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May 7, 2001

College may hit international enrollment goal

By Jan Gleason


If all goes well, Emory College has a good chance to meet its goal of enrolling 60 international students (or 5 percent) in this fall’s freshman class, thanks in no small part to University funding focused on the internationalizing of Emory.

That funding has allowed Scott Allen, senior assistant dean of admission and director of international admission, to travel overseas—to the Middle East, South America and Europe—to recruit students.

“We’re seeing major jumps in inquiries, applications and enrolling students,” said Dan Walls, dean of admission. “This year, for the first time, College Dean Steve Sanderson opened the Emory Scholar Program to international candidates, and we had 75 nominees from 50 high schools abroad.

It was important for us to let students from abroad know that, if they’re bright and gifted, we value them just as much as if they’re American students,” Allen said.

Emory received 490 applications from abroad and accepted 189 students or 38 percent (about par for the 41 percent admit rate of all students). “We typically have a higher yield rate students (those accepting Emory’s offer of admission) on international students so we’re optimistic about getting 60 students from abroad to enroll this year,” said Allen, who won’t know the final number of enrollees until all the international mail postmarked by May 1 is processed.

Those numbers are up dramatically from five years ago, when 226 students applied, 35 were accepted and 10 students enrolled. Last year, 50 international students from 28 countries enrolled as freshmen in the college.

“For the past four or five years, I’ve focused on the Middle East and Latin America as regions where we could recruit students,” Allen said. “All my recruitment travel has been through the ECIS tours, which provides the structure for our efforts and validates our interest in international recruitment.” Prior to the ECIS tours, Allen spent three years trying to recruit students from his desk in the B. Jones Building.

ECIS sponsors and organizes tours to various parts of the world; Emory has to compete to be one of the 20 or 25 schools selected for a tour. “There are committees of U.S. admissions officers who help ECIS design the tours so a variety of universities in the U.S. are represented,” Allen said. “We were lucky that in our second year of trying, we were accepted for the Latin America trip; some schools are never selected.”

Since then, Allen has been asked to serve on the Latin America selection committee. As time and budgets allow, Emory may seek to join a recruitment trip to Africa. Europe and Aus-tralia probably won’t appear on the agenda anytime soon, since many students stay in those countries to attend college—that is tuition-free in many cases.

In some countries, such as Turkey, the university system has the capacity to educate only about 1 in 10 students seeking admission, so students there are likely to go abroad if they don’t get accepted to the state-sponsored schools.

Allen said much of his time abroad is spent educating families about Emory.

“In many cases we’re dealing with families who have a tradition of sending their children to the United States to study, and they want the very best for their children, who will come back and run the family’s concerns,” he said. “The status factor is very high overseas, and frequently family honor is tied to the choices children make about what college they will attend.”

Allen noted that the majority of international students at Emory study business, computer science or science, as they do wherever they go in America because those areas are relevant to what they’ll be doing once they return home.

“If we didn’t have the Goizueta Business School, we wouldn’t be nearly as successful in our recruitment efforts,” Allen said. “There’s also a growing interest in engineering, and our 3/2 program with Georgia Tech is appealing. Our liberal arts program offers them wonderful preparation for their professional studies. Once enrolled, families and students really come to cherish the liberal arts program—something they were not very familiar with prior to arriving in the states.”

Allen noted that Emory’s location in Atlanta has also been as asset. “We frequently ride the coattails of Delta and Coke abroad,” said Allen. “Just being able to get to Atlanta easily has helped us recruit some students.”

The Internet has also contributed to international recruitment. “It’s revolutionalized the process,” Walls said. “No longer are students hampered by regular mail. We receive hundreds of email queries each week from international students.”

Allen has his share of travel travails, such as the time the tour bus broke down on the way from Damascus to Beirut, and the Lebanese army ended up escorting the group to their hotel.

“It’s been enriching, challenging and a joy to represent Emory to students abroad,” Allen said. “We’re building the foundation for an international presence at Emory one class at a time.”


Back to Emory Report May 7, 2001