In this Article:
- Key Dates
- Overview of Placement Process
- Placing a Student on Hold (Area Team (AT) Hold/Family Hold)
- Placing a Student with a Family (Placed without Papers, PWP)
- Placing a Student Directly in a School (School Placed)
- Interested in Placing a Student Linked as Area Team Available in Another Team?
- Frequently Asked Questions
With the impact of COVID-19 on AFS, hosting application distribution will look a little different for the 2021-22 school year. While we are optimistic that the situation with COVID-19 will be dramatically improved by the summer and fall of 2021, we must begin the work in late 2020 and early 2021 to ensure we meet AFS’ hosting goals for 2021.
As we begin to rise above the challenges of 2020, we have created a hosting application distribution process for the first part of the hosting placement cycle. Over the winter, we will be finalizing plans for the distribution process beyond the initial wave of applications being released in December/ January.
For the first part of the 2021 placement cycle, most students will be linked to Regions and made Regionally Available in Global Link.
We have a few Core and Sponsored Programs students who had placements during the spring/ summer of 2020 and had to have their program deferred to 2021 and whose host family previously expressed a desire to host the same student in the fall of 2021. In those cases, the student will be given the status of Area Team Assign and will be assigned directly to the Team that had the placement previously. This will give the volunteers in the Team the opportunity to follow-up with the host family and school to confirm whether or not the placement is still viable for the Fall of 2021.
If the original placement is not viable:
- The Team may elect to find a new placement for the student within the same Team. In this case, the student’s placement progress status should be changed by the Regional Field Specialist to Area Team Available.
- The Team may move the student to Regionally Available status.
In early 2021, we will be announcing more details about the Application Distribution Process, including more specific key dates and deadlines leading up to the August 31, 2021 placement deadline.
If you have questions about this process, please contact your Regional Field Specialist (RFS) and/or check out the Frequently Asked Questions. Thank you!
You will find more information on the hosting distribution process and useful resources below.
|November 30, 2020||1st Core NH applications distributed and will continue on a rolling basis|
|Early 2021||YES, FLEX, and CB applications distributed|
|July 2021||Paperwork deadline for August arrivals|
|August 2021||1st Arrivals|
|August 31, 2021||Placement deadline for all students|
|September 2021||Paperwork deadline for September arrivals|
|January 2022||1st Semester students return home|
|January 2022||2nd Semester Core and YES students arrive to U.S.|
|June 2022||Hosted participants return home|
Overview of Placement Process
Phase One: Regionally Available
At the beginning of the season when we don’t have as many student applications available, it is helpful to have students available to go to any Team in the region. This process of finding students in Regionally 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.
Phase One Highlights:
- Once Hosting Operations Staff have reviewed and accepted student applications, the applications will be made Regionally Available in Global Link and visible on MyAFS.
- Core students are Regionally Available for placement in any team within the assigned Region.
- Sponsored Programs (SP) students (YES, FLEX, and CBYX) are Regionally Available for placement in any Sponsored Programs cluster in the Region.
What Happens After Phase One?
During the winter, we will make a determination of the timeline of linking students to Area Teams, as was done in 2020.
As students are linked to Teams, volunteers will have the opportunity to...
- get to know specific students without needing to compete with other teams.
- know when new students will be available.
- have the opportunity to write short bios to help communicate about these students in their local communities.
- work to identify families for these specific students using new resources provided by AFS staff.
Hosting Operations staff will link students to Teams ensuring each Team receives students from a variety of countries, and they will give special care in spreading out challenging-to-place students among Teams and across Regions.
Sponsored Programs (SP) students (YES, FLEX, and CBYX) will continue to be released on a rolling basis to Regionally Available status to be placed in any Sponsored Programs cluster in the Region in alignment with Sponsored Programs goals.
While teams will focus on Regionally Available students and their Area Team Available students, they will be able to see other students in their region and can work with volunteers in other teams to trade students if needed. See below for more details on showing students linked to other teams.
Placing a Student on Hold (Area Team (AT) Hold/Family Hold)
Hosting Volunteers may request an Area Team Hold for a student that is Regionally Available or a Family Hold for a student who is Area Team 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 Area Team 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 hold request is accepted on Monday, the hold will expire at 11:45pm ET on Wednesday.) Of note, an email goes to the requester to alert them when their Hold has been accepted and when it will expire.
