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Member Spotlight: Claire Wilkins

 


Member Spotlight 
 


Claire Wilkins
Director of International Admissions
Temple University


What drew you to the world of international admissions?
Serendipity and a desire to prevent others from experiencing what I experienced. I was a third culture kid and an international student who went to three high schools in three cities across two countries. From a Canadian curriculum to an IB curriculum (in two separate countries) to university in Wales, Canada and England, my educational path was riddled with obstacles, changes and people who didn't understand who I was, where I was from and what I'd studied. I, like many others, fell into admissions after other careers as I was always drawn to education and the chance to be able to be someone who could help international students like myself overcome those obstacles, prepare for those changes and be understood was something I couldn't pass up. 


What is your favorite part of the job?
Seeing the light turn on for a student once they realise their potential and their own agency in the process. 







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Diversity Initiative Update

 




As many of us begin our academic year (or prepare for summer break depending on your hemisphere!), it seems like a long time ago that we were gathered on the campus of Western University in London, Ontario Canada, learning and growing as an international family. One of the moments where you saw candor and honest conversation was during the diversity and inclusion workshops conducted by trainers from the Council of International Schools (CIS). Part of a larger Diversity Initiative undertaken by International ACAC, these workshops aimed to push the conversation of equity and inclusion to the forefront by having members reflect on their own held biases and speak candidly about how these affect members.


It’s clear that these conversations around equity and inclusion cannot be concluded in one simple workshop. Indeed, a sequence of three workshops were held during the summer Conference - for the Executive Board, Pre-Conference attendees, and for Committee members and the general membership.  They were not always easy conversations - they never are. But they are important to have and the leadership at International ACAC sees this need.

So what’s the next step for these necessary conversations?  As we are all in various parts of the globe, our work will move on-line. International ACAC will be offering Global Diversity and Inclusion webinar training sessions developed from the sessions given at the July Summer Conference in London, Ontario to over 350 International ACAC members!  Three webinars will be offered at varied times to honor global time zones between October 28 and November 3.  Committee members of International ACAC are required to engage in our Association's diversity training within the first two years of their term by attending the workshop offered in conjunction with the summer conference or participating in the above mentioned webinar event. There is no cost for this training, and members will find it also applies to the workplace and personal situations of International ACAC members. The trainers, Eeqbal Hassim, a consultant in intercultural and international education and Inventory (IDI) Qualified Administrator, and Chris Green and Ann Straub, International Advisors and IDI Qualified Administrators from the Council International Schools, will be facilitating the two-hour webinar sessions. The sessions will be highly interactive using individual, small group and whole group constructivist activities to build understanding about Intercultural Competency, the Stereotype Wheel, the Culture Cycle and how this all relates to ourselves and International ACAC.  Soon, times and dates in October and May will be announced inviting International ACAC members to join a free webinar training session that suits their schedule.  Stay tuned!








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Survey Results are In!

 

 

Survey Results are In! A Look at the Member Survey

In late April International ACAC polled its members to help advise the executive board on crucial challenges facing our organization.  An analysis of the three major questions we posed is provided below.

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President’s Corner: Reflection, Discourse, and Disruption

President’s Corner:  Reflection, Discourse, and Disruption
September, 2019

Hello from Silicon Valley, 

Tonight while I write, I cannot help but think about the daily fast pace, innovation, and distribution that surrounds me here in Santa Clara, California. As we often work as an institution to remind our students and one another to slow down, let go, love, and to see beauty in all, I am using my own advice to tackle the year ahead. 

As a new travel season for many admission officers has begun with typhoons, hurricanes, protesters, traffic jams, missed appointments, and middle seats, we must remember self-care and safety. I can attest that the beauty in this time of year are the hugs hello or meals shared between members across the world as travels, high school visits, and fairs bring us together. Counselors have been greeted with increased anxiety around the college admission process, ongoing testing challenges, changes in school schedules or course offerings, and learning new software platforms for their daily work in supporting students. The information shared during visits and fairs, the Facebook group’s activity, and Webinar Wednesdays strengthens our membership’s professional development support for one another. It is our relationships that offer calm and purpose during this hectic time. 

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2019 ANNUAL AWARD WINNERS: IN THEIR WORDS

Last May, International ACAC members nominated colleagues for the three awards that annually honor leaders in our field. These include the Distinguished Service Award, the Rising Star Award, and the Peter Hauet Lifetime Achievement Award. This year the awards went to three inspiring individuals who have made significant contributions to International ACAC over the years.

Sam Jeong from UWC Changshu, China was selected for the International ACAC Rising Star Award. Sam was recognized for his work with the International ACAC Scholar Cohort and his innovative idea to have students nominate their counselors as scholars. He writes, "Thanks to International ACAC for this tremendous honor! I am still reeling. The idea to have students nominate their former counselors for the International ACAC Scholars program came to me after a particularly intense conversation with a student. She told me that the only reason she was studying in China was because her former teacher—not counselor— back in her home country had pushed her to believe in herself.  As someone who grew up in the public school system in South Korea and Seattle, I realize that the vast majority of secondary schools in the world do not have a college counseling program.

