We are excited to announce a new and improved process for releasing AFS Hosted Student applications for placement! In recent years we have learned that different times of the year require slightly different recruitment and placement strategies to ensure that ALL hosted students are placed in families and able to start their AFS programs on time. We also wanted to design a system that engages more volunteers in getting to know our great students by providing new resources to learn about students and identify families for them.
If you have questions about this process, please contact your Hosting Programs Specialist (HPS). Thank you!
Overview of Placement Process
Once Hosting Operations Staff have reviewed and accepted student applications, the applications will be made available in Global Link and visible on MyAFS. Click here for more information on finding students.
Stage One: Nationally Available
At the beginning of the season (December – January) when we don’t have as many student applications available, it is helpful to have students be available to go to any team in the country. This process of finding students in Nationally Available status, entering Area Team Hold requests when wanting to show a specific student to a family, and entering a Placed without Papers request when a family commits to hosting a specific student will not differ from the process with which returning volunteers are familiar.
- Core students are Nationally Available for placement in any team
- Sponsored Programs (SP) students (YES, Flex, and CB) are Regionally Available for placement in any Sponsored Programs cluster in the Region.
Based on experience, we have learned that having students Nationally Available later in the hosting cycle works against our goal of getting all students placed on time. And, in recent years, the process of Community Placing students has turned into a burdensome and challenging process for volunteers. Thus, beginning in mid-February we will move to a brand-new process.
Stage Two: Area Team Available
From mid-February through April, students from a variety of countries will be linked directly to Area Teams by our Hosting Operations staff. During this phase, volunteers will get to know specific students without needing to compete with other teams, will have the opportunity to write short bios to help communicate about these students in their local communities, and will work to identify families for these specific students using new resources provided by AFS staff.
During this time, Sponsored Programs students will continue to be Regionally Available to be placed in any Sponsored Programs cluster in the Region in alignment with team Sponsored Programs goals.
Additional details will be sent out by early February to help address specific questions you may have about this new process.
- Core students linked directly to Teams
- Sponsored Programs students continue to be Regionally Available for placement in any SP cluster in the Region
- Resources provided to write student bios and identify families locally
- Regional collaboration and support in finding families for all students
Stage Three: Refresh your Pool
In early May volunteers will have the opportunity to move any students they are struggling to place into a regional pool and select new students using a draft process. At this time, Sponsored Programs students will also move from Regionally Available to specific teams also using a draft process. We know that it can be invigorating to see some fresh faces as we make the final push to secure families and school spots for all students. Before the end of May, volunteer teams will have their final pool of students to focus on placing along with a variety of tools and resources to ensure success in identifying families for all of our 2020-2021 AFS students by August 31st.
- Volunteers select remaining students for their teams via a draft process
- Regional collaboration and support in finding families for all students by the August 31st
Placing a Student on Area Team Hold (AT Hold)
Hosting Volunteers and Hosting Programs Specialists (HPS) may request an Area Team Hold for a student that is Regionally or Nationally Available to give volunteers time to reach families and to give families time to decide about hosting that specific student.
Only two students may be on Hold at one time for any given family. Thus, the family name must be included in the Hold request. One AT Hold request may be submitted per student per Area Team per day, even if multiple families are interested in the same student.
Holds will automatically be released at 11:45pm Eastern on the 2nd day after the Hold request is accepted. (For example, if a AT Hold request is accepted on Monday, the hold will last until 11:45pm E on Wednesday.) The requester receives an email alerting them when their Hold period begins and when it will end.
While a student is on Hold for a Team, that Team only has the right to PWP the student. If a queue of Holds or other requests forms for the same student, each subsequent request will be processed in the order in which it was entered. For example, School Placed requests are accepted in the order they are received. Thus, if you are having a school consider a student, it is best to enter a School Placed request and not a AT Hold request. Your request will remain pending until you release it or a PAF is received from the school.
Volunteers and staff are expected to release Holds as soon as it is apparent that the intended family will not be hosting the student. To release a hold, submit a “Release AT Hold” placement request in Global Link.
To help ensure that hold queues move as quickly as possible, requesters will receive auto emails 10 days after entering a request if the request is still in queue to confirm if they still want the request or if the family or school for whom the request was made is no longer interested and the request can be released.
Placing a Student with a Family (Placed without Papers, PWP)
When a family commits to hosting a particular student, a PWP request should be entered. If additional approval is needed before accepting the PWP request, such as school or nontraditional family approval, a detailed note should be added to the “Comments” box here:
If a Team wants to place a student who is on Hold for another Team, they may enter a PWP request, but it will not be honored until their place in the queue arrives.
Once a family is fully screened, Hosting Operations staff will assign the student a Family Placement Confirm (FPC) status, and the host family application will be transferred to the partner country to share with the student.
Placing a Student Directly in a School (School Placed)
The School Placed status will be used when a school guarantees acceptance of a particular student with a signed Placement Acceptance Form uploaded into Global Link on the student’s Placement Detail page.
School Placement requests for Sponsored Programs students will be reviewed and accepted on a case by case basis. Contact your Sponsored Programs Hosting Specialist if you wish to School Place a YES, FLEX, or CBYX student.
Staff will help ensure that each Team has taken the proper number of Sponsored Programs, Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, and Thai students as well as a good mix of male and female students and students with allergies and/or dietary restrictions.