Twelve College Exchange in Brief

Applications for the Twelve College Exchange Program are due on the first Monday of December (for the following academic year).

The Twelve College Exchange Program gives qualified students the opportunity to spend a year or a semester at one of the participating institutions. It is a residential exchange, and all students are expected to live on campus and to observe the social and academic regulations of the host institution.

The exchange program has been designed to facilitate student mobility while minimizing the red tape required. Its continued success depends on each applicant's cooperation in meeting the deadlines and regulations set by the member schools. Students who have questions about the exchange are requested to contact Vassar’s Twelve College Exchange Coordinator, not the host institution (see contact information at bottom of page).

Participating Institutions

*Note these specific requirements and limitations
Unlike the other exchange members, Dartmouth operates on the quarter system rather than the semester system. Students must enroll for two terms to earn a semester's credit, three terms for a full academic year's credit. Dartmouth prefers that students begin their studies with the summer term. Be sure to specify your preferred term sequence on the application form.

Study abroad programs or other off-campus programs sponsored by exchange member institutions are not part of the Twelve College Exchange; students should follow the guidelines for study abroad or academic leave of absence, as appropriate.

Each application will be evaluated on the basis of the student's reasons and motivation for wishing to study on the exchange and the relevance of the plan of study to his/her overall academic program. Selection from among qualified applicants is made to fill a quota assigned by each member institution in accordance with any limitations or restrictions it may impose.

Students must be in good financial standing with Vassar before they will be allowed to participate in the exchange: all accounts must be paid in full by the end of the semester preceding the time away.

Read Before You Apply

If there are fewer spaces at an exchange institution than qualified candidates, selections will be made according to specific academic need, overall academic achievement, and terms applied for. Students may apply for a second choice by submitting two applications and indicating first and second choices. 

Some Twelve College members have certain criteria for admission. Dartmouth will accept students for the full year (three-quarters) or for the Winter-Spring quarters, but not for the fall quarter only. Also, Dartmouth accepts no more than one student per Twelve College member. Amherst prefers to accept students for the full year only. NTI and Williams-Mystic are one-semester programs only. All other institutions will take students for one semester or for a full academic year, depending on space and course offerings.

Transferring Credits

The Twelve College Exchange relationships are based upon institution similarities that include compatible liberal arts curriculums. Once you complete your academic leave, you must make a request to the registrar at the institution you attended to send an official transcript of your completed course work to the Domestic Study Away Coordinator, Office of the Dean of Studies, Box 5, Vassar College, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604-0005. In most cases Twelve College Exchange courses have been pre-approved and transfer to the Vassar transcript is automatic. 

All courses taken on Twelve College Exchange will appear on the Vassar transcript, however only those with grades of C or better will be eligible for transfer credit.

If you change your course selections after you have been approved to participate in the exchange, you will need to contact Pauline Saavedra, before you register, either by telephone: (845) 437-5255 or email: pasaavedra@vassar.edu.  Courses that cannot be transferred for credit are pre-professional, vocational, business, and physical education courses. Also, no credit will be given for distance learning courses.

Application Process and Timeline

Completed applications for the following academic year (academic year, fall semester, or spring semester) are due in the Dean of Studies Office by first Monday of December.

The following programs have their own application forms that students must complete and submit directly to the program (in addition to completing Vassar’s Twelve College Exchange application form)

  • Williams-Mystic Seaport Program
  • National Theatre Institute Program

The Twelve College Exchange Coordinators consult early in the spring semester about the number of applicants and spaces available. Students can expect to be notified in March whether they have been offered a place on the exchange. Vassar will send a copy of the student’s Twelve College Exchange application and official transcript to the host institution. Students must notify Vassar by April 15 whether they accept their place in the exchange program; failure to respond by the deadline may result in the forfeiture of their space. Students must also notify the host institution in a timely way of their plans to accept or decline an offer of admission. Any student who is holding a place on the exchange after having been accepted may not apply for approval to study anywhere else for the same period of time.

In some emergency circumstances, it may be necessary to withdraw from the exchange after the deadline. Should this occur, the student must notify the host institution, in writing, of the change in circumstances and ask to be released from his/her commitment to attend. A copy of the letter or email must be forwarded to Pauline Saavedra, who serves as Vassar’s Twelve College Exchange Coordinator.

Questions? Please contact: Pauline Saavedra