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Apply for Semester and Year

Life-Changing Semester or Year Abroad

Student looks out window in Spain

Your time abroad will be one of your most formative Cornell experiences. As a Cornell undergraduate, you can apply for fall, spring, or academic year programs. Your financial aid applies to all approved semester and academic year programs!

On this page: Find out how to apply for semester and full-year programs. Explore programs—and check out study abroad timing and deadlines to keep your application on track.

How to Apply

You'll complete two applications for most semester or academic year study abroad programs. First you apply through Experience Cornell for college and university approval to attend. When your Experience application is approved, you apply for admission to your selected program. Read on to learn more about the steps in the application process.

  1. Plan Academics
  2. Apply: Experience
  3. Commit
  4. Apply: Program

1 Define your academic objectives with your college.

Congratulations! You've identified a study abroad program that's a great fit. What's next?

Your first stop is your college study abroad or academic advisor. Your advisor will help you plan your academic objectives and determine appropriate coursework for your time abroad. This conversation is the basis for your study abroad course plan, a required part of your Experience application (step 2).

Your advisor will also confirm you meet college and university eligibility requirements to study abroad. Visit our Get Advice page to find your college advisor.

What are the eligibility requirements for study abroad?

  • Be an enrolled Cornell student in good academic standing.

  • Meet college requirements for approval.
  • Meet the requirements of the program for admission (GPA, prerequisites, etc.) as described on your selected program’s Experience page.
  • Have no outstanding sanctions related to student conduct or pending hearings.

Should I apply to more than one program?

Most students should apply to only one program. This program is considered your first choice. Your Education Abroad advisor will notify you if it would be wise to submit a second-choice application based on program eligibility, capacity, competitiveness, or other factors. If you are concerned about admission into your preferred program, your Education Abroad advisor can help you determine if a back-up option is appropriate.

Note that you can't switch programs or swap your first and second choices after the Cornell deadline. Unless a second-choice program is deemed necessary, colleges will only review course proposals for first-choice programs. Second-choice applications will not move forward, and only the first-choice program nomination will be sent.

2 Apply in Experience for university approval to attend.

When you're ready to apply, locate your preferred study abroad program and initiate your application in Experience.

  • Select your program and click the apply button on the bottom of the page.
  • Submit your study abroad course plan to your college using the course approval form. You'll find the form in your Experience dashboard.
  • Complete your application by the deadline in the Snapshot section of your program’s Experience page. Meet this deadline even if your program’s external application deadline is later. Learn more about study abroad deadlines.

Experience applications are reviewed by Education Abroad on a rolling basis. We'll email you when Cornell approves your application to attend your selected program. Cornell approval does not imply final admission to the program.

What does the Experience application include?

A detailed application preview is available on the bottom of your program’s Experience page. All Experience applications require these items:

  • Program, academic, and personal information
  • Course approval form
  • Statement of purpose
  • Permission to release student conduct records
  • Attestations for academic policies and financial information

Some programs require additional application materials.

How long does it take to apply?

It depends. Some students are able to complete the Experience application quickly, but it can take time to get faculty or college approval. College and university approvals take place after you submit your Experience application. 

Can I apply later if my program is still accepting students after the Experience deadline?

No. You must honor the deadline in Experience for Cornell approval. This internal deadline is set before most program deadlines to allow time for required college and university approvals. The deadline also gives the Education Abroad team time to prepare your program-specific budget, so you and your family will fully understand your financial obligations.

3 Commit to your program.

As soon as you receive Cornell approval, commit to your program through your Experience dashboard. This step is mandatory! In order to register as a Cornell student going abroad, you must commit to attend your selected program. When you commit to a program, you agree to fulfill your financial obligations to Cornell and the program.

Complete all onboarding requirements through your Experience dashboard by the deadline noted in your approval email. You can also find the commitment deadline on Deadlines.

4 Apply for admission to your program.

After you've committed to your program, it's time to complete the external application for program admission. Aim to submit your program application shortly after your Experience application is approved.

  • Find the application on your program’s website. The program's Experience page includes a link.
  • Meet your program’s application deadline. Applying early is wise if your program has limited capacity or rolling admissions.

A few study abroad programs require a nomination. Your Education Abroad advisor can only nominate you or sign program approval forms after you have committed to your program (step 3).

You'll receive your admission decision directly from the program! Respond to your program to accept the offer and follow the program's procedures.

If I am approved by Cornell, does that mean I am accepted by my program?

No, you must apply to and be accepted by your program separately. Each program has its own admissions process and reserves the right to admit its own students. That said, Cornell students tend to be admitted to programs when they apply early and meet or exceed the requirements.

How long does it take to hear back from programs? 

It varies. About three weeks is an average time frame, but programs vary greatly. Some offer rolling admissions, while others publish dates for providing admission decisions.

What are my chances of admission?

Admission to a program is never guaranteed, but Cornell students tend to be admitted to programs when they apply early and meet or exceed the requirements. If you are not admitted by your program, please reach out to your Education Abroad advisor to share this news and plan your next steps.

Next Up: Deadlines