The Collegian
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Study abroad decision letters delayed for some students

Study abroad decision letters were delayed for some students applying to popular and competitive programs, primarily in Spain, Michele Cox, study abroad director, said.

At midnight Friday, Feb. 17, many University of Richmond students who applied to study abroad in the fall started receiving decision letters via email from the Office of International Education.

But others, including sophomore Alexis Ventura, got a different message. Ventura waited to find out where she would study in Spain, but instead received an email at 6 p.m. Friday that said she would not be notified until the next week, she said.

Some Robins School of Business students who applied to programs in Spain were notified even later, said Tom Cosse, associate dean for international business programs. He said that in many cases it was because there weren't enough positions available in popular programs, and spots had to be negotiated.

"It is more complicated, and typically takes longer, when [business] students apply to programs to which non-business students are also applying, because the openings at such schools are shared across the university," he said.

Cosse said the problem was worse in Spain because there was just one business-only partner school there.

Ventura, a business administration and Latin American and Iberian studies double-major, said she had applied to Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, an arts and sciences university that also offeres business classes.

Ventura said she thought she should have received an email earlier on Friday with a date telling her when she would be notified.

"I was so happy for everyone else," she said, "But it was just frustrating because I didn't know where I was going yet."

Ventura said she had received approval to study abroad on Tuesday.

Cosse said that by Friday, Feb. 17, 64 percent of business students had received their admission decision, and by the following Friday, 94 percent had been notified.

"The reason it's not 100 percent yet, is that we try to find a place for everybody," he said.

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Cox said notifications that were received later in the day on Feb. 17, were often because of a time lag between when staff changed application statuses and when the computer system processed and sent information.

Sophomore Elizabeth Dorton was on Facebook at midnight on Feb. 17 when she saw that several of her friends had posted statuses about where they were going to study abroad in the fall.

"I was pulling an all-nighter, so every other second in the library at like three in the morning, I was trying to see if I got an email," Dorton said.

Dorton, who had applied to Universidade de Santiago de Compostela in Spain, found out she would study there later Friday afternoon, she said.

Dorton said she had not been upset that she had gotten her decision a little later than others.

"They had hundreds of stuff to go through," she said. "I mean, I found out on the day they started telling people, so I'm not allowed to be mad."

Cox said that every year parents called the office when their son or daughter's decision got delayed, but that she could not disclose much information.

"We have to protect the student's privacy," she said.

Cosse said he understood how anxious students were to find out about study abroad. Cosse and Cox both said they had met with students about pending decisions.

"We sincerely want students to study abroad," Cosse said. "We work very, very hard with students' best interests in mind."

Dorton said she was thrilled about studying abroad in Spain.

"I ran into Michele Cox and I was like, 'Guess what?'" she said. "And she gave me a huge hug and was like, 'I know.'"

Contact staff writer Avery Shackelford at avery.shackelford@richmond.edu.

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