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Application Tips

As you complete your study abroad application, you may find the following tips helpful. These tips are only relevant for GEO-run study abroad programs during the academic year and summer, and do not apply to the College of Arts and Science's Maymester Abroad programs. 

Application and Predeparture Process Overview

This is a phased, streamlined process:

  • Complete and submit the application(s) by GEO's deadline;
  • Internal eligibility review or "clearance" by GEO;
  • Nomination: GEO will let your program know that you are approved to study abroad;
  • Acceptance: Your program will decide whether you can be admitted and communicate that decision to you;
  • Commitment to attend and eligibility maintenance: You will formally commit to attending your chosen program, and work to ensure your continued eligibility;
  • Pre-departure preparation: You will work with your program and GEO to complete post-decision requirements, visa applications, etc.;
  • Registration for study abroad: GEO will register you to study abroad.

At each of these stages, you will receive instructions and email reminders alerting you to your immediate action steps. In addition to staying on track with your Vanderbilt requirements, you must also follow instructions and complete tasks required by your study abroad program

Your study abroad application, including your application to the program partner provider, must represent your own work. 


You must complete both the GEO application and the program provider application (if applicable) by the GEO deadline. The GEO deadline is usually earlier than the study abroad program's published deadline. Deadlines are not flexible—if you think you might want to study abroad, complete an application by the deadline!

Applying to Multiple Programs

The GEO application portal allows 2 applications per student per application cycle. A backup application is recommended, ideally with a different provider and in a different region. If you are accepted to both your primary and backup programs, you will need to commit to one program and withdraw from the other by the Commitment Deadline.

Submitting your GEO application 

As you complete each application requirement (by selecting 'done' for the forms or e-signing the documents), you will not be able to edit your responses, except to the passport section. Please be sure you have proofread everything and are finished with your response before clicking 'done' for each written item. Once you have completed all requirements, a submit button will appear. You will not be able to submit your application if you are still missing requirements. If you are having issues submitting, try reloading the page.

Nomination and Home School Approval

If your program application requires a home school approval, please note that this is an advisor task that will be completed after the GEO deadline as part of your nomination. You can only be nominated if your GEO and program provider applications are complete by the deadline and if you pass the eligibility review.  You do not need to email your GEO advisor about this task.

Requesting Your Vanderbilt Transcript

If your application requires you to provide a copy of your Vanderbilt transcript, you will want to order an official transcript through the Office of the University Registrar. You can find more information, including links to detailed instructions, at Most students will be able to send an electronic transcript directly to the email address provided in the partner application (that is, the application from CIEE, IFSA, SIT, etc.) However, some students, especially those attending exchange programs, may need to provide hard copies. Both electronic and hard copy transcripts can be ordered from the Registrar, but hard copies will take more time, so plan ahead!

Tips for successful application 

  • Your applications will be reviewed after the GEO deadline regardless of date of submission. However, we don't recommend that you wait until the last minute to apply as your program application may have requirements (such as a letter of recommendation) that take longer to complete. 
  • You should have already done your preparation and planning work for study abroad, ideally with a GEO advisor, prior to application. The programs you apply to should be good academic fit and meet your personal and professional goals. If you have not met with the GEO advisor for your program, please schedule an appointment now

If you are just getting started with your study abroad planning, please check out the Getting Started page.

How to open a study abroad application

The screen capture below shows you how to apply to a study abroad program in GEO's application portal.