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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to the questions we get asked the most about applying to The Traveling School.

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What qualifications do you look for in an applicant?

We look for applicants who are motivated and curious learners, both in and out of the classroom. Our applicants are often passionate about something and have some activity or effort in their worlds that reflect that passion, be it a sport, after-school club, or self-started podcast! Most importantly, our applicants are seeking out a Traveling School semester because they want an out-of-the-box experience that will challenge them to grow as a student, friend, leader, and human being. There is no ‘one size fits all’ Traveling School student. We encourage and celebrate applicants from many different backgrounds and identities. 

We are a historic all-girls school and our historic mission focused on female leaders. We recognize that gender is more than simply binary and that many in our school community do not identify as, or as only, female. Increasing our gender inclusion, alongside all other aspects of identity and equity work, is an ongoing priority for us at The Traveling School. We have been in the process of this work with our students, staff, teachers, alums, board members, and outside consultants. Presently, The Traveling School considers for admission cisgender girls and non-binary youth. If a student begins to describe their gender differently during a semester than when they were admitted, they will not be dismissed upon that basis. We do not admit cisgender men. We understand your gender identity may not fit neatly into a category. If you’re not sure whether you belong here, or wish to know more about our work in this area, please reach out to us to start a conversation.

How old do I have to be to join a TTS semester?

Students must be at least 15 years old on the first day of the semester and no older than 18 on the last day of the semester. This means our students are 15–18 years old and typically sophomores, juniors, or seniors in high school.  

When do semesters run?

Semesters operate in the fall (August through December) and spring (February through May) of each calendar year. While some students choose to do multiple semesters with us, most join us for just one semester and then return back to their home high school.

Semesters generally align with the school year. Fall semester begins in late August and ends in mid-December. Spring semester begins in early February through mid-May. Fall semester students often have a long break between their TTS semester and the beginning of second semester at their home high school. Spring semester often finishes earlier than many high schools, though students do not return home in time for AP testing.

Where do your semesters go?

In the fall, we run a program in southern Africa (Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa) and in the spring, we go to South America (Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia). 

While each region has its own unique flavor, all our semester are Traveling School programs with the same focuses, classes, academic themes, traditions, and intentional communities. If you are wondering what region might be a best fit for you, visit our specific program pages for more information, or reach out to chat with our admissions team at admissions@travelingschool.com.

Note: Our program offerings are enrollment-dependent. When applying, applicants must specify a first and second choice of semester region. Should you be accepted to The Traveling School but we are not able to offer you admission to your first choice region because it is over or under enrolled, we will strive to place in your second choice. 

How many people are there each semester?

Our semester cohorts typically consist of sixteen students and four teachers. However, these numbers may vary by semester and course area.

What courses do you offer? How do I get my school to accept TTS credits?

We require all students to take six courses in the fall and seven in the spring:

  1. Honors Global Studies
  2. Honors Literature & Composition
  3. Honors Environmental Science
  4. Honors History & Politics
  5. Leadership & Life Skills
  6. Physical & Outdoor Fitness.
  7. Spring semester only: Honors Spanish I, II, or III

In addition, we offer an optional math class, either Statistics or Advanced Financial Algebra. Depending on student need, we can also accommodate independent studies for those not enrolled in math. Check out our Curriculum Guide for more detail. 

Each school is unique in its approach to accepting credits from other institutions. Prospective students are encouraged to work actively with their guidance counselors or advisors to discuss credit transfers. We require students submit an Academic Credit Transfer Form during the application process to assure that we are on the same page as your home high school.

Do I have to have a certain GPA to apply?

We do not stipulate a specific GPA required to apply, but rather view each applicant holistically with respect to their age, sending school, course selection, and the like.

I’m a junior/senior–will this affect my college application process?

Yes – positively! In our experience, Traveling School students stand out as uniquely qualified and competent college applicants. Additionally, you will leave your TTS semester with a better vision for what you are seeking in a higher education experience and great fodder for your admission essays. Check out this map to see where some of our alumna have ended up!

Frequently, seniors attend The Traveling School while actively applying to college. This understandably requires additional work, which seniors should anticipate. Provided students demonstrate initiative and have a plan with their home schools and guidance counselors, TTS teachers can support their application processes. 

How much does a semesters cost? What does tuition cover?

Spring 2024 semester tuition is $34,680, and Fall 2024-Spring 2025 semester tuition will be $37,000. Tuition covers all semester expenses except travel to and from the program start/end location, passports, vaccinations, personal gear* and student spending money. Visit our Affording a Semester page for more information.

*Rental gear is available.

Do you offer scholarships?

Yes! We offer need-based scholarships. We also provide tools to help every student save, earn and raise funds to support semester expenses. Visit our Affording a Semester page for more information.

What gear do I need to have? Can I rent gear?

We have a comprehensive packing list that we will share once you are accepted, which details all the gear you will need. The major items are a duffel bag (fall) or backpacking pack (spring), a sleeping bag, and clothing items like rain gear. We encourage accepted students to find used gear options or borrow from friends and family. The Traveling School has some gear students can borrow for no additional cost, if need is communicated prior to the semester.

Do people ever do more than one semester with TTS?

While rare, students have completed more than one semester with TTS in different course areas. Enrollment in multiple TTS semesters would involve individualized conversations and considerations. 

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