I would go as far as to argue that the profession was created to serve the already privileged and savvy children of highly educated parents with the means to send their kids to an expensive private institution. So, in a way, serving on the Inclusion, Access, and Success committee has been an avenue for me to push back against the system and also to recognize and celebrate the educators working with high-achieving, low-income students who often volunteer to be college counselors on top of their regular professions. The 2019 International ACAC Scholars, who I had the privilege of meeting and befriending as a part of the orientation team, are humble, curious, kind, selfless, and above all, deeply committed to the success of each student they serve. They are a force to be reckoned with.  



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Scholar Program 2019

Scholar Program 2019


By: Kate Dobson, Assistant Director of International Admissions, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Joe Tavares, High School Counselor, Jakarta Intercultural School

As an International ACAC member, you’ve surely heard about the Scholar Program. Now in its sixth year, it fully funds professional development for counselors who work with high-achieving, low-income students in under-resourced schools or community organizations around the world.

Each year’s cohort of Scholars are selected through a competitive nomination, application, and review process.  They attend the annual International ACAC conference and post-conference bus tour, and are paired with mentors who will support them for a year.


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First Nations

First Nations

Indigenous Peoples is a collective term to reference the Original Peoples of Turtle Island (also known as North America).

In Canada, there are many different Indigenous Peoples (or Nations) with distinct territories, languages, histories, ways of knowing and spiritual beliefs who have survived ongoing settler colonial governments’ attempts to eradicate, assimilate and dispossess them of their lands for over hundreds of years.

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8 Amazing Activities on Western's Campus!

8 Amazing Activities on Western's Campus!

Want to know what the students of Western University are up too during the year?  Western University has one of the most beautiful campuses in Canada and is home to some of the most eventful Western Mustang activities. Check out these amazing activities and food spots on campus during your stay at the Conference this Summer to see how it feels to be a Western Mustang!

 

  1. Bagels at the Spoke

    The Spoke is one of the most popular restaurants and cafes on campus. Situated within the University Community Centre (UCC), the Spoke offers the infamous ‘Spoke Bagels’ which melt in your mouth every single time. One cannot go wrong while choosing a bagel since they have many different options spanning from the ‘cheddar herb bagel’ with ‘herb and garlic cream cheese’ or the ‘BLT’ on a ‘jalapeno cheddar bagel’. The students love picking one up early in the morning before class or for their lunch time break. They even made personality types with your favourite bagel. Read more about it here on the Western Gazette: https://westerngazette.ca/culture/western-personalities-as-spoke-bagels/article_7c7cfd04-2590-11e9-9a16-c35d0aaf824e.html

    Don’t forget to stop at the Spoke to grab your personalized bagel during the conference!

 



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Diversity Initiative to Launch at Summer Conference

Differences challenge assumptions.

- Anne Wilson Schaef


How can I identify my deep-seated assumptions and unconscious biases?  Do I have the tools to understand my relationship to my culture? Can I make sense of how I relate to people of other cultures?  How do I gauge my intercultural competence and enhance it? How can I grow in my ability to engage with diversity I encounter in my life, my workplace, and within our professional association?  How can we work towards recognizing and celebrating diversity within International ACAC and how can we make ours a truly inclusive organization?

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President's Corner: Finding Words to Live By

President’s Corner:  Finding Words to Live By

by Aaron Andersen, International ACAC President
June, 2019
 

As we close out another academic year in much of the world, and many of us are preparing for a restful break - - and the start of our annual conference - - this is always a good time to reflect upon the past year of our Association.

Immediately I’m drawn to recall the list of highlights shared by our executive board members, in our final bi-monthly meeting last week.  To me, a fan of ‘All Things Listed’, I mentally drew up a 2018-19 Top Five for International ACAC list in my mind:

1) Regional Institutes in India and Eastern Europe – hosting successful PD events in two vibrant and engaging countries.  India and Bulgaria both represent critical important sectors of international education.




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11 Activities and Restaurants to visit in London Ontario

11 Activities and Restaurants to Visit in London, Ontario

  1. Covent Garden Market
  • The market is comprised of an indoor and outdoor market with locally grown food from farmers within the area. The outdoor market takes place every Saturday from 8:00am – 1:00pm. Open since 1845, the Covent Garden Market has many unique shops and over 20 restaurants.
  • Check out more information on their website
  • 30 King Street

 

 

  1. Rock the Park
  • Rock the Park is an annual music concert held at Harris Park in London, Ontario from July 10th to 13th. Come out and listen to live music from pop, rap and country music.
  • Check out more information about the event at https://rockthepark.ca/site/

 


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How to Win in Dodgeball 2019

How to Win in Dodgeball
-or- 
at least look cool trying

By Tracey Grimm
Lincoln School, Costa Rica


 

It can be said, in no uncertain terms, that the International ACAC Dodgeball Tournament is a highlight of the annual conference. What started with only 12 rag-tag teams at the TCU conference in July of 2006 has morphed into the epicenter of entertainment for higher ed folks and college counselors alike. Seriously, where else will you find cow costumes aplenty, David Zutautas on the mic and a gaggle of overly-competitive Jesuit university reps eager to trash talk anyone who mentions the fact that they were out in 1st round last year? 



