The Class of 2008 has just submitted its study abroad applications, and with 50 more students requesting permission to study away in the upcoming spring than in the fall, the Off-Campus Study (OCS) Office is scrambling to persuade applicants to change their minds and even out the numbers.
"We ask students in the application why they want to study in the spring or the fall," Director of Off-Campus Study Stephen Hall said. "The students have nearly all addressed that question, so we're looking for students who don't seem to have a strong need for the spring over the fall."
"We've asked for volunteers [to switch to the fall semester], but we've only received one student," Hall said.
This trend toward more students wanting to study away in the spring than the fall has been common at Bowdoin for years and only with the Class of 2007 did the College send more students away in the fall than the spring. This year, 41 more students went abroad in the fall, creating sizeable housing strains on the Department of Residential Life.
Residential Life does not yet know how next year's housing situation will be affected by the Class of 2008's study abroad plans.
"As the application process is just wrapping up for study away, it's too soon for me to tell yet how this will impact residential life for next year," Director of Residential Life Kimberly Pacelli said.
"It actually imposes quite a strain on the College to have a disproportionate number of students on campus in the spring and fall," Hall said in a previous interview with the Orient in September.
The most popular study abroad destinations for the Class of 2008 are not very different from last year, Hall said, with the top choice continuing to be the United Kingdom, where 43 students are planning to study next year, including two in Northern Ireland. Spain and Italy also continue to be popular locations, with 34 and 27 students planning to study there next year, respectively. Australia and New Zealand are becoming more popular again this year, after declining in interest for a few years.
"There are certain trends?certain countries that tend to be in vogue at certain times," Hall said.
The OCS Office also received 15 applications for study abroad in Denmark, seven for India, six for Sri Lanka, and four for South Africa.
Hall was excited to see a growing number of students applying to study in South Africa.
"After the CCB program ended, we were worried about losing interest in that area," he said.
Hall estimates that the Class of 2008 will see 235 students study abroad next year, a slightly smaller number than the 250 who studied away during the course of this year.
"This is a very rough projection based on those who tend to drop out," he said.
Applicants for the fall will be notified by Spring Break as to whether their plans for study away have been approved by the OCS Committee. Applicants for the spring might not be notified so soon.
"We've got a lot of scrambling around to do between the semesters, and that's going to be our first priority," Hall said.