Yale College: Leverage SEA Funding to Land a Summer Opportunity

Yale College students who receive any amount of financial aid from Yale are eligible to use their Summer Experience Award (SEA) to help with the expenses of an unpaid or underfunded summer experience (less than $1,500). The SEA can be used for one summer during their time at Yale.

  • The SEA is $4,000 for a U.S. based experience and $6,000 for an international experience.
  • Important eligibility requirements and instructions on how to apply are here.
  • Students may use the SEA to apply for an unpaid/underfunded experience with an employer that fits within the SEA eligibility requirements.

One strategy many students have found successful, is instead of waiting for a public posting from an organization, they actively target specific organizations of interest and send them a direct email informing them that you come with funding.

Why this works:

  • You will no longer compete with the masses! By sending a direct email you let organizations know that a) you come with funding, and b) you are specifically interested in their mission.
  • You differentiate yourself from other candidates by not just waiting for them to post the opportunity.
  • An organization that receives an inquiry from a student may be more likely to create an experience for you.

What you need to do

  • Craft an email that explains your situation. Explain that you are a Yale student, you come with funding, and why you are interested in their organization.
  • OCS has created a these sample outreach emails based on the various SEA eligibility areas. This is a good place to start and then modify the email based on your particular interest. This is an email, not a cover letter. Avoid writing a long email and instead get to the point so you don’t lose their interest.
  • Attach your resume. Make sure that resume is geared towards highlighting any experience that you have in that organization’s particular industry.
  • Generate a list of organizations that fit within the eligibility requirements of the SEA that you plan on contacting.
  • Keep in mind that volunteer work can qualify for the SEA as long as the supervisor completes the host organization verification form.
  • If you are looking for possible U.S. nonprofit organizations, you can start with Guidestar. This is the non-profit directory containing all 501(c) (3) organizations and allows you to search by location, keyword, and service type.
By Robyn Acampora
Robyn Acampora Director of Strategic Initiatives and Public Service Careers Robyn Acampora