University Relations

National Student Exchange:

The Application and Placement Process

The Application Process:
  1. Before you apply, it's highly recommended that you attend an NSE Info Session. See the schedule and register for an Info Session here.
  2. If you have specific questions or want to know the odds of placement of your first-choice school before you apply, email us at

When you are ready to apply:

Complete the application and essays. Then schedule an appointment (call 612-626-2044) with an NSE advisor to review your application.  Bring your UNOFFICIAL U of M transcript with you to the appointment. 

The NSE Timeline:
  1. Before the end of January
    • Attend an NSE Info Session to learn more about the program and ask questions.
    • Begin your NSE research.
    • If you'd like to meet with an NSE advisor to talk more, discuss your NSE school choices, or ask other questions, feel free to set up an appointment by calling 612-626-2044.
  2. 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. Be sure to set up an appointment by calling 612-626-2044.
    • If you have specific questions or want to know the odds of placement of your first-choice school, email us at
  3. Mid March
    • After the NSE Placement Conference, you'll be notified of your official NSE placement.
    • Sign a Placement Acceptance Form in 240 Appleby Hall.
    • At this point, you will begin communicating with your host NSE school.
  4. 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, you will be accepted by only one institution. If your first choice campus is not able to accept you, your placement request will then be considered by the institution of your second choice and then by your third, and so on. If none of your campus choices can accept you, you can work with your 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 you are accepted and placed, you will be required to immediately sign a Placement Acceptance Form. After you have confirmed your placement, you will hear from your host school to begin the required steps to prepare for your exchange (e.g., admissions forms, housing, registration, etc). Please note that 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.