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; having a student on Hold gives no advantage in School Placing.
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” or “Release Family Hold” placement request in Global Link. To help ensure that hold queues move as quickly as possible, people will receive auto emails 10 days after entering a Hold request if the Hold is still in queue to confirm if they still want the Hold or if the family they had in mind is no longer interested and the Hold 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 approval, a detailed note should be added to the “Comments” box here:
If a Team wants to place a Regionally Available student who is on AT 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.
Important Reminder: until a placement is FPC, host families should not be given student contact information. Volunteers also should not reach out to students or natural families until the placement is FPC (e.g., regarding arrival orientation information or any other Team information). This helps avoid confusion on the part of the student, natural family, and AFS partner country who are not informed of the placement until it is FPC.
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. If you are interested in showing a student to a school for potential school placement, please enter a Hold request immediately followed by the School Placed request. That way, once your Hold is accepted you will have time to secure approval from the school. If they will not accept the student, you can release your Hold.
If the school fails to find a family for a School Placed student by mid-spring (exact date TBD), the Team must decide either to make the student Area Team Available or return the student to Regionally Available.
School Placement requests for Sponsored Programs students will be reviewed and accepted on a case-by-case basis. Contact your Regional Field Specialist if you wish to School Place a YES, FLEX, or CBYX student.
Interested in Placing a Student Linked as Area Team Available in Another Team?
If your team would like to show a family a student who is Area Team Available in a different team, you should reach out to the volunteer Hosting Coordinator in the other team asking for permission to show the student. If the team does not have a lead for the student, they may be willing to release the student or facilitate a trade for one of your students. You can find details about finding volunteers in other teams here: Global Link Basics: Searching for People.
If Teams are actively promoting an Area Team Available student, they are not required to release the student to another team.
If the team agrees that you can show one of their students, a Family Hold request should be entered so that it is clear to all that the student is being shown in another team. Please also notify your Regional Field Specialist.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If I see a student on MyAFS that I want to place with a family, what do I do?
A: You can review the section Placing a Student with a Family or consult with your local volunteer hosting coordinator or your staff Hosting Programs Specialist. If the student is not in the “My Team” portion of MyAFS, you may also need to consult the instructions above about placing a student linked to a different team.
Q: Why do some students not have student bios?
A: These students are waiting for a volunteer to submit a bio! (Or in some cases the bio is written and is awaiting approval.) Releasing students without bios allows us to get student applications out to volunteers more quickly AND it allows volunteers to highlight student aspects that might be particularly attractive to the area (i.e. Mario loves water and would enjoy seeing Lake Michigan!)
Q: Who can write student bios?
A: Any volunteer with the Hosting Volunteer affiliation can write bios. Instructions and training will be provided on Help & Learning.
Q: Why are there times when I can’t enter a Hold request? What if I want to place a student during this timeframe?
A: Placed without Papers requests are always allowed when you have a family committed to hosting a student. Hold requests aren’t allowed for short windows when we are transitioning to a new time of year in order to make the transition smoother. If you are showing a student during a “no Holds” period, your Regional Field Specialist can update the Comments section of Global Link.
Q: How do I know how many students from specific countries my team needs to place?
A: Your Regional Field Specialist (RFS) will provide this information.
Q: Why don’t you just make all students available to go anywhere in the country?
A: We have learned that having students Nationally Available 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 in 2020 we began using a new system designed to be easier for volunteers.
Q: The schools in my team require academically gifted students with strong English. How can I be sure my team can place such students?
A: There are schools across the country with very strict requirements and other school who are more flexible. Thus, our Hosting Operations staff will be working to provide each team with a variety of students paying close attention to factors that could make a student more difficult to place such as pet allergies, dietary restrictions, and age. Keep in mind that teams will still be able to see all available students in their region and can request to trade students when their Area Team Available and Regionally Available students do not fit the school requirements. In addition, our students who do not have an A average in school can be more well-rounded and adaptable compared to a student who is very focused on academics.