Applying for a Student Exchange Program

Initial groundwork

Before preparing an application for the International Exchange Program, you should collect a brochure from our office and register to attend one of our weekly Topical Information Sessions held during semester. The information session schedule begins with Topical Information Sessions that highlight information about a specific region of the world.

Once you have attended a Topical Information Session, you should undertake further research into available programs in order to refine your preferred destinations.

Sydney Abroad Fair

Fielding over 2,000 enquiries every year, the annual Sydney Abroad Fair is an excellent opportunity to get first hand advice on exchange destinations and learn about this exciting opportunity of a lifetime.

Held around April each year, overseas partner universities are represented by visiting colleagues. Consular representatives attend to promote study in their respective countries. Returned Sydney exchange students and those currently studying at the University of Sydney from our partner universities are present to share the student perspective of life as an exchange student.

Don't miss this year's fair on Monday 20th April on Eastern Avenue, 10am - 3pm.

Adviser Consultation Sessions

After your research, you may wish to speak further to one of our Advisers. A chat may help you to find out more about your preferred region of the world or country and provide you with the opportunity to discuss your specific options. Advisers can best assist you if you already have an idea of what you wish to do and whether you meet the basic criteria so please come after having done some research.

Drop-In Advising Sessions will be held as follows until the application deadline each semester:

When: Thursdays between 2-4pm

Where: Resource Library on Level 4, Jane Foss Russell Building.

The purpose of these sessions to provide feedback on the research you have already been undertaking for your exchange. Please do not come unprepared. As these sessions can be busy, Advisers will spend a maximum of 10 minutes per student.

You may also or phone (tel: +61 2 8627 8322) anytime for more advice.


Before applying, you must attend an Information Session and then register to apply.

By registering to apply, this will trigger the application in your Sydney Student portal within a day. Applications in Sydney Student Portal will:

Open - 1st April for 2016 semester 1 exchanges
Close - 1st May for 2016 semester 1 exchanges

You may register prior to 1st April, however, your Sydney Student portal will only show the application from this date.

Register here.

If you would like to apply for a subsequent semester, you must first attend the relevant Exchange Information sessions sessions to be eligible to apply. Exchange Information sessions are updated at the beginning of each semester.

Exchange application deadlines

You must plan early for an exchange. The application process is quite complex and you should begin your application as soon as possible before the deadline.

You have approximately one month from the deadline to register your interest to apply for the program and the final application submission deadline. More details is in the table below:

For exchanges that begin…….

Registration to Apply Deadline (Sydney Student application opens a few days after registration)

Application Submission Deadline

First Semester (March) next year

Friday 1 May 2015

Thursday 28 May 2015

Second Semester (July) next year

Friday 2 October 2015

Thursday 29 October 2015

The selection process

Assessment by the University of Sydney

There are two stages of assessment – first, by the University of Sydney and the second by the host university. The University of Sydney assessment takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks from submission. Your application will be assessed by an Exchange Adviser against the main eligibility criteria as listed in the application and against criteria specified by your preferred host university. Your first preference destination will then be assessed in comparison with other applicants, based on academic results and personal suitability. Your references and reasons for wanting to go on exchange, as outlined in the Statement of Purpose, will also be carefully considered. Applications from students going on exchange for language study will also be reviewed by the applicable language department for final endorsement regarding academic suitability and language proficiency. If your first preference is not successful you will be assessed for your alternative preferences. In some cases, you may be required to re-preference all your original choices.

If your application is successful you will receive written notification, from your Exchange Adviser nominating you to a host university. You will then be required to complete several more documents to finalise your nomination. These include the Conditions of Participation Form and the Academic Approval Form for a Nominated Exchange Applicant, which is essential for confirming you will receive credit for overseas courses at the end of your exchange.

If unsuccessful, you will be notified in writing and invited to apply for the International Exchange Program again in a later semester, if appropriate.

Assessment by the host university

After nomination to a host university, you will also have to complete the overseas application procedures. This will be done in consultation with your Exchange Adviser who will inform you when the paperwork or online application becomes available and when this application is due for submission.

Preparing the application can be a lengthy process, depending on the detail required by the host university. Once your application is completed, your Exchange Adviser will forward it to the host university on your behalf.

Host universities have the final authority to accept or reject exchange applicants. Assessment timeframes vary and it can take at least two to three months, once the application has been forwarded, before a response is received from the host university. You will be notified immediately of any outcome, and you are encouraged to be patient and not contact the host university during this period.

Please note that if one of your preferences was at a multi-campus university (University of California, University of North Carolina, Tecnologico de Monterrey - ITESM), your final campus placement will be determined by the host university, considering your preferred campus preferences, where possible.

Remember that even if you are nominated by the University of Sydney you may be rejected by the host university. In these instances, your Exchange Adviser will help you find an alternate host university, depending on vacancies and overseas deadlines. In rare cases, it may be possible that your exchange cannot proceed despite investigating other options.

Successful applicants are normally sent a letter of acceptance along with an acceptance kit which may include information about courses, accommodation, visa and immigration requirements and health insurance. Accepted students must read this material carefully and complete any documentation, as requested. In particular, you should promptly respond to course selection matters to ensure you are able to gain entrance to your approved courses. In the USA and Canada, courses often have enrolment quotas and can fill up several months prior to the start of each semester.

Closer to your departure, you will be invited to a Predeparture session which will provide you with the last-minute information you will need to have a successful exchange experience. Sessions are normally held early June for those going overseas in July semester and late September for those going overseas in March semester the following year.