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Frequently Asked Questions - Application Process

Where can I find more information about a specific study abroad program?

Each of the University of Richmond’s study abroad programs has its own brochure page in GatewayAbroad, where you read about academics, housing, eligibility requirements, dates, and costs specific to a program.

Is there an application fee?

There is no fee to apply to a semester- or year-long UR study abroad program. However, students may have their applications withdrawn and/or may be charged a $200 late fee if the application requirements are not submitted by the posted deadlines. Please see the UR Study Abroad Late Application Fee Policy for more detailed information.

What are the eligibility requirements for semester study abroad?
Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university to study abroad. When reviewing applications for approval, disciplinary records will be taken into consideration and students must be cleared by the Dean’s office to study abroad. Students on conduct probation will not be able to study abroad if they are on conduct probation that does not expire prior to the start date of the semester abroad program.

Each program has specific eligibility requirements, which can be found on the program’s brochure page. To find information about specific programs, please go to http://studyabroad.richmond.edu and click on Programs to find information about each program.
What is the most important aspect of the study abroad application that my student should focus on if s/he wants to be admitted to his/her first or second choice program?

All components of the study abroad application are considered carefully, including the student’s cumulative GPA, GPA in his/her major field (if applicable), quality of the motivation essay, quality of the faculty recommendations, and appropriate language preparation (if applicable). In addition, any past or pending disciplinary or academic infractions are taken into account. Academic preparation and motivation as well as suitability for the student’s academic goals for study abroad carry far more weight than other kinds of motivations, such as wanting to be with friends abroad, being in a particular city or on a particular program, weather, or sightseeing opportunities.

Is my student guaranteed a study abroad placement and is s/he guaranteed admission to his/her first choice program?

No. Study abroad is a privilege for which students must carefully prepare and apply. No student is guaranteed a study abroad placement, nor is any student guaranteed placement on any specific program in any specific semester.

Applying for study abroad has a lot of similarities to applying to college in that admission is not guaranteed even for applicants who meet minimum or average qualifications and many criteria are taken into consideration as part of the decision making process. Past academic performance plays a large role, as does the quality of how well the student expresses his/her motivation for study abroad at a particular partner university or program.

Each semester the applicant pool is different and so admission to each program might be more or less competitive in an individual semester. Depending on the strength of the applicant pool, students who meet the minimum qualifications, or even exceed them, may not be able to be placed on a particular program. However, each semester, many qualified applicants are able to be approved to study abroad at a partner university of their choice.

Programs have limited space, especially in the fall semester.  Students must meet all the eligibility requirements for their first and second choice semester abroad programs. Priority is given to students with the best academic fit. Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university to study abroad. When reviewing applications for approval, disciplinary records will be taken into consideration and students must be cleared by the Dean’s office to study abroad.  Students on conduct probation will not be able to study abroad if they are on conduct probation that does not expire prior to the start date of the semester abroad program

What happens if my student is not accepted to his/her first or second choice program?

Students who meet the minimum criteria to study abroad will be personally contacted by an OIE staff member to discuss possible alternate options. This may require the student to be flexible in either where s/he goes abroad geographically or when s/he goes abroad (fall vs. spring semester). OIE staff will discuss programs with the student that will meet his/her academic goals and give the student time to consider these options with their academic advisor and family before making a selection. Students who have not been accepted because they do not meet the minimum criteria to go abroad may be advised to reapply in a future semester.

Will my student need to obtain a student visa prior to departure?

Yes, in some cases—depending on the student's citizenship—a student visa will be required. In most cases, the student will need to apply for the visa directly either in person or via mail prior to departure. More information is available on the program’s brochure page in GatewayAbroad.

Can my student go on a study abroad program that is not affiliated with Richmond?

It is possible but extremely uncommon for students to be approved to take part in non-Richmond semester abroad programs. It is much easier for students to be approved to take part in non-Richmond summer abroad programs. The procedures for non-Richmond study abroad are explained here.

Please note that it is not possible to withdraw from Richmond, take part in a non-Richmond semester abroad program, and then transfer credit back to Richmond from that program.

Also, Richmond students may not study at Richmond exchange or affiliate programs and transfer credit back to the University without having been accepted into the program through the Office of International Education.

What information is provided to me once my student is approved to go abroad?

If your student has signed the FERPA release and has given the Office of International Education (OIE) permission to share general study abroad information, the OIE will send an email to you with basic information about semester study abroad as per the email address provided by the student in his/her study abroad application. If no email address is provided, the OIE will mail a letter to the student’s home address.

Beyond this general email/letter, no information about study abroad is sent directly to the parent(s)/guardian(s). Contact is made only if there is a critical situation regarding the health and safety of the student. FERPA is a law that all employees at Richmond must follow.

If a parent/guardian contacts the OIE by phone or email, OIE staff may answer general questions about the program abroad, but cannot discuss specific academic or other issues pertaining to a particular student. The only exception is if the student has waived their FERPA rights by signing the FERPA release described above.

Since students are over 18, we expect them to be responsible for sharing information about their study abroad program with their parent(s)/guardian(s). We suggest you ask your student to share this information and coach them on asking questions of OIE staff on their own behalf when they are confused, have doubts or any other problem. Please note that the majority of the information and instructions are provided to your student in the “Learning Content” section of his/her online study abroad application on GatewayAbroad, and/or via emails sent from members of the OIE study abroad team. Therefore, we recommend that you sit down with your student and have him/her sign into GatewayAbroad to review this information together.

Once accepted, your student will receive information from the host program abroad in various forms at various times. Some universities send a packet of information, some have this information on their web page while others have an intranet system that requires a user name and password, which is sent to the student once he/she has been officially accepted to the program. It is important that students read everything carefully and adhere to all deadlines.

The OIE also provides all approved students with a “Vital Documents” packet containing a "Study Abroad Information for Your Family" sheet, which includes contact information to the OIE, program/institution abroad, U.S. consulate abroad, the insurance company, as well as additional useful information and links. We encourage all students to give their informational sheets to their parents/guardians.

When will I be contacted by the Office of International Education about my student's study abroad program?

While we respond to emails and calls from parents/guardians as per the above, we do not initiate contact unless there is a critical health or safety incident abroad. OIE staff are accessible to assist after-hours in life-threatening emergencies - Campus Police will contact OIE staff as required. Additionally, staff in the international offices at our partner universities abroad are also available to assist students when they have a problem or question. Although FERPA does not pertain to universities abroad, it is highly unusual and often not culturally acceptable for parents/guardians to call and intervene on a student’s behalf as the student is considered to be a legal adult.

Need More Info?

Visit the Main Parents page