Applying to college is synonymous with defining one’s personality, telling one’s story, and explaining what your expectations of college are to complete strangers — strangers who are tasked with deciding if you’ll be accepted to an institution of higher learning or not.
“I never imagined we would reach this level of competition in the application process,” says Chris Chabaudie, Executive Director of Magellan Study Abroad since 2006. “Our goal has always been to help American teens experience new cultures and improve a new language. In the process they are exploring their independence and gaining self-confidence. This all occurs outside of a teen’s usual circle of friends and family. But over the last few years, language immersion programs have gained new traction.”
With increased competition during college admissions, study abroad is now praised by college coaches and high school counselors for numerous reasons. Study abroad during high school demonstrates a serious desire for foreign language proficiency and an interest in deep cross-cultural knowledge. Both traits are often considered by admissions boards to be huge assets for their student bodies.
Foreign language learning has always attracted students with curiosity and perseverance, those who are ready to dedicate themselves, not only to a new language and its strenuous discipline, but also to a new culture. The new generation of participants is now aware of the dramatic advantage it will give them. No matter the motivation, study abroad programs help high school students stay engaged by reinvigorating their passion for learning. Furthermore, these programs often allow students to skip a language level upon return. Pursuing a foreign language even after having met minimum graduation requirements is a profound statement for any student applying to college.
Proficiency in a foreign language is also a marketable skill. It not only helps when applying to college, it’s an incredible asset to have in the workforce. With a successful program abroad under their belt, high school graduates will eventually go to college with high expectations towards studying abroad. The growing numbers of teens spending a summer abroad in high school will impact the number of college students studying abroad, a figure that has doubled in the last 15 years. High school language immersion has finally proven its worth. What’s more, this new generation of Americans will be living proof that seeing the world through a multicultural lens has a much greater and positive impact at a younger age.
Written by Magellan Study Abroad, a summer immersion program for high school students in a selection of countries. Scholarships are available.