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International study applications increase

Teresa Fralish | Monday, November 3, 2003

Applications for international study programs have increased significantly over the last several years, according to Director of International Study Programs Thomas Bogenschild.

“I think there’s been a substantial increase,” said Bogenschild. “Clearly more students are applying.”

Because ISP is just now beginning to track acceptance rates for its various programs, Bogenschild said he could not say exactly how selective the programs are, or if selectivity has increased over the past few years. However, he noted that the Dublin, Ireland, Toledo, Spain, Rome, Italy and Australia programs were in general the most competitive.

Because some locations, such as Beijing, China, only allow for two participants, admittance for such programs can be very selective depending on the year and applicant pool.

Officials from the London Program could not be reached for comment on the number of applications being received and admittance rates. However, assistant director Terry Bays said she has seen an increase in freshmen interest about London, even though all London program participants must be juniors.

In part due to higher number of applicants, both the London Program and ISP have made changes in how they evaluate applicants. Previously, the top students were admitted every program they applied at, and most other applicants were forced to remain on waiting lists for long periods of time.

Now, students must designate their top choice program when they apply, although they can change their mind later on in the admission process.

“The goal is to get as many people accepted to their first choice program as possible,” said Bays.

Students’ applications are first evaluated by their top-choice program, which then decides whether to extend an offer of admission.

Other programs will only evaluate an application after the student has turned down the acceptance offer or if the first-choice program does not admit the student.

On average, students apply to two to three programs, said Bays.

One common conception among students is that admission is easier for the fall semester.

“It varies from program to program,” said Bogenschild. “Fall has traditionally been less competitive.”

According to Bays, selectivity for spring and fall generally evens out because most science and engineering students are required to study in London in the fall, but she said she still sees a strong interest in the fall semester.

“There is a preference for spring among some students,” she said.

Both Bays and Bogenschild said that disciplinary violations may hurt applicants, but do not necessarily prevent them from being admitted.

In general, officials will consider what the violation was, when it occurred and whether it shows a trend in the applicant’s behavior. Students on disciplinary probation are prohibited from studying abroad and must have a 2.5 GPA to apply.

“Usually we bring them in to talk about it,” said Bogenschild.

In addition to disciplinary problems, Bogenschild said a student’s motivation and foreign language are important for gaining admission.

Both officials said they anticipate having to make cuts to their programs because of financial problems that have affected departments throughout the University.

However, they were unsure exactly such funding cuts would affect the number of students they can send to study abroad programs.

Bogenschild estimated that about 30 to 40 percent of Notre Dame students participate during their four years in some type of study abroad program, such as summer study or yearlong programs.

The international study programs with the most participants are Australia, Dublin, Ireland, Angers, France, Innsbruck, Austria, Rome, Italy and Toledo, Spain, with about 20-30 students per semester.

The London Program, where all faculty and staff are University employees, is the largest of Notre Dame’s study abroad programs, with about 150 students participating each semester. For the rest of the international study programs, ISP works through another university’s program.

Depending on their major, students are limited to certain locations.

All majors can study in London, with exception of architecture students who spend a year in Rome. Engineering students are limited to London and Perth, Australia, while arts and letters students generally have the most flexibility in their choice of locations.