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Application Review Process

Study abroad is an opportunity available to all Northwestern students, subject first to a review and approval process at Northwestern. Through your Northwestern study abroad application, you must make a persuasive case for approval to study abroad on one or two selected programs.

A GLO adviser will contact you during the review process if:

In most cases, selection for study abroad is a two-step process.

  1. Applications are reviewed by Northwestern GLO staff first. It takes up to 6 weeks for Northwestern to review submitted applications.
  2. If you are approved, you may then proceed with an application to your program(s) of choice.

Each program has its own application requirements and selection criteria, which may differ from Northwestern's. General information about the review and selection process by program type is provided below.

Application Review and Selection Process

Affiliated & Unaffiliated Programs

Review Process & Timeline

For affiliated and unaffiliated programs, you must submit two applications: your Northwestern study abroad application and a program application (which you can find on your program provider's website). Because some programs have early application deadlines, notification from the program may occur prior to Northwestern’s approval decision. You must have approval from both Northwestern and the program provider to be eligible to participate.

Admission Criteria

This varies by program. Northwestern will verify that you meet the program’s eligibility criteria, as well as Northwestern’s eligibility requirements for study abroad.

What are my chances of being accepted?

If you meet the program’s and Northwestern’s eligibility criteria, then Northwestern will grant approval for you to participate in that program. It is ultimately up to your program to offer admission. Northwestern students tend to have high success rates in getting admitted to affiliated and unaffiliated programs, but admission is not guaranteed. Refer to your program page for any notes regarding program competitiveness, and also be sure to heed deadlines. It may be to your advantage to apply early.

Northwestern Programs and GESI

Review Process & Timeline

For Northwestern programs and GESI, you only need to submit one application: the Northwestern study abroad application. Admission decisions are based on this application only, and decisions are communicated about one month after the application deadline. Applications are not reviewed on a rolling basis.

Admission Criteria

The application review process is thorough and takes the complete application – including your personal statement, academic plan, graduation year, and other factors – into consideration. Students are selected based on how closely their background and goals fit with what the program offers.

Review the Application Rubric for a list of selection criteria that factor in to the admission process for Northwestern programs and GESI, along with descriptions of what is considered high (4) and low (1) levels of alignment with program requirements and expectations. Not all criteria are given equal weight.

What are my chances of being accepted?

Some Northwestern programs have no maximum enrollment capacity, so as long as students meet Northwestern’s eligibility requirements for study abroad, they will be admitted. However, GESI and many Northwestern programs have limited enrollment capacity. If these programs receive more applications than space available, admission will be competitive, and some students will be waitlisted. Refer to your program page for any notes regarding program competitiveness.

Exchange Programs

Review Process & Timeline

You must submit two applications: the Northwestern study abroad application and an application to your host institution after you have been approved and nominated by Northwestern.

Admission Criteria

The application review process is thorough and takes the complete application – including your personal statement, academic plan, graduation year, and other factors – into consideration. Students are selected based on how closely their background and goals fit with what the program offers.

Review the Application Rubric for a list of selection criteria that factor in to the admission process for exchanges, along with descriptions of what is considered high (4) and low (1) levels of alignment with program requirements and expectations. Not all criteria are given equal weight. Note that many exchange programs have a higher GPA requirement that the 2.5 GPA requirement required by Northwestern.

What are my chances of being accepted?

Exchange programs are reciprocal, so for every inbound student from a partner university who comes to Northwestern, Northwestern is able to send a student outbound. For most exchange programs, as long as you are admitted and nominated by Northwestern, you will be able to participate. However, if there are more outbound than inbound students, then there may be limited spaces for Northwestern students. Also, for a few exchange programs, admission by the partner university is not guaranteed. Refer to your program page for any notes regarding program competitiveness.

Guide to Northwestern Application Statuses

You will receive an automated email from the Northwestern Study Abroad Application system when your application review has been completed. This email will direct you to review the status of your application to up to two study abroad programs (see below). This can be found in the Application Status & Requirements section of your application. Northwestern’s approval decisions are final and not subject to appeal.

GLO Scholarships

If you applied for a scholarship through the Global Learning Office to be used toward a Northwestern program, exchange program, or GESI, then you will be notified of the status of your scholarship application only after you have been admitted the program but before the Program Confirmation deadline.