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College acceptance is more competitive than ever, with a dramatic increase in qualified applicants.

According to Alan Finder of The New York Times, top schools in the United States admitted record low amounts of students in 2008:

Harvard College, for example, offered admission to only 7.1 percent of the 27,462 high school seniors who applied -- or, put another way, it rejected 93 of every 100 applicants, many with extraordinary achievements, like a perfect score on one of the SAT exams. Yale College accepted 8.3 percent of its 22,813 applicants. Both rates were records.

Columbia College admitted 8.7 percent of its applicants, Brown University and Dartmouth College 13 percent, and Bowdoin College and Georgetown University 18 percent also records.

Comparison between 2007 and 2008 admittance rates


In 'The Hardest Part is Getting Into College' by Dave Berry, Berry states that prospective college applicants need to prepare early and be savvy when developing a plan to get into the college of their choice. Also he assures us that, 'Colleges look for both a well-rounded, balanced student and that standout special gift, skill or talent.'

What better standout skill than being not only adept at a foreign language (many of your competitors will have studied a language for 3 or 4 years during high school) but having experience living the language? By studying abroad, you gain not only language skills, but independence, the ability to adapt to new, unfamiliar situations, cross-cultural awareness and aptitude, and increase your self-confidence and self-reliance. This can truly set you apart when a college admissions officer is deciding between your application and someone else's who has similar qualifications but a lack of experience abroad.

AmeriSpan offers study abroad programs for high school students through Summer Camps, Junior Immersion, and Independent Teen programs. Also, if a student is interested in taking a 'gap year' between high school and college, they can enroll in our regular programs, or do a volunteer or internship program, which will usually be looked on favorably by admissions personnel.

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