How to apply to a Sustainable Summer Leadership Expedition
Step 1: Submit Online Application
The first step in the application process requires students to submit a brief admissions essay that articulates clear interest in sustainability and our program. There is a $35 application fee.
Step 2: Conduct Admissions Phone Interviews
Upon submission of our online application form, students are invited to schedule an admission interview. Additionally, we also speak with his or her parent(s). The interviews are scheduled and conducted separately. The interview is the ideal time for parents and students to also interview us and ensure that our program is the optimal fit for your summer.
Step 3: Notification of Admissions Decision
We base our acceptance decisions on the applicant's ability to demonstrate interest in sustainability issues and to contribute positively to our community of students. Students and parents will be notified via email of the acceptance decision and provided with enrollment instructions. Admissions notifications are issued shortly after both interviews (student and a parent) are completed.
Step 4: Enrollment Deposit
A $750 non-refundable deposit is required to secure enrollment in the program. The deposit is applied against the cost of tuition. Enrollment deposits are made online by credit card and the enrollment form must be completed by a parent. During enrollment, a parent will also complete a medical history form, which is reviewed by our office within one week of receipt. All enrollments are conditional pending review of the student's medical history.
Step 5: Get Ready
We will confirm your enrollment with an invitation to login to our MySummer website, which helps families prepare for their summer travel with us. Flights, packing lists, destination briefings, sustainability primers, tuition invoices, and other pre-program preparation information are accessed through MySummer.
You've Got Questions.
We've got answers to our most commonly asked questions immediately below. For questions about a specific program, you can usually find that information on the website page of that program or give us a call at 646-504-5046.
Students age 15 – 18 and interested in sustainability are encouraged to submit an application. Most of our applicants live in the US, although we also work with many international students every summer, too. Nearly all of our participants come alone (ie; without a friend).
We look for applicants that have a demonstrable interest in environmental sustainability and the ability to contribute positively to our community. More than anything else, great students make for great programs, and we place a high priority on selecting the right students for our cohorts. Put simply, there are a staggering number of organizations that provide high school students with summer enrichment opportunities. We are particularly interested in students that are curious about sustainability issues; have the ability to engage in thoughtful discourse on the subject; and are prepared to commit fully to the experience. You do not need to be a “sustainability rockstar.” We encourage all students that have concern for the environment to submit an application. You’ll articulate your interest in Sustainable Summer and how participation will advance your personal goals and objectives, which is a primary consideration for how we make acceptance decisions.
We know this response is unlikely to satisfy students that are often concerned (in many cases, rightfully so) about the selectivity of an activity or organization. We do not disclose acceptance statistics. Perhaps we’ll change our thinking on this in the future, but until then we hope you can take solace in the following information:
- We deny admission to unqualified applicants
- Applicants that apply early in the year are almost always accepted because they’ve indicated a strong preference for our particular program and are being proactive about participating.
- Applicants that are rising juniors and seniors have historically participated at higher rates than rising sophomores, and a typical cohort averages only about 15% rising sophomores
- All else being equal, we prioritize geographic and socio-economic diversity and seek as much breadth of ideology and perspective as possible in our cohorts
For our international expeditions (currently on hiatus due to the pandemic), we work off of a rolling admissions calendar. Programs can become full at any point during the winter, although every year is a bit different. Some programs will have no availability by the end of February and others will have availability into late spring. We recommend that interested candidates apply at the earliest possible time to secure a place in their program of preference. Program availability is updated on our website daily.
For our leadership expeditions, programs can become full at any point during the winter, although every year is a bit different. Some programs will have no availability by the end of February and others will have availability into late spring. We recommend that interested candidates apply at the earliest possible time to secure a place in their program of preference. We update our website with current availability daily.
Yes. Some students initially apply to a program or programs and then switch to a different program as schedules (or interests) come into focus prior to participation. Families are able to switch to any Sustainable Summer program prior to April 1st without financial penalty and subject to availability. Some students also participate in multiple programs consecutively.
Yes. We usually have a few students every summer that participate in one of our international leadership expeditions and a campus-based academy. You should apply using the leadership expedition application form and indicate your interest in one of our US programs accordingly.
We encourage all eligible students with an interest in sustainability to submit an application to Sustainable Summer. You must be a high school student at least 15 years of age and no more than 18 years of age on the program start date to participate. For example, if you turn 15 on June 1st and the program start date is June 28th, then you are eligible. If you turn 15 on August 1st you would be ineligible. Graduated seniors are eligible to participate in our leadership expeditions (although not our leadership academies).
