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Application Instructions

  • To begin an application for a program, visit MyElonGlobal to search for a program brochure page for which you would like to apply, and then click “apply now” at the top or bottom of the page.
  • You do not need to complete your application in one sitting. To go back to your saved application, log into MyElonGlobal at elon.edu/myglobal.
  • Before completing your online application, read the entire program-specific webpage for the program to which you are applying.
  • Read the application instructions and then submit all required items for a complete application by the application deadline.
    • Each item will be checked off (or marked “N/A”) as you complete it.
    • Once all items are complete, a “submit” button will appear at the top of your application. You must click “submit” for your application to be done and ready for advisor review.
    • If your application requires a recommendation(s), your required recommendation(s) must be REQUESTED rather than RECEIVED in order for you to click “submit.” In other words, you may submit your application even if your recommenders haven’t submitted their recommendations.
    • Once you click “submit,” your application will be date and time stamped, and you will receive email confirmation when your application has been submitted.
    • Applications are reviewed by the criteria specified below.
  • If your application is insufficient (e.g. your Learning Plan responses do not adequately address the prompt), you will be asked by your program advisor to revise and resubmit your application.
    • Upon resubmission, your application will again be date and time stamped — in cases of limited program availability, this timestamp will determine the order in which your application is reviewed.
  • You may apply for only one program per term. Students can request to switch into an available program by submitting a Change Request Form.
  • Information on applying for an Independent Program (IP) or a Non-Elon Programs can be found on the webpages for those types of programs.

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Application Essays for Study Abroad: GEC Learning Plan

(for Center, Affiliate and Exchange Programs)

REVISED for summer and fall 2022

Below are the essay prompt questions for all Center, Affiliate, and Exchange study abroad applications. Please use this as a reference if you would like to work on your essay prior to the application being available.

The Global Education Center’s (GEC) mission is to develop and facilitate experiential opportunities for the Elon University community that promote understanding of the self, the world’s peoples and cultures, and that provide a framework for lifelong intercultural learning.

In support of that mission, GEC staff will evaluate the personal learning plan you write below.

The purpose of these questions is to ensure you have selected a program appropriate for your goals and have thoughtfully considered how you will work toward those goals.


  • Write well. Be concise, employ proper grammar and spelling, and consider the services of the Elon Writing Center before submitting your written work. But, also recognize this is not a writing contest. Focus on clear and to-the-point writing over literary flair.
  • Write thoughtfully. Consider interviewing global ambassadors, faculty members, or other advisors to inform your responses.
  • Write honestly. If you use sources other than your own knowledge and experiences, cite your sources using the citation format with which you are most comfortable. The Elon University Academic Honor Code requirements applies.
  • Lastly, write with your reader in mind. GEC Advisors read a lot of essay responses with the following phrases:
    • “I came to Elon to study abroad.”
    • “I’ve always dreamed of living in …”
    • “I want to immerse myself in the culture of …”

While all of those are valid and may be true for you, they are not compelling application statements. Nor is arguing how great study abroad is (we promise our advisors think so, too!).

1. Course Plan

Please tell us how the courses on this program fit into your Elon graduation plan.

You may feel like this question is duplicating what you’ve done on your course review form and your advisor recommendation form. That’s okay — in fact, we recommend you work on all three at the same time. All three of these academic advising elements serve different functions.

Be as detailed as possible, as the information you share will be one of the primary criteria used to evaluate your application. Be sure to use host program course listings, the transfer articulation table, and your program advisor as you create your academic plan.

We encourage you to write in bullet points or outline format, using no more than 250 words.

Satisfactory responses will do at least one of the following:

  1. List the particular courses that you plan to take. Include courses required by the program (even if they are not required for your graduation plan) as well as internship, research or service-learning credit where applicable. List how these courses satisfy your graduation requirements, including whether any are notable prerequisites for courses that follow.
    • Example: “4160 Global Marketing will satisfy an elective in my marketing major.”
  2. For programs where academic information is very broad or not readily accessible, focus on specific requirements you want to satisfy.
    • Example: “a 3000-level Biology course will earn four semester hours toward the requirement of Advanced Courses in the Arts and Sciences/outside my major.”
  3. Outline how you have organized your graduation plan so that this program will fit, even if you have planned such that you do not need to take specific graduation requirements.
    • Example: “I organized my graduation plan such that there are not specific major or Core Curriculum requirements I need to fulfill this semester, but I am interested in …”

Unsatisfactory responses are responses that don’t meet the above criteria, are too vague, or are inaccurate beyond what could be reasonably ascertained. For instance, a response that lists taking a Finance course at the Center in Florence, which with minimal research through the program brochure and transfer articulation table is obviously not taught in Florence, is unsatisfactory. On the other hand, a response that lists taking a political science course at the University of Haifa might not be listed with 100% accuracy if Haifa hasn’t yet posted their course list. In this case, this response is satisfactory.

