Application Support

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Application Guide – High School Summer Abroad Programs

If you are reading this page, chances are you have opened a CIEE Summer Abroad application…. Bravo! You are one step closer to a life-changing experience, and we’re excited to guide you through the application process.

Before you dive into the detail of each application task, don’t forget:

  • If you are planning on applying for an Academic Merit + Financial Need Global Navigator Scholarship, you will receive notification of acceptance to the program and your scholarship award amount in February. 
  • If you are planning on applying to a scholarship, don’t miss our single deadline: January 15, 2025 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

All application tasks are explained in details below!

Starting an Application

Review High School Summer Abroad Programs: Take some time to learn more about the CIEE program offerings. There are options to search by themes, regions, and countries.

For Applicants applying for Financial Need & Merit Scholarships: Your application will be more competitive if you include language program(s) options in your top 3 choices. Our scholarship funding stipulates 90% of awarded scholarships go to language learning programs. No language experience is necessary for Arabic, Chinese, German, Italian, and Japanese. A one-year high school course (or equivalent) is needed for Spanish and French.

Start the Application

Select the Term: Once you finalize your program selection, review the summer session terms offered and select the session that best fits your schedule. While you can change the session prior to acceptance or the scholarship deadline based on space, please note that changes after this date are often not possible.

Click Apply Now: On the program profile page, click the orange Apply Now button.

Complete the Apply for CIEE Program Page: A pop-out screen will appear with the following questions. Review the notes below for additional information.

1. Type of Program: You cannot change this selection. If you want to apply for a different type of program, you will need to visit the program profile page.

2. Enter your High School: Type the full name of your high school and check to ensure the selection has the correct city of where the school is located.

  • If you have a common high school name (such as Central High School), you may need to review the options with a focus on the city name following.
  • Try searching using one of the key words in your school’s name.
  • If your school is not listed: Select, “My High School is not listed” from the drop down option. Be sure to enter the full name of your high school.

3. Scholarship Information: Please visit Global Navigator Scholarships to learn more.

Keep in mind the following eligibility requirements when making your selection:

  • High School Seniors: You can apply for the Academic Merit Scholarship, but seniors are not eligible for a financial need-based scholarship.
  • Previous Global Navigator Scholarship Recipients: If you were awarded a Global Navigator financial-need scholarship in the past, you can only apply to the Academic Merit Scholarship. However, you will receive an additional 10% off your program costs as a CIEE alumni.
  • International Applicants: You are eligible to apply for a merit-based scholarship, but Financial Need scholarships are only for US citizens and permanent residents attending a high school in the US.

Other Scholarship Considerations:

  • Scholarship Award Amounts: The Academic Merit Scholarship covers $500 from program tuition while the Academic Merit + Financial Need scholarship can cover between $500 to 100% of program tuition.
  • Program Selection: When you apply to an Academic Merit scholarship, you will be able to finalize your program selection. If you are applying for an Academic Merit + Financial Need scholarship, you will rank your top 3 CIEE programs in the application. CIEE tries to provide applicants with their first-choice program whenever possible, but flexibility surrounding program choice is necessary due to the scholarship awarding guidelines CIEE must adhere to.

Make your Selection:

  • No, I want to enroll now and pay in full: When selecting this option, you will choose the program based on the location (it will autofill to whatever program profile you were previously on). Next select your session.
  • Yes, I am applying for an Academic Merit only scholarship: When selecting this option, you will choose the program based on the location (it will autofill to whatever program profile you were previously on). Next select your session.
  • Yes, I am applying for a Financial Need + Merit scholarship: Select the term you would like to travel.

You will be redirected to your newly created application!

Standard Application Tasks

These tasks are common to all CIEE high school summer abroad applications, whether applying for scholarships or not. Applicants often have questions about these tasks. Click below to learn more about each.

This is a very important task. Your parent or legal guardian will need to review and electronically sign the CIEE Terms & Conditions. Your application cannot be submitted without their signature!

Helpful Hint: If you complete the emergency contact information prior to completing this step and use the parent/legal guardian that is serving as the primary emergency contact, the information will autofill once you enter the email address.

  1. Add the preferred email of your parent/legal guardian.
  2. The information will autofill if you completed the emergency contact form and use the same email address.
  3. Select add legal guardian.
  4. You will be notified that this email was sent to your parent/legal guardian.


  • The email was not received by parent/legal guardian:
    • Check the spam folder and other email filters (promotions, social, etc.).
    • Search the full email inbox for CIEE.
    • Check to ensure you entered the email information correctly.
    • If this doesn’t resolve the issue, email
  • The Primary Emergency contact can also access this form in their CIEE portal under signatures. Once you add them as a primary emergency contact, information to set up this portal will be sent.

Carefully review the terms of conditions (linked in the CIEE Terms & Conditions) with family and other people in your support network.

  • Complete this task by typing your full legal name.

Enter your contact information. Your address should match at least one of your emergency contacts.  

If this changes during the application process:  

  1. Select “My Profile” in the drop down in the top right corner that has your name.  
  2. Select edit and update your contact information.  

