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Application Process

When advising students about applying to study abroad, please review the Get Started and Apply sections of the GLO website, which explain the application process and outline Northwestern’s expectations for student preparation and approval of study abroad plans. Also, consult information below about assisting students in setting goals, choosing programs, seeking academic advising, obtaining on their applications, and requesting a letter of recommendation (if necessary).

Goal Setting

While students may know that they want to study abroad, they may not have a clear idea of what they want to gain from the experience. During the application process they will need to articulate their academic, personal, and professional motivations to study abroad, and you can assist them with this reflective process. Encourage students to discuss their goals with you and during a general advising appointment with their GLO adviser. Refer them to the study abroad goals assessment tool.

Program Selection

Students may seek your guidance in choosing a program. Since there are over a hundred available programs, we do not expect you to be familiar with all of them. However, to gain a basic understanding, we recommended that you:

  • Explore the program options on our website.
  • Review the information available to students related to getting started with choosing a program.
  • Attend information sessions, the Study Abroad Fair, and other events.

Students are strongly encouraged to apply to Northwestern programs, exchanges, or affiliated programs, since they are regularly evaluated by GLO and the Undergraduate Study Abroad Committee (USAC) for quality in terms of academic standards, housing, cultural immersion, and administrative support services. Additionally, students who participate in these programs may apply their financial aid. If students are interested in an unaffiliated program, they may be granted permission to apply only if they have a specialized academic need that cannot be met by one of our affiliated programs, and they will not be able to apply their institutional aid. For more information about this policy please read studying abroad on an unaffiliated program.

Major/Minor Advisers: Academic Advising

Students must seek advising from their major/minor adviser if they intend to apply course credit from study abroad toward major or minor requirements and/or if they need assistance with mapping out their course plans for completion of their major/minor.

If they intend to earn major/minor credit from study abroad, students must acknowledge in their study abroad application that they will seek advising from their major or minor department about their study abroad course plans, rules and policies for earning major or minor credit, and remaining degree requirements. This involves following these steps:

  • Reviewing academic information and instructions pertaining to their major and/or minor on the School and Major Advising Resources pages of the GLO website and on department websites.
  • Seeking additional advising from the Director of Undergraduate Studies or a designated adviser within their major or minor department.

If you are a major/minor adviser, and you would like to add information about study abroad within your department to the School and Major Advising Resources pages of the GLO website, please contact the GLO liaison for your department.

School Advisers: Academic Advising

All students must meet with and obtain approval from their School Adviser(s). If you are a School Adviser, the general procedure is as follows:
  • The student will “raise their hand” in ConnectNU to request study abroad approval for a specific term.
  • You will be assigned a tracking item, e.g., Study Abroad Approval: Fall
  • The student will schedule an appointment with you to discuss their study abroad plans.
  • During your meeting, you should determine that:
    • They are in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress toward completion of their degree.
    • Their study abroad plans make sense academically, considering their overall plan of study at Northwestern.
  • Once you have met with the student and are ready to provide approval, you will clear the tracking item/flag and send the student a message indicating approval. 
  • The student will upload that email into their GLO application.

Access Student Instructions

If your student has a cumulative GPA below 2.5 at the time of application, you will also need to complete a School Adviser Support Letter, which provides supplemental information about the student's academic progress at Northwestern and their potential for academic success on a study abroad program. Refer to the School Adviser Support Letter section below for instructions.

School Advisers: School Adviser Support Letter

The University Study Abroad Committee (USAC) expects all study abroad applicants to have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above at the time of application.

USAC considers applicants' GPAs important because students will not have access to the same resources available at Northwestern while abroad. In some cases, it may be in a student's best interest to stay on campus and focus on improving grades. Additionally, most of Northwestern's affiliated study abroad providers require applicants to have a cumulative GPA of 2.5-3.0 or higher. 

Your feedback is essential in the evaluation process. The information you provide below will help us to better understand the student's academic progress at Northwestern, as well as his/her potential for success on a study abroad program.

In a letter submitted to, please explain whether and how you believe study abroad will benefit this student academically and personally.

You may wish to discuss the following:

  • How long have you known the student, and how well do you know her/him?
  • What is your opinion of the student's intellectual motivation in general?
  • Does the student have clear intellectual and personal reasons for wanting to study abroad?
  • What other personal factors might influence this student's success on the program (e.g. stability, independence, creative ability, responsiveness to feedback, etc.)?

School Advisers: Approving Study Abroad

Log in to ConnectNU to provide approval:

  1. Visit
  2. To view active flags:
    1. View Recent Changes on your homepage,
    2. Search by individual student, or
    3. Navigate to your Tracking Items to see all students requiring approval
  3. Click Clear or Resolve
  4. Select This concern was successfully addressed
  5. Check the Send a message to [student] to close the loop
  6. Copy and paste the following into the comment field:
    1. You have been approved to study abroad for [Term]. We have discussed your study abroad course plans, policies for earning distribution/foundational discipline, theme, and major and/or minor credit, possible course substitutions, and remaining degree requirements. Please upload a copy of this email to the School Adviser Approval requirement in your GLO application. 
    2. Be sure include the correct term, e.g. Fall 2024, Summer 2024
  7. Click Submit
Access full instructions

Application FAQs & Tips

What happened to the Weinberg Study Abroad Department Approval Form? As a major/minor adviser, do I still need to sign this?

As part of the transition to GLObal Gateway, the new study abroad application system, in November 2020, the Weinberg Study Abroad Departmental Approval Form will no longer be required of students with majors or minors in Weinberg College. Instead, students must follow an updated academic advising guide, which directs them to new School and Major Advising Resources. Students must still consult with their major and minor advisers, but they do not need to obtain a signature from their major or minor adviser indicating that they have received this advising. If you are an academic adviser, and you would like to add information about study abroad to the School and Major Advising Resources, please contact the GLO liaison for your department.

As a School Adviser, when in the application process can/should I provide my approval?

By providing your approval in ConnectNU, you are indicating that you have discussed their study abroad plans, that they are in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress towards completion of their degree, and that you believe their study abroad plans make sense academically, considering their overall plan of study at Northwestern. It is not expected that the school adviser approval happens only after all other application steps are completed. Instead, approval can happen as soon as a student raises a flag and an advising meeting has been completed.

What happens if I do not provide my approval by the deadline?

Students cannot submit their application until you provide your approval. If this cannot happen before the deadline, then students should request an extension by contacting the GLO adviser for their program(s). School Advisers will still be able to provide their approval after the deadline; however this should only be in exceptional cases.



I'd like to explore GLObal Gateway, so that I can understand better what my student advisees see and do. How do I do that?

Academic advisers are encouraged to explore the program search and program brochures, which are accessible to the public. If you are a School Adviser interested in completing a "test" application, you can log in with your Northwestern NetID, search for a program, and click Apply Now, just as students would. Please notify GLO at when you are done with your test application so that it can be deleted.