I'm writing from the Office of Study Abroad as the student ambassador for the application process. I'm planning to go to University College Dublin next fall and am in the middle of completing my application before the February 11th deadline. If you’re anything like me, you probably arrived back on campus after winter break with the best of intentions to get your study abroad application submitted as soon as you could! Well, I certainly didn’t, since I got swept up in seeing friends, starting classes and getting involved again in soccer and the other things I do around campus. But something about this cold weather makes me want to just hang out inside and work on my application! So, I thought I would loop you in as I work my way through it!
In another dispatch, I'll go over the time-sensitive, logistical parts of the application, like the passport, advisor and faculty recommendations, and the transcript. This week, I’m working on the more program-specific items like my Academic Statement, learning goals and the courses I want to take. I’m going to keep up my application to University College Dublin, but don’t worry, wherever you plan to go, the same advice applies pretty much!
Once you are logged in to your application, over on the right-hand side, you’ll find a list of application questionnaires. Here is where I need to spend some time and, while I do, I’ll go over each one so we can get to the nuts and bolts of what we need to do.
First off, the Academic Statement is basically just your application essay, in which you explain why you want to study abroad on your selected program, and how the program will help you achieve your academic goals. You should definitely plan to talk about the academic connections between your field of study at Tulane and what you can do on the program when writing this essay! Does it give you a new perspective on your major that you couldn’t otherwise get? Or is it something that you can’t study at Tulane because of the constraints of your major? How have you prepared for the program and courses you will take?
When writing this essay, it’s also really important to make it clear that you understand what the program offers – whether the courses are in English or the local language, what type of support services are or aren’t available, etc. Don’t write about learning French on your program if that isn’t actually an option available to you! Finally, you should write a little bit about how your study abroad experience will help make your entire time at Tulane more “international.” How will you continue to engage in global issues when you come back to New Orleans?
The second part of this statement asks you to write down three questions that you might have about your host country that you can try to answer while you’re studying abroad. You can think about these questions as part of your learning goals. Then, write a brief essay about how you will answer these questions. For example, for me, I want to know how Dubliners carry on the literary legacy of such famous Irish writers as James Joyce. One way that I will try to answer that question is by taking courses at UCD like “Reading the Story of Ireland” and “Reading Joyce.”
But truth be told, I could also take similar courses at Tulane, so I want to make sure and list some additional ways that I can learn about Joyce that I could only do in Dublin. I would definitely plan to visit the James Joyce Centre, home to many of Joyce’s writings, and the host of the annual Bloomsday festival. They also offer walking tours all year that visit many of the places he frequented or put into his books. I’ll write about those two opportunities and explain how they will help me answer my question about Joyce.
The purpose of this essay is to give us an opportunity to really show that we have some plans for learning about our host country’s history and culture while we’re there! And it’s a good way to do some research about it before we go!
All of this research, by the way, has gotten me really excited about all the Dublin eye candy I’ll get to see. Here’s a sneak peek.
|In and around Dublin...SO gorgeous!|
OK, enough of that! Back to work!
The last part of the application I’m going to talk about in detail is your proposed course schedule. To answer this question, you have to be able to navigate to your program’s web page and find courses that may be available for you to take when you’re there. It’s okay if these courses don’t end up being the ones you ultimately enroll in once you’re on site. The important thing is that you’re able to find course listings and get an idea of how those courses might translate back to Tulane. That’s why the application asks you to list the course at your host institution AND list the Tulane department equivalent!
It’s also really important that you demonstrate that you understand which courses you can and can’t take. For example, at UCD, I’ll take five or six courses during the semester I’m there. But, I have to take at least four of them within my major. So if I list 4 courses outside of my major, then the Office of Study Abroad might say, “Hey, wait a minute,” when reading my application! So before completing this part of the application, make sure you know the courses you can take and the rules and restrictions that you may have to think about!
One other, minor thing. The “Backup Study Abroad Program” questionnaire was added this year because some programs fill up or have too many applicants. So in the rare case that not every student can be accommodated on a program, the OSA has a space for you to put your second choice, just in case. This way, we can all act very quickly to make sure you still study abroad, if not on your first choice program. You’re not required to fill this out, but it doesn’t hurt anything if you do!
You’ll notice that, as you complete these items, a check mark will appear in the “Received” column on your application. This way, you’ll be able to track your progress!
Remember, the application deadline is not until February 11th, so you have plenty of time to get it in, even if you haven’t started looking! For those of you who know where you’re going, check out the Study Abroad Facebook page because we regularly post scholarship opportunities that our students should be looking into!
If you have any questions, just send an email to osa (at) tulane (dot) edu.
I’ll be back soon so we can do one final review of all aspects of the Tulane application!