Applying to SASLI
Applying to a new opportunity can be an exciting yet nerve-racking experience due to the many moving parts, from statements of purpose to transcripts and letters of recommendation. This webpage is a guide to helping you organize those moving parts and familiarize yourself with the SASLI application process to submit your best application package. The four major components of applying to study at SASLI are the following:
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1. Complete the SASLI General Application
Your first order of business when applying to SASLI is to complete the SASLI general application. Once you have successfully submitted your online application form you will be sent a confirmation email in the inbox of the email you provided in your application.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns while completing this application. We are happy to accommodate application questions and requests on a case-by-case basis.
2. Pay the Application Fee
After you have completed your SASLI General Application, your next step is to pay the $25.00 application fee. Your application will not be officially “submitted” until we receive both the online application form and the application fee.
The link to the secure payment form will be located on the application form and in the email confirmation you receive after submitting your general application. If you have misplaced this email, please contact the SASLI office.
If you find that the application fee will cause financial burden, please do not hesitate to reach out to the SASLI staff. We understand and do not want this to prevent you from applying to SASLI. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
3. Start your Funding Applications
SASLI has several scholarship awards available to our students, including the SASLI FLAS, SASLI Half/Full Fee Remission, and the $1000 Fee Remission. Information on the various funding packages is available here.
The SASLI FLAS and SASLI Half/Full Fee Remission do require separate applications. One approach is complete these applications before applying to SASLI due to their earlier deadlines and because it is perfectly acceptable to submit (or adapt) the same statement of purpose for the general SASLI application to avoid the extra work.
Many of these applications will require at least one letter of recommendation, so it’ll be helpful to ask for the multiple letters at once. A guide on requesting recommendations is available in the “Completing Any Application” section.
4. Request your academic transcripts
To complete your SASLI application, you must submit a copy of your most recent academic transcripts. However, those out of school for more than five years are exempt from this requirement. The general requirements are as follows:
- Submit an unofficial transcript.
- Do not submit a screenshot.
- If you need to submit transcripts from multiple institutions, please try to do so all at once.
- Please let us know if your transcript is taking longer than usual to be received.
More information on transcripts is available in the “Completing Any Application” section below.
5. Write your SASLI Statement of Purpose
The final aspect of your SASLI application is the SASLI statement of purpose. As previously mentioned, you are welcome to submit the exact same statement you used for your SASLI funding applications as your official SASLI statement of purpose, even if it exceeds the 1-page maximum.
If you will not be doing this, you will need to submit a one-page statement addressing your reason for attending SASLI and how your attendance will benefit your professional and academic goals. When writing your statement, then, you will need to do the following:
- Keep your statement to one page. While a sentence over is not such a big deal, a few paragraphs, or pages, is problematic for a few reasons. First, it doesn’t follow the provided guidelines. Second, any substantial writing past one-page will likely not be read, causing potentially important information to be left out from your application.
- Address why you want to attend SASLI. What is motivating you to attend SASLI and learn this language? What draws you to this program specifically over others? Also think about your past experiences and how they might relate to or help your time at SASLI.
- Address why this program will be beneficial for you. What are you going to do with the information you will gain by attending this program? Do you need the language proficiency to achieve your academic or personal goals? Will what you learn at SASLI be used for graduate studies, career goals, personal achievements, etc.?
If you have questions or are looking for more help with writing your personal statement, please check out this information.
What do we look for in a SASLI applicant?
No SASLI applicant is like another, and determining whether or not you will succeed in our program is not solely based on academic standing. A few things the SASLI application screening committee generally considers in an applicant’s package are the following:
- A record of academic success. We want to see that you can commit and dedicate yourself to the time and workload necessary to succeed in an intensive language program.
- Past language learning experience/interest in language studies. Prior language study is not required to attend SASLI, and many of our students come without any former knowledge of their selected SASLI language. However, experience studying a language and an interest in a language’s cultural, historical, and political components can benefit you through the application process and your time at SASLI.
- A strong statement of purpose is your opportunity to make a case for yourself. Regardless of your past grades or experiences, a strong statement can show us that you are ready to commit to the workload necessary to succeed in SASLI. Be sure to follow the essay prompt and refer to it during the writing process.
- Materials completed and received by us before the SASLI deadline. While extenuating circumstances may make this difficult, please try to submit your materials, including the statement of purpose and your unofficial transcripts, before the SASLI deadline.
Completing Any Application
The rest of this page might be helpful for your SASLI application or another opportunity, be it a job application, graduate school, or a scholarship.
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Official Transcripts are printed on security paper or encrypted as a secure PDF. Unofficial Transcripts are typically plain PDFs that can be easily attained and shared.
SASLI, like many other institutions, accepts unofficial transcripts because they are easier to request, obtain, and share. In addition, many institutions only allow a set number of official transcript requests, so asking for an unofficial transcript would be more beneficial.
Other pointers for requesting and sending transcripts:
- Do submit all of your most recent transcripts. If you have attended different institutions in the last two or three years, submit transcripts from all institutions.
- Do submit your transcripts all at once. If you submit transcripts from different institutions, combine them into one electronic document to send together to reduce the potential of misplacing pieces of your application.
