API Acceptance and Pre-Departure Policies
API Application Process
Students may submit their application to API in one of two formats: 1) by completing the online application, or 2) by completing the printed application that is found in the API catalog and returning it to our office by mail or fax. In either case, students will also be required to submit additional documentation, including the transcript, letter(s) of recommendation and University Contact Information Form directly to API. Additional materials may be required for certain programs.
The student will receive confirmation via email that the initial application has been received. Once the application is complete, the API Program Manager will call the student to inform them of their status.
Generally, once an application is complete, it takes 10 business days for the applicant to be accepted. In the majority of situations, API can directly accept a student on behalf of the overseas host institution. In those cases where the host university must confirm acceptance, students are offered provisional acceptance through API once their materials have been reviewed and are otherwise treated as a regularly accepted student.
Students who are not accepted will receive a refund of their $150 application fee. On the same day, students who have been accepted receive an acceptance email that details more specifically the steps they need to take to continue moving forward with their preparations. Students will be directed to their @api account to complete post-acceptance paperwork, to be submitted online or by mail. An official acceptance letter will be sent to the student by mail.
Policy for students who are interested in applying but do not meet the API program’s G.P.A. requirement:
API believes in the importance of a strong G.P.A., but is willing to consider applicants whose G.P.A.s fall below the G.P.A. requirement in certain instances. Students are asked to submit a statement of explanation along with their application in which they are encouraged to honestly address the reasons behind their low G.P.A. API is most willing to consider an applicant with a low G.P.A. in the following instances:
- The G.P.A. trend has steadily improved from a low point in the freshman year.
- One particular course really drove down the G.P.A..
- The student has made a concerted effort to study the host language, has performed well in the language courses and has applied for a program with a language focus.
- The student selected the wrong major, and upon correcting the course of study, has steadily improved the G.P.A.
Whenever possible, if API cannot accept a student for the session originally pursued by the student, we will extend the opportunity to improve grades in the current semester and reapply for a subsequent session.
Policy for students who are on disciplinary probation or have a history of disciplinary infractions:
API considers students with a history of disciplinary infractions on their home campus on a case-by-case basis. API will only consider students with disciplinary histories if the home institution has agreed that the student is eligible to participate in a study abroad program. If the infraction was relatively minor and a minimum of a full semester has passed since the infraction occurred, API is more likely to accept the student.
More serious infractions are reviewed by the Director of Student Services; in many cases, a phone interview will be scheduled to discuss the circumstances behind the probation with the student. If the student has a solid rationale for studying abroad and demonstrates that (s)he has learned from the experience of being placed on disciplinary probation, API is reasonably comfortable accepting most students. Students are advised that API treats its own on-site rules seriously and warned that failure to abide by API guidelines on-site can result in removal from housing or dismissal from the program. All students, once accepted, are asked to sign a Code of Conduct (see next section) and Study Abroad Agreement which detail basic rules and conditions for participation in the API programs, as well as a housing conditions agreement.
Post-Acceptance Mailings from API
As students prepare for their study abroad experience, they receive information from API via email and regular mail.
EMAILS: We periodically send students important program updates, forms, and other program information by email. We encourage students to check their email regularly so that they do not miss important information!
We may occassionally send students emails from generic API accounts such as financialservices @ apistudyabroad.com or visas @ apistudyabroad.com. We urge all students to modify the preferences in their email account so that all emails from the apistudyabroad.com domain come directly to their inbox, and thereby decrease the risk that our emails could be sent to junk mail.
ORIENTATION MATERIALS: Students and parents will receive orientation materials approximately two months prior to the program. These materials include a handbook specifically for parents and a comprehensive online orientation for students.
FINAL PACKET: Approximately 2-3 weeks before students depart for their overseas destination, API will send students the Final Packet. It contains each student’s housing assignment, a program itinerary, an insurance card, and other final program details, including arrival information. If students are departing early, the final packet information can be sent to students via email and they can collect their insurance card on-site.
Students will not receive their final packets until their API balances are paid in full, unless the student has submitted documentation that the program fee will be paid with financial aid funds or the student attends a direct bill school that will pay program fees on the student’s behalf.
Emergency Plans and Protocol
If there is an emergency and parents/university partners need to contact API, what number should they call?
API has emergency numbers that can be used, either stateside or abroad, in the event of an emergency. During office hours, please call the main API number at 512-600-8900. After hours, the same number will provide callers with a prompt to reach an emergency respondent.
If there is an emergency abroad and students need to contact API, what number should they call?
API provides Piccell or other local cell phones for all of our students (with the exception of Costa Rica) for no additional rental or shipping fees. In most cases, the phones are ordered prior to departure (in all sites except Qatar, UAE, Hungary and Poland, where phones will be distributed to students during orientation. Costa Rica students are given advice about cell phone options during orientation.)
In sites where PicCell phones are used, students and parents have their mobile phone number prior to leaving the United States. Through Piccell, API is also able to SMS all groups in mass to better ensure timely communication in the event of any on-site emergency. Even if phone communication is limited because lines are down or busy, an immediate text could be sent and received by all students, giving them directions and instructions regarding emergency procedures. It also allows API staff to expeditiously and efficiently account for all students.
Does API have Emergency Plans in place?
Yes. API has Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) for every program city. Students are notified of these plans both verbally and in writing at the beginning of their program. They are told what to do in the event of emergencies, where to go and who to contact. In the event that an EAP needs to be enacted in a host city, the first step is to contact all students and account for their wellbeing. At that time, students are reminded of emergency procedures and instructed on further action. They are advised to avoid large, public areas, public transportation (if necessary), and particularly any “American” gathering places. All students are also reminded to contact their families to notify them of their safety. If it is safe to travel to the API office, facilities are open to students (phones, internet, fax) to contact their home. Second, API-Texas is notified. Any further decisions for action are made and home institutions and families are notified of the events and of students’ safety.
Are API Centers safe?
Yes. All API Centers are located in safe areas of the host city. No exterior identification markings are present in any office location, with the goal of minimizing the presence of an American program and American students.
Are API Resident Staff fully trained?
Yes, all API staff members are trained and knowledgeable about emergency procedures. All staff members have been trained about and regularly review the emergency procedures for their city. Staff members also participate in annual group training sessions with API-Texas staff and outside professionals. All staff members have cell phones; in some cities there is also an additional emergency only cell phone that is available to students 24/7.
What if students are not in their host city at the time of an emergency?
All students are encouraged to submit travel plans to their Resident Directors, so that, in the event of an emergency, API staff can locate all students. Students can receive emergency SMS messages from their API Resident Director(s) even if they are not in their host country.
Are there post-emergency support systems in place for API student?
Yes, API has identified English-speaking counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists in all program locations. After an emergency or traumatic event (either concerning the group or to an individual), API staff ensures that students are aware of these services. In some instances, API will contract with a counselor to come into the office to meet with students; if a student wishes to meet individually, API staff can accompany the student to his/her meeting. API Resident Directors also make opportunities available to all students to visit the API office — individually or with several students — to discuss events, to air fears, to convey accurate information, and to generally help students cope with the circumstance.
Are general safety guidelines and information provided to students, in non-emergency situations?
Yes, all students are given safety information both prior to their departure from the United States and during their orientation in their host city. Students are reminded throughout their sojourn, on organized excursions and activities, and whenever deemed necessary by their Resident Director. General health and safety guidelines are available in the students’ online Toolbox orientation materials, in their printed Passport orientation materials, in the Excursion Policies and in their onsite handbooks.