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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Study Abroad Application Deadline and Bills Draw Near

Published: February 14, 2013
Section: Front Page, News

This Friday marks the application deadline for students who plan to study abroad next fall and spring. Students, the majority of whom are sophomores, must scramble to meet the approaching deadline and continue the lengthy application process for the next several months.

Although the exact number of students studying abroad varies by year, this year about 45 percent of the junior class is expected to study abroad, and about one third of those students will be studying abroad this coming fall, according to J. Scott Van Der Meid, Brandeis Director of Study Abroad.

The study abroad application process not only prepares students to live successfully abroad, it also prepares both students and their parents to pay for the study abroad experience in its entirety. While foreign universities may charge far more or less than Brandeis tuition rates, students must pay Brandeis tuition rates in order to earn Brandeis credits while abroad. This is common for many New England colleges as well. Students must also prepare to encounter extra costs while abroad, including airfare, housing, food and travel costs.

“Any money above a program’s tuition rate is used for student financial aid for study abroad. This is the same way that the university uses one tuition rate on campus even though each major costs the university a different amount to run. It’s averaged into one large sum and then redistributed to meet the needs of all students,” Van Der Meid said.

In order to aid students and parents with the sometimes overwhelming costs associated with studying abroad, Brandeis and private and governmental organizations offer student scholarships specifically for studying abroad. The Brandeis Office of Study Abroad website offers a long list of scholarship opportunities for undergraduate, postgraduate and graduate students who wish to pursue a range of different studies, while seeing the world at the same time.

According to Van Der Meid, one of the biggest challenges students in the application process will face, is keeping up with the application schedule in order to meet additional upcoming deadlines.

“For students who are applying to go abroad in the fall or for the full academic year, their biggest pressing need is to finish their external program application over the February break so that they will have an admissions decision in term for the Brandeis April 8 Notification deadline. Spring students do not need to apply to their programs until the summer. Once the deadline closes on Friday, we will be in touch with each group with an email on next steps,” Van Der Meid said.

Fortunately for students, the Office of Study Abroad offers a wide range of resources to assist students in the decision making process. The most thoughtful resources provided by the Office of Study Abroad perhaps, are student Study Abroad Ambassadors, who can offer valuable advice to students in the often stressful and nerve-wracking planning process.

Rebecca Sanders ’13 studied abroad last spring in Paris, France, with Academic Programs Abroad (APA), a French immersion program. As a Study Abroad Ambassador, Sanders answers student questions about the application process and about the study abroad experience in general.

“We are there as a resource for them—they can ask us questions or just talk through their ideas. We can talk about our experiences and help students figure out what types of programs might be a good fit for them. We also help plan events to promote study abroad,” Sanders said.

According to Van Der Meid, the majority of students applying to study abroad through Brandeis are granted permission to study abroad, and thus begin the external program application process. 

“There is no guarantee that all students will be accepted to study abroad, but if the student has been working with our advising staff and their academic advisor, most students prepare a solid application to study abroad. Sometimes students do not get into their external programs due to applying late, not having the required prerequisites or have an active judicial matter on their record. Most students who approach the process in a serious and academic manner have no problem being accepted to study abroad,” Van Der Meid said.

With a host of university staff and peer resources available to students, the application process, while stressful, will be tremendously rewarding just a few short months in the future.
“It’s worth it to finish the application. Don’t let an application stand in the way of an incredible experience!” Sanders said.