Twelve College Exchange Program

Twelve College Exchange Application

Applications for the Twelve College Exchange Program are due February 1st (for the following academic year).

The Twelve College Exchange Program gives qualified students the opportunity to apply to spend a year or a semester at one of the other 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. You cannot be considered for transfer to the other college after participating in the exchange.

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 Mount Holyoke’s Twelve College Exchange Coordinator, not the host institution (see Contact Information at bottom of page).

Specific requirements or limitations are set by the member institutions in October for the following academic year.

Participating Institutions

  • Amherst College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Connecticut College
  • Dartmouth College
  • O'Neill National Theatre Institute
  • Smith College
  • Trinity College
  • Vassar College
  • Wellesley College
  • Wesleyan University
  • Wheaton College
  • Williams/Mystic Seaport Program in Maritime Studies

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 year's credit.  Dartmouth prefers that students begin their studies with the summer term.  Be sure to specify your prefered 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.


Students must meet Mount Holyoke’s general requirements for academic leave of absence; specifically, they must:

  • Be in good academic standing, including a minimum grade point average of 2.7 and not significantly behind in credits
  • Have declared a major if they are applying to study away for all or part of junior or senior year
  • Present a plan of study that will enhance their academic program at Mount Holyoke and be suitable to our curriculum
  • Have obtained the approval of the plan from their major advisor
  • Be in residence at Mount Holyoke for four of their last six semesters, and complete a minimum of 64 Mount Holyoke credits (including Five College credits) during that time

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 her overall academic program here. 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 Mount Holyoke 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 way.

Academic Program
Exchange students are expected to enroll in a normal full-time course load as defined by the host institution. Students who complete successfully (with grades of C- or better) a normal full-time load of liberal arts courses will receive a full year (32) or semester (16) of credit toward their Mount Holyoke degree. Students may not earn more than a full year or semester of credits, though they may earn less if they complete less than a normal full load.

Course load requirements vary. Note in particular that students attending Dartmouth for three terms must successfully complete three courses per term to receive a full year’s credit toward their Mount Holyoke degree.

Credit only (not grades) will be transferred and recorded on the Mount Holyoke transcript for courses taken at all Twelve College Exchange schools, including Amherst and Smith. Students can expect that graduate schools and prospective employers will want to see official copies of both their Mount Holyoke and exchange school transcripts.

Fees and Financial Aid

Students on exchange pay the tuition and fees of the host school, to the host school. Mount Holyoke financial aid does not travel.  Students who are accepted to participate in the exchange may still use any federal or other outside aid (including parent loans and tuition payment plans) for which they are eligible.

Exchange students are not eligible for any financial aid from the host institution, and cannot assume that they will be eligible for campus employment. International students should note that immigration regulations strictly limit them from working other than on campus at Mount Holyoke. 

Students who hold scholarships from sources other than Mount Holyoke should check with Student Financial Services regarding their possible use on the Exchange.

Health Insurance

Massachusetts law requires that all students be covered by health insurance. Students on exchange will be enrolled in the Mount Holyoke Student Medical Insurance Plan just as if they were here, and may waive that coverage only according to the usual procedures. 

Application Process and Timeline

Completed applications for the following academic year (academic year, fall semester, or spring semester) are due in the Office of Academic Deans, 300 Mary Lyon Hall, by 5:00 p.m. on February 1st.

The following programs have their own application forms that students must complete and submit directly to the program (in addition to completing Mount Holyoke’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 exchange. Mount Holyoke will send a copy of the student’s Twelve College Exchange application and official transcript to the host institution. Students must notify Mount Holyoke by April 15 whether they accept their place on exchange; 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 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 her commitment to attend. A copy of the letter or e-mail must be forwarded to Kat Eldred (who serves as Mount Holyoke’s Twelve College Exchange Coordinator).

Contact Information
Questions? Please contact:

Kat Eldred

Office of the Academic Deans

3rd Floor Mary Lyon Hall