On the summer before my Junior year of High School I decided to apply to CBYX. It was an easy decision for me despite some teachers trying to sway my decision. They told me all the work I would have to complete to be able to graduate with my class and still go on exchange. I was naïve. Narrow-minded on my goal of winning an a exchange scholarship, I did not realize that I not only have to give up Senior year activities but also a summer with friends and family.
In the summer of 2018, I spent my time going to summer school at nearby school, taking online courses, and going through the college admission process. I had to take a total of five classes with a year’s-worth of material all in one summer to get all the credits necessary to graduate. Needless to say, this was a stressful experience.
After a hard summer of studying endlessly, I came to my school registrar to hand-in some credits I had earned throughout the summer. Here I only handed to her the two classes I had taken at a local school: Puerto Rican History and Spanish 12. It was then when she let me know that these where the only classes I needed to take for my departure (which at the time was in two days). At first, I thought she was misinformed. The school counselor I had been talking to had told me I needed to waste money as well as time spent with family and friends to take three additional online courses. The school registrar had told me otherwise, explaining to me that all the other credits I needed could be acquired through my school in Germany. Present at the time was the Dean of Academics of my school who had agreed with what I had just been told, so then I knew it was true.
Basically, the moral of this brief anecdote is to have meetings with your counselor and other school administrators early in the year through your scholarship application process. Also make sure to familiarize yourself with your school’s policies with study abroad programs and ask any previous foreign exchange students in your school their experience. All in all, I made sure this wouldn’t ruin my summer. I looked on the bright-side on how through this misconception I got to make new friends, improved my writing skills, as well as getting a few draft essays for my Common App application. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and avoid any additional stress.