Frustration: International admissions


Gretchen Briscoe

Admissions Advisor

Anyone who works with an International student population understands how frustrating the application process can be.

Communication can be difficult, financial concerns reign paramount, governmental strife impacts everything, bad telephone or Skype connections can frustrate both parties, and that is before a student is admitted to the University.

Once a student is admitted, visa issues can become the reason that a deposited student does not actually make it to your campus. Students are often held up because of border or visa issues, and most of the time it is totally out of campus control. The unique challenges of recruiting and enrolling international students are labor intensive and usually self-taught.

Thanks to SUNYCAP and our Undergraduate Admissions office, I was able to attend the NAFSA: Association of International Educators 2010 Annual Conference in Kansas City, MO; May 30th through June 4th. Walking into the convention center was a bit overwhelming and I realized quickly how many other people were working to introduce an international spin to the college experience. Often when you are on a campus that has a smaller international population, you can feel alone in understanding the unique challenges of recruiting international students.

The NAFSA conference’s biggest impact on me was reinforcing that we are not isolated campuses; there is a greater structure to give support. Countless sessions were dedicated to best practice recruitment efforts that would help me to best serve the incoming students population. Each vendor that we work with was available to talk to; I was even able to get a DVD that showed what certain scores on the English Proficiency Exams looked like. I was able to meet and put faces with names of my local international contacts at different schools. The information that I took away from the conference has only helped me to refine my practices and connect with the bigger picture.

Each session and interaction with conference attendees reinforced that the frustrations that I am experiencing are universal. My plans are small, but are individualized to the students. I am doing everything right and if I keep doing what I am doing, we will get international students on our campus.

In the future, I see the information that I gleaned from the NAFSA conference helping me to become a better advocate for our international recruitment population because I will understand the bigger picture and not feel so isolated when recruiting the global influence.