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ASB - Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not listed below, email the AB@S Executive Co-Directors Javier Aguayo ( and Jenny Han (

How do I apply for a trip?

Click on the "apply to participate" link in the ASB/TGB drop-down menu. On the "apply to participate" page, click on the ASB or TGB link and fill out the Google application form.

What is the purpose of ASB? How many ASB/TGB 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 2018-2019, we offered three Thanksgiving Back trips in the fall and 13 ASB trips for Winter-Spring. Click on the "Courses and Trips" tab above for a description of each trip. Alternative Breaks @Stanford are service-learning experiences. The mandatory 1-unit winter quarter directed-reading course (ASB only) prepares participants to go into the field during spring break. During this time, participants meet with community members and leaders from organizations in the field with the purpose of enriching their knowledge about their program topic.

I really want to go on ASB but I can't participate in the Winter Quarter course 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 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 course?

During winter quarter, trip participants take a specialized 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 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, although this is a rare occurrence. If a student participates in a trip requiring air travel, the participant will also pay for airfare in addition to the participant fee. Need-based financial aid is 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 the AB@S Financial Officer, Janelle Miller (e-mail: [][/url]).

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, but travel trip participants will be expected to contribute no more than $400 to airfare alone. Please contact the trip leaders of these trips if you have specific airfare questions.

When is spring break? When will ASB begin/end?

This year, spring break will begin on March 21, 2020 and end on March 28, 2020. 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 undergraduate 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 as core participants. Core participants will enroll in the 1-unit Winter Quarter ASB class and participate in the Spring Break trip. Those who were not accepted as core participants and wish to participate as general participants may enroll in the Winter Quarter course of the trip of their choice (provided that they had previously applied to the trip through the application) on Axess, provided that the 14-person cap has not been exceeded.

What is the timeline for the selection process? When will I know whether I have been accepted?

The deadline for ASB applications has passed. Applications will be open again during the 2019-2020 school year. Generally, applicants will be notified during November.

How does the ASB selection process work? Do the leaders choose participants?

Participants are assigned to trips based on a system that maximizes participation. For more information, visit the "Apply to Participate" page.

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 programs. To apply, you need to complete the general application questions as well as respond to the trip-specific question for each trip to which you are applying.

I have too much/too little to say - can I ignore the maximum/minimum word counts on the application essays?

Essays must be less than 400 words. Use the word count feature on a word processor to track your progress! 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. However, 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.