With some exceptions for students enrolling prior to the end of the calendar year or that specifically request a payment plan, the balance of tuition is due on the following schedule:
- For enrollments on or prior to February 15th, tuition balances are due March 15th
- For enrollments after Feb 15th, tuition balances are due within 30 days of enrollment
- For enrollments received less than 30 days from a program start date, final tuition balances must be paid within 7 days of enrollment. (If program start date is fewer than 7 days from enrollment date, full payment is due immediately and an additional $95 late fee is applicable).
Interest free payment plans are available on request as part of our financial assistance program. All tuition balances are payable online by e-check/ACH, by check drawn on a US bank account, or by money order. On request, credit card payments for tuition balances are possible, but will be assessed a 2.2% processing fee. (NOTE: there is no fee for credit card payments on the application fee and initial enrollment deposit for all families). International tuition balance payments can be paid by credit card in US currency plus 2.2% processing fee or by wire transfer plus a $25 bank servicing fee.
There is a $750 deposit required to secure enrollment (upon acceptance). Payable online by credit card at the time of enrollment.
No. You are welcome to take advantage of our honor’s system-based tuition assistance discount.
Policies for Early Enrollments
These terms apply only to participants that enrolled prior to January 1st. (All date references are to the current 12-month period.)
Full Refund on Cancellations Until March 1st: If you decide to cancel your program before March 1, for any reason whatsoever, we will refund ALL tuition you have paid without penalty or administration fee. Should you decide to cancel your program on or after March 1, our normal cancellation policies will apply. (NOTE: the $35 application fee is non-refundable, and tuition refunds will not be issued until April 1st regardless of the time your cancellation notice is received).
Refund Policy on Cancellations After March 1st: At 12:01am Eastern Time on March 1st, your $500 enrollment deposit becomes non-refundable. For cancellations received AFTER March 1st, all tuition payments less the $500 non-refundable enrollment deposit are fully refundable up to April 1st. Tuition payments less the $500 non-refundable enrollment deposit and a $500 cancellation fee are refundable up to May 1st. There are no refunds after May 1st.
Change of Program: If you would like to change to a different Sustainable Summer program, for any reason, you can do so without penalty up to April 1st, subject to availability. Between April 1st and May 1st, change of program to another Sustainable Summer program in the same calendar year is allowed for a $250 fee, subject to availability. After May 1st, change of program is not allowed and there are no tuition refunds.
Deferred Enrollment: Deferring enrollment to a Sustainable Summer program in the next calendar year is allowed up to April 1st without penalty or fee. Between April 1st and May 1st, deferment is allowed for a $500 fee. After May 1st, deferred enrollment is not allowed and there are no tuition refunds. NOTE: Tuition rates for future programs may increase and you are not grandfathered into a rate, however any early enrollment tuition discount rates will be applied as long as you re-enroll during the future early enrollment period (example: you enroll early and receive a 5% discount on a program, but defer to a future program. The next year, you re-enroll during the early enrollment period. Your 5% discount would carry over.) Any tuition previously paid will post as a credit to your account and any fees ($500 if deferring between April 1 and May 1; no fee if prior to April 1) will be assessed upon enrolling in a future program. We are only able to offer the deferred enrollment option for one year and only to the participant or a participant’s sibling. The refund and cancellation policies in place at the time of your deferment will apply for one year. After one year, the current refund and cancellation policies will apply. For instance, deferment to a future program on March 15th would subject only the regular non-refundable $500 enrollment deposit to cancellation penalty until March 15th one year later with any additional tuition payments fully refundable up until that time. On March 16th, (one year and one day from your deferment) you would enter whatever Sustainable Summer’s current refund and cancellation policies are at that time.
All cancellation and other change of program notifications must be received in writing. No exceptions.
Cancellation of Program:
All cancellations must be made in writing and emailed to email@example.com. Refunds will be determined based on the date Sustainable Summer receives written notification and the schedule below. Requests to change to a different program or session will be granted based on availability.
Prior to March 1st
The $750 enrollment deposit and any additional tuition payments are fully refundable with written notice of cancellation prior to March 1st. On March 1st the $750 enrollment deposit becomes non-refundable and is applied to tuition.
Between March 1st – March 31st
All tuition payments less the initial $750 enrollment deposit are fully refundable prior to April 1st. Alternatively, deferring enrollment to a Sustainable Summer program in the next calendar year is allowed without penalty by rolling over the enrollment deposit.
