Application and Placement Process

The Application Process

Before applying, it's highly recommended that students attend an NSE Info Session and research the school they are interested in. They should contact [email protected] for questions or likelihood of placement of first choice school.

To complete the NSE application, students should follow these instructions:

  1. APPLY HERE! Complete the application form and "submit." It typically takes 30-60 minutes to complete this application (including essays).
  2. PRINT 1 copy of unofficial U of M transcript with the most recent grading period included. This can be downloaded from If students have earned 12 or more transfer credits from a different college/university, they should also bring a copy of that transcript to their appointment.
  3. Email [email protected] to schedule an NSE Application Review Appointment; students should be prepared to discuss
    1. Completed application form and essays
    2. Unofficial U of M transcript
    3. How NSE fits into overall graduation plan (students should have already discussed NSE with their academic advisor)

The NSE Timeline

Before the end of January

  • Attend an NSE Info Session to learn more about the program and ask questions.
  • Begin NSE research.
  • To meet with an NSE advisor to talk more, discuss NSE school choices, or ask other questions, set up an appointment by emailing [email protected].

Before the February deadline

  • Submit a completed NSE application to the NSE office, which is housed in the Off-Campus Study Programs Office in 240 Appleby Hall. Set up an appointment by emailing [email protected].
  • Email [email protected] with specific questions or to know the odds of school placement.


  • After the NSE Placement Conference, students are notified of official NSE placement.
  • Sign a Placement Acceptance Form in 240 Appleby Hall.
  • At this point, communication with the host NSE school will begin.

Late April

  • Attend a mandatory NSE Orientation session at the U of M.

Application Review and Placement Process

NSE Selection Committee

Applications are reviewed and ranked by the NSE Selection Committee. This committee ensures that applicants meet the eligibility requirements. It also ranks applications of students that are applying to go to the same school. (Rankings only apply to a student's first-choice campus). Rankings are based upon a variety of factors, including:

  • the quality and clarity of the student's essays
  • the student's intended course of study and its relevance to their academic and professional interests and goals
  • cumulative GPA and/or pattern of grades on the student's transcript
  • personal and/or academic preparedness
  • When applicable: demonstrated language proficiency for schools in Puerto Rico or Quebec
  • other factors (cultural immersion, local connections, etc)
  • an interview (if requested)

NSE Placement Conference

Approved applications are taken to the annual NSE Placement Conference in early March of each year. This is where the actual exchanges are negotiated by the NSE coordinators from all participating NSE schools. The placement process is very interesting: On the application form, students are asked to list 3 to 4 schools (in preferred order) they're interested in attending. Applications are presented (in ranked order) to each NSE school, which then make acceptance/rejection decisions.

Placement decisions are made according to the openness of the respective tuition payment plans of the host institutions (as indicated in the black box next to every school in the NSE Directory).

  • Open – The campus will accept all qualified applicants.
  • Uneven – The campus will accept a few more incoming students than the number of their outgoing applicants who are placed.
  • Even – The campus will accept incoming applicants not to exceed the number of their own outgoing applicants who are placed.
  • 1:1 – The campus will accept students only from those campuses at which their own students are placed.

Except for those campuses which can accept all eligible applicants ("open" schools), NSE coordinators vary in the ways in which they accept students to achieve balances with their outgoing NSE student population. There are no guarantees of acceptance, and if accepted, students will be accepted by only one institution. If the first choice campus is not able to accept, the placement request will then be considered by the institution of the second choice and then by the third, and so on. If none if the campus choices can accept, students can work with the home NSE coordinator to explore a post-conference placement.

After the Placement Conference

Accepted applicants will be notified of their official NSE placement in late March. After applicants are accepted and placed, they will be required to immediately sign a Placement Acceptance Form. After confirmation of placement, students will hear from their host school to begin the required steps to prepare for the exchange (e.g., admissions forms, housing, registration, etc). Procedures, forms, and timelines may differ from those at the U of M. There will also be a required NSE orientation for all outbound U of M students in late April.