The preference for semester abroad flipped from spring to fall this year, according to Director of Off-Campus Study (OCS) Stephen Hall. As of the February 22 deadline, the Office of OCS had received 260 applications: 131 applications for the fall, 109 for the spring and 20 applications for the full year.

"Usually the spring is the more popular semester," said Hall. As of the deadline last year, 55 more students had indicated a preference for the spring than the fall.

This year's distribution of applications marks a shift from that of the preliminary applications in mid-November, which indicated that students were almost evenly distributed between the fall and spring semesters.

Hall was not concerned by the imbalance between the two semesters.

"The difference between the fall 2010 and spring 2011 off-campus study numbers will be manageable," Hall wrote in an e-mail to the Orient. "But to help things along we are also still very willing to consider requests from students to switch from study away in the fall to the spring.

The total number of applications is down just nine from last year. Although this year showed a higher application rate than last year, Hall attributed the rise to the below average number of OCS applications last year.

Hall said the applicant pool consists "almost entirely of" members of the class of 2012.

As for the total number of countries and programs represented, Hall said that the figures are not yet "completely set in stone."

"It always around 30 to 45 countries" Hall said. As of yesterday, a total of 42 countries were represented in the pool.

There are currently over 100 Bowdoin-recognized programs and universities. The OCS Web site defines recognized programs as those "that have been used successfully by Bowdoin students in the past and continue to be recommended by academic departments".

Though many students apply to these programs, "about 10 percent of students in a particular year will petition to go off the list," said Hall.

In applying for a new program, a student must complete a regular application and, in addition, explain why and how the new program will meet his or her needs better than another recognized one.

Hall said he is noticing some changes in popularity and trends from previous years.

"There are variations every year," he said. For instance, there is growing interest in Arabic studies this year and more students are applying to go to Jordan and Egypt.

Other unique choices include applications to travel abroad to Poland and to Sri Lanka's ISLE Program.

Despite the diversity, "we're always going to find the bulk of our applications being for Europe," Hall said.

"The DIS [Danish Institute for Study Abroad] in Copenhagen, Denmark has been rising in is one of the most popular programs of all. It has tracks in different [academic] areas," said Hall

A sampling of this year's figures include 26 applications requesting permission to study in Africa, 27 for Latin America, 22 for Asia, and 146 for Europe.

Though 260 applications were submitted, Hall does not expect all 260 people to study away next year. Each year, "roughly" 10 to 15 percent of students from the pool tend to change their minds after being granted permission to study off-campus and decide to stay at Bowdoin, said Hall.