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Grant Application Period for Europe Regional Institute Extended until April 15th

Grant Application Period for Europe Regional Institute Extended until April 15th

The 2019 Europe Regional Institute is fast approaching. Just over a month from now, colleagues from around the world will meet at the historic American College of Sofia in Bulgaria for International ACAC’s first-ever dedicated professional development conference focused on international university admissions in this region of the continent. We’re honored by the positive response we’ve received from you as registrations continue to grow.

The Faculty Co-Chairs have put together a stellar faculty to address compelling topics that are key to understanding the region’s students and university systems. We’re keen to share this learning, networking and recruiting opportunity with as many colleagues as possible. To that end, we hope you’ll take us up on our request that you share the attached invitation to attend the Europe Regional Institute with those contacts you know would benefit from the International ACAC brand of professional development. Some of them might not even be members (yet!), but we bet that, if they got to know us at our best- when we’re generously sharing our knowledge with others or engaging in effective and enjoyable networking with colleagues- they’d be just as hooked as those of us who are already members.

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"IB very confused": the new math courses and me

"IB very confused": the new math courses and me

by Tu Anh Gilmore


 

Sitting behind my counselor’s desk, I often find my days in conversations with the Grade 10s as they decide on which IB Course selections they ought to choose to best fit their life’s trajectory. It is easy to simply say, “Just do what you are good at...pick the courses that you are naturally talented in and like.” Well for me, this answer isn’t good enough. Whilst I have now found my life’s calling in a career that is almost perfectly in tune and playing to the strengths of my Via Character Analysis and true passions, the journey here wasn’t without great financial costs and extra dedicated time.

I picked a first career that I was good at: Maths. But after advancing to lead IB workshops in mathematics, I realised the greater intersection was yet to come. And after taking the full plunge, I find myself in my happy place. In this intersection lies my responsibility within my own communities and the greatest impetus for my change in career: IB recognition in math through high school and college counseling, in order to change one life at a time.


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School Profiles - Nuances, Benefits, and Fresh Ideas!

School Profiles - Nuances, Benefits, and Fresh Ideas!

For many of us who have experience managing and creating our school’s profile, it’s well understood that the purpose of it is to provide insights and knowledge of our school and our students. And rightly so - the school profile is used by university admission officers to understand the context of every senior class and to evaluate students within their educational environment. 

Each portion of the school profile is important, but there are elements most schools would consider the be “fundamental,” -- the school’s name, contact information, history, demographic breakdown, curriculum, and university matriculation list. However, when it comes to displaying this information as well as using the school profile for advocacy purposes, we see great diversity. 

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Your Voice Will Be Heard

Your Voice Will Be Heard

by Sherrie Huan

Not on American Idol. Not in a Karaoke room, but through voting.

 

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International ACAC Executive Board Applications Now Open!

 

International ACAC Executive Board Applications Now Open!  


It’s the most wonderful time of the year….

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From Scrapped Scholarships to Designing Dreams

Remember the highly talented Nepali students whose scholarships were revoked this past April due to an administrative oversight? Here’s an update on how they’re doing:

Students have made their first attempts at carving pumpkins, and experienced their first snowfall. Some have built rockets in the desert for an Embry-Riddle course project and nearly all have found on-campus work. Roman Shrestha at U of Denver says, “I’m so happy to share that I got appointed as a lab assistant for my Chemistry professor. It is a great feeling to start my freshman year with this position.”

On the other side of the globe, the students at SUNY Korea are amazed at Korean efficiency as they watched a whole football field constructed within days. Students at NW Qatar are testing their journalism skills and sharing their stories, including this one by Krishna Sharma. Shashwat Maharjan just won Central Michigan University’s American Mathematics Society’s Annual Integration Bee - as a freshman!  

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The Mystery Fair

by Barbara Chen

In 1998, every Friday a mystery guest would come and read a book to my daughter’s entire kindergarten class. This ritual was the source of great excitement as each week, students would try to figure out who would be coming in to read, and what type of book they’d chose. The mystery guest was usually a parent, aunt, uncle or grandparent of one of the students. The teachers loved this tradition because it exposed students to a variety of styles of books from multiple English-speaking countries. Books and authors previously unheard of were now sought after in the weekly library visit, and given as birthday gifts. In a nutshell, this was story-time on steroids.

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Chatter That Matters December 2018

Chatter That Matters, December 2018 

Though the Trump Administration is not moving forward with a proposed ban on visas for Chinese students at American schools, it is pursuing a change in rules to limit the amount of time a student can stay on a visa.The status quo is that student visas are valid for the “duration of status,” meaning as long as the program of study lasts. The administration has not specified how long the time limits would be.


The University of Birmingham will begin to accept the Gaokao, meaning students who score at least 80% on the exam, as well as meeting other criteria, including English proficiency, will be eligible for direct admission without a Foundation year. This is part of a broader trend of Anglophone universities using the Gaokao as part of the admissions process.

 

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