Admissions FAQ

Who may apply to SYA?

High school students may apply to spend their junior or senior year abroad with SYA. Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing.

Language requirements for the schools are:

SYA France or SYA Spain: students must be currently enrolled in at least level II of French or Spanish.

SYA China or SYA Italy: students may be of all levels, including those who would like to begin the study of Mandarin or Italian with us.

Students from approximately 1,100 schools have participated since SYA's founding. Click here to read more about the application process.

What does SYA look for in an applicant?

As we read each application, we ask ourselves these fundamental questions: "Is this student prepared to keep up with a challenging academic program?" and "Is this person going to make a good ambassador for his or her school and country, taking full advantage of opportunities for growth while making positive contributions to both the school and their host family?"

We carefully review and consider all materials. Successful applicants need not be "straight-A" students. They must have strong verbal skills, however, and a strong desire to master a second language.

We particularly look for qualities such as the capacity to be grateful and show enthusiasm; open-mindedness; organization and a sense of responsibility; a willingness to communicate; a sense of humor and generosity; and the drive to make the most of opportunities.

What does the SYA student body look like?

Our student body reflects our commitment to diversity, both ethnic and socioeconomic, but also represents different regions from around the country and, increasingly, the world. Our schools are typically more diverse than the schools our students come from, and we believe it creates a superior educational environment for all.

Roughly two-thirds of our students come from independent schools, including some of the most competitive institutions in the country. Others join us from public or charter schools. In fact, last school year (2015-16) students enrolled from over 140 different schools, from Maine to Hawaii and beyond.

When should I start my application to SYA?

You may begin the application process at any time during the fall or winter; we request however, that teacher recommendations not be sent to us until midyear.

The earlier you submit Part 1 of the application and pay the application fee, the sooner SYA will be able to assign you an interviewer. Click here for information on deadlines.

Watch our video, 5 Tips on Starting your SYA Application Process.

I attend a member school, is my application process different?

Students who attend SYA member schools must check in with the SYA coordinator at their school prior to starting their application. Click here to view the list of member schools and SYA coordinators.

Want tips on how to talk to your school about attending SYA? Download our whitepaper.

Can I take the SAT abroad?

SYA's schools are registered test sites; SYA administers all appropriate PSAT, SAT, and Advanced Placement examinations at each of our schools, and the ACT is offered in our European schools. SYA maintains close contact with parents and home school counselors throughout the year to ensure that students are taking the appropriate tests. SYA also offers SAT prep courses.