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International students boost MC's fall admissions numbers

08/15/2013
A truly international student, Nadine Waran is a native of Malaysia who went to high school in Germany and speaks four languages. She is among 20 degree-seeking students from foreign countries who will be entering Monmouth College as freshmen this fall.
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A substantial increase in international student enrollment this fall is expected to help Monmouth College achieve one of its largest entering classes ever.
 
The college frequently hosts exchange students, but having approximately 20 new degree-seeking international students represents the highest total in that category in several decades. Their presence doubles the number of countries represented on campus a year ago.
 
When classes begin Aug. 27, the student body will include students from Algeria, Burma, Canada, Costa Rica, England, France, Germany, India, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sweden, Syria, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
 
“Top schools have a number of international students as a fundamental aspect of their collegiate experience,” said Tim Keefauver, MC’s vice president for enrollment management. “This is important for many reasons, including the fact that academically strong students look for such cultural diversity when choosing a college.”
 
Keefauver said the college already fares well in the area of cultural diversity among U.S. students, with more than 20 percent of its students coming from ethnic minorities. International diversity is now on the upswing, as well.
 
Improving the process of international admission and making connections across a range of media platforms were key initiatives at the forefront of this year’s recruitment efforts. Monmouth’s connections with the U.S. State Department have been especially helpful in recruiting high-quality students with strong academic backgrounds, many of whom are from International Baccalaureate schools or highly reputable private international high schools, according to associate dean for academic affairs Brenda Tooley, who has led the initiative to reach out to international students, college counselors and EducationUSA advisers, to heighten MC’s global visibilty, and to improve the international admission process.

Monmouth’s participation in the Institute of International Education (IIE) Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Crisis, has recently enabled the college to reach well-prepared Syrian students unable to continue their education at home. Twelve Syrian undergraduates will enroll this fall, and several more in the spring semester. One of the Syrian students entering this fall is a talented violinist who will occupy first chair in the Monmouth College Orchestra.
 
“These students will bring fresh perspectives and a diverse form of academic rigor to the world-class classrooms of the college,” said Keefauver. “We’ve seen that our international students are already making a positive impact, as they are often among the most active on the incoming student Facebook page. They have already made friends with various students and staff members in the best Monmouth tradition of deep and transformative integration into the life of the college.”
 
Having a large pool of international students benefits the entire student body, according to Keefauver, who noted that the global trade environment of the 21st century will demand well-educated students who are comfortable interacting with people from many cultures and in traveling internationally. To that end, he said, the college needs both international students and its extensive program of more than 70 off-campus study programs.
 
Monmouth has traditionally hosted several international students who are participating in semester-long study-abroad experiences of their own but, said Keefauver, “Unique to this year’s recruiting effort is that the majority of our new internationals are four-year students at the college.”
 
Townspeople of Monmouth have been especially gracious in offering to be host families to international students, with a record number of such families volunteering this year.
 
“These families find the experience of sharing American culture with these students—and also learning about the student culture— to be highly enriching to their experience of living in Monmouth,” said Keefauver. “The college is grateful to these families for their help.”
 
Read more about it: IIE Syria Consortium (http://www.iie.org/Programs/Syria-Scholarships); EducationUSA (http://www.educationusa.info/); Monmouth College International Admissions (http://www.monmouthcollege.edu/admissions/international/).