International Education

Application Tips

Willamette Sponsored Programs Study Abroad Application

Writing Your Statement

The facts:

Statement question: Why do I want to study abroad?

About 500 words. This is about two double-spaced printed pages. We do not count words but you should be able to answer this question within a few sentences of that limit. Overly long Statements reflect negatively on your application.


The rest:

Writing this personal statement can be challenging because the question is wide open! Students usually find it difficult to write everything in just two pages/500 words. Use the points below to generate ideas about the statement. 

It is likely that you will write more than you need as a first draft. If you do, work on making it more concise so it meets the length parameter.

1. Off Campus Studies Committee (OCSC) Selection Criteria

Understand who is on the OCSC (this is your audience) and read the Selection Criteria. The Committee is composed of faculty and past study abroad students.

Think about whether you have the characteristics listed on the Selection Criteria.  How do you show them? Past experiences? Language training? Involvement? Academic pursuits outside class?

The other parts of your application (transcript, letters of recommendation) will speak to these criteria, but the statement can help augment any areas you feel are particularly strong.

2. Academic Fit

How does studying abroad fit into your academic plans? What about career or post graduation plans?

How do the specific programs you are considering fit with your education?

3. Other motivations?

Besides specifics related to your major field(s) of study, what other motivations drive you to study abroad? Skills in intercultural communication? Language acquisition? Service work?

4. Keep asking yourself, "Why?"

For all the points above ask yourself why? and so what? Why do you want to improve your language ability? So what if you want to see works of art in person? Why is immersing yourself in a culture important? So what if you take classes in another style of teaching or academic environment? Why have you always wanted to study abroad?

Continually asking yourself why will assist in articulating your specific reasons for wanting to study abroad.


Finally:

HAVE SOMEONE ELSE (Writing Center, a trusted friend, a professor) PROOFREAD YOUR STATEMENT FOR CONTENT AND GRAMMATICAL SOUNDNESS before submitting it.  THIS MAKES A DIFFERENCE!



Getting it all done on time

The WU Study Abroad Application completion is a process that requires you to plan ahead in order to successfully complete it on time. You are solely responsible for ensuring the elements of your application are at the OIE by the deadline.

Stay on top of all the pieces of your application. Find the date and time of the application deadline on the How to Apply page.

If you have ANY PROBLEMS or QUESTIONS for OIE, you are expected to address them well BEFORE the deadline. This is why is it important to start early.

Don't write your Statement the day before the deadline. Proofreading is essential to avoid mistakes that may affect whether your application is approved or not.

Give your references plenty of time to fill out forms and write letters for you. Give them AT LEAST three weeks. Never hand out forms until you have completed the section on it for which you are responsible.

Remember that professors are asked to write many recommendations, please give them ample notice.

Submitting a Complete and On Time application reflects on your level of maturity and sense of responsibility.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Late applications will not be considered. The deadline is 4:00 p.m. SHARP.