2. Why this program?

In terms of your personal and professional growth, why did you choose this study abroad program over other study abroad programs?

Please be as detailed and specific as possible, as the information you share will be one of the primary criteria used to evaluate your application. Be sure to use the resources at your disposal, such as program brochure pages on the GEC’s website or the host program’s website. We encourage you to write in bullet points or outline format, using no more than 500 words.

Satisfactory responses to this question will help us understand your motivations for choosing this specific program as they relate to personal and professional outcomes. Focus your argument on the specifics of why THIS program for YOU.

Satisfactory responses will usually do at least one of the following:

  1. Make reference to specific features of the program that will help you achieve your goals such as academics, internship opportunities, extracurricular opportunities, program costs or other features as found in program information.
    • Example: If your program offers an internship and you plan to participate to gain professional experience, you should discuss that.
  2. Share how the program’s academics or activities align with your specific, demonstrated interests.
    • Example: If you are an Italian Studies minor and your program is focused on Italy, you should discuss that.
  3. Share specifically how this particular study abroad program, more than another study abroad program, will help you achieve personal goals such as getting outside your comfort zone, understanding the culture, becoming a global citizen, or exploring your heritage.

Unsatisfactory responses are those that do any of the following:

  • Are too general or vague.
    • Example: If a reader can substitute the name of another city/country/program and the response still makes sense, it’s too vague.
  • Contain inaccurate information.
  • Discuss why a particular location is a good base for traveling to other places.

3. Impact

Read the following before answering this question:

Elon’s definitions of diversity, inclusion, and global engagement

When you participate in study abroad, you and your fellow study abroad students enter into a new community, both with one another and with the members of the community abroad. Your pursuit of the goals you outlined in question one will have an impact on both your fellow students and the local community. With that in mind, how will you embody your interpretation of Elon’s values of diversity, inclusion, and global engagement both among your fellow study abroad students and to your host community?

A good response to this question will address both parts of the question, will show willingness to invest time and energy building community while abroad, will demonstrate familiarity with the program setting, and familiarity with opportunities offered by the program including coursework, student organizations, extracurricular opportunities, and leadership roles that align with diversity, inclusion, and global engagement. Prior engagement with diversity, inclusion, and global engagement on campus will be highly regarded. (No more than 500 words).

4. Cultural Adversity

Read the following before answering this question:

The Seven Dimensions of Culture

On your study abroad program you will encounter adversity, some of which will stem from cultural differences. Select one dimension from the article and answer all of the following questions (no more than 300 words):

1. Recognizing that each dimension is a spectrum rather than an either/or selection, where do you think you personally fall on the spectrum for the dimension you’ve selected? Give examples.

2. Again, recognizing that each dimension is a spectrum and that people vary both on an individual and a cultural level, where do you think your host culture will fall on the spectrum for the dimension you’ve selected? Give examples, being sure to cite your sources.

3. How do you think you will be challenged both personally and academically by the the difference between where you fall and where your host culture falls on this spectrum?

4. How can you prepare yourself for these challenges?

Competitive Programs Supplemental Questionnaire

(for Center, Affiliate and Exchange Programs)

Certain fall programs are likely to hit capacity. Historically, these are the Elon Center in London, the Elon Center in Florence, DIS Study Abroad in Copenhagen, and CIEE programs in Barcelona. Students applying to these programs for fall are asked to read and acknowledge or respond to the following: 

You have chosen to apply to a study abroad program that could have competitive admissions for the fall semester due to program capacity constraints. Please complete the questions below regarding conditions of application review, waitlist process, and your application.

1. Acknowledgment of competitive program

The program I’m applying to may be competitive and that there is a chance I will not be accepted to the program.

2. Acknowledgment of ongoing conditions of admission

I understand that my admission, should I be accepted, is always conditional on my maintaining the minimum required GPA, completing appropriate follow-up in a timely fashion, and attending all mandatory orientations. I also understand that should I fail to do so I risk losing my spot on the program and incurring financial consequences.

3. Application Review Criteria

In the event there are more applications than seats available in the program, the following criteria will be used to prioritize applications:

  • Meets program minimum requirements such as minimum GPA, class standing, disciplinary eligibility
  • Previous experience at Elon with host country language (for Florence or Barcelona)
  • Special circumstances as shared by students in the Competitive Programs Supplemental Questionnaire
  • Learning Plan questions 1 & 2 response (satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading)
  • Anticipated graduation date (tiebreaker)
  • Credit hours (tiebreaker)
  • GPA (tiebreaker)

I understand that my application should focus on making the strongest possible case as to why the specific study abroad program for which I’ve applied is the right choice for me.

I understand that my anticipated graduation date, credit hours, and GPA are review criteria ONLY in cases where all other application criteria are equal.

