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Selecting a Program

With so many program options, it is easy to become overwhelmed.  Use the below tips to help narrow down the options to 2 - 5 programs that you know would be a great fit. Above all, don’t hesitate to come talk to us!  

Consider these factors when choosing a program:

Academic Program 

Are there specific courses you need to take for your major, minor, or Forester Fundamental requirements?  Make an appointment with your academic advisor(s) to explore what courses you may need to stay on track to graduate.

Identity

The different aspects of your identity can be important when deciding on a study abroad location. Please explore these resources from some of our study abroad partners and other international education organizations. 

Language Ability 

Do you speak another language or want to improve your language skills?  Do you want to take all of your courses in English, another language, or a mix of both?  Many programs do not require any language pre-requisite, though some will require or offer language study as part of the program.  If you are interested in taking courses in another language, programs usually require 4-6 university-level semesters of that language before participating. 

GPA

LFC requires a 2.5 GPA; however, most programs require a 2.75 (some programs accept a lower GPA with an explanation). However, you may find programs that require a 3.0 or higher. 

Experiential Learning 

Many programs have internships, service-learning, volunteer opportunities, or research available. Some may be for-credit, others may be non-credit, but all will be great resume-building experience.

Tolerance for Ambiguity & Independence 

Be honest with yourself. Are you comfortable advocating for yourself on campus, and finding the resources for success on your own (with a comprehensive orientation and on-site coordinator, of course)? Are you OK with not having some amenities such as constant access to the internet or air-conditioning? Do you prefer an environment with similar amenities and services found on a US campus? Each program profile mentions in the intro section, the type of student that would be most likely to thrive in that location.

Type/Size of Institution 

Do you want to directly enroll in a foreign institution, or do you prefer a style of learning closer to that of the U.S.? Smaller programs or small institutions could offer more personal attention; large universities may have more course options or a different kind of student life on campus. 

Housing/Meals 

Living with a family, in a student residence, or in an apartment involves different levels of independence and integration. Some programs may offer meals with a family, a dining hall, or a stipend to purchase and cook your own meals.  Other programs may not include any meals.  What suits you?

Financials 

While all students pay Lake Forest College tuition plus a GEO program fee, the program fees can vary based on the program.  Cost of living, and cost of airfare, can mean several thousand dollars difference. Also, when considering scholarship funding, programs outside of Western Europe and Australia/New Zealand tend to be viewed more favorably by review committees for national award funding. Some countries may have specific scholarships available, too. Check out these scholarships!

Term Dates 

Because of the different academic calendars of some countries, you may only be able to do a semester-long program during the spring semester for certain programs.  However, you may find the best availability (and less competition for exchanges)  for programs in the fall. If you’re a winter sports athlete, we even have a tab to help you find options. Keep in touch with Athletics and Residence Life to be certain you understand the requirements for staying on campus and/or retaining eligibility for your sport.

Chances of Placement 

Getting into your preferred program is never a guarantee.  We always recommend choosing several back-ups just in case, and we can talk you through the process.  Some sites have less space available than others. BUT - don’t choose alternates that you would not be thrilled to attend, as we cannot guarantee placement on any program.

For help in exploring programs and for assistance at any point in the application process, contact the Global Engagement Office.