Asia and MA/RI Travel Recap

Hello ETA readers:

After about four weeks of travel, I have finally returned to the beautiful state of North Carolina for a little bit.  Since I was a mathematics major at Elon University, I thought it would only be appropriate to offer a rundown of my travels by the numbers:

26:  Number of days that I was away from Elon, North Carolina

14:  Number of flights that I took in that same 26 day period

29:  Number of other U.S. colleges and universities that I traveled with in Asia.

14:  Number of high schools I visited in southeastern MA and Rhode Island

3:  Number of alums/currently enrolled students that I met with while traveling

27,125:  Number of miles I traveled via airplanes

20:  Photographs I took while visiting the Great Wall

1:  Number of times I ate stinky tofu (It didn’t have a bad taste – despite the name!)

Immeasurable:  The number of fantastic students, guidance counselors, and other people who I met along the journey!

While I am currently working on setting up a site for all of my pictures, I thought I would include a few in this entry for you to see.  I brought alon g Elon’s mascot (ThePhoenix) and took pictures of him at various places.  Enjoy!

Stephanie from Emmanuel College and I getting ready for a fair.

Stephanie from Emmanuel College and I getting ready for a fair.

Ready to talk with prospective students!

Ready to talk with prospective students!

The Phoenix at the Forbidden City

The Phoenix at the Forbidden City

Getting ready for a college fair in Kuala Lumpur.

Getting ready for a college fair in Kuala Lumpur.

Update from Bangkok

Hello ETA readers:

I am reporting live from a bus in Bangkok as we just left a great fair at Ruamrudee International School and are now heading to the International School of Bangkok. Unfortunately, we have less than 24 hours in Thailand as we got in last night to our hotel around 9:30p.m. and are flying to Taipei later this afternoon. Quick trips, but at least we had the opportunity to meet students from Thailand.

Believe it or not, but this is my last week in Asia! I will be flying back to the States this Saturday. We only have three more countries to visit – Taiwan, Hong Kong, and then a quick trip to Shenzhen, China. I will definitely be posting some pictures in the near future so you can see where I have been and some of the schools I have visited.

Hope all of you are doing well! More from me at a later date!

Tips in the Admissions Process – “Using A College Fair”

Hello ETA readers:

Well, I finally have access to a regular keyboard (and not my cell phone keyboard) and some free internet use (Thank you International School of Kuala Lumpur!) so I thought I would take advantage of this!  As  I mentioned in a previous post, during the course of my travels with the CIS Tour, we are often requested to do presentations on various topics related to the U.S. college admissions process.  One presentation that I already gave had to do with how to properly and effectively use a college fair.  Thus, for those of you who are juniors and seniors (or freshman and sophomores!), I present to you the opportunity to learn more about how to maximize your experience at a college fair!  Here are some tips:

  • Before the college fair, take a few moments to think about questions that you would like to ask.  You will want to ask college representatives questions that will address your interests and needs at a college or university.  Common questions can relate to topics like:  location, population, special programs, campus life, athletics, financial aid, etc.
  • Be sure to ask, ask, ask questions!  The more questions you ask, the more that you will learn about this process and about the school that you are interested in applying to.  Admissions representatives are at the college fair to provide you more information about their school – and 100% of representatives love to talk to people!
  • Don’t forget to tell the represenative a little bit about yourself as well!  If you are interested in a particular school and want to know more about them, be sure to fill out legibly and completely an inquiry card.  This allows the university to communicate with you in regards to more information about the school but also special opportunities such as live chat sessions or upcoming events!
  • Be a leader and not a follower.  By this, I mean to explore options that YOU are interested in and not necessarily the options of your friends.  Too often at college fairs, I will see packs of students moving from table to table together.  Travel with one or two other friends and you will really be able to ask questions about what is important to you in a college or university.
  • Last but certainly not least – don’t just grab materials off a table – this includes pens!  Please know that as admissions representatives, we want to talk to you about our schools and we can provide you with much more information beyond the brochures.  For example, if you ask me about studying abroad in Australia, I can tell you about my personal experience of studying abroad there while I was a student at Elon University.  Personal stories, anecdotes, and other connections to the university go a long way in understanding the campus culture.  So talk to me – and then you can take my pen!

I hope you found this helpful – I will be trying to provide more tips in the process as the fall progresses!

Goodbye Elon – Hello San Francisco!

Happy Tuesday ETA readers:

The 2009 travel season has begun!  Like many of my colleagues in the Admissions office at Elon University, I have begun my travels for the year.   My first trip (like last year), is a 3-week  long trip to various Asian countries through the Council of International Schools.  I left my home bright and early this morning at 4:00 a.m. for my 6:00 a.m. flight to Washington-Dulles airport where I would then hop on a flight to San Francisco.  I arrived safely and I am very much looking forward to tomorrow when I meet up with other university admissions representatives.  Tomorrow is the day that we as a group will be flying to our first stop:  Seoul, South Korea.

To give a better perspective of my travels, here is a list of cities that I will be visiting this month:

  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Beijing, China
  • Shanghai, China
  • Singapore
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Taipei, Taiwan
  • Hong Kong
  • Shenzhen, China

Be sure to check back frequently for more updates as well as take a look at my Twitter posts (CherylAtElonU – they appear in the right hand column of my blog!) .   You can also email (cborden2@elon.edu) me as well – it’s amazing how many emails a person can do when they are waiting for their next flight!

And finally, a quick shout-out to my colleagues who are likewise traveling around the U.S. – be safe and I will see you in October!

The Last Few Hours

Well, it is currently 6:40pm on Saturday evening and I am on the bus heading to the Hong Kong Airport to fly back to the States. Crazy how fast these past few weeks have gone by…

Since my last post, the CIS tour group flew to Taipei, Taiwan where we literally were there for less than 24 hours! We visited two schools (Taipei American School) and the National Experimental High School) during that time. I think both programs were incredibly successful which is wonderful since the CIS tour has not been to Taiwan in a few years!

