Tips for International Transfer Students on Making an Academic Plan

If you are an International transfer student from your home country, do not worry, and you will be fine. Thinking on the positive side, you will meet some new friends, and learn what you want to learn at one of the greatest colleges in the U.S. If you are an international transfer student, who has already studied at another college in the U.S. this experience will help you to be a Hoosier quicker than anyone else. Transfer means you do not have a full 4 years for you to complete your undergraduate degree because you took coursework elsewhere. I transferred to IU and became a Junior immediately. If I want to graduate on time, I need a get a clear and feasible plan as soon as possible. So PLAN AHEAD!

1. Know how many credits you brought to IU.

Transfer students have their courses transferred to IU. Some credits will count as UNDISTRIBUTED, and it means these courses do not transfer to specified course here at IU. Some of the courses transferred to specified courses, which will be counted as major, General Education, or any other courses. Knowing about the course you have transferred will reduce the burden of graduating on time.  Use the Credit Transfer Service to see if your classes are listed.

2. Major! Major! Major!

You need to decide your major. Different majors in IU have their own requirements to get into that major. Some departments have very strict requirements, and some may not. Knowing about your major’s requirement helps you prepare for the class registration plan. Also, prepare for one or two new majors and minors on your list. It is because even you are a transfer student; you will still have some elective credits left to study something else.

3. Not only major, but something else

After finding out the amount of credit, which required for your major. The next thing is to find out the General Education courses and Core courses which you have to take, such as Math, Natural Science, Social Science, Culture, and so on. These courses may not relate to your major. However, they are part of graduation requirement. This helps you to know how many credits you still need have to reach 120 credits except major credits.

4. Making decisions for your academic plan

After adding those credits I mentioned in 2 and 3 together, you probably already have a rough plan in your mind. Then, you need to make the most important decision. When you want to graduate?  If you want to enjoy the college, maybe discover a new minor or major, graduating on time is not a strict rule.  If you, like me, are an older age than anyone else in Junior Standing, you will probably want to graduate on time or earlier. 18 credits per semester may reduce your pressure of on-time graduation, but they give you a pressure of studying.  Still, sometimes you will find out even taking 18 credits or more per semester, you will still become a fifth-year college student. There are sometimes more credit hours than you thought you have to take even within 18 credits per semester already. Don’t worry! Summer at IU and some online courses are always a choice. Major courses will add up from 30-36, Second concentration courses are about 24 credits, and Minor is about 12 to 15 credits. The amount of credits depends on each department.

After reading all this, you may get lost in paragraphs. Why not go to your advisor? Every student, no matter freshman or transfer student will be assigned an advisor. Their explanations probably are better than mine. There are also some advisors in each major and department. No matter how you do it - meeting them in person, calling, or sending an email will be very helpful.  Just remember one thing before you go to see advisors. Prepare! The academic bulletin, major/minor requirements, and the General Ed requirements and explanations are online. The websites should have most of the information you need. You need to read them thoroughly and carefully, come out with as many questions as you can, and bring all of your understanding and questions to your meeting with the advisor.

Even after I did a lot search, appointments, and asking, I still faced some problems and situations which disturbed my plan. I made a lot of changes to my plan - give up something to gain something else. Changing and a Plan B option may lead to a good result. Feeling upset and confusion cannot stop you. Any problem within a solution is not a problem. Good Luck!


About The Author
Luyuan(Ruby) LiClass of 2016

I'm a senior studying Journalism at Indiana University Bloomington. My minor and second concentration is Art History. I am originally come from Shenzhen, China, and came to America for high school when I was 17. I lived in St. Louis for four years and decided to transfer from Saint Louis University to IU as an International Transfer Student. I am a member of Internation Student Ambassadors.