Application Assistance

Summer 2022 Applications Opening Soon.

APPLYING TO APTLI

We know that applying to anything can be a nerve-racking experience. There are a lot of moving parts, a lot of things to ask for, edit, and turn in, and with familial, professional, and academic obligations, we know it can be difficult to keep track of everything or even know where to begin. We want to use this space to answer some of the questions that come up when completing the APTLI general application and affiliate funding applications.

When applying to APTLI, we encourage you to do so in the following order:

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1. Write APTLI Personal Statement

We encourage you to write your personal statement first because you will need to input this information into the APTLI general online application, and it tends to be the most time consuming aspect. Note: In order to save time and effort, you may use your personal essay for funding applications as well.

You will need to submit a personal essay (approximately 500 words) addressing your reason for attending APTLI and how your attendance will benefit your professional and academic goals. When writing your statement, you will need to do the following:

  1. Keep your statement to ~500 words. 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 500 words will likely not be read, causing potentially important information to be left out from your application.
  2. Address why you want to attend APTLI. What is motivating you to attend APTLI 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 APTLI.
  3. 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 APTLI be used for graduate studies, career goals, personal achievements, etc.?
  4. Include how you plan to meet the challenge of, and personally contribute to, an intensive language learning environment. In addressing contribution, you may discuss your interpersonal skills, your leadership skills, your ability to adapt to new and unexpected situations, and/or your interest in creating an environment in which each participant feels valued, respected, and surrounded by supportive persons.

If you have questions or are looking for more help with writing your personal statement, please check out this information.

2. Complete the APTLI General Online Application

Now you are ready to complete the APTLI online general application, which can be accessed here or previewed here.

Please note: the APTLI 2021 application priority deadline is April 1, 2021

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.

3. Pay the Application Fee

**Note: The application fee is waived through December 31st**

After you have completed your APTLI 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 APTLI office.

If you find that the application fee will cause financial burden, please do not hesitate to reach out to the APTLI staff. We understand and do not want this to prevent you from applying to APTLI. Send us an email at aptli@iris.wisc.edu to let us know.

4. Start your Funding Applications

APTLI has a few scholarship awards available to our students, including:

Many funding applications are due before the APTLI general application. Please make sure to double check all deadlines!

We want you to avoid doing more work than is necessary. If you are applying for funding for APTLI (more detail on these can be found here), you will be required to write some sort of a Statement of Purpose. In order to mitigate redundant work, you can edit your APTLI personal statement to fit the funding applications, instead of writing an entirely new essay.

Have questions about writing your statement? Click here.

As a side note, many of these applications will require one, if not more, letters of recommendation. We have included a simple guide on how to ask for these letters. This can be found here.

5. Request Letters of Recommendation

The APTLI application requires two (2) letters of recommendation.

  • One letter of recommendation should be from a past language instructor and include this form in addition to a written statement. The other letter of recommendation should come from another instructor or professional.
  • Referees should send recommendations directly to aptli@iris.wisc.edu

Make sure to give as much time as possible to your reference to write their letters!

While we would like to receive input from and instructor who knows your past language learning experience (whether it be an APTLI target language or any other language), we understand that this scenario does not apply to all applicants.

If you do not have a previous language instructor who can complete your letter of recommendation, you may submit a letter from a different instructor or a professional reference.

Upon application review, we will consider everyone’s individual circumstance and assess accordingly. We do not expect individuals enrolling in the Elementary courses to have backgrounds in the language. As long as you have strong stated interest and intent, and your letters of recommendation are sent in, your application will still be competitive and looked at with regard.

To find tips on requesting letters of recommendation, click here.

6. Request your Academic Transcripts

As part of the APTLI application, you must submit a copy of your most recent academic transcripts (though for those 5 or more years out of school, you can be exempt from this requirement). Here are a few general things to stick to when submitting your transcript to APTLI:

  1. Submit an unofficial transcript.
  2. Do not submit a screenshot. We need to see what courses you have taken and when, the grades received, and at what institutions for the transcript to be accepted.
  3. If you need to submit transcripts from multiple institutions, please try to do so all at once. Due to the large volume of applications we receive, we encourage one submission to prevent separation and misplacement of any piece of your application.
  4. Please let us know if your transcript is taking longer than usual to be received. We understand that glitches happen, and will not penalize you if a University based error is hindering our reception of your transcript.

If you have any questions about the difference between unofficial and official transcripts, how to access them, etc. click here.

WHAT DO WE LOOK FOR IN AN APTLI APPLICANT?

Now that we’ve covered the aspects of the APTLI application, we want to go a bit more in-depth on what we look for in an applicant. No one APTLI applicant is like another, and determining whether or not you will succeed in our program is not solely made on academic standing. Below are a few things we generally look for in an application:

  • A record of academic success
    • This is not contingent on a linear progression of academic performance, rather, we would like 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
    • To be clear, prior language learning is not a requirement of attending APTLI, and many of our students come without any former knowledge in their selected APTLI language of study. However, if you have past experience studying a language, or have shown interest in the cultural, historical, political, etc. aspects of a language, these can be beneficial to you throughout the APTLI program.
  • Strong Personal Statement
    • This 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 APTLI, and, at the end of the day, that is what makes a strong applicant.
  • Materials completed and received by us before the APTLI deadline.
    • While extenuating circumstances may make this difficult, please try your best to submit your materials prior to the APTLI deadline.

COMPLETING ANY APPLICATION

The rest of this page you might find useful for the APTLI application, as well as wherever else life takes you, be it a job application, further academic studies, scholarship applications, etc.

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Understanding Transcripts

Official Transcripts are printed on security paper or encrypted as a secure PDF.

