International Recruiting 101...


Darla Maffei

Onondaga CC
International Admissions

Thanks to a SUNYCAP General Professional Development Grant, I attended the AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers) Summer Institute for International Admissions in Washington, DC this past July. The targeted nature of the conference, coupled with networking among colleagues, supported my professional development goals as an international admissions counselor at Onondaga Community College.


A Study in the USA article published online by NAFSA: Association of International Educators entitled: Do's and Don'ts: International Recruiting caught my attention prior to attending the conference. Armed with this Do's and Don'ts article and a global marketing background, I compared conference presentations with international recruitment initiatives at Onondaga Community College and asked myself: Are we doing this? If not, how might we implement it? What needs revision and/or updating? I encourage you to refer to this article as you examine your institution's approach to international recruitment.


According to the experts, armchair recruiting includes:

-Devising a written statement regarding how your institution views the contribution made by international students, as derived from the institutional mission statement.

-Ensuring that on- and off-campus support services are in place and that service providers are culturally aware.

-Creating culturally appropriate, user-friendly publications and communications.

-Defining recruitment strategies.

I was particularly interested in the following facts:

-An institution that assesses an international application fee and an application deadline is perceived as more serious and competitive to a foreign student applicant and his/her family.

-A foreign student will act on the first I-20 (s)he receives, so it is important to establish both a personal relationship and prompt correspondence with prospective foreign students. (FYI: the Form I-20 is the document that entitles an international student to apply for an F-1 visa at a US Embassy or consulate in the home country.)

-If your institution is geographically located in a snow belt, it is important to show snow in your publications to ensure foreign student awareness and avoid unanticipated winter-related expenses


AACRAO experts maintain that credential evaluation is an art, not a science. While education systems in some countries are modeled after educational systems in other countries (i.e. - the Philippines, Turkey and the Middle East modeled after the US), there is no black and white cookie-cutter approach, only many shades of gray to consider.

Similarly, all credential evaluation services are not alike and it is recommended that institutions use/recommend one (1) service to ensure consistency. It is worth noting that words like transcript and official records may cause confusion with non-native English speakers seeking admission to your institution.

Instead, ask for academic records that show courses taken and grades received. Then, require that academic records be mailed directly to your Admissions Office. While foreign students may report that they are unable to secure original documents from home country institutions, conference presenters assured us that records are readily available from all education systems. It may require an investment of time and money to secure them, but they are available.

We also learned that the Indian educational system issues educational credentials to students only once, for life.

You can preview EDGE (Electronic Database for Global Education), AACRAO's International Education Services (IES) web-based, user-friendly subscription database for reviewing academic credentials at:


"Certified" translations of official documents must be literal, word-for-word translations. "Interpretive" translations are neither reliable nor permitted as they may omit important words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs.


Bogus diplomas and fraudulent credentials are of grave concern to international admissions. A video presentation featuring fraudulent credentials and diploma mills accessible on the Internet was fascinating! If the names St. Regis University, Sheila Danzig and/or Steven K. and Dixie Randock, Sr. cross your desk, expect fraudulent credentials. Their business operation is renowned for amassing a fortune through illegal credential issuing activities and then creating a not-for-profit corporation to which it made tax-free donations to shelter illegal revenues.

Should your institution become involved in immigration litigation, it is important to maintain a "chain of evidence" by keeping mailing envelopes; paying close attention to irregularities in return addresses, postage, font sizes and watermarks; and determining whether the document resembles others received from that foreign institution.

It was also suggested that, depending on the country of origin, documents hand carried to an admissions office by international students are more likely to be authentic than those arriving by mail from foreign institutions.