A Gap Year with a difference

Secondary School Exchange

We are now closed for applications. We will open for 2-term applications (to depart for the US in January 2019) in June 2018.

If you're thinking of taking a year out before university, or looking for extra UCAS points as well as an adventure, then this scholarship is for you. Our Secondary School Exchange offers students the opportunity to spend two or three terms at an American High School after their A-levels.

High school offers new experiences, friendships and fun, the opportunity to try out new subjects and sports, and the chance to be a part of Spring break, prom and graduation.

This scholarship not only offers a year of adventure, it makes participants stand out to university admissions tutors and future employers. American teaching emphasises independence of thought, and discussions play a large part in the classroom, much like at university.

The scholarship covers tuition and board worth $30,000 - $50,000 and we have up to 20 scholarships available each year. Means-tested grants are also available to cover additional costs.

Applying for a scholarship

For students wishing to spend an entire year in the USA, they apply from November to February of their final year of A-Levels to leave for the US in the following September. Students wishing to spend 2 terms in the US apply from June to September after completing their A-Levels to leave for the US the following January, returning in June.

To apply, candidates must send in an application form, a reference, a personal statement and attend an interview with members of our International team. Successful applicants will be matched with a US high school most appropriate to their interests and skills. We have exchange schools all over the USA, including California, New York, Florida and Tennessee to name but a few. Students will be matched with a host family or board at the host school.

In order to apply, follow the step-by-step guide in the Application Notes document found in the resources section below.

If you or your school would be interested in hearing more about this opportunity first-hand, you can also email education@esu.org, to arrange for an alumnus of the programme to come and give a presentation at your school.

We are now closed for applications. We will open for 2-term applications (to depart for the US in January 2019) in June 2018


number of students taking part in the UK-US Secondary School Exchange programme in 2015

How to apply

The ESU provides a Notes for Applicants document, which contains a step-by-step guide on how to apply, further eligibility details, and a timeline for both 3-term and 2-term scholarships. The ESU offers further financial assistance to some candidates to help cover the costs of the additional expenses. If you would like to apply for financial support, please complete the Financial Assistance Form.

SSE notes for applicants
Terms and conditions
Medical form
Reference form
Financial assistance form