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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.

Application Review Process


Compliance with MSU’s Anti-Discrimination Policy

The Office of General Counsel has advised the Office for Education Abroad to reinforce the importance in the administration of education abroad programs of adhering to this and all other university policies.

Specifically, education abroad programming must comply with all MSU policies and regulations, including but not limited to the MSU Anti-Discrimination Policy (ADP).  This policy outlines the types of prohibited discrimination and harassment at Michigan State University.  Under the ADP, University community members are prohibited from engaging in acts which discriminate against or harass any University community member on the basis of age, color, gender, gender identity, disability status, height, marital status, national origin, political persuasion, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or weight.

Program Directors MUST comply with the ADP and should report any potential bias incidents to the Office of International Health and Safety and the Office of Institutional Equity.

The ADP applies to the entire education abroad program cycle, including advising, admission decisions, on-site programming, and post-program follow-up.

Academic Review

Academic Review

Student applications are reviewed online, in the Education Abroad 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. Education Abroad 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 Education Abroad 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 Education Abroad support specialist 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 Education Abroad for options.

All eligibility criteria should be clearly stated in your program flyer and web text. Please contact the Education Abroad 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 applicants for semester programs are strongly recommended.

Student Conduct Review

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.

Education Abroad 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 Education Abroad of your admissions decision. If you would like guidance on suggested action steps, contact Education Abroad. 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

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 directors 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. Directors 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). Education Abroad encourages students with disabilities to study abroad and we will work closely with the student, the program ldirector(s), the Travel Clinic, International SOS health insurance and the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to provide reasonable accommodations where possible.

Admitting Students

Admitting Students

Once you have reviewed the application, student conduct record, and academic student record, and have accepted the student through the faculty portal, Education Abroad 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 Education Abroad Student Handbook, 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 Education Abroad 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, Education Abroad will rank participants based on the date their application was submitted. It is not acceptable to rank the waitlist by gender.

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 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.

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

Student Withdrawal

Student Withdrawal

If you learn that a student wishes to withdraw, inform them that they are required to notify the Education Abroad, in writing (email is acceptable), that they no longer intend to participate. Education Abroad will not accept verbal cancellations from students, and program directors cannot withdraw a student from a program. Education Abroad often deals with upset students who are held financially responsible for bills because they tell us "I told my program director I was withdrawing" but neglected to inform Education Abroad. The date on which the written withdrawal notification is received is the date by which students' financial obligations are determined, according to Education Abroad's withdrawal policy (see Section 2.B) - Be sure to refer to this policy should students inquire about the consequences of withdrawing.

Since withdrawals can negatively affect your program budget, be sure to work with your Education Abroad support specialist and coordinator on closely monitoring enrollment in your program.

Late Applicants

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; and 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 Education Abroad 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 International SOS health 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.