Academic Planning-Before you go
Choose the right program
Choosing the program that's right for you can be difficult. You should think about programs that fit into your academic goals and your personal interests. Continue to search our website or come to the Study Abroad Resource Center (106 Red Gym) to speak with a Peer Advisor who will help you narrow down your choices and explain the academic and non-academic components of the programs that interest you. Then, make an appointment with your Academic Advisor in your major department (or your potential major department) to discuss how study abroad can fit into your academic plan.
You can also view Study Abroad 101 to begin planning a successful study abroad experience!
Know your DARS (Degree Audit Reporting System)
Knowing where you are in your academic career is essential to choosing the study abroad program that's right for you. UW-Madison students can request a DARS through "My UW". A DARS report is a record of an undergraduate student's progress toward a degree or certificate program. It shows which requirements have been completed and which requirements still remain to be completed. If you have not yet declared your major, you can run a "what-if" DARS that will show how far you are to completing your degree and intended major.
Once you are ready, you will apply online.
Once you have been accepted, you will need to speak with your Academic Advisor(s) to go over your progress towards your major(s). Before meeting with your advisor, review your DARS report in conjunction with your study abroad program handbook and course equivalent list to determine what type of courses you might want to take abroad. Pay attention to your degree requirements and "credit-rules". Each school on the UW campus has its own policies. The Undergraduate Catalogue is a great place to begin checking your requirements for your degree and major(s).
Bring the following items to the meeting with your Academic Advisor:
- Study abroad handbooks and academic information relevant to your program
- Course equivalent list for your program
- An up-to-date copy of your DARS report
- A list of questions and concerns you want to discuss, including the types of courses you should take abroad and what courses you should take (and register for) when you return to campus
Remember, it is also a good idea to stay in contact with your Academic Advisor especially when you are choosing courses while abroad.
The more you prepare for your program abroad, the more you will benefit in terms of academic progress, cultural knowledge, and personal growth. Before going abroad, IAP will provide orientation sessions and materials to help prepare you for your experience abroad. Please take the time to learn as much as you can about your program and its location.