Enter your Emergency Contacts as soon as you open your application! This lets us know who your legal guardians are and allows them to complete key tasks like signing the Terms and Conditions or paying the application fee.  

Keep the following in mind:

  • Primary Emergency Contact: This needs to be a parent or legal guardian.  
    • CIEE Portal Access: The primary emergency contact will have access to the CIEE legal guardian portal (this access cannot be provided to the second emergency contacts).  
    • Account Access: Having the CIEE portal in connection to your account allows them to enter or view information. To respect your privacy, please note that Primary Emergency Contacts CANNOT see information related to gender identity. 
  • Secondary Emergency Contact: Having a second emergency contact is required. This can be another parent/legal guardian or someone over the age of 18 that CIEE may contact throughout the application process or as an emergency contact while you are abroad.
  • Unique Email / Phone Number: Your second emergency contact must have a different phone number and email listed from the first emergency contact.  

IMPORTANT: Keep this information updated with the most current information throughout the application and acceptance process. 

To travel on a high school summer abroad program, you must have a passport that’s valid for 6 months beyond the program end date.

If you don’t have a passport but can get one by the time the program starts, you may answer “yes.” 

Keep in mind that current U.S. passport processing times with the U.S. Department of State are very long, so we recommend applying for a passport as soon as possible.

Upload a clear photo of your face that could potentially be used as an ID photo. This photo does not need to be a 2x2 passport photo. It can be just a cropped photo of your face without a busy background. In the Readings section of your application, check out the “Photo ID” section for more information on requirements.

Gender Identity: CIEE respects your gender identity. We will use your gender identity preferences whenever we are legally able to. In some instances, such as immigration documentation, CIEE may be required to use your sex as listed on your passport. If you have any questions, our staff are eager to discuss how we can support you!

  • This task is not viewable on the parent account: To protect applicants’ privacy, the gender identity information is not visible to Primary Emergency Contacts through the parent portal. It is only visible through the student's account and to CIEE.

Traveling with a US passport vs. passport issued by another country:

  • A US passport is not required to participate in a CIEE program. However, if you are not a US citizen, you will be responsible for researching and obtaining a visa if necessary.

Housing Requests:

  • CIEE does its best to accommodate requests related to housing and roommates. Please note that CIEE assigns rooms based on a participant's identified gender unless room assignments are legally required by the country you are traveling to be made based on the biological sex listed on the passport. Please contact us if you would like more information related to the country you are planning to travel to.

There is a $25 non-refundable application fee. This payment needs to make this payment before submitting your application to CIEE.

The Primary Emergency Contact listed in your application can make the payment through their My CIEE Account as well. It can be paid with a credit card, debit card, or through an ACH payment from a checking account.


  • CIEE only accepts Visa and Mastercard credit or debit card payments.
  • Try using another web browser (i.e., chrome if you're on safari, etc.) 
  • Ensure the billing address and zip code are identical to what the card issuer or bank has on file
  • Ensure there are no issues with the card that is preventing the payment from being made.
  • Try using a different payment method, if possible.

If none of the above work, please email and tell us the error message or attach a screen shot.

Enter your contact information and include the phone numbers or email addresses in which we can best get in touch with you. Your address should match at least one of your emergency contacts.

If this changes during the application process, please update this by:

  1. Select “My Profile” in the drop down in the top right corner that has your name.
  2. Select edit and update your contact information.

CIEE will not reach out to the teacher listed to request a recommendation on your behalf. We collect this information in order to identify teachers that are advocating for study abroad access.

Share how you heard about CIEE programs, if you are an alumnus of the program, and whether you would like to share your social media handles with CIEE.

  • Sibling/Family discount: If you have a sibling or parent who went on a CIEE program, you can list their name under the referral section. You should also email in order to get the discount added to your account after acceptance. CIEE will need to verify this information.
  • Alumni Discount: If you participated in a CIEE program in the past, select yes that you are an alum of a CIEE program. This provides a 10% discount to your program after acceptance.

Scholarship Application Tasks

These tasks are common to anyone applying for a scholarship. If you apply for an Academic Merit + Financial Need Scholarship you will complete a few more extra tasks than if you apply for an Academic Merit Only scholarship.

For this task, add your most recent cumulative GPA and share whether you have taken AP or Honors level classes.

  • Cumulative GPA: Enter your most recent cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale. See the frequently asked question section below for additional information.
  • Honors Classes: If you have taken honors or AP classes, select yes to this question. and provide additional information.

Frequently Asked Questions on GPA

  • Is there a minimum GPA requirement for participation in CIEE summer abroad programs? There is no minimum GPA requirement, but this is a highly competitive scholarship and GPA is considered when your application is reviewed. Most successful applicants have a GPA that is higher than 3.0.
  • What is a cumulative GPA? An average of all final grades individual students earned from the time they first enrolled in a school to the completion of their education.
  • What if my school does not use a 4.0 scale? Use a tool to calculate your GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  • Do I use the weighted or unweighted GPA on my transcript? Enter the weighted GPA.
  • What if I am a freshman without a high school GPA? Use a GPA calculator and add your 6th-8th grade classes and any report card information for your first fall semester in 9th grade.
  • Upload your most recent official or unofficial transcript that contains your cumulative GPA (see section on GPA and Academics for more information).
  • Unofficial transcripts need to include your name and other identifying information.
  • Unless you are a freshman starting this Fall 2023, a report card cannot be used in place of a transcript.

