The world just opened up to Pacific’s sophomores. A proposal that went before the Arts and Sciences faculty was approved in the beginning of March officially allowing sophomores to participate in semester study abroad.
In the past, students were unable to study abroad during their sophomore year unless they could prove that their academic schedules made it a necessity. During the March 3 College of Arts and Sciences faculty meeting, that requirement was amended to permit all eligible sophomores to study abroad.
According to the unofficial minutes for the College of Arts and Sciences faculty meeting on March 3, before the amendments, Pacific had some of the most restrictive study abroad eligibility requirements of any school in the country.
Two main reasons were cited in the minutes for contributing to Pacific’s restrictive status: the prohibition of sophomore participation and the requirement for completion of a 202-level course in the language spoken in the area of study.
The minutes suggested that the amendments would help make Pacific a more attractive option to students who factor international education into their college selection.
Pacific’s annual level of participation in study abroad was 50 to 75 percent lower than neighboring Linfield College, which, according to the minutes, “suggests that we do not effectively compete for such students.”
For foreign language majors, the changes mean in order to be eligible to study abroad as a sophomore, a student would have to place higher than 101 as a freshman, implying a level of study in the language before coming to Pacific.
However, according to the minutes, a large number of Pacific’s freshmen students were already placing at the 201 or 202 level.
They often exceeded the academic requirement for study abroad by the end of their freshmen year and the prohibition to study abroad as sophomores hindered their academic progress.
While sophomores in general have been given the go-ahead, there are still eligibility requirements for students interested in study abroad.
Applicants for the program are expected to exhibit personal and academic preparation for the program, have an overall GPA of at least 2.75 and have attended Pacific full time for at least one semester.
For language programs, students are required to have a completion of college-level language study through the 202 level and a minimum 3.0 GPA in language classes.