Study abroad decisions announced

By Ellie Rae Craig

Macalester has approved 130 students to study abroad next semester, rejecting 19. Students learned of the decisions late last week after turning in applications in early October. One hundred forty-nine students applied for spring study abroad, down from last year’s record high of 200 applicants.

“We approved 10 students above our budgeted cap of 120,” Provost Diane Michelfelder said, “because we always have some students who cannot attend for one reason or another. These extra ten positions account for that ‘melt.'”

This semester, the Study Abroad Review Committee (SARC) included two professors for the first time in several years after the faculty voted last month to add another professor to the committee.

“Having an additional professor on the SARC helped the process to run much more smoothly,” Michelfelder said.

The addition of an extra professor helped when completing the time-consuming task of reading the lengthy applications, Michelfelder said. The 2006-2007 application for study abroad includes six pages of personal data and up to five essays depending on the programs to which students applied.

This semester, the Educational Policy and Governance Committee (EPAG) decided to use a new system to prioritize study away applicants.
“Having an additional perspective on the applications was very helpful when making decisions,” Michelfelder said.

This semester marked the second for which the study abroad committee operated with a 120-student cap on those accepted to study abroad.

“The cap has been very successful. It has allowed more students to attend,” Michelfelder said. “We will do the same thing next year.”

Zara Bohan ’08, a Classics and International Studies major approved to study in Egypt this spring, said, “I wasn’t worried about the cap, since both of my majors require study abroad. Students whose majors don’t require study away were a lot more worried, though.”

Nick Honan ’08, whose application to study in Northern Ireland was rejected, said he thinks that because of the cap, only those who considered themselves well-qualified to study abroad applied this year.

“I believe this resulted in an over-abundance of acceptable students and the committee was forced to reject numerous applicants who I know to be extremely capable of succeeding in study abroad programs,” Honan said.

Michelfelder, in an e-mail to The Mac Weekly noted that “interest in Argentina, the Netherlands and the Cameroon doubled, while interest in New Zealand tripled.”