This task will collect information related to your knowledge of other languages. 

No language experience is necessary to participate in Language & Culture programs for the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French (in Rennes, France)
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish (in Seville, Spain; Alicante, Spain; and Merida, Mexico

A one-year high school course (or equivalent) is needed to participate in Language & Culture programs for the following languages:

  • French (in Paris, France; Toulouse, France; and Rabat, Morocco)
  • Spanish (in Madrid, Spain; Barcelona, Spain; Palma, Spain; and Buenos Aires, Argentina)

If you have language experience but your experience does not come from taking a high school course, please email

The scholarship application includes three short essays. 

  • Check out this blog article for tips on how to write a great essay. 
  • The essays must be between 300-600 words. Follow each prompt and be sure to answer every part of the question. 
  • Proofread! Be sure to review your answers before submitting and have someone else review them as well (such as a teacher or counselor). 
  • This is your chance to set yourself apart! Write thoughtful, comprehensive essays that speak to your experiences and motivations for studying abroad.

​A teacher recommendation is required for the scholarship application.

Before entering a teacher's contact information, ask them if they're willing to complete the recommendation and tell them about the program you're applying for. You can let your teacher know that they'll complete the recommendation online and it should take them 10-15 minutes to complete. For more tips on how to follow up with your teacher check out this blog post.

Once you confirm your teacher is willing to provide a recommendation, complete the questionnaire:

  • Email Address: Ask your teacher their preferred email address. Some schools have firewalls that can make external emails difficult to receive, so a personal email can be used if this is their preference.
  • Provide the first and last name and organization.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I have to use a teacher? Can I use a coach, tutor, ______ instead? CIEE strongly recommends using a current or recent teacher. However, a person that is familiar with you academically like a language tutor or coach could be used. You cannot use a family member, friend, or a person outside of an educational context.
  • Can I use a teacher I had __ years ago? CIEE recommends using a current teacher, but you can also opt to use a teacher. It is strongly recommended to use a teacher that has worked with you in the past year for your recommendation.
  • I don’t know my teachers well enough and don’t feel comfortable asking for a recommendation. Work to build a relationships with teachers if time permits. Also take into consideration that teachers are often asked to provide recommendations and this form is brief and not time-consuming. Ask your teacher if you can schedule a brief meeting to discuss this and take that time to build rapport.


  • The email was not received by the teacher. 
    • Ask them to check the spam folder and other email filters (promotions, social, etc).
    • Search the full email inbox for CIEE.
    • Confirm you entered the email address correctly.
    • If this doesn’t resolve the issue, email

Academic Merit + Financial Need Scholarship

Academic Merit + Financial Need scholarship applicants will complete the following tasks:


Financial information is collected to determine financial need and the level of support that CIEE can offer.

To complete this form, use your 2023 or 2024 IRS Form 1040. See the information below if your parents do not have a 1040 form from these years for other approved supporting documents.

You can utilize this document to help complete the questions about household members, total income, and adjusted gross income.

  • Stated Family Contribution: Have an honest conversation with your legal guardians and family to determine the amount your family can realistically contribute towards a study abroad program. This does not impact the amount of scholarship award you receive.
    • Do not include airfare costs, but take them into consideration to help achieve this realistic contribution. View current prices to the destination(s) you have in mind, look at historical prices, and to be safe it is recommended you keep in mind an airfare amount that is higher to account for fluctuations in prices.
  • Airfare Acknowledgement: Airfare is not included in the program tuition costs and CIEE does not offer any funding opportunities to cover the cost of airfare.

Next, open the Financial Supporting Documents task.

Uploading a 1040 Form

  • Upload the IRS Form 1040 from 2023 or 2024. You must be listed as a dependent on the 1040 form you upload if your parents file separately.
  • You may amend your 1040 form to remove social security numbers and presidential election campaign contributions.

Uploading an approved supporting document

  • You can provide different supporting documentation to verify financial need.
  • Learn more about what supporting documentation is approved by clicking here.

Ranking Programs: 

  • Select your top three program choices (in order of preference). 

To increase the likelihood of being awarded an Academic Merit + Financial Need Scholarship, you must include at least TWO (2) Language & Culture programs in your rankings. Our scholarship funding stipulates 90% of awarded scholarships go to Language & Culture programs.

No language experience is necessary for Arabic, Chinese, German, Japanese, and Italian. A one-year high school course (or equivalent) is needed for Spanish and French. A one-year high school course (or equivalent) is needed for Spanish and French Language & Culture programs. 

If you have language experience but not from a high school course, please email

Participation in Sessions: 

  • Please select which sessions you will be available to participate in: 
    • Review the program profiles you selected, and the sessions offered by clicking here. Note that all program sessions do not run on the same dates, so review each of your top three choices and indicate which terms you would be able to participate in.