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Selecting and accepting students

Student Application Process

Students apply online and will receive electronic bills from the MSU Student Accounts Office for all program related bills.

Review Process

Academic Review

Student applications are reviewed online, in the OSA Faculty Portal. For instructions on how to review program applications see the instructions for using the Faculty Portal. In the case of any non-MSU applicants, you will be able to see that they have applied but will not be able to view their transcripts online. OSA will collect hard copies of their materials and scan them to you for review. If you are expecting additional application items (such as résumés, housing forms, statements of interest, etc.) and they are missing from the student file, please inform an OSA staff member and we will notify the applicant that his/her application is incomplete.

It is advisable to review applications early and regularly so students are not left hanging and lose interest in the program. Students are told that applications will be reviewed on a rolling admissions basis. Of course, rolling admissions does not mean first-come, first-served. If you review an application but are unable to make a decision regarding that student, please let your OSA program assistant know the reason that no action can be taken, and your estimate of when you may be able to make a final decision. We often receive calls from students and, without this information, are unable to determine whether their application has been overlooked, or reviewed and put "on hold."

Review student academic records carefully to verify that the student is in "good academic standing" (i.e., GPA of 2.00 or better and no evidence of current or pending academic probation). All students must have a GPA of 2.00 or higher at the time of application; however, this does not guarantee admission, and you may choose to require a higher GPA for participation

in your program. If an applicant has a borderline GPA (barely above a 2.00) and there is an additional semester of grades to be reported before departure of the program, contact OSA for options.

All eligibility criteria should be clearly stated in your program flyer and web text. Please contact the OSA program coordinator for your program if you have concerns or feel that a student has not or will not meet the minimum GPA requirement. You may want to require an in-person interview as part of your selection process. Interviews of semester program applicants are strongly recommended.

Student Conduct Review

An applicant's participation may be denied or his/her participation approval may be revoked if his/her conduct before departure raises doubts as to his/her suitability for program participation. Participation may also be denied based on prior disciplinary or criminal action.

OSA works closely with the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution and will inform you, usually within ten days of receiving an application, whether or not the applicant has a record. These records list on-campus violations involving one or more of the following: a) illegal drug use; b) repeat (two or more) alcohol violations; c) alcohol violation that resulted in hospitalization or arrest; d) previous disciplinary probation; e) current probation; or f) violent behavior. You will be asked to review the record and inform OSA of your admissions decision. If you would like guidance on suggested action steps, contact OSA. According to the Office of the Provost you cannot deny admissions merely because a student has a conduct report. You are expected to carefully review the record to determine whether or not the violation is sufficiently grievous to deny admission. You may wish to schedule an interview with the student to discuss the infraction.

Health Review

At the time of application, students will submit an online health form that is reviewed by medical staff in the MSU Travel Clinic in light of the program's location and activities. In most cases, students will be cleared for travel relatively quickly. Other students may be asked to supply more information about their condition or asked to see their physician to obtain confirmation of his/her support for the student's participation in the desired study abroad program.

In the case of complex chronic illnesses, the professionals in the Travel Clinic, after review of the health history and talking with the student, will work with the student to have a support plan in place in case a student needs care while abroad. Sometimes a student may be advised by the University Physician to select program in a location with better access to care or delay participation based on a medical condition. Such recommendations can only come from a medical professional. In very rare circumstances, a student's acceptance is rescinded due to concern that the condition cannot be properly managed abroad.

Unfortunately, many students do not disclose pre-existing health conditions because they fear this information will impact their admission. They are not aware that the health review is

independent of the academic review. Therefore, in any and all pre-departure meetings, program leaders are asked to encourage students to disclose any medical conditions to the Travel Clinic if they failed to do so at the time of application. Leaders should also suggest students disclose conditions to them directly that might be important in order to respond appropriately in a medical emergency (such as animal, insect, food or medication allergies).

Some medical conditions may qualify as disabilities (and many disabilities are invisible). OSA encourages students with disabilities to study abroad and we will work closely with the student, the program leader(s), the Travel Clinic,GeoBlue (formerly HTH Worldwide) and the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to provide reasonable accommodations where possible.

Admitting Students

Once you have reviewed the application, student conduct record, and academic student record, and have accepted the student through the faculty portal, OSA will send an electronic acceptance to the student. Since acceptance is a multiple-step process, it is important that you do NOT notify students of your decision to accept them.

Maintain regular contact with the students you have accepted into the program. This ongoing communication is vital to keeping students engaged and excited about participating in your program and may reduce the number of students who withdraw just prior to departure. Encourage all accepted students to begin planning by reading the relevant sections of the Study Abroad Student Guide, getting their passports, and scheduling an appointment with a travel clinic.

It is recommended to start waitlisting students once you've reached your targeted (=budgeted) enrollment. Waitlists should be about 15% of your targeted enrollment since experience shows that approximately 15% of applicants will withdraw from programs, even after accepting admissions. Let your OSA program assistant know if you wish to automatically admit the next student from the waitlist or would like to be notified before admitting the next waitlisted student. If the former, it is a good idea to rank students on the waitlist, otherwise, OSA will rank participants based on the date their application was submitted. It is acceptable to rank the waitlist by gender for housing purposes, but not merely to obtain a gender balance.

Even though you may have several students on your waitlist who could possibly replace a withdrawing student, do not make financial promises to that student. If none of the waitlisted students can participate, the withdrawing student will be financially responsible according to the withdrawal policy.

If you should have insufficient enrollment at the time of the application deadline, DO NOT cancel your program. The Office of Study Abroad will contact you to discuss strategies and options. Programs are only cancelled after consultation among OSA, the sponsoring college(s) and program leaders.

If you receive inquiries or wish to learn more about students' financial obligations related to admissions, transfer or withdrawal, see the Statement of Responsibility that students are required to sign.

Student Withdrawal

If you learn that a student wishes to withdraw, inform them that they are required to notify the Office of Study Abroad, in writing (e-mail is acceptable), that they no longer intend to participate. The Office of Study Abroad will not accept verbal cancellations from students, and program leaders cannot withdraw a student from a program. OSA often deals with upset students who are held financially responsible for bills because they tell us "I told my program leader I was withdrawing" but neglected to inform OSA. The date on which the written withdrawal notification is received is the date by which students' financial obligations are determined, according to OSA's withdrawal policy. Complete information about OSA's withdrawal policy is available at [insert LINK]. Be sure to refer to this policy should student inquire about the consequences of withdrawing.

Since withdrawals can negatively affect your program budget, be sure to work with your OSA program assistant and coordinator on closely monitoring enrollment in your program.

Late Applicants

Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible, and no later than the posted program deadline. Should you receive applications after the deadline, consider the logistical feasibility of accepting an additional student, primarily determined by the time remaining until your program's departure date. Ask yourself whether or not there is sufficient time:

  • for students to purchase affordable airfare; receive required immunizations; enroll and register for courses; obtain a passport and/or visa; apply for scholarships and financial aid; attend orientation and receive materials; pay program fees and tuition prior to departure?
  • for you as the program director to review the application, conduct any required interview, and orient students to bring them up to speed with other participants?
  • for OSA to process the application (particularly student conduct and health clearance); provide already-distributed materials including contact addresses, host family assignments, etc.; adjust housing arrangements, etc.; and enroll students in GeoBlue (formerly HTH Worldwide) Insurance?

It is very important not to accept additional students until it is confirmed that additional housing is available, if needed, and that onsite transportation arrangements can accommodate an additional person.