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Students notified of study abroad decisions

Liz O'Donnell | Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Office of International Studies (OIS) received 1,499 applications for study abroad programs for the 2010-2011 school year, Director Kathleen Opel said.

Opel said not all of the 1,499 applications were “unique,” meaning that some students turned in multiple applications to OIS.

“The number of applications we received this year was just a bit higher than last year, probably by 10 or so,” she said.

Opel said they were able to offer acceptances to 789 people and place some others on waiting lists. She said the most popular programs were mainly in English-speaking locations.

“Students who applied to study abroad during the next academic year were notified on Feb. 5 about their acceptance decision from the programs they applied to,” Opel said.
Opel said they considered a number of factors in their decision aside from a student’s GPA.

“It would be really easy if [admission] were only based off GPA,” she said. “First we examine every part of the application, everything written with the essay being the most important part.”

Among other factors that influenced the committee’s decision was the required academic letters of reference, rector reference and Dean’s approval. 

“Most students understand and have met the guidelines we have laid out for the abroad programs,” Opel said. “We get a sense of who are those applicants who are best suited for the program as well as the program that best suits the students. We choose based on students who fit both criteria.”

Students accepted to a study abroad program have until Friday to notify OIS about their decision to either accept the invitation or withdraw.

The traditional favorites were London, Dublin and both Australia programs as well as Rome and Toledo, she said. “The English language programs tend to be strong,” she said.

Sophomore Kelly Kraus, who was accepted into the London Program for Spring 2011, said she’s never traveled abroad and is very excited.

“I have never been abroad before and it will definitely be a new experience for me,” she said. “I hope to also visit Ireland, France and Spain, among other places.”

For students who were wait-listed, OIS laid out a series of guidelines on their Web site to help with the process.

Opel said it is important to note there is no ranking on any of the waiting lists, and the who will be accepted depends on the accepted students who choose to withdraw.

“In some programs, a spot may open up for a male because another male dropped out, or there may be room for an engineering major,” she said.

Although there were many qualified applications for each program, Opel said sometimes OIS is limited by the number of students it can extend invitations to based on the number of available slots at the school.

“In some programs we’re restricted in the number of students we can send and that sets off the number of total acceptances,” she said. “For example in the Hong Kong program, even if we have 50 terrific applicants, we can only send four students.”

Opel said movement on the wait list usually happens between now and April, but it does continue over the summer.