"Without a doubt, AP Spanish is the class that most represents what many small, lecture-based college courses look like. I highly recommend taking AP Spanish at SAS as a chance to learn about not just the language but also the culture of the language."—Louis Gordon (Class of 2018)
"Taking AT Data Analytics was one of the best decisions I made in high school. Currently, I am starting research with a professor partly due to the experiences I had in AT Data Analytics. This course forces you to take responsibility for your learning which is a skill that many do not learn until later in college."—Jacqueline Routhier (Class of 2017)
"Choose AT Writing Workshop and Publication if you want a hands-on, deep-dive exploration of the writing industry. As a Literature major at New York University Abu Dhabi, I find myself going back to what I learned in AT all the time when editing Airport Road, our undergraduate literary and arts publication."—Jamie Uy, Class of 2018
Greetings from California, where I am wrapping up a week of meetings with college admissions officers and SAS alumni. It has been very encouraging to hear how favorably college admissions directors view SAS and to learn from the experiences that our alumni had at SAS.
Our alumni said they felt well prepared to take on their college courses and reflected on how much they appreciated the wider, more global perspective they developed at SAS. In addition, several noted that SAS experiences in which they had to take on greater responsibility to drive their own learning—experiences like Catalyst and Quest—gave them a big advantage in the more self-directed learning they were expected to engage in at the college level. They also pointed out areas where they felt we could better prepare our graduates, including more opportunities for software coding.
Admissions directors at the colleges I visited were highly knowledgeable about SAS. They spoke positively about the quality of the education at SAS, the strength of our college counseling team, and the success our graduates have experienced at their colleges. It was nice to see the strength of our reputation among college admissions teams—whether at big schools like UCLA, USC, and UC Berkeley, medium sized schools like Santa Clara and Stanford, or small schools like Claremont McKenna.
Just as our alumni spoke passionately to me about the value of both their academic and extra-curricular opportunities, the admissions directors likewise emphasized how important active participation and leadership experiences outside of the classroom are to them in their consideration of students. At these highly selective colleges, admissions leads stressed how much they valued students who are not just seeming to “tick the boxes” but are demonstrating passion and excitement about what they are learning and doing. In the words of one: “Those are the kids whom our professors most want in their classes and who do best at our university.”
In that vein, the admissions officers voiced their strong support for SAS curricular opportunities like Advanced Topics, Catalyst, and Quest that allow students greater opportunities to pursue their passions and to be self-directed in their learning. They noted that such opportunities are good differentiators for SAS students and help them stand out in ever more competitive application pools.
I am looking forward to being back on campus this coming week and happy to talk further about these discussions.