Sophomore Scholars Program

 SYA accepts applications from highly-qualified rising sophomores who are interested in attending any of SYA's four schools in China, France, Italy or Spain for their sophomore year. Candidates must exhibit exceptionally strong academic skills and be prepared to learn in an intimate academic environment. SYA Sophomore Scholars will receive additional program support and be subject to guidelines appropriate for their age group.

Current freshmen interested in applying to SYA's Sophomore Scholars Program should review the Eligibility and Application Requirements before they start their application.

Please note that Sophomore Scholar applicants can only apply for the full academic year and are not eligible for the fall semester option.

Sophomore Scholars Program FAQs

Is there an age requirement in addition to being a rising sophomore?

Yes, all SYA Sophomore Scholars must be at least 15-years-old by the day of departure.

Since SYA historically has been a program for juniors and seniors, should I be concerned about the appropriateness of the program for a rising sophomore?

No. SYA not only has experience with strong, motivated sophomores attending the program, but in addition, SYA is making changes to the program content, support system and policies in order to make it more age-appropriate for sophomores.

What do you think are the advantages of attending SYA as a sophomore?

The positives are many. Studies have shown that younger students are more receptive to language than older students. Students who attend SYA as a sophomore will return prepared to complete junior and senior years at their home schools, allowing them to participate in school traditions and go through the college process with their peers. Having two more years of high school also allows for students to complete course requirements which may not be offered at SYA and to apply for leadership positions at their sending school.

What will be different about the program for sophomores?

Sophomores will receive additional orientation support both before departure and after arrival. They will be in the same advisory group which will address with them topics more pertinent to their age group. They will not be placed with other seniors in English class. Host family placement will be with a family able to provide structure and support during the days and weekends. The curfew for sophomores will be earlier than for juniors and seniors. In addition, sophomores will not be permitted to travel independently overnight.

Will SYA offer the same courses sophomores would be taking in the U.S.?

Not necessarily. It is important for all students enrolling at SYA to sit with their home school advisor to review the graduation requirements and create a plan for fitting them all into their four-year schedule. Options for a student who needs to take a course not offered by SYA are to either take the course over the summer or take the course online.

What will sophomores do during winter and spring vacations if they cannot travel independently with friends?

All SYA students are welcome to stay with their host family during the entire nine months of the program. As stated above, Sophomore Scholars will be placed with a host family able to provide support and structure during times when SYA is not in session. Sophomore Scholars, while not able to travel overnight with friends, may certainly travel with their own U.S. families should they plan to go over and visit. SYA faculty will also plan an optional, supervised trip during both vacations.

How will SYA assess if a rising sophomore is qualified for admission?

In addition to the regular application, all SYA Sophomore Scholar Program applicants will need to supply an additional recommendation from a dean, coach, or mentor who knows the student well and can speak to their social and emotional development. Both the applicant and his/her parent(s) will also need to be interviewed by SYA staff.

How many Sophomore Scholars will be enrolled at each school?

SYA will accept a limited number of highly-qualified Sophomore Scholars; however, we do not set aside a specific number of places. The enrollment each year will vary depending on the makeup of the applicant pool.

Are you able to refer me to another student who attended SYA as a sophomore?

Yes, we would be happy to get you – or your parents – in touch with a student (or his/her parents) who attended SYA as a sophomore. Keep in mind, however, that this has not be common practice, so the list of referrals will be quite small.

Will Sophomore Scholars be considered for financial aid and scholarships?

Yes, all students are eligible to apply for financial aid and will be considered for any of our scholarship awards.