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 APPLYING TO STUDY ABROAD

STEP 1: DETERMINE ELIGIBILITY
 
Before you can enroll in study abroad, you must check if you are eligible to apply. There are a few simple requirements every student must meet. 

AGE: Students must be 18 years or older to enroll. This age minimum begins on the day of the program starting. Sometimes we have students who have recently graduated from high school and are 17 years old who apply. This is acceptable so long as their 18th birthday is celebrated on or before the first day of the program.
 
There is no age cut off to register. If you are a non-traditional student, a senior taking classes for pleasure, or an older adult returning to school, please feel encouraged to join study abroad. Our 35+ year old students are able to thoroughly enjoy these programs and offer a valuable perspective to their cohort. 

 GPA: In order to qualify, you must have a 2.5 gpa minimum. This number will be taken directly from your Mt. SAC transcript. If you have a gpa that is lower than 2.5 we will look at the following items to determine eligibility:
 
  • Highschool transcripts
  • Transcripts from other institutions 
  • Progress reports for the current semester 
These additional documents can help us look at your gpa more holistically and determine patterns, trends, and other circumstances that can show a students’ preparedness for studying abroad. 

UNITS: Students are expected to have a minimum of 12 units of college credit before applying to study abroad. Moving to a different country and balancing classes, a new living environment, travel, and a personal life requires an extremely focused student. By having at least one semester of college completed before departure, students have a baseline of understanding concerning the demands of a college classroom. Like with GPA concerns, we believe students should think deeply on what semester is the right time to leave so that factors like their financial aid, grades, and mental health are not compromised by such a big life change.
 
 

BUT WHAT IF I DON’T MEET THE REQUIREMENTS? 

Students should not be discouraged if they do not immediately meet all of the general requirements. If you do not meet the minimum gpa or unit requirement, you may turn in a progress report for the current semester you are applying for. 

Click here for the progress report: 

Have all of your professors fill out this report before turning it in to your Study Abroad Counselor in person or through email. Often life circumstances, financial needs, and other external events impact students ability to perform well in school. Please feel free to also disclose whatever information you are comfortable sharing to give valuable context to your academic situation. Advisors are flexible and try to meet the student where they are at. 

If you are rejected from the program, please do not give up. We often work with students over a course of several semesters before they are ready for departure. In the meantime, we can help you create a budget, apply to scholarships, select courses, and raise your gpa. 

To help raise your gpa to meet our requirement, it is strongly suggested that you seek out tutoring, attending your professors’ office hours, visiting the Counseling Department to sit with an academic advisor, and practicing new study habits.

Counseling at Mt. SAC: https://www.mtsac.edu/counseling/
 
Still not sure if you should apply? Know that study abroad is for you? Speak with an advisor to create an action plan.


STEP 2: MEET WITH YOUR ADVISORS
 
Choosing to study abroad is a huge life decision that requires thought, preparation, and strategy. Scheduling a meeting with a Study Abroad advisor is one way to help your dream turn into a reality. In a one on one appointment, you are able to ask any questions you have (and students often have many!) about the program. Especially if you have never traveled before or left the United States, meeting with an advisor is strongly encouraged.
There are generally three phases concerning student advising:
 
Phase 1: Laying the groundwork (obtaining transcripts, setting up bank accounts, applying for passports, speaking with family, etc.)
Phase 2: Go time! (raising money, working, applying for scholarships, improving grades, etc.)
Phase 3: Departure and Life Skills Prep (packing, buying tickets, researching safety, travel, and cultural practices abroad, etc.)
 
An advisor can walk you through each phase to ensure that you are prepared for studying abroad. Although it can seem intimidating, scary, tiring, or any of the other valid feelings students experience before departure, committing time to planning your trip helps make this goal feel within reach. 
 
Once we get closer to the program start date, you will also be connected to a Student Orientation, New Student Mixers, and have a chance to hear from Study Abroad Alumni who are always excited to share their personal stories and best tricks. There is an entire support network here ready to help you study abroad but it starts with that first conversation with an advisor. 
 
Feel ready to reach out? Look through our “About” page to find your Study Abroad advisor and either email, call, or drop-in their office to chat. It is always useful to email first to ensure that the advisor has availability in their schedule to talk with you. A first meeting is generally about 45 minutes long so have some time set aside. To prepare for this conversation, you can do the following:
 
  • Investigate this website - Look at pricing, housing, and program locations that way you can ask clarifying questions when you meet with an advisor.
  • Write down your questions before the meeting - This is always so helpful. When you speak with an advisor there will be a lot of new information shared. To make sure you don’t lose your train of thought, have a notebook out ready to write down key points and reference any questions you or your family may have.
  • Bring your transcripts - This will help speed up your enrollment process immensely. You can also email a PDF attachment when scheduling your first appointment. To access your unofficial transcripts, visit your Mountie Portal and find them in your Student tab.
  • Know your finances - Most likely, money is one of the biggest questions you have on your mind. During your appointment, an advisor will ask you about your financial situation: are you on financial aid, do you work, how much money have you saved, will your family be helping you financially? It is always wise to think about these factors, write them down, and present them during your meeting. This helps the advisor have a starting point to build out an action plan from. 
 
STEP 3: SELECT AND APPLY TO YOUR PROGRAM
 
After exploring your program options, speaking with an advisor, and creating an action plan, you are ready to apply to your program! Applying is easy and straightforward. Please follow these steps to register both with AIFS and Citrus College:
 
  1. Email a PDF file of your transcripts to your Study Abroad Advisor (or submit progress reports as needed)
  2. Once your advisor approves of your transcripts, they will send you an email with a link to AIFS’ website for online registration and payment.
  3. Select your program, housing arrangement, and flight plan through the AIFS portal.
  4. Through this same portal, submit your program deposit. Our programs are first come, first serve so make sure to complete this step as soon as possible. 
  5. Once you have completed your online application, an advisor will approve your application. 
  6. Apply online to become a student at Citrus College (and fill out your FAFSA application if you haven’t already).
  7. Select your classes on Citrus’ Wingspan.
  8. Following the payment schedule, complete your final payment through the AIFS portal to fully enroll in your semester abroad.  
Once these steps are completed, you are successfully enrolled in a semester abroad! The work isn’t finished here but this is a step worth celebrating over. You’re halfway there!