The myth that Ivy League Universities reject hundreds of valedictorians and salutatorians each year is slowly becoming a reality. A perfect GPA and test score no longer translate into automatic entry, but rather a starting point.  With the changing times, globalization, and mobility of the 21st century, college admission boards demand more from their applicants and it shows by the caliber and background of the students they accept.  As a result, high school students are seeking ways to buff up their resumes and expand on their extra-curricular activities in an effort to show that there is more to them than a perfect GPA – or on the contrary, what were they so busy doing that they didn't have time to get a perfect GPA?

The answer many times is found thousands of miles from home in a new culture and new environment, with a high school study abroad program.

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High school study abroad programs have been around for decades and have lately gained even more popularity.     The goal of a high school study abroad program is to provide curious and ambitious high school students the chance to become a part of the global community as they complete their high school studies. During this time students gain meaningful insights into who they are as individuals while gaining the ability to prove that they are well rounded and worldly, which is a great plus for the college application.

Today high school students have the chance to spend a summer, mini-semester, semester or even a year studying abroad. This opportunity gives students their first taste of independence as well as ignites a fire to learn and experience cultures and lifestyles different from their own.  Often this experience comes with the added value of learning a new language or seeing a new culture for the first time. Students who choose to spend extended periods of time living independently abroad also get the chance to grow as people unrestricted by the norms of the society in which they grew up.

As they live and study abroad, students are exposed to new cultures and lifestyles, but are also able to maintain their academic studies as the academic classes are conducted abroad, with many schools offering international or U.S high school accreditation.  Due to the increased awareness of the importance of study abroad programs for college admissions, many programs even offer the chance to earn college credits in addition to high school credits.

While many of these programs may seem daunting to parents because of the cost, their overall value trumps any price as students gain valuable skills, are better prepared for life on their own in college, and ultimately are more aware of the global world in which they live after attending a study abroad program.

Study abroad programs in Israel offer an added value to students beyond gaining independence, language skills, and the ability to distinguish one's self from other college applicants – studying abroad in Israel means understanding the Middle East just a little bit better.  Israel has been headlining in the news since its independence, and rightly so – it is a tiny democratic country in the midst of Arab nations, and serves as the religious center for the three major religions of the world.  By choosing to live and learn in Israel, students are in fact choosing to understand and see for themselves, rather than rely on what they are told by the news. 

One particular program which has been doing this with ease over the years is the Alexander Muss High School in Israel program (AMHSI). The AMHSI program is the only Alexander Muss High School in Israelnon-denominational, co-educational, English language study abroad program in Israel for high school students. AMHSI is the only program in Israel that accepts high school students from all countries and all faiths and welcomes any student who has a desire to learn in Israel.  During their time in Israel, students on the Alexander Muss program learn the history and culture of the Jewish People, keep up to date on their home school classes, whether Honors, AP or IB, and gain college credits from the University of Miami. Students electing to attend the semester program even travel to Poland to learn about the Holocaust with their eyes rather than their ears. AMHSI offers need based scholarships for eligible families.  For more information visit

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