Colleges with large study abroad programs must balance participation between the two semesters so their on-campus enrollment stays at an optimal level. The on-campus academic program, housing, and student activities are undermined if, for example, 40 students study abroad in the fall semester and 165 study abroad during the winter. The top priority of Bates must be the quality of our on-campus academic program.
All students who want to study off-campus during the upcoming academic year must apply by the first Friday in February. This application process encompasses off-campus study at any time during the upcoming academic year, including study elsewhere in the United States. The number of applications must be approximately equal for the fall and winter semesters.
If the application numbers are out of balance, the Off-Campus Study Committee gives priority to the following five types of study abroad plans. Students receive priority if their:
- program is offered only in that semester,
- plan of study provides unique academic benefits such as advanced language study,
- plan of study provides special advantages for the major not available through comparable courses at Bates,
- plan of study provides in-depth exposure to a distinctly different culture or socio-economic setting, or
- semester selection is based on essential requirements for the major.
Based on past experience, numerous spaces remain available after students are selected on the criteria above. In this case:
- The Off-Campus Study Committee selects the remaining students first based on their academic rationale and the thoroughness of their application.
- After these students, the Committee selects students based on their long-term extra-curricular commitments and the thoroughness of their application.
- After this, students are randomly selected.
- Study off-campus in the sophomore year on the JSA program requires a compelling academic benefit if juniors are being denied because of enrollment limits.
This selection sequence maintains the academic priorities of the College while giving some recognition of student commitment and contribution to campus extracurricular activities. It also recognizes that sophomores have a second opportunity to study abroad during their junior year when the limits are applied.