RICHARD HIGGINS: I would think
because, if you look at the scope of the US, the diverse
educational opportunities that are within all of the
universities and colleges within our country. I also think location. A lot of international students
have certain specific regions that they would like
to attend, whether it’s the South, whether it’s the
Northeast, whether it’s the West Coast. So I do think that
we have a wide range of locations that international
students prefer. Whatever country you
are in Europe, wherever else in the world. You need to start at a place
where you get the people that have the tools and the ability
to say, let’s ask you some basic questions. And they’ll discern where is
the best place for you to start looking. So I would think that
Education USA is the first stop. I also think you can do the
internet, websites. We’ve also developed, cultivated
our websites so that you can get additional
information. But that would be
my first stop. I work at a public university. And I think that a lot of us
have heard about the Ivy Leagues, in terms of, certainly,
Princeton, and Harvard, and all the rest. And
an Ivy League education is superb and wonderful. And if you could afford it, and
if you can get into those particular admission
areas, great. But there’s some wonderful
educational outcomes from public universities that
sometimes I think the myth is private is better than public. Both are very good. And I do think that we are– Really, I would say, we can give
you a private education at a very affordable cost with
outstanding outcomes. Again, I think an Education USA
counsellor can help that, or maybe someone’s secondary
school counselor. But programmatically, people
choose a place because you have the major or majors
that I’m interested in. The reputation of that
particular program of study. Everyone has different
inside interests. Accreditations. Size. Do you want a really large
university, over 15,000? Or do you want a small, intimate
one, which would be about probably 2,000 or less? Do you want to be in an urban
area, in terms of a city? Do you want to be in a more
rural or suburban? So these are some
natural way– Do you like snow? Would you rather
get a sunburn? There are some silly things. And I also think internationals
select institutions based on family,
relatives, or friends who live close by or in a travel distance
where they get to somebody within two hours. In terms of testing, we’re
really looking for the TOEFL. We’re looking for a score of 76,
usually, in terms of the undergraduate level. 81 at the graduate level. We will take the IB Higher
Level, in terms of looking at that as well. So we do require to make sure
that you have English competency, because
of the rigor that’s within our classroom. We do have an English
bridge program. So if you fall below that and
yet you still have interest in our institution, we could make
a recommendation to come into our bridge program for a
semester, sometimes even for a year, where we will build up on
your English proficiency. And then, we’ll mainstream
you into the classroom. But those are the standardized
test scores that we’re looking for. Well, we’re really looking
at that secondary school transcript, if you’re
freshman applicant. If you are a transfer looking
at that school that you attended, that college or
university, we want to make sure that your grades are above
average, basically. So average to above average
to excellent. And every country has a
different grading system. So it’s difficult for me to tell
you specifically that. But the top factor is to make
sure you have the academic foundation for the rigor
of our institution. The second factor is English
proficiency. We really want to make sure
that you have the competencies there. And the third factor is that we
want to make sure you have the financial background to
pay for your education. We do offer merit scholarships
for high-ability international students. We do have some need-based
grants, based on, again, the family circumstances and
the countries that some individuals come from. And we also offer some
housing subsidies. So we do try to ratchet down
the cost of our attendance. When we issue, obviously, the
I-20, the cost of their family monies are there. So situated is that the family
knows what they’re getting into with our costs prior
to any commitment. I, again, have to go back to
Education USA, because I think, in every country, you
will find someone that can help talk you through. Every country has a different
circumstance in terms of their immigration. So my best advice
is, obviously, number one, stay calm. Be ready. Look well. Don’t get nervous, because I
know you’re only a teenager, usually, in terms of
going through that. But talk to a Education USA
advisor, because they will walk you through the steps for
that particular country. We will send information through
the US mail, so that the parent can certainly
read this. We will send information
electronically to the student. The student does not always
share that information with the parent. But the parent can also
go to our link. So at Plattsburgh.edu, go
under International, and there’s a link that will advise
parents what to bring to the States so that their son
or daughter will be most comfortable for that particular
semester of study. New student international
orientation is just a lot of fun. Basically, we have over 400
international students total. So we feel that that’s
a critical mass. Total. That’s returning students. We enroll about 90 new students
in our fall, August month, in terms of that. Students come a week before
school begins. And we also have a parent
orientation program. It happens at the same time that
the students are going through orientation. And you’ll meet other
international students who are new. You’ll meet returning
international students. You’ll be advised about
academic courses. There’s an immigration
session. You’ll learn about
the food service. Actually, we’ll pick
up international students at the airport. We’ll transport into the
university, if they’re not coming with a parent. There’s a shuttle that brings
them to various, like, WalMart and different stores where they
may want to buy bedding and what not. So we do have a full opportunity
orientation week for students and
their parents. That’s very important to us. We do think that there’s two
directions after you graduate. We want you to go into
the world of work. Or we want you to go into
graduate school. So we do need to prep you
as you go through. We have over 60 different
majors, over 40 different minors. So it varies dependent upon
what you’re studying. But ultimately, we have a career
development office that will sit down with students and
help them create the best resume possible for them to
understand how to conduct a job search, in terms of their
area, or how to conduct graduate school search. So ultimately, we feel it’s
important to avail ourselves to students– whether they’re
international or US citizens– that they know the pathway after
they graduate, which is a great achievement. 1/3 of our international
students do OPT. 1/3 do graduate school. And then, 1/3 go back to
their home country. So ultimately, that seems to
be the direction that our international graduates are
leaning toward at this point.