Application Advice

There are a wide range of personalities, experiences, and skills that can make an applicant a great candidate for CIEE Camp Exchange USA. The important thing is to communicate in your application what makes you unique and qualified to be a camp counselor. The best applications demonstrate your past experience, unique skills, and passion for learning about the U.S.

The tips below are designed to help you write a comprehensive, compelling, and detailed application. This will help CIEE find the perfect camp for applicants who need placements:

  • Highlight your experience with kids. Whether it’s babysitting, teaching swimming lessons, or something else, tell us how you have worked with kids in the past and why you want to work with them this summer at camp.
  • Show us your unique skills. Summer camps want counselors with specialized skills like archery, sailing, or horseback riding. When writing about your skills, be sure to include current qualifications/certifications, how long you have been doing it, if you have taught the skill to others, and what specific aspects of the skill you can teach.
  • Explain why you’d make a great counselor. Maybe working with kids is your life’s goal or you love discovering new cultures. Whatever the reason, tell us why you want to be a camp counselor in the U.S.!
  • Add photos and/or videos. A smiling, happy headshot of you and a few appropriate photographs of you participating in the activities you have written about and/or images of you working with kids can make your application stand out. You may also want to create a short video introducing yourself and demonstrating your skills!
  • Pay attention to grammar and spelling. Camp directors have to decide if you’re the right camp counselor for their camp based on the information you provide on your application, so be sure it reads like you have dedicated your full attention to it.
  • Demonstrate your flexibility. Applicants with flexible arrival and departure dates, who are willing to work at different types of camps or are willing and able to teach more than one activity, increase their chance of being placed at a summer camp in the U.S. Be sure to communicate your flexibility on your application!
  • Be as detailed as possible. Camps want to know as much about you, your experience, and your skills as possible. Writing with specificity helps CIEE and camp directors get a clearer picture of who you are. 
  • Upload all required documents. When applying to CIEE Camp Exchange USA, you will be required to upload the following documents:
    • Copy of your passport: Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after your program ends. When uploading a copy of your passport, be sure the scan/image is clear and legible.
    • 2 professional references: Your references may come from professors, coaches, managers, or other professionals who can speak about your skills and personality. Do not submit references from friends or members of your family.
    • HIPAA form: The HIPAA form gives CIEE consent to discuss your medical history with your family and physicians if an issue arises during your program. The HIPAA form can be found in the CIEE application.
    • Police check: A police check, also known as a background check, should be conducted and submitted as part of your application. If you need help getting a police check, please contact your CIEE international representative.
    • Police check translation (if applicable): If your police check is written in a language other than English, an official translation must be submitted.
    • Health form: CIEE’s health form can be found in your CIEE application and must be completed by your physician.
    • English addendum (if applicable): If English is not your native language, your CIEE international representative will fill out an English Addendum, which assesses your English proficiency. Please submit this evaluation with your application.
    • Certification scans (if applicable): If you listed any certifications in your Camp Exchange USA application, please attach clear and legible scans.
    • Signed placement agreement: A placement agreement outlines the details of your job at camp. CIEE will upload an unsigned placement agreement to the online application portal. Please review and sign this document.


Following the guidance above will help you submit a stronger application; this is the best way to increase your chance of being placed at a U.S. summer camp through CIEE Camp Exchange USA.