is not available for summer, because Colgate does not have an official summer session. 

While our office does not facilitate student applications for summer study abroad, we are happy to guide students through the options and application process. More information about summer study abroad can be found on our website. If they wish, students can earn transfer credits on a summer program if they meet the criteria and gain pre-approval from their department and/or the registrar’s office. Financial aid cannot be applied for summer programs.

Yes! OCS staff are available for individual advising appointments. Students can see the list of advisors and their areas of specialization and schedule an appointment on our website. Also, our Peer Advisors are available for advising appointments. Check out their profiles and short videos on our website under Peer Advisors.

Thank you! We don’t have plans for our Peer Advisors to make presentations to a student group, but they have uploaded videos introducing themselves and describing their off-campus experiences on our website. Additionally, students interested in off-campus study may contact the peer advisors to speak with them about the student experience off campus.

Students interested in programs endorsed by their major or minor department are encouraged to use the search tools on our portal to discover programs best suited for their curricular needs. Students should also schedule an advising appointment with OCS and with their academic (major) advisor.

Travel to the program site and other program costs are the responsibility of the student and are arranged for and paid separately in addition to billed Colgate tuition. You can find student cost estimates describing both included and estimated costs for our programs in the costs and aid section of our website.

For information on programs like the GI bill and other individual scholarship information, please contact Colgate's Office of Financial Aid. The Office of Off-Campus Study does not have access to student financial information.

Our office has been actively promoting the application process and deadlines. Our website provides information and application deadlines under Applying for Off-Campus Study. Students can also find a helpful planning timeline on our website that offers month-by-month steps in the process. OCS general information meetings have been held each Tuesday through October 13 at 5 p.m. via Zoom, as advertised on the Colgate events calendar. There will be a special information meeting especially targeted for sophomores on October 20. We’ve even gone old school and put a two-page color advertisement in the October 15 edition of the student newspaper, the Maroon-News.