Colleges and SYA

SYA alumni depart for college with  the enormous advantage of the increased adaptability, self-knowledge, confidence and independence necessary to have a successful college experience. College counselors and college admissions officers at top universities can attest to the value of SYA. They know that successful SYA students are proven risk-takers who can thrive in a challenging academic environment and in a foreign culture. SYA is widely known to produce exceptional students who are mature, informed, disciplined and well-adjusted to functioning away from home. 
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Students graduate from SYA as global citizens who are ready to tackle future academic and professional challenges at college and beyond. In the past five years, SYA alumni matriculated at approximately 185 colleges and universities. 

Where do SYA students go to College?

Ten or more SYA alumni enrolled in undergraduate programs at the following schools from 2016 - 2020:

Barnard College

Brown University

Columbia University

Cornell University

George Washington University

Georgetown University

Middlebury College

New York University

Northeastern University

Tufts University

Tulane University


University of California

University of Chicago

University of Pennsylvania

U. of Southern California

University of St. Andrew’s

Washington University in St. Louis

Five or more SYA alumni enrolled in undergraduate programs at the following schools from 2016 - 2020:

American University

Bates College

Boston College

Boston University

Bowdoin College

Claremont McKenna College

College of William and Mary

Colorado College

Emory University

Harvard University

Macalester College

McGill University

Princeton University

Rice University

Scripps College

Stanford University

University of Colorado


University of Miami

University of Michigan

U. of North Carolina

University of Texas

University of Virginia

Wake Forest University

Wesleyan University

Williams College

Yale University


How do SYA students prepare for college from abroad?

Juniors and seniors stay engaged in the college process while they are abroad. While at SYA, students receive all of the support that they need to prepare for and apply to college. In addition, SYA students master the important soft skills like critical and creative thinking, independence, and adaptability, that colleges and 21st-century employers are looking for.

During their year at SYA, students have the ability to:

  • Take standardized tests such as the PSATs, SATs, SAT Subject Tests and AP tests at each SYA campus. Students may have the option to take the ACT in a nearby city.
  • Take online and in-person SAT prep courses
  • Utilize Naviance,  a web-based college counseling program
  • Meet regularly with the SYA College Counseling Liaison to discuss post-graduation goals and expectations for college applications
  • Continue their relationship with their college counselor from their sending school to ensure that they will be on track with their peers
  • Complete and submit college applications

In addition, the majority of SYA students write their college essay on their SYA experience and request a letter of recommendation from an SYA faculty member.

Student Testimonials: 

"SYA was written all over my application. My personal essay was about how being in China and acquiring my second language was important for me and my family. My interviewers loves the stories I had about my experience."

-Vance CN'18, Brown University

"Colleges are looking for students who will succeed in unfamiliar and academically challenging environments. SYA alumni check all of the boxes."

-Kimiye IT'18, Bryn Mawr College

"I now know more about what I want to study and with that I could look more into major offerings at colleges to make sure they had what I wanted." 

-Anna FR'18, University of Pennsylvania 

"SYA impacted my college application by granting me the sense of maturity that comes with living in a foreign country for a year as well as by truly challenging my world view. I believe that these two aspects of my experience allowed me to express myself in a detailed and interesting way in my college essay."

-Matt CN'18, Occidental College

"SYA definitely strengthened my application."

-Tatiana ES'18, Brown University