Between April 1st and April 31st
50% of tuition will be refunded for notice of cancellation prior to May 1st. Alternatively, enrollment can be deferred to a Sustainable Summer program in the next calendar year by rolling over the full amount of tuition paid without penalty.
May 1st and later
There are no refunds for cancellations received on or after May 1st. We will consider requests to defer enrollment to next year or change to a different program or session in the current year at our sole discretion and without obligation.
Deferred Enrollment: Deferring enrollment to a Sustainable Summer program in the next calendar year is allowed based on the following schedule:
Prior to April 1st
Enrollment can be deferred to a Sustainable Summer program in the next calendar year by rolling over the initial enrollment deposit.
Between April 1st and April 31st
Enrollment can be deferred to a Sustainable Summer program in the next calendar year by rolling over the full amount of tuition paid.
On or after May 1st
Deferred enrollment is not allowed and there are no tuition refunds. We will consider extenuating circumstances at our sole discretion and without obligation.
NOTE: Tuition rates for future programs may increase and you are not grandfathered into a rate. Any tuition previously paid will post as a credit to your account. We are only able to offer the deferred enrollment option for one year and only to the participant or a participant’s sibling. The refund and cancellation policies in place at the time of your deferment will apply for one year. After one year, the current refund and cancellation policies will apply. For instance, deferment to a future program on March 15th would subject only the non-refundable enrollment deposit to cancellation penalty until March 15th one year later with any additional tuition payments fully refundable up until that time. On March 16th, (one year and one day from your deferment) you would enter whatever Sustainable Summer’s current refund and cancellation policies are at that time. Similarly, deferring enrollment on April 15th would lock in 50% of the current tuition obligation as non-refundable. The bottom line here is that rolling over tuition or enrollment deposits does not offer a pathway in which to request a full refund in a future year.
Change of Program: If you would like to change to a different Sustainable Summer program, for any reason, you can do so without penalty prior to May 1st, subject to availability. Generally, we can accommodate session changes if the request is made by late March or early April. Once we get towards the end of April the availability may not be there and we cannot guarantee availability even for for earlier requests. We understand that calendars can change and unanticipated conflicts arise and we will do everything we can to work something out, but we also cannot guarantee availability in any one particular program other than the one the student is accepted into and we will not under any circumstances issue a refund if we are unable to accommodate a request other than as specified in our cancellation and refund schedule. If we are able to accommodate your request, there will not be a fee assessed aside from any different in the program tuition. On or after May 1st, change of program is not allowed and there are no tuition refunds.
We designate a recommended international flight that departs from a major US gateyway. Most students travel on the designated flight, although it is not required to do so for some programs. Airfare is not included in tuition and not all of our flights have a staff escort. Families are responsible for booking their own travel. Please see your program of interest for specifics.
How much does the program cost?
We operate on a tiered tuition model, which makes our participation in our programs accessible to families from across the socioeconomic spectrum. Please see our tuition page for additional information.
How do I enroll at the “tuition assistance’ level?
Once admitted to a program, there is a two-step enrollment process. First, the student reviews and acknowledges our Essential Eligibility Criteria. An enrollment email will then be sent to the student’s parent. Parents select their tuition tier during this step in the enrollment process. Enrolling at the “tuition assistance” level (20% discount on tuition) requires no additional documentation or application. It is offered based on the honor system. Please read more about our tiered tuition model for guidelines on choosing a tier.
What’s included in the cost of tuition?
Tuition includes all accommodations, meals, activities, curriculum and instruction, ground transportation, pre-program materials and support, gratuities, and contributions to service projects.
What’s NOT included in the cost of tuition?
Tuition does not include airfare, entry or exit fees, travel/trip cancelation insurance, and personal expenses such as laundry, snacks, souvenirs, and internet or international phone calls. Most of our global learning programs also require a $95 InternationalSOS membership fee, which provides emergency assistance, evacuation and repatriation coverage. Please see individual program pages for airfare information and a breakdown of any entry or exit fees.
Most participants come alone. In fact, most years we do not have any participants that know each other on any program we run. With that said, if you and a friend both want to apply, go for it!
We are able to accept students from any location worldwide, although if you are applying from outside the United States there may be special visa and insurance requirements as part of your participation. Please contact us prior to submitting your application if you have any concerns or questions.
We welcome applicants for scholarships and financial aid. Applicants interested in applying for a Sustainable Summer scholarship should click here to read about our financial aid opportunities prior to submitting an application.