Applying for a Student Exchange Program
- Initial groundwork
- Annual International Exchange Fair
- Adviser Consultation Sessions
- How to apply
- The Selection Process
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.
Fielding over 2,000 enquiries every year, the annual International Exchange Fair is an excellent opportunity to get first hand advice on exchange destinations and learn about this exciting opportunity of a lifetime.
Held in April or May 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.
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.
Exchange Advisers will be available towards the end of the semester for consultations. A schedule of consulation times will be available from the International Office and on our website closer to those dates.
You may also or phone our office (tel: +61 2 8627 8319) anytime for more advice.
In order to prepare your application for the International Exchange Program, you will be required to attend a final Exchange Application Session where you will receive the full Exchange Application Kit and instructions about how to complete the enclosed forms.
The Exchange Application Kit comprises the following:
- Form A: Main International Exchange Application Form, including the Statement of Purpose
- Form B: Faculty Endorsement of Exchange Study Form
- Form C: Academic Study Plans (at least 5, one per preferenced destination)
- Form D: Academic Referee's Reports (two)
- Form E: Authority to Act as a Proxy for an Outbound Exchange Student
The International Exchange Program Main Application form covers the basics of your application - personal details, exchange destination preferences, enrolment details, language proficiency, financial plans, etc. You are expected to identify and rank in order of preference, five exchange institutions as competition for places is intense and we cannot guarantee nomination to your first preference. These preferences are indicated on this form. You will also be required to prepare your Statement of Purpose outlining your motivation for applying.
You can complete the Main International Exchange Application Form, the Academic Study Plans and the Authority to Act as Proxy for an Outbound Exchange Student form in your own time, although you may find it extremely advantageous to discuss your Academic Study Plans with your course or discipline coordinator, particularly if you need to meet core requirements for your major or are progressing towards Honours.
The Faculty Endorsement Form and Academic Referee's Reports, however, will need to be completed in consultation with your faculty office and various academic advisers. As this can take some time to organise, you should not leave this to the last minute.
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.
The last date to collect an Exchange Application Kit is approximately a month prior to the submission date for the application.
For exchanges that commence First Semester (March) next year:
- Collect the Exchange Application Kit by the first Friday in June of this year.
- Submit the Exchange Application by the first Friday in July of this year.
For exchanges that commence in Second Semester (July) next year:
- Collect the Exchange Application Kit by the last Friday in October of this year.
- Submit the Exchange Application by the last Friday in November of this year.
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 the International Office 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.