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How to Apply
SIT Study Abroad welcomes applications from undergraduate students who:
- are in good academic standing at an accredited college or university.
- have completed at least one year of college-level coursework at the time of application and preferably two years for IHP/Comparative programs. (Exceptions: only one semester of college coursework is required for summer programs.)
- have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher.
- meet stated prerequisites for the programs to which they are applying. Prerequisite information is available on program-specific web pages and in the SIT Study Abroad course catalog.
The admissions committee strives to select students who will be the best possible match for a program. All applicants should submit a strong academic reference and demonstrate a consistent academic record, clear motivation to study abroad, solid reasoning for their program choice, and an understanding of the program model.
Students are encouraged to meet with their college or university study abroad advisors, academic advisors, and faculty to assist in program selection and preparation.
Rolling Admissions Dates
SIT Study Abroad has rolling admissions, which means that applications are reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening and closing dates of an application cycle. Many programs fill long before the published closing dates (see program availability), so please be sure to submit your application early. Applications can be started at any time.
Applications must be complete to be reviewed for admission. This means that transcripts, approval of participation, academic reference, and any additional required materials must all be received in a timely fashion. It is your responsibility to ensure the arrival of all application materials.
Complete applications received prior to the opening date will be reviewed after the opening date has passed. Students, advisors, and faculty with access to SIT’s applicant or advisor portal are welcome to log in and check on an application’s status at any time.
We encourage you to contact our office early in the application process to discuss your program choice, as you begin planning your study abroad experience. We anticipate programs will continue to fill early, and we recommend applying close to the opening dates. You should also specify a second-choice program.
You must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the program ends. If you do not, you should apply for one at once, even before you complete your SIT Study Abroad application.
How to apply
To apply to an SIT Study Abroad program, you will need to submit the following materials. Please note that we will not review your application until we have received all of these materials. You can also access program-specific application materials by clicking on the "Apply Now" button on each program page.
Required materials for semester programs:
- Program-specific requirements as listed in the application packet
- A $50 non-refundable application fee*
- Student disclosure and approval of participation form (signed by your study abroad office)
- An academic reference from one of your college professors/instructors
- If you are applying to two SIT Study Abroad programs for two different terms, you will need to download, complete, and submit the Multiple Term Acknowledgement Form. Learn more about spending multiple terms abroad with SIT.
* SIT Study Abroad waives application fees for Pell Grant recipients, SEO Scholars, and veterans. Qualifying applications should supply documentation in lieu of a fee.
Take note of program-specific requirements
Because SIT Study Abroad programs differ considerably from country to country, each program requires a different set of application materials. Requirements differ due to prerequisites and program-specific components such as Independent Study Projects and homestays. Applicants to some programs are asked to provide additional materials related to the host country’s visa requirements, including pre-visa forms, passport photos, and passport photocopies.
Go to your program page and click "Apply Now" to view prerequisites and program-specific requirements for your program of choice.
Rolling Admissions Dates
- Spring: April 15 - November 1
- Summer: September 15 - April 1
- Fall: December 15 - May 15
The following semester programs have earlier closing dates:
- Iceland/Greenland, Health and Community Fall and Spring 1, and Cities in the 21st Century Fall and Spring 1 programs: October 1 for spring; April 1 for fall
- Brazil, Czech Republic, and Switzerland programs: May 1 for fall
Think carefully about program choice. You should think about location(s), theme, your academic and personal goals, and what kind of study abroad program is best for you. As you consider these factors, be sure to stay on track with the other steps listed here.
Talk with your university study abroad office. Part of the application process is obtaining an approval of participation form, signed by your study abroad office. It is important to talk with your school early and often about your program choice, in order that you fully understand your school’s policies related to credit transfer, billing, financial aid, and applications; many schools have their own application process, in addition to SIT’s.
Talk with your family and friends. Your family and friends know you best and may be able to help you sort out priorities. It’s also important to make sure your family understands your program, the location you’ve chosen, and the process that you’ll go through to apply. You will need their support, and they will want to know about this exciting opportunity.
Think practically. We all have needs and requirements: Have you considered how your needs might be met by a particular program? View our student services page for more information, or talk to one of our SIT Study Abroad admissions counselors.
Think academically. What are your goals for study abroad and how might your program location and theme help achieve these goals? Be prepared to articulate your reasoning for your program choice and the SIT program model on your application. You should also read more about the Independent Study Project (ISP).
Think financially. Study abroad is an important commitment, and financing the experience may not be as difficult as you think. Advance planning will help tremendously. SIT offers scholarships, and many schools have special billing agreements with SIT Study Abroad. Check with your home institution’s study abroad office for more information.
Understand the application process before applying.
Speak with and learn from an alumni contact.
Check program fill status. Because of rolling admissions, programs can fill well before the deadline. Check to see how quickly your program is filling before you submit your application.
Check program prerequisites. Make sure you fit the program qualifications and be sure to provide any additional information that the admissions committee might need to understand your background.
Apply for a passport.
What is an ISP?
The Independent Study Project (ISP) is a key component of most SIT Study Abroad programs. Your ability to design an appropriate project with focus is a crucial element. A successful ISP aims to increase knowledge in a field of study that is related to the program theme and potentially sheds light on issues pertinent to the host community.
