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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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How old do I have to be to join a TTS semester?
The Traveling School accepts students who are 15 to 18 years old at the start of the semester.
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.
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 and human being.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ Traveling School student. We encourage and celebrate applicants from all backgrounds and identities, so long as they identify as either female or nonbinary, and meet the age requirements.
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.
How much does a semesters cost? What does tuition cover?
2023-2024 semester tuition is $34,680. Tuition covers all semester expenses except travel to and from the program start/end location, 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 courses do you offer? How do I get my school to accept TTS credits?
We offer five core academic courses: Global Studies (2 semester credits), Honors Composition and Literature (1 semester credit), Honors Natural History (1 semester credit), Honors History & Politics (1 semester credit), and Physical Education & Independent Life Skills (2 semester credits).
Depending on student need, we can also accommodate the following supplementary courses: Algebra 2 and Conversational Spanish. See our Academic Overview document for more information.
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.
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 backpacking pack, a sleeping bag, hiking boots, 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.
Get excited to live out of a backpack!
Where do your semesters go?
We run programs in southern Africa (Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa), the western United States (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Arizona), and South America (Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia). We have run fall semesters in southern Africa and the western US (traveling north to south), and spring semesters in South America and the western US (traveling south to north).
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.
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.