OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Tips to Secure a Sponsoring Professor

Prospective international scholars seeking to research or intern at Oregon State first need to secure a sponsoring department at OSU. The sponsoring department will then contact International Scholars and Faculty Services (ISFS) to determine the visa category and to receive application forms.

Scholars interested in employment type positions (H-1B, TN, E-3 visa types) are required to apply through Human Resources employment opportunities.

Research and Planning

  1. Start thinking about potential sponsors now. It may take some time to find a sponsoring professor, complete the application paperwork, and for visa processing and security checks. ISFS recommends that scholars start looking for a sponsor 3 to 6 months before their expected program start date.
  2. Make a list of potential sponsors. Start looking at 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. Connect on the OSU Scholar facebook page.
  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 foreign 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). OSU International Agreements.
  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. Review the Checklist of What to Ask a Potential Sponsoring Department and prepare what questions you want to ask (National Postdoctoral Association).

Drafting an Email to a Potential Sponsoring Professor/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 being a sponsor will benefit them, your funding situation, the dates of your requested program, and what you are requesting (sponsorship for the U.S. visa). Include the dates of any deadlines. Keep the introduction email short but attach a link to your website, social media, ore research publications so the potential sponsor can easily access your information.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 enroll in English courses, attend conferences, or require an office space. Be flexible as departments may be limited on funding, space, and projects.
  4. Funding. State if you already have funding or if you are requesting financial sponsorship as well. Proof of financial support may be required for the final application.
  5. Immigration documents. You may also want to attach a PDF of image of your current passport. If you are currently in the United States, or have been in the U.S. anytime during the last 24 months, include any documents which explain your current or past status (U.S. visa stamp, DS-2019 or I-20, I-94, or Employment Authorization Document). This will clarify your current immigration status, employment eligibility, and visa type.
  6. Keep your request clear. Questions relating to visa type, bringing dependents (spouse or child), orientation information, or other general questions can be addressed later or during the application phase unless essential in your request.
  7. Direct sponsors to contact International Scholar and Faculty Services (ISFS). Please include this as one of your final statements "If you are interested in hosting me as a visiting scholar, I was informed that the next step is for the sponsoring department to contact the International Scholar and Faculty Service (ISFS) office at Oregon State University to determine the visa type and to obtain the application materials. Their office email is ISFS.Advisor@oregonstate.edu".
  8. 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 set to all prospective sponsors) or one that is not personalized or clear in the request.
  9. Thank your sponsor for taking the time to read through your email and consider your request.
  10. Read and re-read your email before sending! Make sure all documents are attached, readable in English, and that your request is understandable.
  11. 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 sponsor you since it is an additional time commitment for them.
  2. Continue to do your research so you are prepared for your visa interview and your arrival at OSU. Pre-arrival information. New Scholar Orientation.
  3. Followup. The sponsoring department and ISFS will be in contact with you about any followup questions, the application paperwork, and procedures.