Once on site, you may develop or change your proposal contingent on local realities and resources. Your academic director (s) will approve your final project proposal, and you will identify a local expert to act as your project advisor. As part of the approval process in-country, your proposal will be reviewed by SIT's Institutional Review Board. Prior to departure, it would also be worthwhile to check in with your advisor at your home college or university to see if there are any additional requirements for students conducting independent research abroad.
Why does SIT Study Abroad require an ISP proposal as part of the application?
- To inform the academic director, local staff, and program partners of the particular interests of each student;
- To encourage you to begin thinking about thematic areas that you are interested in focusing on during your term abroad; and
- To provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate to the admissions committee that your decision to study abroad is both thoughtful and intentional, and that your proposed research interests match the theme of the program.
Primary considerations when considering ISP topics
Feasibility: Consider time constraints and other limitations; choose a topic that you can gather conclusions from within one month.
Interest: Choose a topic that you will feel invested and passionate about. Your research will be much easier if you are genuinely interested in learning more about that topic.
Relevance: Choose a topic that falls within the academic theme of your program.
Ethics: Consider positive and negative consequences of both your results and your methodology as you define your topic.
Defining a topic
Think about the following:
- Issues from your coursework or ideas raised during class discussions;
- Articles or books that stimulated your interest in a particular topic;
- An experience from your travels and/or your involvement as a student that raised interesting questions for you that you would like to explore;
- Problems or challenges in the country you have selected to study in; and
- Cultural practices that influence or inform issues either positively or negatively.
Tips for narrowing a broad topic into a research question
Begin by doing preliminary research. Look your topic up in an encyclopedia and read general information about it. By using a search engine, you will begin to gather relevant background information. Ask yourself questions about your topic idea such as:
- Is my question appropriate in terms of its scope, i.e., not too broad and not too narrow?
- Will I be able to answer my question given limitations such as time, access, and/or language barriers?
- Can I find information about my question in the library, on the Internet, or through primary field research?
- Have I worded my question in a concrete way, so that I have clearly articulated what I intend to research?
After you have narrowed your topic, you can develop a research question. Begin by brainstorming questions and write down the ideas that pop into your mind. Remember, some of the best research questions involve challenging and controversial issues. After you have answered these questions and you are satisfied with your answers, it is time to write up your ISP research question and submit it to SIT Study Abroad, along with the rest of your application.
The admissions committee reviews complete applications competitively in batches by program, until the program is full and a waiting list has been created. Applications will only be reviewed after the opening date, once the application is complete. Program sizes are small and therefore the admissions committee may limit the number of offers of admission given to students from the same institution.
The admissions committee makes every effort to review complete applications within a three-week window, unless further follow-up is required. If additional review time is needed, the committee will communicate with the student and the student’s home institution to keep all parties advised.
If for some reason your first-choice program is not available, we will work with you to identify a second-choice program. In most cases, students will only need to submit select additional materials — you will not be asked to reapply. You may write a second-choice program on your application, but SIT Study Abroad will contact you before changing your program affiliation; second choices will not automatically be considered.
Once you have been accepted, there are still a number of steps before you will be able to participate in the program, including the medical, billing, and visa processes. For the majority of programs, by the time an offer of admission is extended, you will have received pre-departure materials specific to your program, including health and safety advisories, country and cultural information, and packing guidelines.
After sending in your confirmation materials, you will receive the following information prior to your departure:
- Visa instructions, if applicable
- A letter from your academic director and/or program directors, in-country coordinators, and/or trustees’ fellow, outlining more specific information about the program. (The letter should arrive four–six weeks before the program start date.)
- Access to the online student group. This allows you to connect with other students prior to the start of your program.
Students who have been denied admission to SIT Study Abroad may appeal the decision by sending a letter to the director of admissions within 10 days of notification. Download the Appeals Policy.
All students must have a passport to study abroad that is valid for at least six months after the program’s end date. Students should apply for a passport as early as possible; in some cases, passport applications may need to be expedited. For many programs, students will need one or more visas, in addition to a valid passport. Visa application processes vary widely, and some visa processes are multi-step and complicated.
SIT Study Abroad helps students to understand the visa process for each program, even providing group instructions where necessary. A study abroad admissions counselor will be happy to speak with students about passport and visa-related questions and concerns.
Non US citizens
Students without a US passport may be subject to additional or different requirements for obtaining a visa or meeting other conditions of entry into the country or countries listed above. Many countries require individuals to apply for visas in person at the relevant embassy or consulate located in their country of citizenship. We strongly recommend that you contact the embassy for each country the program will be traveling to very early in the process to confirm visa and/or entry requirements applicable to your country of citizenship and determine next steps while allowing plenty of time to apply. If the foreign consulate(s) permits non-US passport holders to apply for the required visa from within the United States, applicants are encouraged to contact Travisa Visa Services. As an experienced visa agent working closely with a number of SIT programs, Travisa may be able to assist you in your visa application process. A service discount is available by entering “SIT” as the corporate code in your Travisa online application. It is your responsibility to confirm and complete the visa application process particular to your situation, and to keep your admissions counselor informed.
Make the application process easier and faster with a short webinar.
Join SIT Study Abroad’s admissions counselors for a 30-minute webinar to learn answers to your questions about the application process.
We will discuss the following:
- How to apply to a program
- What makes a strong application
- The Independent Study Project proposal
- Getting approval to study abroad from your college or university
- Applying for scholarships and financial aid
- Your questions and concerns
Register for a webinar about admissions