Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

From Where I Sit - Admission Attaches

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

From Where I Sit - Admission Attaches

Article excerpt

I was in South Africa giving a college presentation to young women at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls when I asked if anyone in the audience had questions for me. "Before you came to Africa, Sir, did you believe there were wild animals roaming around in the streets?" asked an eager young woman. As the audience giggled, I laughed and replied, "No I did not, and for my safety, I'm glad to see my beliefs are confirmed."

She was half-kidding, of course, but her interest in the perception of Africa in other countries was genuine. What followed was a powerful conversation about perception versus truth, and how education transforms how we experience each other's cultures.

Each year, admission officials from around the world traverse the globe recruiting students for our institutions. We spend countless hours on aeroplanes, clearing customs, writing speeches, presenting data, and counselling families on how to apply to colleges and universities. Institutions of higher education charge us with finding the best and brightest students around the world and ensuring that they meet institutional goals. We look for the best "fit" and hope we find students whose lives we can improve through education.

As the dean of admission at my institution, my role is that of storyteller-in-chief. I am charged with not only recruiting for my college, but also narrating the story of the values, philosophy and uniqueness of American higher education.

When I am abroad, I do more than exhibit pretty campus photos, distribute glossy brochures, or tout numbers and rankings. I explain holistic college admission and help students understand that we care about more than just their academic focus. I illustrate how we educate the whole student, not just the mind. I explain the liberal arts world that I inhabit - we educate for depth and breadth, for a life of engaged citizenship, lifelong learning and constantly shifting careers. …

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