A few reminders about academic issues for this semester/year.
- Whilst you are studying here you are expected to follow exactly the same curriculum as everyone else in your class and be assessed in the same way. There should be no individual special arrangements made for you such as changing the dates of exams, or excusing you from exams if it’s not normal policy that JYA (Junior Year Abroad) students sit them. The timing of the UK academic year is different from the US academic year: you should not make plans for an early return to the US to take up a summer job or internship, attend a graduation or any other family function.
- Disciplinary codes at your hosting universities apply equally to visiting students and to full-degree students. We have been reminded of this recently when cases of alleged plagiarism involved our students have been brought to our attention. Plagiarism is treated extremely seriously by this office and by UK universities and will often result in a formal disciplinary hearing, followed by sanctions. We’re sure there’s no need to remind you not to be tempted to take short cuts with your research of writing: don’t leave your assignments to the last minute as that seems to be when errors occur.
- At the end of your semester/year, a transcript or report on your attainments will be issued by your hosting university. If you are asked where it should be sent, give the address of the Cornell/Brown/Penn UK Centre in London- that way we can keep a check on which transcripts have been issued and chase up ones which are late. Remember, if a transcript is given to you for passing on to your US university, it is classed as an ‘unofficial’ transcript back home, so we must have the ‘official’ copy sent to the Centre. You might be asked to sign a waiver here in the UK, authorising the issuing of your grades to us; please do so!
- Transcripts issued in the UK will vary in format from university to university: some will show UK letter grades or percentages and recommended US translations, a few will give US-style grades. In all cases you will have been assessed using exactly the same criteria and standards as all the other students in your class and the UK grades may look lower than you are used to because of different marking traditions. When you return to the UK, the posting of grades will depend on your university: Brown posts study abroad grades on the Brown transcript as pass/fail – though of course your full UK transcript is a matter of record; Cornell puts the UK grade exactly as given on the Cornell transcript, but it is not factored into your GPA (no ‘translation’ of overseas grades is attempted); UPenn does ‘translate’ overseas grades to US-type grades were this has not been done already and your grades are factored into your GPA.
- As long as you complete your work successfully here you should be able to transfer credit back to the US but you must take responsibility for the pre-approval of courses if necessary (you’ll need to work with advisors back on your home campus for this). And when you return to the US take every relevant piece of paper with you: course syllabi, booklists, lecture lists, marked essays. In the UK it is not normal practice to return marked exam scripts to students. If you have a serious question about your marks on your return to the US, first go to your study abroad office and they’ll advise you how to proceed. Do this before emailing your lecturer or tutor directly, please.
- Whether you are here for a semester or a year, you will be registering for courses for your next semester from the UK. Again, our three US universities have slightly different ways of doing things but all of you can register for your courses online from the UK. Full details of what to do are given in the study abroad information books you all received and will also be sent to you by email from the US nearer the time.