Monmouth College associate dean Bren Tooley, who coordinates the school’s international student recruitment, participated in the 4th annual EducationUSA Forum in Washington D.C., last month.
The forum brought together 500 college and university recruitment and admissions professionals with approximately 60 EducationUSA experts and advisers from around the world to discuss strategies for helping international students to study in the United States and for U.S. students to study abroad. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsored the forum.
For the upcoming academic year, the efforts of Tooley and Monmouth College’s office of admissions have resulted in, to date, 22 new degree-seeking international students. The college is also expecting at least six exchange students, including a student from Pakistan through the prestigious and highly competitive IREX UGRAD-Pakistan program, funded by the Department of State.
“It was good to talk with EducationUSA international advisers, with whom I’ve been in close touch by email,” said Tooley of the conference. “EdUSA advisers are pointing students to Monmouth College as a result of our new outreach efforts, and the conference gave me an opportunity to network and to share information about the college. We’re developing an excellent reputation for being highly responsive, helpful and very informative in our correspondence with interested international students and parents.”
The forum provided opportunities for international education and recruitment professionals in higher education and in the State Department to explore best practices and new developments in a rapidly changing field.
“U.S. colleges and universities are increasingly focusing on their global visibility and recruitment efforts,” said Tooley. “Monmouth College has much to offer international students, and I’m very happy that we renewed our outreach and recruitment efforts more than a year ago – just a bit ahead of the tsunami of U.S. recruitment activity we’re now seeing.”
“Social media has changed everything in international recruitment,” said Tooley, who connects with prospective students through email, Facebook, instant messaging and Skype. “Students expect to be in touch in many different ways. They expect quick responses -- 48 hours is a long wait -- and opportunities for real-time conversation or messaging. They want to experience the college through Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and other visually rich and preferably interactive social media platforms.”
Colleges and universities play an important role in strengthening ties between the U.S. and countries around the world. By welcoming international students and encouraging U.S. students to study abroad, the competitiveness of the U.S. educational system is enhanced. Not only do higher education institutions connect future global leaders with the American people, foreign students also have a positive economic impact on the United States. As the premiere study destination for international students, the education sector represents the fifth largest U.S. services export, adding nearly $23 billion to the U.S. economy in 2011-12.
Monmouth College will welcome international first-year students as well as transfer students from Burma, Canada, Ghana, India, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal and Syria.
“I’m working now with students from Ukraine, Cameroon and Turkmenistan, whom I hope will also join the College this year,” reported Tooley. “The story isn’t finished yet!”
EducationUSA is a U.S. Department of State-supported network of hundreds of advising centers around the world. Each year, EducationUSA advisers provide millions of international students with accurate, comprehensive and current information about how to apply to U.S. colleges and universities.