Information for Parents

We understand that parents have questions and concerns about their students going off-campus. Please know that we are here to help.

Graduation Requirements for my Student

A full-time semester program abroad will fulfill the cultural diversity requirement from the general education curriculum.  Many majors or programs have a structured set of courses, but with careful planning, there is an off-campus experience that will work for every student. 

Many students have taken courses off-campus to fulfill requirements in their major, though others may spend a summer off-campus to free up time during the regular semesters to focus on coursework for their majors or internships.  Students will work with their academic advisor and the Off-Campus Programs office to ensure that all courses they plan to take are approved before they apply to a program, ensuring that time spent off-campus will count towards graduation requirements.

Affording an Off-Campus Experience

If going off-campus is a priority, there is generally a way to make it affordable. Early planning helps students make cost-effective program decisions, and it also helps them prepare through personal savings, scholarships, and financial aid.

Though many programs are comparable to the cost of attending Lake Forest College, there is a great deal of variation in costs between programs, and student and their families should carefully consider all of their options before making a decision.

For some programs, such as Lake Forest or ACM programs, financial aid will apply.  For all other programs, students can apply to take their aid with them.  Additional scholarship aid may also be available through national competitions like Gilman or Boren, as well as the program provider.  Off-Campus Programs staff will work with students to help them compare their options and offer assistance on their scholarship applications. 

Benefits of an Off-Campus Experience

Studying off-campus is an opportunity to not only explore another place in the world, but also to gain many skills that will significantly enhance your studies and career. Some of the potential benefits of going off-campus include:

  • Gain a competitive edge for resumes or graduate applications
  • Obtain hands-on work experience in a multicultural context
  • Relate classroom lectures to real-world situations
  • Develop and improve language skills
  • Gain an international perspective of the major
  • Experience another culture – and develop a greater awareness of your own
  • Become more self-confident and independent
  • Expand cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills 

Other studies, such as the GLOSSARI project, have shown that adding an international component to one’s degree is directly related to graduating on time (within four years) and having an improved focus and GPA upon return. 

Safety

We take this subject very seriously. We constantly evaluate the academics, service, and quality of life available in off-campus programs.

All of our programs provide limited health insurance because we care about the welfare of our students. Our Lake Forest, ACM, and approved programs have highly trained staff available 24 hours a day on-site to deal with situations that may arise.  In addition, our staff at Lake Forest College is prepared to work with students whenever needed. 

Each of our students is required to participate in a pre-departure meeting, covering issues of cultural adjustment, health, safety, and security abroad.  We work with students to understand both the risks they face and the resources they can use when needed. 

Risks are inherent in any study abroad program. We discern and broadcast risks so students can take the necessary precautions, and we alert parents to issues when necessary. However, there are events that are outside our control and responsible behavior by your student lessens the risks associated with being abroad. 

If you have any other questions, please look at our FAQ section or contact the office.