Application Tips & Technical Issues

Willamette Sponsored Programs Study Abroad Application

Make that Deadline!

  • SET A GOAL to have fully completed everything by 5:00 pm on Deadline Day. In this way, you will still have access to any assistance from the OIE that you need.
  • Assistance from the Office of Education is only available IN PERSON from 8:00 am  - 7:00 pm on the deadline day.
  • Your application will be open for your work until you have submitted everything OR until 11:59 pm.
  • Plan for a personal computer failure: store drafts in a "cloud"-based document or email a draft to yourself frequently and know which 24-hour on-campus computer lab you could use in this case.

Plan ahead in order to successfully complete your application on time. You are solely responsible for ensuring the elements of your application are complete by the deadline.

  • Don't try to complete your application quickly. You need time to read and understand the Learning Content, talk to recommenders, compose/proofread your Statement, and collect your passport information.
  • In your application, there is a Submit Application button that you may use at any time to self-assess your progress.
    • This triggers an instant review of your Received column to check for any incomplete/unsubmitted items.
    • You are not required to use it to "send" your application to OIE. We will review all Complete applications (complete = all individual items are "received") regardless of whether the applicant used the "Submit Application" feature.
  • Waiting for recommendations? Your application is considered "complete" for the deadline when all your items have checkmarks AND your recommendations have specific people designated to complete them.  It is ok that your recommenders don't make the deadline (although we want them to). They have the ability to submit late without hurting your application. The Submit Application feature will help you determine if you have done everything you need to meet the deadline.

If you have ANY problems or questions for OIE, address them well BEFORE the deadline. This is why it is important to start early. 

Late and incomplete applications are not considered. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. and the online application system closes after that time.

Technical Issues

As with many online systems, connectivity issues arise from time to time.

  • Portal home page for applicants. This may be quicker if you are logging in often. Use the LOGIN/REGISTER link to sign-in.
  • Browsers: Examples include inability to sign-in and unexpected sign-offs. Try a different browser and check for other issues (see below).
  • Save Frequently (Applicants): Each Questionnaire item has a "save" option so it can be returned to later. We recommend that you save anything you are working on every 15 minutes. Often you will not know there is a problem until you try to move to a different page. NOTE: Recommenders do not have a "save" option, only a send option.
  • Long Format answers: For Statements especially, we recommend that you compose in Word (or even better, a cloud-based document) then copy and paste it into the correct space.
  • SUBMIT each item as you complete it. Each item must be submitted individually. Each Questionnaire, for example,has a button called "Submit". In other cases you are asked to acknowledge the specific item. A checkmark with appear next to the item if you have successfully submitted/completed it. Unsubmitted items at the deadline render your entire application incomplete/late.
  • Automatic timeout: This security feature automatically signs you out after 59 minutes on the same page. SAVE FREQUENTLY. If you are doing nothing, you will likely see a pop-up screen counting down your inactivity. However, if you are actively working, this popup does not appear.
  • Sign in difficulty: Most often this is a temporary situation. Try again. Then try after 15-30 minutes. Try a different browser. If you continue to have problems, please contact us via email.  Tell us what screen you were on before you had a problem, what the text of the error was, and when/how often it happened.

ON DEADLINE DAY - 12/5/2017: 

8:00 am - 7:00pm:  OIE staff are available for assistance IN PERSON. We are located in the Global Learning Center. Only emails FROM RECOMMENDERS will receive responses.

We will not assist applicants via email as there often are too many steps to accomplish or explain to be done in time for full resolution by the applicant. In person, we can address all aspects without delay or misinterpretation.

Technical issues between 7:00 pm until 11:59pm:

  • In most situations, applicant access issues resolve without intervention.
  • Users should ontinue to check for functionality.
  • Use the tips above for initial troubleshooting. (Recommenders, see information below and please email us.
  • If your own computer fails, use a computer lab on campus. (This is an excellent reason to use a "cloud"-based document for important drafts, like your Statement.)

Unresolved technical issues after 7:00 pm:

For technical issues that do not resolve by using the tips above AND error indicate a universal system access issue or failure of a portal function to work:

  1. Send an email to <oieadvising@willamette.edu> with specific details about what happened.This will time stamp your request and inform us of who and how many people are involved.
  2. Send a screen shot of any errors and a description of what you were doing, things you tried, and what you were trying to do.
  3. Keep a log of the time the problem started.
  4. If you have a computer failure, use a computer lab on campus. This will not be considered a reason to allow an incomplete application.

