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Undergraduate Semester and Summer Abroad Application Process

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1. Research Programs

  • Attend an information session. Attendance at an information session is strongly encouraged for semester applicants! Focused information sessions cover a range of topics: from "making study abroad affordable" to "the best destinations you've never heard of."
  • Review Study Abroad 101 to ensure that you are familiar with the basics of semester abroad programs.
  • Attend the Study Abroad Fair in fall semester. Returned students, exchange students, and program representatives showcase the many study abroad program options.
  • Reach out to a Peer Advisor
  • Help us advise you better! Submit an advising survey from any program page in advance of meeting with a staff advisor
  • Make an appointment to visit our office and speak with a staff advisor

2. 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 each student, no semester is guaranteed.

3. Submit ONE application to your top choice program

  • Confirm that you meet all eligibility requirements
  • Preview Application Components
  • Click "apply now" from the program page
  • Meet Application deadlines; Please note that there is only one application deadline for both fall and spring semester programs. All students interested in studying abroad in either semester must submit their application by the February deadline.
  • Indicate your second choice program in the application

Note: Bentley students are not permitted to submit an application directly to any Bentley partner university or affiliate organization. To earn Bentley credit, you must apply for admission through the Office of International Education by the stated deadlines. There are no exceptions.

4. Begin Academic Planning

  • To stay on track for graduation, it is important that students carefully consider their course plans before, during, and after a semester study abroad program. All semester applicants are REQUIRED to declare a major and submit a Plan of Study to the Academic Advising Center. Applicants must meet with an Academic Advisor to review the plan and receive academic approval.
  • You may meet with an Academic Advisor at any time, but you must complete the required Plan of Study form after your acceptance notification but before the deposit deadline. 
  • The documents you create during the planning process will be valuable tools for you as you plot out your academic program at Bentley, including your major and any additional program you are pursuing (Honors program, Liberal Studies Major [LSM], minor, or certificate). To learn more, visit the Office of Academic Services website.

5. Acceptance Notification and Enrollment Deposit

  • Students will be notified by email approximately three weeks after the application deadline
  • Accepted students have approximately two weeks to submit a non-refundable $500 enrollment deposit and contract to enroll in the program.


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.

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. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 should meet with a study abroad advisor to discuss program options prior to submitting an application. A GPA of 2.5 is the minimum for consideration.

Application Components and Evaluation Criteria

Study Abroad 101

Semester applicants are required to complete a short quiz as part of their study abroad application. In preparation for taking this quiz, students are advised to review Study Abroad 101, a slideshow that provides students with information on the following:

  • types of semester abroad programs
  • financing a semester abroad
  • academics, course approval and grades abroad
  • eligibility and acceptance criteria
  • housing process
  • deadlines

The major components of the semester and summer application are:

Essays and short answer questions

  • Semester preference (100-150 words): While we aim to accommodate the semester preference for each student, semester preference is NOT guaranteed. 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. Your explanation below will help us determine which students will be offered the limited available spots, which varies depending on the popularity of the program. We look for compelling reasons that would make study abroad in the alternate semester impossible or extremely unlikely. Please list your primary reason for why you prefer to go abroad during this particular semester.

  • Back-up program. Please note that some programs have limited spaces, which means we cannot always accept all qualified applicants. Please list your second choice here. You may list either an alternate program OR your first choice program in a different semester. We advise against selecting a typically popular program as your second choice since the likelihood of availability is very slim.
  • Personal Statement (200-250 words): Please tell us about yourself and your study abroad goals.
  • Program appeal (100-150 words): What is the most appealing part about this institution for you personally? Internship applicants: Why have you chosen an internship, and why does this program appeal to you?
  • Destination (100-150 words): Describe why you want to live in this destination.
  • Class offerings (100-150 words): Describe how the class offerings at the host university fit with your interests and/or major.  Internship applicants: Please describe the field(s) in which you are interested in interning and why.
  • Housing (100-150 words): Describe how the program's housing arrangements suit your needs.
  • Challenge (150-200 words): Please describe a challenge you have faced and how it has prepared you for the some of the challenges you may face in your upcoming international experience.
  • Housing at Bentley (Y/N): Do you plan to live on campus during the semester when you are not abroad? 

Faculty Recommendation

  • Students must select "Request Electronic Recommendation" unless the program specifically requires a hard copy recommendation. 
  • Students must ask a professor if they are willing to serve as a recommender BEFORE sending the electronic recommendation request.
    Once the electronic request is sent, the professor will receive an automatic email with instructions. The recommendation asks the professor to comment on the student's academic performance, maturity, and preparedness for study abroad. The professor is NOT required to submit the reference by the student application deadline.  Professors have a later deadline to complete recommendations.  Student applications can still be considered complete even if recommendations are pending.   

Application Fee

Students are required to submit a $50 non-refundable application fee (paid online ONLY through the BentleyAbroad system). This fee is waived for semester applicants who complete their application by the fee-waiver deadline.

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

Applications are evaluated according to the following methodology:

  • 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 recommendation, judicial history review; and academic integrity review.  Students must be in good standing to be eligible to study abroad. 
  • 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.
  • 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:
  1. 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? 
  2. Athletics: Is the student a varsity athlete and required to be on campus in a particular season?
  3. 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?
  4. Personal: Is there any other significantly compelling case for a particular semester?

Semester Preference Tips

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 high acheiving applicants may not be approved to study abroad in their preferred semester.

Many students cite the summer internship search as their motivation to prefer fall semester study abroad.  However, the internship search is highly personalized, so intent to be on campus in spring semester to search for an internship is not a significantly compelling justification for fall semester study abroad.  Bentley students successfully secure summer internships before, during, and after study abroad in both fall and spring semesters.  To conduct a successful internship search, planning and persistence are far more effective tools than mere presence on campus.  Applicants are strongly advised to discuss their study abroad goals with advisors in Career Services for guidance on conducting a successful internship search before, during, and after study abroad.


Please review the following deadlines.

Semester Programs 

Spring 2020 Mini Application Deadline Monday, September 16
Fee Waiver Deadline Wednesday, January 8
Application Deadline for Summer 2020, Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Wednesday, January 29
Application Decisions Announced Wednesday, February 19
Submit Enrollment Deposit and Enrollment Contract Wednesday, March 4
Submit Pre-Departure Materials (Flight itinerary, physician's report, waiver of liability)
Fall 2019 students only
Monday, June 1
Submit Second Installment of Enrollment Deposit and Physician's Report
Spring 2020 students only
Saturday, August 1
Submit Pre-Departure Materials (Flight itinerary and waiver of liability)
Spring 2020 students only
Tuesday, December 1

Summer Programs

Application Deadline Wednesday, January 29
Application Decisions Announced Friday, February 7
Submit Enrollment Deposit and Enrollment Contract Friday, February 14
Attend Program-Specific Meeting February 19-March 6
Submit Pre-Departure Materials (Flight itinerary, physician's report, waiver of liability) Monday, April 27