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Can Studying Abroad Boost Your Grades?

Can Studying Abroad Boost Your Grades?

Nikhil Swaminathan | GOOD

July 20, 2010

The GLOSSARI project, a study of nearly 20,000 students in the The University of Georgia system over the last decade, found that students who participated in study abroad programs did better in school after they returned to their home campuses.

According to the study’s results, as reported by Inside Higher Ed, study abroad participants’ four-year graduation rate was nearly 50 percent as compared to roughly 42 percent for non-participants. (Six-year graduation rates were almost 90 percent for study abroad students, whereas those who didn’t travel were closer to 83 percent.)

In particular, studying abroad seemed to give an academic boost to students whose came into college as lower performing. These students are often discouraged from traveling outside the U.S. for study:

Researchers found a particularly pronounced effect of study abroad on academic performance among students who entered college with the lowest SAT scores. Among students who entered college with a combined SAT score of 800 (on the verbal and math sections), those who studied abroad ended up with a GPA of 3.21 compared to 3.14 for those students who stayed stateside.

This study just makes me feel even worse about not taking advantage of my school’s study abroad options. Did anyone out there who did study abroad notice that they were more dedicated to their school work once they returned from abroad? What might contribute to these students becoming better students?

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