What is the application process?
How long does the entire application process take from the day that you receive my completed application?
The application and interview process can vary depending on where you are located and which federation you are interviewing with. If you have special needs during the application process (i.e. you have a specific timeline by which you need to know about your acceptance), please communicate that with the OTZMA North American office so they can best try to assist the process. In all cases the North American staff will do all they can to ensure the process moves as efficiently as possible.
When will I hear from OTZMA whether I am accepted to the program?
The North American Director of OTZMA will, on average, be able to give you an answer as to your acceptance to the program a short time after the date of your last interview.
How do I know which federation I will be interviewing with?
Whenever possible the OTZMA North American office will send your application to the federation that matches your permanent address. To see which federation jurisdiction your permanent address falls, use the Federation Finder.
Do I have to interview with the federation under which my permanent address falls?
Your permanent address is preferred because often times a young adult has more ties in that community (s/he grew up there, his/her parents live there, s/he belongs to a synagogue there, etc) and thus it makes sense for that community’s federation to sponsor you. There are exceptions to the rule when, usually for financial reasons, OTZMA will send your application to the federation of your school community or current address. Upon completion of your application, during the phone interview, a member of the North American staff will discuss with you which federation your application will be sent to.
Where and when do I interview if I go to school in a different city than my permanent address?
If you go to school in a different city than your permanent address you may have to wait until the next time you are home to interview. If it is not possible for you to get home, you should discuss your situation with the OTZMA staff and they will find another way for you to be interviewed.
Given the above question, is it possible to do a phone interview?
While you will have a phone interview with a member of the OTZMA North American staff, an in-person interview needs to be conducted by the federation. A phone interview will not suffice but, as stated above, if getting home is impossible, the OTZMA North American staff will do their best to accommodate your situation.
Am I responsible for first contacting my local federation to see if they will sponsor me?
No. Upon receipt of your completed application, the North American Director of OTZMA will contact your federation for you before sending them your application. OTZMA has a local contact in each federation that we work with so it is not necessary for you to track down the federation. Once the federation receives your application, they will be in touch with you to proceed with the admissions process.
What if I am from a small federation that cannot afford to sponsor me — can I still apply to OTZMA?
As stated above, it is not necessary for you to contact your federation or worry about the sponsorship aspect of OTZMA. The North American office has a system in place for assisting those federations in question. They will work with the federation directly and you don’t have to worry about that portion of the process.
What if I have already received a MASA scholarship and/or cannot afford to go on OTZMA?
As read in our tuition and scholarship section, there are a number of ways to receive scholarships for OTZMA and to fundraise for additional money towards your tuition. The North American OTZMA office will need to see you put in as much effort as possible but will do all they can to financially assist those that cannot afford the OTZMA tuition. Please keep in mind that every year people from all types of communities and backgrounds raise money to go on OTZMA.
I have school loans, how can I pay for OTZMA?
The OTZMA program qualifies you for loan deferment for the year. You will need to fill out the appropriate paperwork through your loan source, and the North American OTZMA staff will assist you in whatever way they can so you don’t have to worry about making loan payments while volunteering and spending time out of the country.
More questions? Just contact us.