University Admissions Diary : Setting Up Shop in China

Have a story from your recruitment travels, or life in the admission office ? Send us your tale [email protected]

by Elizabeth DuMont-McCaffrey
Assistant Director of Admission, Mount Holyoke College   

A UPS package filled with Mount Holyoke materials had just arrived at my new office in Shanghai when I received an email confirmation.  Your UPS package has been delivered, it said, and signed for by Mr. Lao Wai.  “Mr. Lao Wai?” I said to myself.  Who is Mr. Lao Wai?  I had just signed for the package myself.  That’s when I remembered that “lao wai” means foreigner in Chinese and realized that I was Mr. Lao Wai.

This past fall, Mount Holyoke College opened a regional office in Shanghai, China.  Currently, I am based in Asia for 6 months per year—recruitment season (September-December) and yield season (March-June). The opening of Mount Holyoke’s regional office was filled will silly frustrations (such as the Mr. Lao Wai story) but also many overwhelming successes and a few genuine complications.

Read More


Top 10 List: Reasons to Attend OACAC 2014 in Tampa Bay


By Beau C. Benson
Senior Assistant Director, Undergraduate Admissions
New York University 

So you've never been to an OACAC Conference... or maybe you have, but not sure what to think about Tampa Bay, well we can think of a lot of reasons you'll want to be there this summer... but here are the Top Ten.

10. Catch Up with Trends

Read More


From the Membership Desk : Membership Has its Privileges

By Katy So,
  OACAC VP for Membership, College Ave Consulting

OACAC By The Numbers 

March 2014 : Membership in OACAC continues to boom. We currently have 1622 members, which is 20% more than we had at this time last year. We are particularly excited that 25% of members are new to our organization.

University members continue to be in the majority, with 48% of members working at universities. Secondary school counselors comprise just over 1/3 of the membership, which is a slight increase from last year and a significant increase from two years ago.  10% of members hold Individual memberships, while 5% are from organizations, both of which are on par with the past two years.

Read More


College Tour Diary : Old School Road Trip

Visited a university campus, or been on a college tour recently and have a story to tell?  Send us your tale [email protected]

by Patrick Stenger
HS Counselor & VHS Coordinator, Shanghai American School-Pudong

Road Trips in college were always special to me.  Perhaps from the first time I watched Animal House I was convinced of the value in the college road trip experience.  I've never felt as free as when I was on the road whether with friends or on my own.  Back in the day before cell phones and the internet, the feeling was I'm on the road, getting somewhere and so it was like space in time, there were no expectations until I got where I was going.  With others it was always a bonding time with those I knew already or an experience to share with someone I was getting to know.  The scenery was always exciting even across states like Nevada and Utah, the music always on, even when I didn’t want it to be, like the time the Ozzie Osbourne tape got stuck in the stereo so we had to listen to Blizzard of Ozz over and over again all the way across Nevada and into California.

Times have changed though and I'm no longer in college, I advise young people on university admissions on university admissions to young people, but I still love the college road trip experience.  This fall I was fortunate to road trip with a good friend and colleague Mark Moselle.  We'd talked about if for a couple of years and this fall, before attending the NACAC conference in Toronto we organized a different kind of college road trip.  The plan was to fly into Toronto, Canada together, rent a car and drive to ten colleges in Canada and the U.S. in four days, meet with admissions, tour campuses and drive back to Toronto to attend the NACAC conference.  Along the way we saw ten outstanding institutions, met with alumni from Shanghai American School and spoke with professors who were incredibly hospitable and proud of their schools. 

Read More


Going Global and Breaking Stereotypes

By Alison Herget 
Senior Assistant Director of Admissions, Brandeis University

It was my umpteenth week of international recruitment travel this fall, and I happened to be in Mumbai, India  – not the easiest place to be amid a 5-week trip that started in southeast Asia and traversed half the globe. It was some ungodly hour of the evening and I was straight off a four-hour van ride from Pune with my colleague in which we were cut off by emaciated cows, hassled by street vendors selling cheap toys, and had tapped a vehicle that stopped short in front of us when the driver misjudged the size of a small boulder on the dirt road. Fun? Yes. Relaxing? Absolutely not.

To say that I was happy to see a smiling face and have a young, friendly bellhop to carry my luggage up to the room upon arrival at our hotel is an understatement.

Read More


College Admissions: A 'Game' Everyone Can Win 

By Josh Stephens

Director of International Development, ArborBridge

A few weeks ago, the first big tranche of high school seniors found out where they're headed next year, as colleges released their Early Action and Early Decision notifications. Those who got deferred, and those who have been waiting to submit Regular Decision applications, will remain in excruciating limbo for the next few months. Or so the story goes.

In response to an another article I wrote a few weeks ago, a commenter described the anxiety that often clouds not only this process, but also students' entire lives. A parent of a high school senior, she wrote that the college application process "gives [her] hives."

