Selection Criteria

In selecting students to study abroad, the Off Campus Studies Committee is looking for a number of qualities that we believe students must possess to have a successful experience away from Willamette and to enrich the entire Willamette community upon return. Your application should reflect these qualities as your entire application is considered. Other policies and preferences apply in the selection process.

The committee is looking for:

  • Academic achievement at Willamette. At least a "B" average is preferred for semester/year programs. If your cumulative GPA is below a 3.0, your selection will be in jeopardy. Transcripts are evaluated for overall academic excellence. For Summer programs the REQUIRED GPA is 2.00 or higher.
  • Qualities of character and social skills. Life in a foreign culture demands patience, flexibility, good humor, good will, and an ability to tolerate uncertainty. We are looking for students who can roll with the punches, who are not brittle, and who can laugh at themselves and the challenging times when they occur. Above all, we are looking for students who exhibit a high degree of responsibility and sensitivity to others. Often the success of an off-campus program depends as much upon how students get along with each other as they do with their foreign hosts.
  • Motivation and curiosity. Frequently your ability to get something out of an off-campus experience depends entirely upon what you put into it. We are looking for students who are genuinely curious about the world around them and have demonstrated initiative in acting upon this curiosity. Please note that if you desire to study in a country whose official language is not English, you are required to take language courses during your stay.
  • Self-knowledge. No matter where students go to study off-campus the primary journey is usually an internal one. Students should know explicitly why they desire to go.
  • Advance preparation. We are interested in students whose claimed desire to have "always wanted" to study abroad has actually resulted in their finding out something about the history, culture, and politics of the country in which they seek to study. You should know what other students have experienced too. Please note that most language programs require that a student have completed at least two years of college-level language prior to participating in a Willamette program and that students be enrolled in a language course the semester prior to the proposed study abroad experience.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Late applications will not be considered. Please adhere to the posted deadline date and time.


  • Full-time enrollment:  A student must be enrolled full-time (at least 3.0 credits) at Willamette University during the semester prior to study abroad.
  • Enrollment in language class:  In order to participate in a language-based program, a student must be enrolled in the appropriate language class the semester prior to study abroad. This class cannot be taken on an "audit" basis. SPECIAL NOTE:  Japan JSP (semester) applicants who wish to participate in JSP at the beginning language level are exempt from this requirement. Contact OIE if you fall in this category.
  • Year-long study abroad:  Studying abroad for a year is possible however, one of the two semesters must be an exchange program. Exchange programs are indicated on the list of sponsored programs.


Selection Process

Semester programs: The Committee's first task in reviewing applications for semester programs is ascertaining whether the applicant is a good candidate for WU study abroad. At that point applicants are considered to be tentatively approved or to be not approved. The secondary task for the committee is determining a program assignment for that applicant based on the application contents including any conversations in the review period with the applicant, and considerations related to budgets and program limits.  An "approval" decision notice the student receives includes the final program assignment including a term. Non-approved applications (semester programs) are considered not approved for semester study abroad, regardless of alternative program preferences presented in the application. In the case where there is more than one semester application for a single applicant (different programs for fall and spring to combine for an academic year), each application will receive a discrete decision.

Summer programs: Applicants are approved or not approved based on suitability, meeting criteria, program space, and strength of overall application in reference to the specific program for which the student applied. For each summer program application completed, a separate distinct decision is made.


Back to Top