The Office of Study Abroad is using a new online application system to ease the study abroad application process.
Starting this semester, interested students can start the process by going to the office’s Web site and searching through a database of available programs, organized by many different criteria. Whereas formerly, students interested in finding a particular school’s offerings had to explore that institution’s Web site independently, the new system pulls together all of the information and allows students to search through it easily.
Previous complaints about the slow pace of application processing prompted the office to hire new staff in recent semesters, but this latest change to an online system has made a noticeable difference, study abroad administrators said. The program, called Studio Abroad, is used by 82 universities, including Georgetown, and carries a price tag of $50,000.
Robert Hallworth, director of the Office for Study Abroad, said the most common recommendation returning students have made is to put the application online.
A total of 478 students have applied to go abroad for next semester. The average number of students who study abroad during a semester is 450.
Jacleen Mowery, a consultant at the Office for Study Abroad who previously worked for the company that created the online application system, said universities that use it have seen the number of applicants rise.
Mowery added that the online system could soon include the ability to submit course approvals for courses taken overseas, a time-consuming process that is traditionally criticized by students who have studied abroad.
The changes to the study abroad offerings came out of focus groups the office holds each semester with returning students, and the recommendations of two university committees made up of faculty members and advisers.
“Everyone is telling me to do the application online this year,” said Karim Matta, a sophomore looking to go abroad next fall. “The process seems pretty streamlined to me.”
Karim was one of many students who filled the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom to speak with representatives from foreign universities at the annual Study Abroad Fair held Thursday.
The fair featured representatives from well-attended universities such as the London School of Economics and the University of Copenhagen. In addition, representatives for new study abroad options were present to answer requests for more field work in developing countries.
There are now 260 foreign options available to students, including a growing number to areas of the world which typically attract fewer students.