The mantra of “if you build it, they will come” has a bit of truth when recruiting international students to community colleges.
“The most fundamental thing that we do is make sure we’re providing quality programs, because the best way to attract new students is through word of mouth,” says Denise Kinsella, interim dean of the International Education Center at Santa Monica College in California.
Internationals who have a good community college experience will likely tell others back home. The best thing that community college can do to recruit new students is
ensure that both the academics and the services provided are outstanding, Kinsella says. A good reputation reaps rewards, she adds.
Link to main story: Community colleges extend international invitations
Seamless transfers to four-year institutions are even more attractive to internationals than to U.S. students.
“Our 2+2 program is the engine by which students come,” says Ross Jennings, senior director of international education at Green River College in Washington, which has conditional guaranteed articulation agreements with 40 universities. “We’ve reverse engineered the pathway that our students have used to get [to the university],” says Jennings.
Academic advisors counsel students on which classes to take and what GPA is generally required to get into specific schools such as Berkeley, Michigan or Indiana.
Washington State’s Running Start dual enrollment program—which allows high schoolers to take classes at the college—has been offered to international students at Green River for the last 15 years.
These students can enroll in Green River when they would be in 11th grade at home, and by participating in the program, they can essentially skip two years of high school in their home country.
Over those two years, they are taking courses for college credit and can transfer to a four-year institution at the same time they would normally have been finishing high school.
Elaina Loveland is a Washington, D.C.-area freelance writer.