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EducationUSA shines light on high school recruitment pipeline

The EducationUSA Forum convened more than more than 500 university representatives and Education USA regional educational experts, along with US government officials and international education experts, who shared strategies for increasing international recruitment and retention in DC this month. 

The forum in Washington DC focused on student recruitment in 2019. Photo: Unsplash/ Jacob Creswick

ESL courses have been identified as a recruitment route for degree students to the US

It was noted that not only are international high school students a possible pipeline for recruitment efforts, but international students studying in the US in boarding schools are also a growing population for recruitment efforts.

“We have worked closely with EducationUSA advisers [in assisting students]”

“Anecdotally, many EducationUSA advisers around the world have reported increases in the number of inquiries they receive from non-traditional students — including those seeking to study in the United States at the secondary level,” said Fred Boll, EducationUSA branch chief at the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

In fact, a 2014 study conducted by IIE, and funded by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, found that the number of international students enrolled in US high schools more than tripled between 2004 and 2013.

“This type of international mobility for students early in their academic trajectories provides an excellent opportunity for young people from around the world to build lasting bonds of friendship with their American classmates and gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary to excel in further study and their future careers,” said Boll.

He pointed out that short-term study abroad programs like the EducationUSA Academy — an immersive summer college program for international high school students, jointly implemented by the Department of State and World Learning — “can have a tremendously positive impact on students, build a pipeline of ‘college-ready’ students from abroad, and increase the likelihood that participating students will choose to return to the United States for postsecondary programs”.

Emphasising how EducationUSA advisers can work with US campuses to maximise international student recruitment efforts was a key focus of the event.

“EducationUSA advising centres have been incredibly supportive of our recruiting efforts of traditional and non-traditional students at the University of Colorado Boulder,” agreed participant Patricia Juza, director of the International English Center at University of Colorado Boulder. 

“Advisers around the world have reported increases in inquiries from non-traditional students”

“We have worked closely with EducationUSA advisers who have organised targeted webinars, shared information with prospective students about scholarship opportunities, customised pre-departure orientations, assisted with translations for parents, and prepared students for visa interviews,” she explained. 

Juza spoke during a session on the University of Colorado’s efforts to reach out to international au pairs in the US as prospective graduate students.

“Au pairs have a high level of English proficiency and are already integrated into the community in the United States,” Juza said.

Many international students choose to stay to pursue degrees while in the country. Cheryl Delk-Le Good, executive director of English USA, said it is useful for English language providers to use EducationUSA advisers as a resource to reach out to new types of students.

“There are more and more types of options available to prospective students coming to the US for pre-academic language study (as well as professional purposes),” noted Delk-Le Good.

“The relationship between EducationUSA advisers and English language program providers is mutually beneficial in that the providers can help advisers navigate the changing landscape of English language programs.”

Non-traditional recruitment targets were also a feature of the discussion. “We can’t forget the students around the world,” noted Katherine Miller, global education in emergencies specialist at IIE, when speaking about the need to remember refugee and migrant students who want to pursue higher education.

Boll underscored EducationUSA’s commitment to providing guidance to international students of all backgrounds.

“Our doors are open to all students, and EducationUSA advisers are eager to work with students who have disabilities, those who may be older and returning to the classroom after pursuing careers and families, as well as those who are part of a more traditional student demographic,” Boll added.

The US Department of State’s EducationUSA network operates over 425 student advising centers in 180 countries overseas.

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