4. Application Review Process

If my application is waitlisted after the early action period, I have until the end of the revision period to change programs and receive priority consideration for that program. I may decide to change programs at any point prior to the final application deadline, but after applications open for the rolling period, other programs may fill. Program changes are accommodated on a first-come first-served basis. Once I notify the GEC that I’d like to change programs by completing a change form, I will be prompted to revise my application to make it suitable for my new program and then submit it. Applications not resubmitted by the conclusion of the revision period will compete with new applications submitted during the rolling period on a first-come first-served basis.

If I am accepted or waitlisted for a program after either the early action period or the revision period, I may defer my application to the spring or switch into any open program. I understand that doing so will require some application revision as described above.

5. What is your backup plan if you don’t get into this program and why?

Note: it is wise to pick a program that is unlikely to be competitive as your back-up plan; the programs likely to be competitive are the Elon Center in London, the Elon Center in Florence, DIS Study Abroad in Copenhagen, and CIEE programs in Barcelona. Note that students are NOT automatically admitted to their back-up option if they are not admitted to their first choice; students must still go through the program change process.

6. Special Circumstances (optional)

Are there special circumstances surrounding your application, graduation plan, or program selection, especially as it relates to applying to this program for the fall term? Examples:

  • You are a varsity athlete and restricted from studying away any other term
  • You will graduate early and are unable to study away after this term
  • You have disability or mobility concerns, and the program you’ve selected best supports your accommodation
  • You have specific course-sequence restrictions, such as needing to take a course at Elon taught only in the spring
  • You are a member of a special or accelerated academic program, such as a 3+1 dual-degree program or ROTC

Application Review

(for Center, Affiliate, and Exchange Programs)

Applications are reviewed by the following:

  • Eligibility per program requirements and prerequisites
  • Quality and relevance of application materials
  • Special circumstances
  • GPA

Application Statuses Explained

Application Submitted

You have completed all the application requirements and submitted your application, which is awaiting advisor review. In the Early Action period, your application will be reviewed and your status posted on the decision day (listed from the deadlines webpage). In the Rolling period, your application will be reviewed and your status posted within two weeks of submission.


Your application has been initially approved by the Global Education Center (GEC). Elon’s official approval is granted after the completion of mandatory orientations or pre-departure course and the completion of post-decision requirements. Your final acceptance will come from the affiliate or exchange program.


Your application has been initially accepted by the GEC. Elon’s final acceptance is granted after the completion of mandatory orientations or pre-departure course and the completion of post-decision requirements.

Conditionally Approved or Accepted

The conditional approval or acceptance is based on missing application materials (such as an advisor recommendation) or a question about whether your application satisfies the eligibility requirements for the program (such as GPA). A conditional approval or acceptance might also be assigned for a student conduct violation that the GEC is reviewing with the Office of Student Conduct.

Contact your GEC program manager with any questions on your conditional approval. Your application status will be updated once all conditions are suitably met.

In the meantime, proceed with your application as you would if approved or accepted: Attend mandatory orientations or your pre-departure course and complete on your post-decision requirements.


We received more applications from qualified applicants than we have spaces available on the program. You will be notified by email if a space becomes available for this program. You may elect to remain on the wait list, but we recommend that you also consider one of the many programs still available.

For short-term programs, this also means the program to which you applied is currently waitlisted. This means it is still accepting applications to be added to the waitlist but will be closed if the waitlist hits 40 applicants. Learn more from the status chart.

If you choose to remain on the wait list and a space does not become available, your deposit (if paid) will be automatically credited to your account after the final deadline.

If you want to remain on the wait list and remain eligible for participation in the program, you must attend the orientations for the program. Visit the orientation schedule webpage to see the orientation dates, times, and locations.

Program Waitlist at Capacity

We received more applications than we have spaces available on the program and on the program wait list, which is capped at 40 students.

We cap wait lists at 40 because students beyond that will not be admitted to the program (i.e. 40 or more students would need to withdraw from the program or the wait list in order for additional students to be offered admission).

Instead, students assigned this status are able to switch into an open program by submitting a Change Request Form (linked here). Students that applied during the Early Action period have a special Change Period wherein to submit a Change Request Form before open programs are reopened for the Rolling Period. Learn more from the deadlines webpage.

For short-term programs, this also means the program to which you applied is closed. The program will not accept any further applications, even if student switch out of the program or off of the wait list. Learn more from the status chart.

Revise and Resubmit

Your application was not approved; you will have to take further action in order to be considered. Your GEC program manager will be in touch with additional instructions.

Under Review

Your application needs further action; your GEC program manager will be in contact with you to discuss it further.

Pending – Course Conflict

Your registration for the required one-semester-hour fall prerequisite preparatory seminar presented a course conflict with your existing registration. You must resolve the course conflict in order to apply again for the program, or you may choose to switch into an open program.

Pending – Deferred

You have chosen to defer your application to a future term — this is your new application. We have carried forward from your previous application select requirements. Review and submit any incomplete requirements, such as requesting your advisor recommendation again, and click “submit” to complete your deferred application.