Skip to main content

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, getting sign-off 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:

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 an electronic signature from their School Adviser(s). If you are a School Adviser, the general procedure is as follows:
  • Students are responsible for scheduling a meeting with you.
  • You will sign off on a student's application(s) after:
    • You meet with them to discuss their study abroad plans.
    • You determine that they are in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress toward completion of their degree.
    • You determine that their study abroad plans make sense academically, considering their overall plan of study at Northwestern.
  • 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. Students with lower GPAs are required to submit an additional essay explaining why their GPA is below the minimum and to provide a detailed plan for how they are working to raise it. This is used to help determine academic preparedness to study abroad.

Although it is the student's responsibility to address the above points in his/her study abroad application, 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 global@northwestern.edu, 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: Signing Off on Study Abroad Applications

Log in to the GLObal Gateway to provide sign-off:

  1. Visit https://gloapp.northwestern.edu/
  2. Click Login in the top right corner
  3. Log in with your Northwestern NetID and password
  4. Once logged in, you will be directed to your Administrative Home page

To provide your signature and sign off, follow the directions in the How To Guide for School Advisers

For additional guidance, review a step-by-step video:

 

Letters of Recommendation

As part of the Northwestern study abroad application, students whose cumulative GPA is below a 2.5 at the time of application must obtain a letter of recommendation from a professor or teaching assistant of a class they have taken at Northwestern. It is the student’s responsibility to request the recommendation at least four weeks prior to their application deadline. Letters should be submitted via email to global@northwestern.edu.

Additionally, some of our affiliated program partners require letters of recommendation as part of their application process.

If you agree to write a recommendation for a student, you may wish to use the following as guidelines:

  • In what capacity and for what length of time have you known the applicant?
  • What course(s) did the applicant take with you?
  • How would you rate this applicant's intellectual motivation?
  • How would you describe the quality of academic work prepared by the applicant?
  • Are there any special considerations of which we should be aware?
  • How suitable to you think the applicant is for study abroad in terms of stability, independence of mind, creative ability, response to feedback and authority, ability to work in groups, and motivation?

Generally, recommendation letters are three to four paragraphs long and no longer than one page.

GLObal Gateway: 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.

When in the application process can/should I provide my School Adviser signature?

By signing off on a student’s application, 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 sign-off happen only after all other application steps are completed. Instead, the sign-off can happen as soon as an advising meeting has completed.

What happens if I do not provide my School Adviser sign off on a student's application by the deadline?

Students cannot submit their application until 1) you complete your School Adviser sign-off, and 2) they review your sign-off as well as any advising comments or conditions you have provided. 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 sign-off after the deadline.

I received a Login Information email. Do I need to take any action?

Please ignore the temporary login information provided in the "Login Information" email. Unfortunately, this is an automated email notification that cannot be disabled. You will login with your Northwestern NetID and password. 

Can the number of automated emails from GLObal Gateway be reduced?

Unfortunately, the automated emails associated with the School Adviser sign-off process cannot be turned off. You can expect to receive up to two emails per student program application: one confirming that your advisee has requested your sign-off and one verifying that your GLObal Gateway account already exists. GLO recommends that you bookmark https://gloapp.northwestern.edu/ and follow the sign-off steps outlined above to provide your signature on your advisees' applications. You may also want to set up an email filter to direct these emails away from your inbox.

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 Whitney Bennett in GLO when you are done with your test application, so that she can delete it.

I'm having issues with GLObal Gateway. Who do I contact for help?

Whitney Bennett is your best point of contact for any technical issues or questions. For general questions about the application process or other GLO resources, you can contact the GLO liaison for your department.