Here's what a few college admissions officers have to say about School Year Abroad:
"We appreciate the fact that you keep academic standards high (at SYA) and that students seem to work every bit as hard as they would back at their home institution. Many students write about their SYA experiences in their essays or talk about them in interviews and there is no question that the added perspective and maturity gained from SYA can be a real plus to some candidates."
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Harvard College
"We see some excellent candidates who have been involved in the SYA program. Many SYA candidates come to Georgetown with an increased knowledge of the world around them and are able to share some of their experiences studying in another culture with their classmates. The students who have studied abroad are usually more willing to take chances in and outside of the class and tend, in many cases, to be more mature as a whole. Those who have been involved in programs abroad have had learning experiences and opportunities that most 17-year-olds don't have. They can learn another culture, language and educational philosophy and can share these experiences with others. They have a broader understanding of the world around them compared to those who have limited themselves to their immediate communities. This experience can help in their essay, college interview, and is a very strong extracurricular. Most colleges, particularly the competitive ones, pay close attention to these factors when reviewing an application."
Former Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions, Georgetown University
"In today's hothouse atmosphere, a student's decision to take part in a program like SYA signals to us just the sort of adventurous approach to life, just the sort of open and curious mind that seeks to take advantage of new opportunities and challenges, that we believe are essential to making the most of the great resources offered by Princeton. And they do this at no cost to themselves, either academically or with respect to the chances for admission to first-rate colleges. On the contrary, my experience with students who participated in SYA suggests that their experiences only enhanced their attractiveness as college applicants."
Former Dean of Admission, Princeton University