When are Applications Reviewed?
Applications are reviewed following the application deadline, unless stated otherwise on the program webpage (reference information provided in the “Apply Now” tab).
Some programs have a rolling application review schedule (noted on the program webpage). This means an application can be reviewed before the deadline, and as soon as it is fully completed and submitted.
Who Reviews Applications?
Our staff review all applications. For some programs, additional UW-Madison faculty and staff may participate in the review and selection process.
Note: Our staff cannot provide feedback on application materials (such as essays or personal statements) before the official application review. It would not be fair to do so for one student, when we cannot do so for all students. However, we are available to help with any questions about what is required and what a reviewer will be looking for.
In some cases, final review and selection is done by the program partner.
What Are Reviewers Looking For?
The review process starts by verifying that the applicant meets the eligibility requirements of the program (published on the program webpage).
To determine selection for a program, reviewers consider all information provided by the applicant in their application. This means reviewers will consider the full application and any component of the selection process (such as an interview with the applicant, if one is required for the program).
Reviewers cannot consider information from an applicant, or interactions with the applicant, that fall outside of the official program application and selection process (such as emails from the student, conversations during advising appointments, or for faculty – experience with the student in a class that is not a requirement or pre-requisite for the program).
Students should feel welcome to raise any questions (including any about the application or selection process) with program staff outside of their actual application to the program. Applicants are not to receive any advantage or penalty for doing so. We want students to have the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves.
Applicants must put anything they want a reviewer to consider into their application. Applicants are encouraged to review our Tips for a Strong Application.
Competitive Program Notes
We aim to accept as many qualified applicants to a program as possible. A qualified applicant is someone who, through their application, demonstrates that they meet all eligibility requirements for the program.
A program is considered competitive when there are more qualified applicants than there are spaces available. Spaces on a program may be limited for a number of reasons: exchange programs require enrollment agreements with the host university some faculty-led programs and other programs can only accommodate a fixed number of students, and some programs have rolling review and acceptance schedules.
If a program has been competitive for multiple durations, a note will be published to the program webpage about this. It is possible for any program to become competitive, and all students are encouraged to have a second choice or alternative program in mind when applying.
Discussing alternative program options with our study abroad advisors, or listing interest in alternative programs in your application, will not lessen your chances of being selected to your first-choice program. These are good steps to take, and may help you in the event that you cannot be accepted to a competitive program.
To determine selection for a competitive program, reviewers consider:
- Is the applicant currently a degree-seeking UW-Madison student?
- For programs open to non UW-Madison students, preference may be given to currently enrolled UW-Madison degree-seeking students.
- Does the student meet the Currently Enrolled Policy?
- Does the applicant have any qualifications that are given preference for this particular program?
- For instance, if a program gives preference to students with a certain declared major, does the applicant have the preferred declared major?
- If a program gives any preferences such as this, they will be listed alongside the eligibility requirements on the program webpage.
- How advanced is the applicant’s class standing (based on total credits, not year on campus)?
- Higher class standing indicates further academic experience. For students with higher class standing, this may be their final opportunity to participate on the program before graduating. For both of these reasons, applicants with higher class standing/total credits may be given preference for any program.
- How well has the applicant explained their rationale for applying, and demonstrated their preparedness to be successful on the program?
- This could be evaluated based on any required essays, personal statements or interviews.
- To what extent does the applicant exceed each of the eligibility requirements for the program (published on the program webpage)?
- For instance, if the program has a cumulative GPA requirement of 2.0, does the student’s cumulative GPA exceed this?
- Has the applicant participated on this program before?
- Preference is given to applicants who have NOT previously participated on the program.
- Has the applicant applied to this program before?
- Preference may be given to applicants who applied to the same program and were fully qualified before, but did not participate
- A returning applicant is never guaranteed acceptance over a new applicant
- Each application is reviewed separately, and any returning applicant should include anything they wish to be considered into their new application
- Students are welcome to re-apply for any program
- Has the applicant received a particular scholarship in support of their application to the program?
- Preference may be given to a student who receives a program or location specific scholarship.
It is important to note that the strength of an application will be relative to the strength of all applications in the pool. This means that even when an applicant exceeds the requirements for their program, they may not be accepted if other applicants have further exceeded the requirements or have qualifications that are given preference.
University policies apply to UW-Madison study abroad programming, including policies related to Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, national and ethnic origin or other status or condition that is protected by applicable law.
We require all domestic and international program partners to include their non-discrimination policy and/or statement directly into our agreements. Their non-discrimination policy and/or statement must be congruent with UW-Madison policies.
We are committed to providing quality study abroad and domestic study away programs for every UW-Madison student.
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