Monday's power outage was not the only unexpected setback for Off-Camus Study (OCS) this week. The office also had to attempt to realign the numbers of study abroad applications from the Class of 2011, since many more sophomores have indicated a desire to study abroad in the spring than in the fall.

Out of the total 269 applications the office received by the Monday deadline, 95 students applied to study away for the fall semester and 150 applied to go abroad in the spring semester—an imbalance of 55 applicants. Twenty-four students have applied to go abroad for the full academic year.

OCS Director Stephen Hall called the discrepancy "notable." In an e-mail sent Thursday to students wishing to go abroad in the spring of 2010, Hall and OCS Assistant Director Melissa Quinby explained that due to the inability of the College to accommodate such a dramatic change in student enrollment from semester to semester, a number of students would be selected to switch their applications to fall semester programs.

Hall had previously sent an e-mail on Wednesday morning to the spring semester applicants, asking for volunteers to switch to the fall semester, but no students responded. After the Thursday e-mail was sent, one student voluntarily switched.

"As we state on the application/petition, approval for the spring semester is based on academic reasons," Hall and Quinby wrote. "We are also taking into account other factors, such as program deadlines and the reality that certain programs are only available in the spring semester."

When asked if the season of a student athlete's sport would be factored into the decision to switch a fall applicant to the spring pool, Hall said that "priority is given to academic reasons," but that "any reasonable explanation of the choice of semester will be considered."

Hall expressed the difficulty of balancing the spread of juniors studying abroad in the fall and spring semesters.

"It's a problem for a college of our size," Hall said. "In a typical year, we're sending between 50 and 60 percent of a typical class away."

According to OCS, 58 percent of the Class of 2010, or 298 students, chose to go abroad this academic year. Though a smaller percentage of the Class of 2011 has applied to go abroad, such a dramatic gap between fall and spring applicants was not present in last year's applicant pool.

"It's really hard to deal with really wasted resources on campus if you've got a big imbalance between the two semesters," Hall said.

According to Hall, the main reasons students decide to go abroad one semester over another include athletics, a class that is required for a major that is only offered in one semester, and the desire of students to study away from campus at the same time as their friends.

Aaron Cole '11 applied to go to the University of Cape Town in South Africa for the spring of 2010. He was contacted by OCS to consider going abroad in the fall, but explained that a course at Bowdoin next fall will go toward his biology major, constraining him to only study away in the spring.

"I need to take a class on molecular evolution here next fall," Cole said.

Sophomore Ouda Baxter, who applied to go to the University of Tasmania School of Art in the spring, explained that for her specific academic circumstances and abroad destination, it made more sense to study away in the spring.

"Because [Tasmania is] in the southern hemisphere, I'll be going in our second semester, but it's in their first semester," Baxter, a visual arts major, said. "In the fall, I'll be taking classes that I need for my major here plus filling up my distribution requirements."

When Hall was asked if any destination was markedly more popular among applicants from the Class of 2011 than in other years, he said that 22 students applied to study at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

He noted that figure that stood out especially considering that only a total of eight students from the Class of 2010 are studying there over the course of the 2008-2009 academic year.

"I'm struck by the fact that it's a very rapid rise, because we didn't have that many students in South Africa in this current academic year," he said.

Cole said that he chose to apply to the University of Cape Town because the school offers classes for both of his majors, biology and religion, and because the program did not require a specific language.

"I think students are becoming interested in Africa in general, the University of Cape Town is recognizable as an English speaking university in more or less the sort of model of education that we use here," Hall said.

Hall said that there continued to be sustained interest in certain abroad destinations.

"I think we're still seeing the same kind of level of interest in Spain, Italy, and the UK," Hall said. "Australia and New Zealand are also still popular," he added.

Hall also said that few countries experienced marked decreases in applications.

"I can't think of any climb down in interest," Hall said, though he noted that certain full-year programs had seen some decrease in interest.

"A program like the London School of Economics, which used to be very popular, we're not seeing very many applications for that anymore because it's full year only," he said. "I think we've got two, maybe three applications for LSE this year."