With study abroad applications reaching a new high for the 2008-2009 academic year, members of the junior class may seem more scarce than usual next year.

The Department of Off-Campus Study (OCS) received a record 300 applications by the February 21 deadline, 15 more than the previous high mark of 285, set in 2001.

OCS Director Stephen Hall said he was pleased with this year's application process, especially since the increase in applications is a manageable spike.

"It was a pretty smooth process this year," Hall said. "We had slightly more applicants this year but not too many that we can't handle them."

Many sophomores applying to their desired study abroad programs said they did not feel overly burdened by the application process.

"I don't think it was difficult," said Taylor McCormack '10, who is applying to the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) program in Milan. "You definitely have to be proactive about making appointments [though]."

OCS does not require students to make appointments, although Hall said that an overwhelming majority of students who submitted applications did meet with someone from the OCS before applying to go abroad.

However, for students who chose programs that weren't on the options list compiled by OCS, the process was slightly more complicated.

Caitlin Stauder '10, who applied?and has already been accepted?to the SIT program in Geneva, Switzerland, said her program was not on Bowdoin's designated list.

"I had to petition to be able to apply to my program," Stauder said. "It required answering a few more questions, asking what the program offered that the Bowdoin programs didn't."

Though Hall said that he had received more applications from students who wanted to study abroad in the spring rather than the fall, he said that the school could accommodate the disparity.

Students had various reasons for deciding to study abroad during a particular semester. Mary Kelly '10, who applied to study at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (ICCS) in Rome, said she had courses she needed to take at Bowdoin in the fall.

"It's important that I [go away in the spring] because I have to take certain classes at Bowdoin in the fall," she said.

Others chose to go abroad in the fall. "I have to go in the fall because I run track in the spring," Francis Huynh '10 said. Huynh is applying to the University of Sydney.

Hall also said that the breakdown for abroad destinations was comparable with previous years. In this year's pool, applications to Africa increased (from 7 percent last year to 9 percent this year), as did applications to Asia (from 7 percent to 10 percent).

OCS did observe a 5 percent decrease in applications to Europe (from 66 percent last year to 61 percent this year), as well as 2 percent drop in applications to Australia and New Zealand (11 percent to 9 percent). Hall said that applications to Latin America stayed consistent, with 7 to 8 percent of the pool applying to programs in the region.