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uk registered charity no. 273136
Secondary School Exchange scholarships to the USA
A gap year with a difference – since 1928 the English-Speaking Union has offered young people the opportunity to spend a life-changing year or six months at a private American high school. The ESU offers the following Secondary School Exchange Scholarships:
Three-term scholarships
• The closing date for applications is in February (in your final year of A Levels or equivalent)
• Interviews are in March
• Leave for the US in September (after completion of your A Levels or equivalent)
Two-term scholarships
• The closing date for applications is in September (after completion of your A Levels or equivalent)
• Interviews are in September/October
• Leave for the US in early January
About the scholarship
Each scholarship covers the cost of tuition, board and lodging, worth $30,000–$50,000. Scholars are fully fledged students at their host school, with access to world class facilities and a range of extra-curricular activities. Alumni of the programme include singer KT Tunstall, Sir Ian Blair, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Richard Dearlove KCMG OBE, former head of MI6, ‘City Superwoman’ Nicole Horlick, the actress and comedienne Dawn French, and former HSBC chairman, Sir John Bond.
SSE is both an academic and cultural gap year programme. Scholars study a range of subjects at their host schools including some they dropped at GCSE, subjects they will study at university, and even subjects that don’t feature in UK schools. The skills that can be gained from the exchange have proven to be beneficial at University: American teaching emphasis independence of thought, and discussions play a large part in the classroom. Scholars also enjoy American rites of passage such as spring break, prom, and graduation.
Scholars are responsible for additional costs including travel, insurance, and expenses. The ESU offers means-tested assistance to help towards these additional costs to successful applicants who would otherwise be unable to take up a scholarship. It also offers one full award, designed to cover all the additional costs related to the scholarship. Grants are given in the range of £200–£2,000. Many scholars use the summer holidays or the six-month gap between finishing school and leaving for the US to save money for their time abroad.
• You must have completed your A Levels (or equivalent) and be intending to study at a UK university on your return. Your place does not need to be confirmed or deferred, and some scholars reapply during their scholarship year.
• Applications from students intending to study at a US university at undergraduate level will not be accepted.
• You must have a minimum of 3 Grade Cs at A Level or equivalent.
• You should be under 19 years and 6 months old when you take up the scholarship.
• Scholars are expected to commit to the full term of their scholarship (two-term: 6 months; three-term: 9 months).
• You must be a British Citizen and have studied/be studying A Levels (or equivalent) at a school in the UK.
About the English-Speaking Union
Founded in 1918, the ESU is an international educational charity and membership organisation that promotes mutual understanding, and fosters friendship and exchange throughout the world.
The English-Speaking Union
37 Charles Street, London W1J 5ED
Tel: 020 7529 1550 • email: education@esu.org