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01-03-2011

International Advisors Helping Students Learn About Higher Education In The U.S. Visit Clarkson

[A photograph for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/usbt.jpg]

If you or a member of your family has contemplated admission to college recently you know how bewildering the diversity of American higher education can be.  Imagine the difficulty of selecting the right academic program if you’re eight thousand miles away and speak a different language.

EducationUSA is an organization dedicated to promoting U.S. higher education around the world by offering accurate, comprehensive, objective and timely information about educational opportunities in the U.S. Overseas counselors work with students and their families in their home countries who are interested in attending an accredited college or university in the United States. They provide a wealth of information and services for international students at all stages of their college search, free of charge. International Advisors from EducationUSA

The U.S. Based Training Program for Overseas Educational Advisors (USBT) arranges for overseas advisors to visit U.S. campuses. The program is supported financially by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, as amended.  

Clarkson was a host university to advisors from Cyprus, Ecuador, Mexico, Mauritania and Indonesia during their visit to the Potsdam area November 1 – 4.  SUNY Canton, SUNY Plattsburgh, Clinton Community College and the University of Vermont were also host schools. Much of the time the five advisors spent on campus was devoted to learning about Internet technology, including Web page development, construction and maintenance. They will also tour the campus and meet with several academic departments. 

The program is funded by the Department of State and administered by the College Board, which works with local higher education institutions to arrange campus visits for advisors at four sites around the country. The five advisors were among only 20 applicants to receive grants to visit the U.S. The visit to Clarkson, and other colleges, forms the second component of a three-week professional training program which includes a stay in Washington, D.C., to meet with officials of agencies involved in international education, and ends with attendance at an international education conference to meet U.S. college and university administrators.

There are approximately 450 overseas advising centers throughout the EducationUSA network in 170 countries. They are affiliated with the U.S. Department of State (you can learn more at: http://www.educationusa.state.gov).  Last year approximately 600,000 international students were enrolled in accredited U.S. higher education institutions, enhancing the diversity of our classrooms and communities while contributing to the local economy and balance of trade. 

The advisors reported that there are 8,880 students from Indonesia, 2,345 from Ecuador, 13,400 from Mexico, 1,500 from Cyprus and 100 from Mauritania attending accredited colleges and universities in the United States. Clarkson University currently enrolls 262 international students. 

Patricia Bailey, director of Transfer and International Admission at Clarkson, coordinates the program for the University. “The campus visit will be more than just a tour of area institutions,” says Bailey. “Advisors will discuss the admission process with campus officials, and sample orientation and other programs available to foreign students and scholars.” 

One of the training sessions the advisors attended was in Internet Web design.  The session was taught by two senior students in Clarkson's Communication and Media department ─ Peter S. Bird, a dual Communication and Information Systems major, and Justin D. Leider, a dual Communication and Computer Science major. 

The international advisors remarked that business, education, communication and engineering were the most popular majors among students looking to continue their education in the U.S. They also commented that U.S. colleges are popular choices for international students because of the high regard U.S. education institutions are held in around the world and because of the vast array of study choices. 

Although security concerns are making it more difficult for international students to receive visas to study in the U.S., the advisors agreed it is not a deterrent to most students and their families.     

EducationUSA advising centers assist nearly 25 million prospective international students each year, either in person, by telephone, through e-mail or the Internet.  Advisors serve as resources to the institutions they visit by reporting on their home country educational systems, policies and academic training needs and responding to American questions and concerns about international student admissions and orientation.

PHOTO CAPTION: International Advisors from EducationUSA visited Clarkson November 1 – 4.  The advisors help international students and their families learn about and take advantage of educational opportunities in the U.S. Among the training sessions they attended was a Web-based workshop led by students of Clarkson's Communication and Media Department.

From left:  Peter S. Bird, Clarkson senior; Aly Babaly Sy, Mauritania; Nurise Widjaya, Indonesia; Gülsen Öztoprak, Cyprus; Justin D. Leider, Clarkson senior; Silvia Pérez, Mexico; Maria Salmon, Ecuador.  

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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