Photo by Gabriella Chan
Over 1,000 students applied for international study abroad programs for the upcoming academic year and for summer 2016. Only about 75 percent of applicants received the green light to attend the program that was either their first or second choice.
This year, the International Programs office made it their mission to open every possibility for students to study abroad. In order to increase each student’s chance, the office opened up second applications for programs that tend to have higher application rates, such as London and Heidelberg.
“Our goal is to remove all the barriers we can; the experience of study abroad is more important than where you study abroad,” said Karl Kalinkewicz, assistant director of Recruitment and Student Development for International Programs.
This was the first time the office had allowed students to submit one application while filling out another application simultaneously as a secondary option. In addition, the office encouraged selected students who applied for more well-known programs to switch their application to another location.
One hundred percent of those who decided to switch their application were admitted, which is an acceptance rate that is nearly unheard of for IP, according to Kalinkewicz himself.
Kalinkewicz, a Pepperdine graduate (2006) and alumnus of the Florence summer program, previously worked in the Housing and Residence Life office. During that time, he often dealt with IP in regard to living situations for those going abroad. This is his first year as the assistant director of Recruitment and Student Development.
The programs that have the highest application rate vary from year to year. The London program, since it is the smallest, has filled up more quickly than others. The Heidelberg program has also been one of the most competitive programs for admittance.
A survey was sent out by IP to students who did not apply to an international program, inquiring about their reasoning. The survey found that 13 percent of students who had not applied were still interested in submitting an application for the upcoming semester and year-long programs.
The window for submitting an application is coming to a close. As more and more send in their applications, openings in the various programs will close.
“Get those applications in. Let us send you to far-off, wonderful places,” Kalinkewicz advised.
Because of the competitive nature of the programs themselves, it is difficult to guarantee a spot for each person. More than 67 percent of Pepperdine students study abroad at some point in their college career, according to data provided by the IP office.
However, many of these students choose to apply for their sophomore year, which makes the selection process challenging since it is saturated with students of a sophomore standing. Kalinkewicz and his staff have noticed many students applying for their sophomore year because more general courses are offered abroad, while many juniors and seniors are staying in Malibu to get their major classes completed.
Some students did not receive a letter of acceptance into an IP program. For example, freshman Kat Perry, applied but was not accepted into the London spring 2017 program.
“I was really disappointed; I was really looking forward to studying abroad and exploring Europe,” Perry said.
Kalinkewicz stated one program the office is trying to heavily promote is the Washington, D.C. program because of the invaluable opportunity to experience an internship while attending Pepperdine in the nation’s capitol.
The internship program in D.C. can appealing to juniors and seniors who need to complete an internship either for their major requirement or for building their resume. Another notable aspect of the D.C. program is its central location, especially for students who are interested in a career on a more global scale, Kalinkewicz noted.
Another incentive the IP office is giving to students who apply is the opportunity for a scholarship. The IP office is working diligently to ensure all students know that studying in an international setting through Pepperdine is a more than achievable goal to set.
Summer programs are also an option for students who want to complete credits abroad, but also reside in Malibu for the academic year.
“I had previously thought about studying in Florence for this upcoming spring semester, but I am so happy I waited to apply for the eight-week summer program instead,” junior Katie Curci said. “Although there’s no academic field trip offered, I will be able to fully explore all of Italy’s rich scenery and culture.”
Applications are still open for all who want to apply to all programs, with the exception of Heidelberg and London, but spots are filling up quickly, which means students are encouraged to submit as soon as they can.
The deadline for priority decision has already passed, but there are spots open in every program, and until they fill the applications remain online at Pepperdine’s website.
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