International Programs responds to article

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In response to Ms. Estes’ article, “Study abroad application process too discriminating,” which was published on Oct. 22. I would like to offer some information about Union’s study abroad application process and enrollment.

Over 60 percent of Union’s student body takes advantage of the college’s study abroad opportunities. This number is particularly impressive when you consider the national average is around 13 percent. It is even more noteworthy since our international programs are very competitive — some highly so.

The fact that so many students apply and are able to take advantage of the study abroad programs speaks well to Union’s ability to facilitate global experiences.

Unfortunately, the high interest also means that not all students who are eligible for the programs are guaranteed participation.

The International Programs Office makes every effort to help students understand the competitive nature of the process through one-on-one meetings, written materials and other communication.

The selection criteria depend on the program but include a student essay, GPA, faculty recommendations, course of study, class year and certification by the dean of students.

The application process also includes a faculty selection committee’s assessment of the student’s ability to adapt to the program’s social and academic environment.

The truth of the matter is that Union is among the top 40 baccalaureate colleges nationwide in participation for study abroad programs.

We are recognized around the world for this achievement, including the 2014 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange and the Princeton Review, which ranks us No. 12 for most popular study abroad programs.

I believe we are among the nation’s leaders in facilitating study abroad opportunities.

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