We at the Study Abroad Office take applications on a rolling-basis meaning the sooner you apply, the sooner you can get accepted and can start working on your host university’s application. What most students do not realize at first is that there are other things that must be completed besides the application – and these things can be done in advance!
Sometimes students come in early with a plan of where they want to study abroad two years from now. It’s good to think so ahead, and although we highly recommend going earlier than later, there are still some steps you can reach before applying. Use this time wisely!
Here is a list of things that you should complete before (and after) applying to study abroad:
-Apply for a passport
This can take some time, so may as well do it as soon as possible. It will be one less thing you have to deal with when working on your study abroad application. If you already have a passport, be sure that the expiration date isn’t coming up because you may need to renew it. A new one is valid for ten years and will be the neatest souvenir you will bring back with you. 😉 Receiving a passport may take up to six weeks, and our office will need a color copy to have on record, so don’t risk waiting too long!
-RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH!
We supply you with several resources in order for you to pick the perfect program, so use them! Just look through our website and social media pages to get started. Also check out our previous blog posts like Finding the Right Time to Study Abroad and Things You Should Do Before Going Abroad. Deciding if you want to study abroad at a partner school or through an affiliate program is the next step. Be sure to review what schools are our partners and what companies are affiliates. Our website makes it easy under the Destinations tab. If you do your research, you will seem like a pro at your study abroad meeting!
-Talk to your family and friends
Hear what other people have to say about you wanting to study abroad. Some people may have strict opinions, others may want to join you! You could even learn something new about different parts of the world from your family and friends who have traveled. Before deciding on a program, talk to your family and show them your options. Tell them how you think this experience will benefit you and why you chose your specific location or program. Listen to everyone’s opinions and keep them updated on yours!
-Get in contact with someone who has already studied abroad
Students that have already studied abroad LOVE to share their stories with just about anyone. It brings back good memories and makes us happy to know that someone is listening. If you aren’t planning on going to one of the same universities as any of our student workers, it may be difficult to find someone who went to the same location you are considering. Don’t be afraid to seek out extra help, as we can put you in contact with someone who has been there and done that.
-Ask a friend if they want to study abroad too!
After all this research you will do, you may want to share your findings with your friends. Talk to them and see if they could study abroad the same semester or summer as you! Then maybe you could meet up one weekend in Paris. 😀 Spread the word about studying abroad and influence your friends to consider it too. After all, they will have to listen to all of your stories when you come home so they may as well want to share just as many.
-Keep your GPA up
Make sure you are eligible to study abroad! You must have a 2.5 GPA in order to be accepted by our office, but some universities request a higher GPA. Work hard to raise your GPA so you will have no problem being accepted.
Not all study abroad programs have to break the bank. Ask your Study Abroad Advisor about programs that are just as much (or even cheaper!) than ISU’s rates. There are many options of programs for a smaller budget, but if you prefer to be in a more expensive city or country (think London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Australia…) you will be expected to pay higher prices for everyday things. Get a new job, cut back on spending, eat out less, start a fundraiser…there are so many things you can do to save up money for those extra expenses. But trust us – it will all be worth the extra work in the end.
It is important to be ahead of the game and consider studying abroad as soon as possible, but with our application process it can be stressful. Just follow this checklist to be fully prepared before you apply!
Applications to study abroad in the…
-Summer are due March 1st.
-Fall are due March 15th.