- Do not submit a screenshot or other screen capture of your grades. Often, a screenshot will not include the same information as an academic transcript, and the institution will reject those formats.
- Contact your institution early, especially if you are planning to request an official copy of your transcript. Transcripts can take time to receive, perhaps even weeks if sent via the postal service. Be sure to know in advance of applying how long it might take for your transcript to be ordered and received.
- Let the institution know if your transcript is taking longer than usual and you are worried about missing the deadline. Likely, they will understand that things happen – communication is key!
Asking for Recommendation Letters
Whether you’re applying to a SASLI/WISLI scholarship, graduate programs, scholarships, or another opportunity, asking for a recommendation is an important skill. The information below is a quick guide to finding recommenders and asking them for a letter.
Select someone who knows who you are.
There is a misconception that you should ask a professor with a “big name” to write your letter of recommendation. While having someone well-known in the field write you a recommendation letter can be beneficial, if the individual does not know you, their letter will come out unoriginal.
Instead, choose someone who knows you well enough to discuss your strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments. Now, if you truly want that “big name,” you’ll have to put in the work. Actually, with anyone you want to write a recommendation letter for you, you need to put in the work. Show up during office hours, volunteer or acquire a job helping with research, ask questions, and build a professional relationship with those who can advocate for you.
Ask in advance of your application deadlines.
Give your recommenders – AT MINIMUM – three weeks before the application deadline. If possible, bring up the idea as you are in the early stages of the application process. The more you offer them in the way of your goals and the direction of the application, the better they will be able to tailor their recommendation to you and your goals.
How do you ask someone? Doing so in person is a great option, though this can sometimes be difficult to arrange. You can also send them an email. Regardless, be upfront and honest: explain your goals, what you are applying for, why you need a recommendation, and why you chose them. If they say no, do not be angry. Thank them for their consideration and move on to find another individual. A variety of situations can cause someone to say no to a recommendation, from being too busy to simply not feeling like they know you well enough. It does not matter why someone said no. Instead, focus on finding someone willing and available to provide you with a letter. These are the people who will write you the best recommendation.
Give your recommenders your materials.
Share a copy of your application materials with your professors, advisors, employers, or whoever is writing your recommendation.
Include your personal statement, application essays or summaries of your goals, a resume or list of activities, volunteer work, organizations in which you participate, relevant work or research experience, your transcript, class papers, or whatever else is relevant to the opportunity. You do not have to include all of these options, only what will be helpful to your recommender to talk about where you have been and help you get to what’s next.
Stay on top of application instructions and deadlines.
Inform your recommenders in advance of the deadline to submit their letter and how. Know which institutions require them to directly submit their letter and which require you to submit it on their behalf., and notify your recommenders what is required of them when submitting their letter.
What to do if your recommender has yet to submit their recommendation? If you notice that the deadline is quickly approaching or has passed, but your letter has yet to be uploaded/received, send a kindly worded email to your recommender reminding them of the deadline and inquiring about the status of your letter. Remember, asking your recommenders as early as possible will be key to avoiding this situation!
If you miss a deadline, explain your situation to the office expecting your application materials to ask if there is anything you can do in the meantime.
Always say thank you.
As one last step, send your recommenders a thank you note expressing your appreciation for their help and support throughout the application process. As you begin receiving your responses, keep them in the loop. Maintaining this relationship will be helpful in the future, regardless of where you go next.
If you do have additional questions, the following resources might be beneficial:
Thank you to Stanford University for providing the background of this information. You can find their version here: https://undergrad.stanford.edu/academic-planning/engage-faculty/asking-letters-recommendation
Writing a Personal Statement
The statement of purpose is one of the most important pieces of an application because it’s an opportunity to really show who you are. Below are a few things to remember as you write and polish your statement.
Understand the guidelines and prompt.
Usually, applications will have a list of expectations for their applicants’ statements. Such requirements may pertain to length, format, questions to address, and academic and professional goals, to name a few. While these instructions may seem like recommendations, treat them as rules.
If you’re not provided any guidelines, here are some recommendations:
- Keep your statement between 1 and 2 pages.
- Talk about what you’re applying for and your compatibility with the opportunity. If it’s a grad school or other academic program, address why you chose that program over others. Think about the location, instructors, and anything drawing you to the program – and then explain the connection to your background and goals. If the opportunity is a scholarship, you can talk about your qualifications.
- Describe a pivotal moment or experience showcasing the values, experiences, and lessons you want to discuss in your statement. Did you have an influential class that changed your thoughts about a subject? Talk about that class and your experience. Have you ever had to overcome a challenge or obstacle in your personal life that is somehow relevant to your academic and professional goals? If comfortable, talk about that. Your story does not have to be anything extravagant – you do not need to have saved the world to tell a compelling story. Just be yourself!
- Talk about where you want to go. Why will attending this program help with your academic or professional goals? It’s okay not to have a five-year plan, but think about where you want to go and why this specific opportunity paves your path.
Finally, share your statement with a mentor, teacher, friend, peer, or tutor in your school’s writing center. They can help you at any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming ideas to establishing the outline or content to proofreading.
If you need additional assistance, the following links are excellent resources for writing your statement of purpose.