Frequently Asked Questions
I want to apply to a trip! How do I get started?
If you haven't already done so, click on the link in the upper left corner, "Login with your SUNet ID". If you have not applied for one of our trips before, please create a profile! If you already have a profile, you'll need to update and save it.
Once you have an updated profile, you're in! After perusing the Courses and Trips, click the "My Home" link on left. This will take you to the applications. Please be sure to fill out both of the Common Application questions, as well as the Trip Specific Question for each trip for which you wish to apply.
- What is the purpose of ASB? How many ASB courses/trips are there?
- The mission of Alternative Spring Break is to give trip participants the opportunity to examine the dimensions and urgency of social issues through an educational immersion experience. In 2013-2014, we are offering 15 trips, and in Fall 2013, we offered 5 Thanksgiving Back trips. Click on the "Courses and Trips" tab above for a description of each trip.
- Alternative Spring Break is a service-learning experience. The mandatory 1-unit winter quarter directed-reading course prepares participants to go out into the field during spring break. During spring break, participants meet with community members and leaders from organizations in the field, gaining incredible first hand knowledge about their topic.
- I really want to go on ASB but I can't participate in the Winter Quarter Directed Reading or I won't be able to be there for the entire trip. Am I still eligible to apply?
- Students who are unable to participate in a trip's winter quarter directed reading course are ineligible to participate in ASB. As such, students who are abroad during the winter quarter are unfortunately ineligible to apply. Students who are unable to participate in a trip for its entire duration are also ineligible.
Scroll down for information about potential conflicts regarding religious observances.
- What is the structure of the Winter Quarter Directed Reading?
- During winter quarter, trip participants take a specialized directed reading course facilitated by the ASB leaders and a faculty advisor. By preparing participants with background knowledge of the individual trip's relevant issues, the 1-unit discussion-based class enhances and deepens the spring break experience.
- What will my spring break trip be like?
- Each spring break trip is different in structure, content, location, pace, and arrangements (see the "course and trip descriptions" for details on each trip). Please note, however, that no trips stay in five star hotels; the emphasis of the trips is on meeting with and learning from influential community members, forging relationships with leaders in a particular field, and participating in some direct service. The participant fee covers all basic needs, including housing, meals, and local transportation.
- How much does ASB cost?
- Trip participants agree to pay a $150 participant fee, which includes most expenses (e.g. course materials and housing, food, and local transportation during spring break). Participants may also need to pay for some meals and miscellaneous expenses. If a student participates in a trip requiring air travel, the participant will also pay for airfare. Need-based financial aid is a available (see the next question).
- I am concerned about the cost of ASB. Does ASB offer financial aid for participants?
- ASB works hard to ensure that finances are not a deterring factor for participants. Participant fee subsidies and airfare subsidies are available on a need-demonstrated basis. ASB works closely with the University's Financial Aid Office to assess each student's financial need. We use our financial aid budget to provide aid to as many participants as possible.
Should you wish to apply for financial aid, please check the appropriate box in the "Logistics" section of the application. This will initiate the financial aid application process. If you are selected as a participant for the ASB program, we will contact you with more details. To obtain further information about financial aid, please contact ASB Financial Director, Fabiola Esquivel.
- Which trips will be flying? How much will airfare cost?
- Please see the courses and trips page to determine if the trips you are interested in travel by air. Airfare costs will vary for each trip. Please contact the trip leaders of these trips if you have specific airfare questions. Participants purchase their airfare tickets only after confirming with their trip leaders about dates, airports, group rates, etc.
- When is spring break? When will ASB begin/end?
- This year, spring break will begin on March 22, 2014 and end on March 29, 2013. Trips are typically 6-7 days in length. Accepted applicants should know the exact dates for their trips by the beginning of Winter Quarter.
- Will I be able to observe religious holidays during ASB?
- Yes! Students may make arrangements with trip leaders (let them know well in advance of the trip) to attend services or to observe a particular religious tradition/practice. In the past, ASB groups have shared their spiritual traditions with each other as a way of appreciating and better understanding each other's backgrounds. Our trip leaders are always open to hearing participants' ideas and needs during Spring Break - religious/spiritual needs are no exception!
- Are there any prerequisites for applying to ASB?
- No! All Stanford students are encouraged to apply; there is no prerequisite of prior public service involvement.
- How many students are selected to participate in each ASB course/trip?
- A maximum of twelve students are admitted to each trip. Strong applicants who are not admitted to a trip will be placed on a waiting list and will be admitted on a space-available basis.
- What is the timeline for the selection process? When will I know whether I have been accepted?
- The deadline for applications this year is Monday, November 4th, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. We anticipate informing participants of their acceptance status during the following week. After you have been notified, you will have approximately one week to decide whether you wish to accept the offer.
- How does the ASB selection process work? Do the leaders choose the successful applicants?
- Participants are chosen by the course/trip leaders. Leaders review all submitted and complete applications and select participants and alternates. During the selection process, leaders are not given applicant names or financial aid statuses.
- Can I apply to more than one ASB course/trip? Do I have to fill out a separate application for each?
- You may apply to as many as three ASB courses/trips. To apply, you need to complete the general application as well as respond to the trip-specific question for each trip to which you are applying.
- I have so much to say - can I go over the 350 word limit on the application essays?
- Please limit yourselves to 350 words per essay. Use the word count feature on a word processor to check the number of words. Trip leaders may choose to disqualify applications that significantly ignore the word limit. Please also save a copy of your responses on your own computer.
- I am a past participant of ASB, am I eligible to apply again?
- Yes, as a past participant we actively welcome and encourage you to apply for another ASB course and trip. But we ask that you do not apply for the same trip you previously participated in, as we would like to give other students an opportunity to experience it. If you would like to find an avenue to further pursue the ideas presented in your trip, please contact the ASB Coordinators to get more information about other programs we offer, such as the Mini-Grant.
- I have more questions, who can I ask?
Anyone on the contact us page