Unofficial Transcripts are typically plain PDF’s that can be easily attained and shared.

APTLI asks for an unofficial statement for many reasons; it is often easier to request, obtain, and distribute. Because of those reasons, many institutions will ask for an unofficial transcript as well. However, you will find times when you are given the opportunity to provide either an unofficial or official copy of your transcripts.

Before choosing which type of transcript to send with your application, be sure to check if there are any limits to how many times you can request a transcript type. For example, many institutions only allow a set number of official transcript requests. In this circumstance, submitting an unofficial transcript may be more beneficial.

Do’s and Don’ts for requesting and submitting your transcript:

  • Do submit all of your most recent transcripts. If you have attended different institutions in the last two/three years include transcripts from both institutions.
  • Do submit your transcripts all at once. If you have to submit transcripts from different institutions, be sure to compile and send them, electronically if possible, at the same time. This reduces the potential of misplacing pieces of your application.
  • Do not submit a screenshot or other screen capture of your grades. Many times a screenshot will not include the same information as found in your transcript, such as when you took your courses, what grades you received, at what institution (s), etc. Without this information, in general, your transcript will not be accepted by the institution you are sending it to.
  • Do contact your institution early, especially if planning to request an official copy of your transcript. Transcripts can take time to receive. Official transcripts that are mailed can, at times, take weeks to arrive at the program/institution’s office you are sending it to. 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. Just let them know and allow them the chance to work with you. Communication is key!

Asking for Recommendation Letters

Whether you’re applying to one of the APTLI/WISLI programs, graduate programs, scholarships, etc., learning how to ask for a recommendation is an unavoidable skill. It may be uncomfortable to ask those you look up to to take time to talk about you, but know that those who you care about likely care about you too (and for many of them, it is an expected part of the job).

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 of your choice write you a recommendation can be beneficial, if the individual does not know you, their letter is going to come out unoriginal. You want to choose someone who knows you well enough to be able to talk about your strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments. Now, if you truly want that “big name,” then you’re going to 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 at office hours, volunteer or acquire a job helping with research, ask questions, be a person!

Ask in advance of your application deadlines.
Be sure to ask your recommenders – AT MINIMUM – three weeks prior to 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 way of your goals and direction of the application, the better they will be able to tailor their recommendation to you and your goals.

How do you ask someone? If possible, doing so in person is a great option, though this can sometimes be difficult to arrange. You can also send them an email. Regardless of how you ask, be upfront and honest: explain your goals, what you are applying for, why you need a recommendation, and why you chose them.

You will receive one of two answers. Either they will say yes, in which you can celebrate and continue on reading. Or, they will say no. If this is the case, do not be angry. Thank them for their consideration and move on to finding another individual. A variety of situations can cause someone to say no to a recommendation, from being too busy, to being unavailable, to simply not feeling like they know you well enough. It does not matter why someone said no, what matters is finding individuals who are willing, but also available to provide you with a letter. These are the people who will write the best recommendation.

Give your recommenders your materials.
Once you have your faculty, advisors, employers, etc. who have agreed to write you your letters, provide them with a copy of your application materials. Include your statement (or if you don’t have that ready, your outline), any application essays or summaries of your goals, a list of activities, volunteer work, organizations you’re apart of, etc., relevant work or research experience, your transcript, class papers, etc.

You do not have to include all of these, but whatever you can provide will be incredibly helpful for your recommender to not only gain a sense of where you have been, but how they can assist you to get you to where you want to be.

Stay on top of application deadlines. 
Tell your recommenders in advance their deadline and how to submit their materials. Many places prefer recommenders to submit their letters themselves, however, this is not always the case. Know which institutions require them to directly submit their letter and which require you to submit the letter, 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. This is where asking your recommenders as early in advance as possible is helpful, as it gives them more time to submit your letter.

If you do miss a deadline, however, contact the place you are applying to. Simply restate your situation and ask if there is anything you can do in the meantime.

Always say thank you.
You’ve finally submitted your application! Congratulations! 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. Let them know how you are doing and where you are going. Maintaining this relationship is going to be helpful in the future, regardless of where you go next.

If you do have any additional questions, the following resources might prove 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, but don’t let that scare you! Yes, it’s important, but it’s also the one time in your application to really show who you are. Below are a few things to keep in mind as you write and polish your personal statement.

Before you even start writing, look at the guidelines. Usually, applications will have a list of expectations for their applicants personal statements. This could come in a variety of forms, such as length, questions that need to be answered, or academic or professional goals, to name a few. While some of these may seem like recommendations, stick to them as if they are rules.

If you’re not provided any sort of a guideline, here a few common rules to stick to:

  1. Keep your statement between 1 and 2 pages.
  2. Talk about what you’re applying for. If it’s a grad school program (or other program) address why you chose this program over others. Think about the location, the instructors, anything that drew you to this program and why. If it’s a scholarship, talk about why this scholarship? What makes you qualified? And explain it!
  3. Pick a memory or moment that showcases the values, experiences, and lessons that you want to discuss in your personal statement and talk about it. Did you have a really influential class that changed how you thought about a subject? Talk about that class and your experience! Did something happen in your personal life that was difficult and relevant to your academic and career past and future? If comfortable, talk about that. It does not have to be something extravagant. You do not need to have saved the world to tell a compelling and interesting story. You just have to be yourself.
  4. Talk about where you want to go. Why will attending this program help with your academic or professional goals? It’s okay to not have a five-year plan, but think about where you want to go and why this specific thing will help you get there.

Reviewers want to see who you are. The personal statements that succeed are those that do just that, so be honest, be clear, and be yourself. Good luck!

If you do need more help, the following resources have some really great information, and always, do not hesitate to reach out to APTLI staff with any concerns: