Tips to Secure a Sponsoring Professor

Prospective international exchange visitors seeking to conduct scholarly activities, research collaboratively or participate in internship activities at Oregon State University, first need to secure an OSU professor as a collaborator or supervisor in order to be eligible for immigration sponsorship.

Research and Planning

  1. Start thinking about potential sponsors now. It may take time to find a sponsoring professor, complete the application process, and for visa processing and security checks. OIS recommends that prospective exchange visitors start looking for a sponsoring professor 4 to 6 months before their expected start date.
  2. Make a list of potential sponsors. Start by looking at our Future Scholar page and Academic Colleges and Majors at OSU that are related to your research focus, major, or specialization. Most department websites will have information on current research projects, position openings, and listing of current scholars or faculty.
  3. Reach out to current scholars. Does your department of interest already have international scholars? Reach out to them to learn about their experiences, feedback, and advice.
  4. Network. Do you have, or does your current institution have any personal connections or programs with OSU? Do you have a personal contact at OSU who can help pass your request and application on to the potential sponsor? Some international institutions or universities already have partnership programs or agreements set up. Research if any organizations you belong to have any ties or agreements (university, professional organization, employment). 
  5. Create a list of potential sponsors and do your research. You should focus your list to include people who will actually consider your sponsorship request. Gather background information on the potential sponsor and develop a statement of how you can benefit each other. 
  6. Prepare any questions you would like to ask.

Tips for Reaching Out

Personalize each email with the name and information of the potential sponsor. Departments may delete the email if they see it is a bulk email (one email sent to many prospective sponsors) or one that is not personalized with a clear request.

Attach your Resume or Curriculum Vitae. These documents will be required as part of the application and give your sponsor a better understanding of your background and experience.

Begin to prepare other documents such as your passport, or documents of past immigration statuses in the United States. (include this??)

Drafting an Email to a Potential Sponsoring Professor or Department

  1. Introduction and Summary. Introduce yourself and summarize the main points of your request. Describe your background and accomplishments, why you are seeking sponsorship, how collaborating will benefit them, your funding situation, the dates of your requested program, and what you are requesting (sponsorship for a U.S. visa, funding, access to datasets, etc). Include the dates of any deadlines. Keep the introduction email short but attach a link to your online CV, website or research publications which is easily accessible.
  2. Outline your basic learning plan or research goals. State what you plan to do at OSU, how your research aligns with theirs, and if you are flexible to changing your learning plan. You may want to include information about if you would like to attend conferences, require an office/lab space, or enroll/audit classes. Be flexible as departments may be limited on funding, space, and projects.
  3. Funding. State if you already have funding or if you are requesting financial sponsorship from OSU.
  4. Keep your request clear. General questions relating to visa type, bringing family, or orientation information can be addressed later or during the application phase unless essential in your request.
  5. Thank your sponsor for taking the time to read through your email and consider your request.
  6. Read your email before sending. Double check that all documents are attached, readable in English and in a common file format, and that your request is understandable.
  7. Send your request. Have confidence in your request and if you don't succeed the first time, then just try again. If you receive a denial, ask if the sponsor has any other leads on departments or contacts that they can forward your request.

Obtaining Sponsorship

  1. Thank your sponsor. If you secured a sponsor at OSU then congratulations! Make sure you thank your sponsor for taking the time to review your application and request sponsorship for you since it is an additional time commitment.
  2. Wait for followup. Once establishing the appointment type, the OSU department will then contact the Office of International Services (OIS) to determine immigration sponsorship options.
  3. Submit immigration and professional history form. International Services and the sponsoring department will be in contact to review your immigration and professional history to confirm eligibility, about any followup questions, the application type, and procedures.
  4. Continue to do your research so you are prepared for your visa interview and your arrival at OSU.