Read More


Top 10 List: How to Prepare Juniors for Admissions

by Johanna Fishbein
Head, College & Career Counseling, International School of Belgium  

January is the prime time to begin or continue work with your Grade 11 students to get them in the best place possible to apply to university. Below are some suggestions for 10 things that can be helpful in organizing this process and making it as stress-free as possible for your students.

1.     Plan a Grade 11 University Planning “Kick-Off” Event

Nothing works better to start focusing on the Grade 11s than a meeting telling them and their parents that they are now the stars of the show! We have experimented with various structures for this event and found that the one the students and parents like best is a very simple presentation. We outline: what parents do, what students do and what counselors do in the college admissions process. Then, we bring in admissions counselors from around the world (in person if possible or via Skype) to speak to the importance of communicating with your counselor and managing expectations.

2.     Invite Admissions Counselors to your School

Read More


The Best of OACAC Series

Announcing … The BEST of OACAC SERIES …. Inspired by “The Best of American Essays”, a series which includes: 

Do you ever run a “best of” list in your head? Share it out loud!  Best book to get for your office, if you can only get one! Best program to run for your juniors, if you can only run one! Best database program to convince your admin to get, if you're tired of excel sheets!  Let’s pool ideas, share suggestions … after all, that’s what the Best of OACAC is about!   

Here’s our first “Best of….” column for counselors. Next column is for admissions officers! Share, Enjoy, Laugh, and most of all, Use! 

>> Elisabeth Marksteiner (International School of Zug and Luzern, Switzerland)

Read More


The UK: A System in Flux

by David Hawkins
Head of Careers, Taunton School 

The British Higher Education system used to be straightforward, certainly for those like me working in British schools and who attended a UK university. However, recent changes in government policy have made steps towards creating a market for university places, with this to change yet further in future years. Though some of my colleagues across the UK find this all quite worrying, for those of us working on an international stage it simply brings the UK into line with the rest of the world. So, from a British counsellor’s perspective here are the key changes to be aware of.

Number Controls

Read More


OACAC Conference 2013 : By the Numbers

By Ryan Sullivan
Director of Recruitment - St. Thomas University, New Brunswick Canada

146 attended pre-conference workshops

3 days

Read More


On The Assembly Floor at NACAC

By Ray Marx
HS Counselor - Colegio Americano de Quito, Ecuador

Saturday, September 21st marked the first time the NACAC Assembly was ever held outside of the United States.  Who could have predicted when NACAC chose Toronto as the site for the 2013 National Conference over five years ago, that the Assembly narrative would focus on international students and per-head compensation for global agents. 

Read More


Welcome to Blogosphere - The OACAC Blog

 The OACAC blog will offer reflections on the international admissions and counselling profession in a thoughtful and approachable style. 

We will cover topics from both the high school side and the college side and all points in between.  In many cases something written from a university representative will be insightful for a counsellor to read, and the same goes for the other side of the desk. 

This will be a place to find new ideas about high school programs, perspectives on university recruitment, and humorous tales from the road.  We hope to invite guest posts from presenters at conferences, to share their popular sessions in a readable format.  And all are welcome to contact us about contributing an article.  There will be critical analysis and thoughtful rumination… and hopefully a healthy dose of humor.


Read More


The Zen of International Admissions

By Alison Herget
Senior Assistant Director of Admissions - Brandeis University - Waltham, MA

International recruitment certainly has its share of complexities and curve balls. I'll be the first to admit I had my fairshare last year during my first international recruitment trip last year as an admissions officer at Brandeis. After three weeks in Asia, I returned -- jet-lagged for weeks and with enough crazy stories to write a book. When I told my friend about how I hailed a cab amid an 8-lane busy road in Beijing then almost felt like I was going to die in the hands of a sleepy cab driver who transported us to the airport, she thought I was crazy to want to do what I do for a living. "That sounds so...exhausting," she said.

Read More


Senior College Application Kickoff 2013

By Tim Munnerlyn
HS Counselor – American Community School – Abu Dhabi

It’s early September and another busy season of assisting, motivating and bribing seniors to complete their college applications on time, is upon us.  Oh, where did our summer vacation go?  Amidst, the buzz of the hallways as students make their way to classes and teachers revving up their courses; high school counselors must find ways to focus their seniors for the important tasks that awaits them during the fall.

Over the years, we’ve offered a Senior College Night presentation to students and parents providing information and answering questions regarding the college application process. This has typically occurred during the second or third week of school. 

Read More


World of Apps - Five Top Travel Apps

By Aaron Andersen
University of British Columbia - Vancouver, Canada

Traveling, busy schedules, multiple projects, time zones, these are just a few things that the international educator copes with on a daily basis. Thanks to the ubiquitous smart phone there is often an app for that. 

World of Apps :  Apps Reviewed - for the International ACAC minded professional.  

Today we take a look at five travel apps that can make your life a little easier.


  Hopper – iOS , Android (.free)

Read More