Frequently Asked Questions
HOW TO APPLY
Q: What is the application process?
A: The majority of the application is done online, although there are a few documents that can be mailed or emailed. Please consult the Application Process section for more details. Please also remember that your institution has its own internal application process and those deadlines are likely different than PRESHCO's deadlines. Please make sure you are consulting your institution's study abroad office simultaneously.
Q: What is the GPA requirement?
A: The GPA requirement is different for Smith and Wellesley College students. Please consult your individual institution's Office of International Study for this information. In general, the program requires a 3.0 GPA. However, we do accept students below that on a case-by-case basis.
Q: What is the deadline?
A: The deadlines for each term can be found here. Admission is done on a rolling basis, so you are welcome to apply earlier. In fact, if you live or study in the Boston Consulate's jurisdiction and wish to have PRESHCO apply for the Spanish visa on your behalf, we encourage you to apply earlier so we can request the necessary documents from Spain in time for the visa appointment. This is especially important for Spring semester when there is not a lot of time between the deadline and departure.
Q: Do I need a passport before I apply?
A: You do not need a passport at the time you apply for the program, but you if you do not have one or need to renew it (it must be valid for at least 6 months after your return from Spain), we highly encourage you to start the process immediately. You will need a valid passport to apply for the Spanish visa and the program also needs a copy of it prior to arrival. Passports can take 6-8 weeks to receive and you cannot go to your visa appointment without one. To apply for a new passport or renew an existing one, go to the State Department's website.
Q: How soon will I find out if I am accepted?
A: Admission is on a rolling basis, so once you have submitted the minimum application materials you should hear back within a week.
ACADEMICS AND CREDIT TRANSFER
Q: How many classes do I take on the program?
A: You will take FOUR courses on the program, and each course is worth 4 U.S. semester credits. Normally students take two PRESHCO courses and two at the University of Córdoba (UCO). See more about the academic requirements here.
Q: What kinds of courses are offered at the University of Córdoba (UCO)?
A: The UCO has a fairly diverse curriculum and offers hundreds of different courses in most disciplines, including liberal arts, business, education, science and pre-professional studies. Generally speaking you can take any course as long as it is offered during the semester you are there, you meet any pre-requisites, and the course is allowed to transfer by your home institution. PRESHCO maintains a list of sample courses taken frequently by students in the past. Please note that some courses are offered at different campuses within Córdoba and just outside the city. Any public transportation costs incurred by you to travel to other campuses are included in your program fee.
Q: How will credits transfer back?
A: You should discuss with your academic and/or major advisor how credits will come back and satisfy major, minor or general education (or distribution) requirements.
Smith College: The PRESHCO courses, credit and grades are recorded on the Smith transcript as transfer credits. While the grade are posted on the transcript they are not factored into the Smith GPA. You must earn a D or higher in order to receive credit. Also, courses you take must fall within Smith's liberal arts curriculum (so no business, law, journalism, journalism or pre-professional courses will be approved for credit). Finally, you cannot receive credit for the same course twice, so do not take a course in Spain that you have taken previously.
Wellesley College: The PRESHCO courses are recorded on the Wellesley transcript as transfer credits. Grades do not appear on the transcript and are not factored into the Wellesley GPA. You must earn a C or higher in order to receive credit. Also, courses you take must fall within Wellesley’s liberal arts curriculum (so no business, law, journalism, journalism or pre-professional courses will be approved for credit). Finally, you cannot receive credit for the same course twice, so do not take a course in Spain that you have taken previously.
PAYMENT AND FINANCIAL AID
Q: How much does the program cost?
A: Smith and Wellesley College students pay fees directly to their home institution. If you are paying PRESHCO directly, please contact the Program Administrator for an estimated program budget for your term abroad.
Q: What is included in the program fee?
A: Your program fee is comprehensive and covers almost all in-country expenses except for personal spending money and non-program travel. Visit What's Included for more details. A group flight from New York's JFK or a flight reimbursement is also included, and you will receive a cultural reimbursement fund. Passport and visa fees are not covered, nor is travel to meet the group flight if you choose to participate in it.
Q: Can I use my financial aid to cover the program fee?
A: In most cases, yes. If you attend Smith or Wellesley College you can use any aid you would normally receive with very minor exceptions. All other students should check with the financial aid and study abroad office. Generally speaking all federal and state aid is allowed to travel, but some institutional financial aid may not.
If you are a non-consortium student and wish to use your financial aid to pay the program fee please make sure to inform Student Financial Services at Smith College (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that they can amend your record to include the expected release date. This will help you avoid getting late fees. You are responsible for making up the difference between the program fee and your expected aid by the deadline for payment.
Q: When is payment due?
A: If you attend Smith or Wellesley College you will be billed as if you are still on campus. Deadlines for payment will not change. If you are a Non-Consortium student you may be billed by your home institution or by Smith College, depending upon the agreement that has been established between your institution and PRESHCO. Please consult the PRESHCO Finances FAQ for more details on payment.
Q: Is there a deposit required?
A: There is a $500 non-refundable deposit required for all students once you are accepted to the program. This is due within two weeks of acceptance and applied to your overall program fee. If you attend Smith or Wellesley Colleges you do not have to submit a deposit, but if you cancel your participation after confirming your acceptance your student account will be billed the $500.
Q: What is the withdrawal and cancellation policy?
A: The withdrawal and cancellation policy is as follows:
- If you cancel between your acceptance and 60 days prior to departure you will forfeit your $500 deposit (Smith and Wellesley students will be billed $500)
- If you cancel between 59 to 30 days prior to departure you will forfeit $1000
- If you cancel between 29 to 1 days prior to departure you will forfeit 25% of the comprehensive program fees
After semester begins you will be assessed 25% of the comprehensive program fees plus any additional non-recoverable costs
TRAVEL, STUDENT VISA AND PASSPORT
Q: How do I apply for a passport?
A: You need a valid passport to travel to Spain, which means it must NOT expire at least six months after you return to the U.S. Passport applications can be picked up at most post offices, or you can start the application online and submit it at the post office. Passports can take 4-6 weeks to receive, so if you do not have a passport yet, apply for one as soon as possible. You to have the option to pay for expedited service, which takes 2-3 weeks.
Q: Do I need a Student Visa to study in Spain?
A: Since you will be staying over 90 days you are required to apply for a Long Term Student Visa. See the section on Spanish visas. The visa process for semester students can take 6-8 weeks. If you plan to stay for the academic year you will also need to have a background check performed by the F.B.I., and that can take as long as 4 months.
Q: Is there a group flight?
A: There is a group flight option from New York's JFK Airport. The flight departs the night before the program begins and returns on the last day of the program. You are given information about it upon acceptance into the program. If you choose the group flight option you do not receive a flight reimbursement. The cost to meet the group flight in New York is your responsibility.
Q: What excursions are included in the program?
A: There is an orientation tour, which visits many different cities in Spain. There are overnight and day excursions to many Spanish cities during the semester, and can include Granada, Sevilla, Zuhueros, Medina Azahara, and more. During the Fall semester the program has a five-day excursion to Morocco (circumstances permitting). Program excursions are a required component of the academic program and you are expected to attend all of them.
Q: Is there time to travel outside of the program?
A: There is ample time to travel on the weekends and during planned breaks. You are expected to participate in all program excursions, so please plan your personal travel accordingly. You are also not allowed to miss classes.