Frequently Asked Questions
How many students apply for the program?
The number of applicants varies considerably, but is usually about twenty to twenty-five. All written applications are carefully reviewed and as many students as seem potentially qualified are scheduled for interviews.
How do I apply for the program?
The first step is to complete and submit the online application form on this website. This will let us know you are applying for the next semester of the Washington Semester Program. Follow the instructions on the application page which outline other materials you need to complete your application for the internship program. For full consideration all materials must be received by the deadline. Qualified applicants will be contacted to arrange for a personal interview.
Can I afford the Washington Semester Program?
Most likely your semester in Washington, D.C. will cost you about the same amount that you spend at your home campus. Please see the Financial Information page for details.
Can I use my state-provided scholarship (e.g. Life, Palmetto) and/or grants during the semester I am enrolled in the program?
Yes. The state-provided scholarships and grants can be used during this semester in D.C. Students are responsible for talking to their college's financial aid office to determine if other financial aid can be applied to this semester.
How many applicants are selected for the Program?
The committee and the applicant pool determine the number of acceptances. However, the Program reviews applicants based on their individual qualifications and not enrollment caps. Typically, class sizes have ranged in the mid-teens.
Is there a limit on the number of students accepted from any single institution?
How does the selection committee make a decision?
The committee assesses all your written material and your interview performance. They are looking for students who are mature, articulate, and conversant with current events and national issues. The committee will also assess how well you will function in the workplace, adapt to life in DC, and how well you will represent your home university and the Washington Semester Program. Each candidate is discussed at length at the close of the interview day. Decisions are made by committee consensus.
When and how will I be notified if I am selected for the program?
You will be notified early evening the day of your interview if you've been accepted. All accepted candidates are required to attend a WSP Orientation the day following their interview.
May I schedule my interview for a different day, since I will not be available on the scheduled date?
Typically not. The interview committee involves several people who travel to Columbia from Washington for that day only. However, in extreme situations, such as students who are studying abroad or traveling as representatives for their university, we will consider alternate interview opportunities. The final decision about these exceptions lies with the program administrators.
Can I miss orientation?
No. A great deal of information is exchanged at orientation. Students fill out essential paperwork, choose room arrangements, and are interviewed at length concerning fellowship placements. Under extreme situations, such as students who are studying abroad or traveling as representatives for their university, we will consider exceptions. The final decision about these exceptions lies with the program administrators.
If selected, can I work in an office other than the offices that former Fellows have worked in?
Yes. While our first obligation is to our South Carolina Legislative Delegation, we also place students in federal offices as well as for-profit and non-profit associations. We work diligently to match the student's interests to the placement
Can I bring a car to DC?
We strongly discourage Washington Semester Program fellows from keeping their cars in the city because of the difficulty with parking. At the beginning of the semester we provide experience in riding the city's metro system, which is excellent and efficient and is the recommended method of transportation while in D.C.