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Application Checklist

The following checklist will help you prepare to apply for permission to study abroad.  Each section of the online application will time out after 10 minutes, so it's useful to have materials ready in advance.

For programs administered by the Global Engagement Studies Institute: go to GESI Application Process.

1. Personal and academic information:

  • After logging into the online application system, you'll be prompted to create a personal profile by entering basic personal and academic information, including: a photograph (JPG); current cumulative GPA; your passport number, country of issue and expiration date. If you do not yet have a passport, you can add that information later. You may create your personal profile at any time and return to the system when you're ready to start an application.

2. Program and term information:

You can only submit one application per term but can apply to up to two programs per term using the same application. For information on the process of selecting a program, see Steps to Study Abroad. For the application, you will need to know:

  • The full name of your program(s). Program titles are listed at the top of each program information page. See Programs.
  • The term(s) to which you're applying (fall, fall/winter, winter, spring, winter/spring, full year or summer).

3. Personal statement:

We recommend that you have a completed personal statement saved to your desktop so that you can copy and paste it into the online application using the "paste as plain text" function. Here are the prompts:

Please address the following in an approximately 750 word personal statement:

  • What are your personal expectations for study abroad?
  • Why did you choose your First Choice program? Why did you choose your Second Choice program (if applicable)?
  • Identify one or two current issues of interest in your program country/countries (e.g. social, political, environmental, etc.). Review 2-3 online newspaper or journal articles to learn more about how these issues are currently being handled or discussed in your potential host country/countries. Explain why you are interested in these topics, and how they relate to your academic goals.  (Note: if your First and Second Choice Programs are in 2 different countries, make sure to select a current issue of interest and address how it pertains to both countries, or select an issue for each country to discuss).

Some students will be required to provide additional statements:

  • Students with a cumulative GPA below 2.5 must explain reasons for the drop and give a plan for how it will be raised (300-500 words).
  • Students applying to study abroad for the full year on two programs in two countries must explain their academic rationale (100-200 words).

4. Preliminary course plan:

  • You will need to identify s preliminary course plan for all programs you're applying to, including what type of credit you hope to earn, such as elective, distribution, major and/or minor credit.  Students should identify courses  before meeting with their academic advisers to discuss degree progress and how potential study abroad courses may fulfill remaining degree requirements.

When identifying courses:

5. Academic adviser review and signature(s):

As part of the application process, you are required to meet with the following academic adviser(s) to review and discuss the courses you plan to take abroad and how they will fit into your overall academic plan at Northwestern. It is your responsibility to schedule meetings with relevant advisers after completing your preliminary course plan and before submitting your application.

Important: Don't wait until the last minute! Schedule meetings with relevant advisers well before your application deadline.

  • All students: your School Representative
  • Students with an officially declared major and/or minor in Weinberg: your WCAS major and/or minor adviser(s)
  • HPME students: your program adviser
  • MMSS students: your program adviser
6. Unofficial Northwestern Transcript:
  • A copy of your unofficial Northwestern transcript from CAESAR (Academic Information - My Academics). Make sure the transcript includes all terms, grades, and GPA. You can upload this as a Word Doc or PDF.

7. Reference:

Students with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 and above must list the name and email address of a reference who is a faculty member, teaching assistant or administrator at Northwestern or their home institution.

Important: Before entering this information in your application, confirm that the individual is willing to be listed as a reference.  The individual may require an in-person meeting with you before agreeing to serve as a reference.  This reference may or may not be contacted by the relevant study abroad office depending on the overall strength and clarity of your application. 

Students with a cumulative GPA below 2.5:

A letter of recommendation from a professor or TA who has had you in class at Northwestern or your home institution is required for students whose cumulative GPA is below 2.5 at the time of application.  Please download the Letter of Recommendation form and provide it to your recommender when requesting the recommendation.


Make sure to request your letter of recommendation at least four weeks prior to your application deadline to give the recommender sufficient time to complete the recommendation.

Technical Questions
Having technical difficulty with the application? Please email