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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Study Abroad application deadlines consolidated

Published: November 6, 2009
Section: News

The Office of Study Abroad has recently created a Feb. 12 application date for all students wishing to go abroad, regardless of whether they plan to travel in the spring or fall. In addition, the office hopes to have the application process become completely electronic and Internet-based by the end of this semester.

The Feb. 12 date is a change for sophomores wishing to go abroad in the spring, as they will have to apply at the same time their peers traveling in the fall. The new deadline does not affect students wishing to go abroad in the summer.

Due to an overall university-funding problem after the Great Recession, the Office of Study Abroad felt that it needed to create one deadline that would allow them to know the number of students planning to be abroad, in order to plan their budget proactively. The previous October deadline had made it difficult to have a clear overall picture to present to the university Board of Trustees in March, at which time the university’s budget is finalized, said J. Scott Van Der Meid, assistant dean of Academic Services and Director of Study Abroad.

According to the office’s Frequently Asked Questions page, “to allow for a better planning process, a single study abroad deadline has been instituted. This single deadline will allow students to more fully incorporate their study abroad plans into their overall academic career at Brandeis. This deadline will also encourage students to make plans early and thus have more opportunity to apply for external funding for study abroad.”

Contrary to campus rumors regarding need-based financial aid and study abroad, no recent changes have been made. “Absolutely nothing has changed from last year to this year in the manner in which we treat financial aid for students doing study abroad,” Peter Giumette, Director of Financial Services wrote in an e-mail. Applications to study abroad are still need-blind.

In addition to having a new application date, students will also be submitting their applications online.

“In order to be more green and more efficient such as being able to turn around decisions in a more timely matter we are hoping to [make the application completely internet based] by the end of the semester,” Van Der Meid said.

Comparable universities and colleges such as Vassar College, Williams College, Smith College and Middlebury College have a singular deadline for study abroad.

Van Der Meid felt that the new deadline and change in application format will not be a difficult transition for students and will not have any adverse effects, “I don’t necessarily feel that applications will go down because study abroad is a very popular experimental learning option, and it fits so nicely into many students’ plans. I do think that students will engage our office far more and sooner because they will be needing assistance figuring everything out at an earlier stage.”

“Students should come to a general information session and also meet with one of the study abroad staff members at least once before winter break.

They should also connect with the study abroad faculty liaison, which can be found online, for the department they are considering to discuss transfer credit options and the completion of the major or minor before deciding on a program,” Van Der Meid said.

The study abroad office will be forwarding updated information to the sophomore community advisers, emailing out information to the list-serve and visiting a variety of classrooms in the spring to make sure all sophomores are not caught off guard by an earlier deadline.