Confirmed issues that are determined by OIE to be system-wide (experienced by many people and with details describing the same problems) will be addressed on 12/6. Depending on the situation, OIE will inform all applicants of resolutions and options available to correct things (if needed) on 12/6.

NON-WU USERS: For initial access look for an email from <oieadvising@willamette.edu>. Check your spam/junk folder for this email.

Recommenders: The email you receive is triggered automatically by the entry of your name and email in the application by the student.

  • Contact OIE directly for help. The student can only tell you what date the email was sent to you based on when they put your name in.
  • To find the email: SENDER is <oieadvising@willamette.edu>.
  • The subject contains the words "Recommendation Request..." with the student's name.
  • Check your spam/junk folder for the email.
  • It contains information that is unique to you as a recommender for a specific individual. Please don't share that email with the student.
  • You are NOT required to sign-in to the site. A link and an access code to retrieve the specific recommendation are contained in the email. You also have the option to create a sign-in if you prefer.

Security time-out feature- time limit 59 minutes: You can only be IN the recommendation form for 59 minutes at a time.

  • NO SAVE option: You also cannot "save" work-in-progress on this form. (Hoping this changes in the future....)
  • To manage this:
    1. Access the form and review it to see what the questions are. Decide how much you need to prepare before entering anything.
    2. For any free form questions/items, make note of them in a Word Document or something.  
    3. NEXT: leave/logoff the site.
    4. Compose your answers while OFF THE SITE, in a separate document.
    5. When you are ready to complete the form, log in again, answer the questions and copy/paste your longer answers in as appropriate.
    6. Click "Send". Then you are done.
    7. You will receive an immediate pop-up box acknowledgement of your submission.

Error or any other problems while completing a recommendation - (Another reason to compose answers off the site, to copy in.)

  • Reuse the one-step process to again enter the recommendation.
  • If a green box appears that says, "The recommendation you entered has already been signed," you know that the recommendation is completed.
  • If the recommendation opens again but is empty (none of your previous responses), you know the information you entered did not record.
  • There is no way for us to get that information back. In this circumstance, the recommendation must be redone. 
  • Some browsers can cause connectivity issues at any time. Try another browser if you continue to have problems. 
  • You can view the responses that recorded by using the sign-in option (instructions from your original email).

Non-WU Student:

* You will receive a temporary password to enter the portal and reset the password to one that you choose.

* The password in the email is only good for 21 days. 

* Use the Forgot Password tool if you need help with your password.

About those Recommendations...

How To Ask For and Get The Best Letters of Recommendation    (PDF)

  • How to approach potential recommenders.
  • How to help make it easy for them to do this for you.
  • How to determine who is a good (or not so good) recommender for you.

Recommenders complete online forms. Give them plenty of time- AT LEAST 3 weeks. Remember that professors are asked to do many recommendations.

Writing Your Statement

Statement question: Why do I want to study abroad?

About 500 words. We don't count words but your should be within a few sentences of that limit. Overly long Statements reflect negatively on your application.


The rest:

500 words is a challenge because the question is wide open! Your first draft will likely be longer than the limit. Keep working to make it more concise so it meets the length parameter. Don't wait until the day before the deadline to start your Statement.

1. Statement Writing Worksheet   Use this worksheet to generate content ideas and organize your Statement.

2. Off Campus Studies Committee (OCSC) Selection Criteria - Know your audience: The OCSC is composed of faculty and past study abroad students. Read the Selection Criteria.

How do you show the characteristics listed on the Selection Criteria? Past experiences? Language training? Involvement? Academic pursuits outside class? The Statement is your chance to talk about your goals in your own words. Your transcript will tell about your academic fitness and recommendations will give insight into your academic and general preparedness.

3. Academic Fit - How does studying abroad fit into your academic plans? What about with your career or post graduation plans? How do the specific programs you are considering fit with your education?

4. 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?

5.  Ask yourself, "Why?" and ask yourself, "Why?" again...   Articulate your specific desire to study abroad.

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 academic environment and teaching? Why have you always wanted to study abroad?

Finally- Proofread!

Have someone else - Writing Center, a trusted friend, a professor- proofread your statement for content and grammatical integrity before submitting it. This makes a difference! In order to maximize our ability to advise students on program choice and mechanics of the application process, the OIE is generally unable to review Statements before the deadline.