The student selection process for DCPS Study Abroad is school-based. It begins when students submit a written application and may include an interview. Students are also asked to obtain a letter of recommendation from an adult who is not a relative.
FAQs About the Selection Process
How does DCPS Study Abroad determine how many spots are allotted to schools?
The purpose of DCPS Study Abroad is to make travel more equitably accessible to all students. Therefore, DCPS Study Abroad intentionally seeks to recruit students from populations who traditionally lack travel opportunities. That is why we calculate the number of spots assigned to each school by considering the school's total number of applications received and its federal Title I percentage. Schools with a higher Title I percentage will have a higher percentage of their applications accepted.
What does DCPS Study Abroad look for when evaluating applicants?
DCPS Study Abroad exists to make travel more equitably available to students. Therefore, we evaluate applications to consider students' prior travel experience; students who have not yet traveled receive the greatest preference for acceptance. We do not consider immigration to be international travel experience. Additionally, students' applications are evaluated for merit, especially with regard to the strength of their essays and, if applicable, their interview. Students who can express clear, thoughtful goals for traveling and who can demonstrate a high degree of motivation to participate in the program tend to be strong candidates. Please note that students with disabilities and specialized learning needs have the right to request accommodations in completing their written application and/or interview, as determined by their IEP or 504 plan.
Why do I need a Letter of Recommendation?
All student applicants for DCPS Study Abroad must obtain a letter of recommendation from an adult who knows them well but is not a relative or a Travel Ambassador. Travel Ambassadors cannot provide letters of recommendation for students applying to DCPS Study Abroad. Students will submit the name and email address for their reference when they submit their written application online. References will receive an automatic email, notifying them that the student has requested a letter of recommendation. Letters of Recommendation are used to break ties at the student's school, in case two (or more) students achieve the same overall application score.
Some of my classmates were invited to an interview. Why?
The DCPS Study Abroad recruitment and selection timeline extends from October through January. In January, the program expects to make final announcements regarding students’ application statuses. Until that official announcement, no student’s application status is finalized. Students may be accepted, waitlisted, or not accepted into the DCPS Study Abroad program.
All written applications are evaluated against a standard rubric, in order to determine each student’s initial application score. Students whose written applications receive scores that are equal to or greater than the average score for their school are invited to interviews. Only students whose applications are within this range may be interviewed. Receiving an interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Similarly, not receiving an interview does not necessarily guarantee non-acceptance into the program.
I received a letter saying I've been waitlisted. What does that mean?
Each year, DCPS Study Abroad receives more applications than there are slots available. That means, unfortunately, there isn't room in the program for every student applicant. Students who are waitlisted have submitted strong applications and recommendations from their school; however, their application scores weren't among the highest in their school. Waitlisted students may still have an opportunity to travel, if an accepted student is no longer able to travel and vacates their spot.
When does the waitlist close?
DCPS Study Abroad stops accepting students from the waitlist in late spring; if you have not yet been contacted by a representative of DCPS Study Abroad by this time, it means, unfortunately, there is not room for you in the program.
I've received a letter saying I have not been accepted. What does that mean?
DCPS Study Abroad receives a large number of applicants each year and we are unable to accept everyone. If you received a letter stating that you have not been accepted, you have not been selected to participate in the program. We hope you continue to pursue global learning opportunities!