Student Selection & Eligibility Criteria

I. Eligibility Criteria

  1. Class Standing 
    Students with the appropriate academic background may apply for study abroad programs as early as freshman year. Student selection preference may be gauged on class standing.

  2. GPA
    Students need the cumulative GPA indicated in the program requirements. Certain programs are rigid in their adherence to the stipulated GPAs while other programs consider students whose GPAs approximately meet the requirement. Student selection preference may be gauged on GPA.

  3. Academic Progress
    To be eligible to apply for study abroad programs, students must be making satisfactory academic progress toward their degree. This requirement is typically gauged by the academic advisor’s signature on the application.

  4. Disciplinary Status 
    While studying off campus, students are responsible for representing Principia College well in all of their behaviors. As part of the selection process, therefore, Student Life records are taken into account. This information will be used in determining students’ suitability for study abroad and may also be shared with the programs to which students apply. Students with sanctions of disciplinary probation or stronger (i.e., deferred suspension, suspension, or expulsion) may be excluded from study abroad selection and participation. The Study Abroad Office reserves the right to deny acceptance to students who have problematic disciplinary histories.

    Students who commit violations after they are approved but before they study abroad will have their records reviewed by the Study Abroad Office and may not be permitted to study abroad. Students placed on disciplinary probation that extends into the term(s) that they intend to study abroad are not eligible to do so, even if their applications has already been approved.

  5. Program-Specific Requirements

    Some programs have specific requirements in addition to class standing and GPA. Please see the program’s informational sheet for details. Reasonable accommodation will be considered for specific student needs, within the context of each program.

  6. Demonstration of Appropriate Aptitude and Attitude

    It is the responsibility of the student to present a persuasive case for off-campus study and to be aware of all prerequisites and observe application deadlines. To be considered for study abroad program selection, students should demonstrate:
    • Seriousness of purpose and clear reasons for choosing a particular study abroad country and program
    • Emotional stability and maturity, indicating the ability to lead a stable, responsible, and healthy life abroad
    • Commitment to productive group/community support and learning
    • Commitment to productive spiritual engagement
    • Tolerance and a willingness to adjust and adapt to different living and learning conditions

II. Selection Process

Selection for study abroad programs is based on eligibility criteria, an application, references, and an interview. Admission to programs may be competitive.

The Study Abroad Director appoints faculty and staff interview and selection committees to screen and vet applicants for study abroad programs. A standard applicant dossier consists of:

  • Application: including demographic information and the student’s responses to program specific essay questions.
  • Academic Information: transcript and academic informational matrix. A student’s previous participation on another Principia Study Abroad program, may make them less competitive in the selection process.
  • References: Resident Counselor (RC) reference, a Personal reference, a Group Learning reference,
  • Interview: conducted in-person (exceptions may apply)
  • Disciplinary Record: supplied by the Dean of Students

The interview and selection committee recommends students who not only meet the minimum eligibility criteria but who also show the type of intellectual curiosity, personal maturity, academic rationale, and social flexibility necessary for a successful study abroad experience.

Final participant selection recommendations are vetted by the selection committee, the assigned Study Abroad Program Manager, and the Study Abroad Director. The Director of Study Abroad has the final authority to accept or reject the recommendations of the selection committees.


In the event that students wish to understand further the decision of the selection committee, they are encouraged (in their final selection notification letter) to be in direct contact with the interviewing & selection program faculty, to arrange for an in-person meeting, at any point during the remainder of the semester.

Acceptance on programs is always contingent upon a student’s maintaining a level of academic performance consistent with previous work and satisfactorily completing course work in the semesters prior to the study abroad program. Students who receive academic warnings or probation prior to the program may forfeit final program acceptance and participation.

Likewise, students must maintain social and behavioral expectations prior to the program, in alignment with the eligibility criteria and the Study Abroad Student Code of Conduct. The Study Abroad Office reserves the right to withdraw a student based on code of conduct infractions, or failure to meet any of the outlined study abroad program eligibility requirements, at any time.