When was the last time you applied for something? A loan? A grant? To be on a reality TV show? Each of those applications is geared towards an intended recipient, which is expressed by the type and difficulty of questions asked, as well as how complicated the process is, overall. The same principles are true of the study abroad application process on your campus, too. Every office wants quality, committed applicants, but shouldn’t scare off interest with overly-complicated processes.

Our team of IEP consultants recently reviewed the study abroad application used on each other’s campuses. Experiencing the process as a student was eye-opening for everyone, because “in house” norms were quickly identified as either confusing or clear by the external applicant. Some of the common issues we found were:

  • Access to the actual application was difficult to find!

Recommendation: Develop a clear “Apply Now” link or button for your Study Abroad website.


  • Way too many steps in the application

Recommendation: Look for ways to condense the application, either by eliminating unnecessary steps, or combining multiple similar requirements into one “step” (ex. E-signatures of key documents).


  • Lots of physical paperwork

Recommendation: Try to house all important documents online. If students need physical signatures, they can print, scan, and return them to your office electronically.

So before opening your next round of applications, set aside some time to try applying, yourself! Better yet, ask us! We’re familiar with lots of application structures and processes, and would be happy to provide an external, third-party view to help you simplify yours.