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Eligibility and Evaluation Criteria

Recommended Timing of Study Abroad

The Office of International Education generally recommends that students interested in a semester or academic year abroad plan for junior year, because of the flexibility of the 300 level General Business core.  First semester senior year is also very feasible academically.  Some students may have enough course flexibility to study abroad during second semester sophomore year.  We encourage students to see an advisor in the Office of International Education to discuss study abroad opportunities and plan academically early in their academic career.

Consider Your Semester Preference

Keep an open mind for fall OR spring study abroad.  Semester preference is NOT guaranteed. Applicants must explain the reasons for their semester preference on the application. While we aim to accommodate the semester preference for as many students as possible, no semester is guaranteed.  Students applying to programs in very popular countries should be aware that semester preference may be difficult to accommodate for all qualified students.

Information Session Requirement

In order for the study abroad application to be considered complete, students are required to attend one of the many Semester Information Sessions offered throughout the fall and early spring semester. A list of dates and topics for the info sessions can be found on the events page of our website.  Students must attend an information session by the application deadline.

Course Prerequisite

If you apply to study abroad on a semester program, you must have taken and passed, or be currently enrolled in, any one of the following courses by the application deadline:

GLOBAL STUDIES: 101, 102, 110, 114, 116

Or, for students planning to study in a country whose language is taught at Bentley, you may select instead:

MODERN LANGUAGES: Any elementary, intermediate, or advanced course. Students are strongly encouraged to choose a course in the target language.

There is no course prerequisite for summer or faculty-led programs.

GLS courses that are US Government courses are not listed above because they do NOT satisfy the prerequisite. Students who have already taken an International Studies (INT) 100 level course are not required to take any additional GLS course to fulfill the prerequisite. INT 100 level courses remain eligible to fulfill the prerequisite although they are no longer on offer at Bentley.

AP or transfer credit for any of the courses listed above IS acceptable to fulfill the prerequisite. 

Major Declaration Requirement

Students must declare a major prior to submitting an application for semester study abroad.

GPA Requirement

A GPA of 3.0 or higher is strongly recommended for all programs. Many of our partner institutions require a minimum 3.0 GPA for acceptance.  In some cases the Office of International Education will consider applicants with a GPA of 2.7 or higher.  Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 should meet with a study abroad advisor to discuss program options prior to submitting an application.

Application Review and Evaluation

The study abroad application process can be very competitive, especially for programs with limited spaces and for programs in typically popular countries. The benefits of study abroad are most likely to be realized by students who make significant effort to observe, adapt, and learn from differences. Ideal candidates will demonstrate flexibility and preparedness for serving as ambassadors of Bentley. Success factors include:

  • independence
  • adaptability
  • maturity
  • responsibility
  • academic initiative and ability to adapt to new teaching styles
  • intellectual and cultural curiosity to "go beyond tourism" toward participation in the host culture

With this in mind, study abroad applications are evaluated according to the following methodology:

  1. We review each student’s individual application components to determine eligibility to study abroad.  We ensure that any program-specific requirements are met (for example, some programs mandate a specific GPA or level of language ability). This step in the review is informed by application essays, GPA, faculty reference, judicial history review; and academic integrity review.  Students must be in good standing to be eligible to study abroad. 

  2. Once all qualified applicants are identified we must then determine if there are enough available spaces in the preferred program and semester. We identify the programs where we do not have sufficient spaces to accommodate all qualified applicants. These are typically fall semester programs in popular countries such as Australia, Italy, Spain, UK, for which we typically receive large numbers of applications.

  3. On a program-by-program basis, we identify which students will be offered the limited available spots. The semester preference essay is a factor in this decision.  We look for compelling reasons that would make study abroad in a particular semester impossible or extremely unlikely for the applicants. We prioritize reasons in the following order:

  • Academics: Are specific major, honors, or other courses required in a particular semester at Bentley? Will studying abroad in a particular semester make it difficult to meet graduation requirements on schedule?

  • Athletics: Is the student a varsity athlete and required to be on campus in a particular season?

  • Commitments: Is the student already committed to a job, internship, or campus organization leadership role that requires student to be on campus in a particular semester?

  • Personal: is there any other significantly compelling case for a particular semester?

  • Summer Internship Search: Many students list the summer internship search as a reason for choosing the fall semester to study abroad. Because we have seen many students successfully obtain summer internships while abroad in the spring semester and we know that a fair amount of summer internship recruiting happens in the fall, this reason is not given much weight. We encourage you to start your internship search early and speak with Career Services for advice and guidance.

It is important to note that a student’s semester preference reasons are weighed against the other applicants’ reasons within that particular program only.  This means that competition for  spaces on a particular program is dependent on the number of applications received.  Although we make every effort to ensure that every qualified applicant can participate in their first choice study abroad program, in some cases even very strong students may not be approved to study abroad in their preferred semester.