Processing applications is a tough job
As I am writing to you now, we are in the middle of the admissions process. The ISS has received a total of 4061 applications so far for the 2016 session; 3503 of these are applications for scholarships.
Photo: UiO/Anders Lien
The application deadline for self-paying applicants is March 15, so we are still expecting quite a few more applications. Obviously, processing such a high number of applications involves a lot of work. Joey, Turi, Karoline and Michelle in the administration team screen all the applications. No doubt quite a few of you have heard from them over the past weeks.
One particular challenge is documentation of English language competency, which is required from everyone even if you are only applying to study Norwegian language. The ISS is obliged to adhere to the same rules as the University of Oslo in general, and any institution of higher education in Norway for that matter, as far as valid documentation of admission qualifications is concerned. This also applies to tests of English language skills, or number of years the applicant has been taught English. We understand that some of you might feel this requirement is a bit formalistic, especially if you presently take courses taught in English, but we ask for your understanding regarding the admission regulations.
The toughest challenge for us at the ISS is selecting scholarship recipients. We have approximately 180 scholarships to distribute, ranging from full scholarships covering fees, travel and pocket money allowance to various forms of partial grants. With more than 3500 applicants to choose from, it is difficult to select the successful ones. In the selection meetings where also the respective course leaders participate, we therefore pay attention to composing classes of students who have an academic profile and a diversity that is best suited for the course. We also look at your grades, and make sure that you are at an academic level suited for the course. Some applicants are simply overqualified, e.g. if you already have a PhD and apply for a Master’s level course. For some of the Master’s courses we also take into account relevant professional achievements and voluntary engagements. Furthermore, we have to make sure there is a reasonable gender balance, and that students from various parts of the world are represented in the classes. Each year we turn down hundreds of qualified applicants, so we fully understand that some of you will be disappointed when you receive the results of the admission process.
At the moment, the University of Oslo and Blindern Dormitory are robed in winter garments. This week schools in the Oslo area have their winter break, and lot of people go skiing in the mountains or in the forest areas around Oslo. The University is open, but there are fewer people than we normally see on campus. Here at the ISS, we do, however, always look forward to the summer, and to receiving a new batch of students for our 70th summer session. In my next blog, I will reflect a little on the celebration of our 70 years of service to summer students at the University of Oslo.