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(Editorial) Abroad deadline unreasonable

Published: February 4, 2011
Section: Editorials, Top Stories


The common study abroad application deadline is contrived and unfair, and it’s time that students at Brandeis question the wisdom of the financially-motivated decision.

On Feb.15, all students who seek to study abroad at Brandeis in the 2011-2012 academic year must turn in their applications. It doesn’t matter if the application for their program is due in October—they still need to have applications in right now.

Needless to say, this single deadline burdens students, staff, and faculty. Sophomores may not be ready to decide whether to go abroad in a year’s time, or may not yet be sure if they have either the interest or financial resources to do so.

They also do not have the benefit of the summer after their sophomore year—only their second summer of college—to explore career choices, which may contribute to study abroad interests.

The application requires students to check their resumes with Hiatt in order to apply, overburdening the appointment schedule at the career center at a time when soon to graduate seniors may need help with future career advice. Faculty, also, must draft recommendation letters for a large cohort of students instead of having rolling deadlines, which are easier to meet.

The wisdom behind the application deadlines comes from university financial strains. Last year, J. Scott Van Der Meid, assistant dean of Academic Services and Director of Study Abroad, explained that the previous system of having two deadlines—one for the spring and one for the fall—made it difficult for the Study Abroad office to plan its budget. The fix, which came during a university-wide re-evaluation of finances last year, promised to help the university plan its finances.

The result has been a process that skews priorities and disadvantages students. It just shouldn’t be that hard to study abroad.