After Taiwan, we flew to Hong Kong for the next several nights. High school stops in the next few days included visits to Yew Chung International School, Shenzhen Middle School (where we actually had to ‘cross the border’ into China again!), and Hong Kong International School. Personally, I also added a visit to the Canadian International School of Hong Kong which was separate from the group. Overall, the experience in these last few days has been particularly invaluable to me as I learned a great deal about the university system in China for public school students. For example, entrance into the universities and school in general is based on the results of tests – and with China’s population, there is actually not enough spaces in their system for every prospective students!

Because I visited the Canadian International School of Hong Kong, I also had the opportunity to learn about the Canadian system as well. This is incredibly helpful (and a good refresher!)since Canada is actually one of the most represented countries in our international population.

On a personal level, while I was looking forward to visiting ALL of the cities/ countries on this recruiting trip, I was especially excited for Hong Kong – and it didn’t disappoint! Hong Kong is so beautiful at night with the major parts of it lit up in the evening (especially the Kowloon area) but equally beautiful in the more residential areas with homes & condos resting on hills that overlook the water.

This recruiting experience overall has been a wonderful experience. I am continally thankful that Elon truly does value the importance of an international education both through our study abroad programs as well as support for international recruitment. I have learned a great deal about the different educational systems in Asia, visited some incredible schools, chatted with a large number of international students, and had conversations with many international gudance counselors. Also, it has been wonderful to learn customs of different Asian cultures and be able to appreciate their similarities and their differences. To top it off, I couldn’t have traveled with a better group of people on the CIS tour and I hope I cross paths with many of my friends again!

And since this is just such a ‘warm fuzzy’-type of email (the Elon Admissions office will understand that reference), I want to also mention that we just received the most recent numbers for international students and we have seen some wonderful growth! We now have 127 international students who come from over 50 countries! (This number does not include US citizens who attended school in another country). This is wonderful news and to give credit where credit is do, this is the work of my predecessor, John Keegan. Overall, this is great news for our campus community.

And finally, while I am sad that this tour is over, I am looking forward to traveling in MA/ RI for the next month! (Just in time for the Red Sox and (hopefully) a strong postseason! 🙂 ) I have a busy schedule ahead of me, but I am excited to get up there!

Happy Saturday/Sunday to everyone – see you in San Francisco!

Elephants, Emails, Explorations, & Energy: What A Weekend!

Welcome to Monday everyone!

It is currently 10:29 a.m. here in Singapore (which is my current location) and we just finished a college fair at the Singapore American School. Many of my colleagues are currently presenting a variety of topics for students of SAS (such as How Colleges Evalute Applications and Transitioning to College), but a handful of us have the “day off” from presenting. I think our group is a little bit tired this morning – we arrived in Singapore late last night (11:00 p.m. or so) and we had to be out of the hotel this morning by 6:45 a.m. – but nonetheless, we are excited to be here in Singapore!

The weekend was very relaxing as we had not one, but two days off in Chiang Mai, Thailand- a true weekend of sorts! Saturday and Sunday were filled with opportunities to sleep in (past 6:00 a.m.!), go shopping at the night market, catch up on emails, explore Chiang Mai, and go to an elephant conservation camp. I know I definitely enjoyed the opportunity to rest a bit before this week – because it is going to be a busy last week of the CIS Asia tour. Overall, Chiang Mai is an incredibly interesting place with a good deal to do and see in the city. One of the highlights of the weekend was a 3-hour bike tour around the city with a fellow admissions counselor who had studied abroad at the University of Chiang Mai as an undergraduate. Only 6 of us went, but it was an amazing opportunity to see the University of Chiang Mai, visit an athletic stadium used during the 1998 Asian Games, and see other sites around the city. This was done all the while riding in 3-4 lanes of traffic and dodging cars, buses, mopeds, other bicyclists, and my personal favorite – took tooks. (Took tooks are three-wheeled carts that are like taxis.) It was quite an adventure riding the city, but well worth the sore muscles after 3-hours of biking!

My weekend was also made that much more wonderful because of the following sports results:

  • Elon’s football team defeated Presbyterian, 66-12 on Saturday. (www.elonphoenix.com)
  • The Red Sox won 2 out of a 3 game series vs Toronto – hooray for only being 1 back from the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East! (www.redsox.com)
  • The New England Patriots defeated the New York Jets and are now 2-0 (despite not having Tom Brady)! (www.newenglandpatriots.com)

Thus my weekend has left me energized for an exciting (but last week) in Asia. We have another college fair/workshop this afternoon followed by a counselor dinner then it is off to Taipei, Taiwan tomorrow morning. After Taiwan, Hong Kong is our last destination and then it is back to the United States – crazy how fast this has all gone by! It just reinforces how much I love travel season and the opportunity to meet students who are interested in Elon.

Best wishes to you all (especially my fellow Elon colleagues who are traveling counselors- the majority of whom are out on the road as well) and have a wonderful start to your week.

Next Stop: Taipei, Taiwan

On a Bus in Bangkok

Well, Happy Friday everyone!

The CIS Asia tour left Shanghai, China yesterday after two days of wonderful visits! On Wednesday, we visited Shanghai American School – Puxi where our college fair had SAS as well as Shanghai High School, Yew Chung Int’l School, Nanjing, among others. Overall, it was probably our largest college fair to date!

The evening had us going to dinner in several groups with the high school counselors from Shanghai American School as well as Concordia Int’l School. It was a good evening (I ate at a restaurant right on the Bund!)especially because we each had the opportunity to talk with the counselors in a smaller setting.

Yesterday was another busy day with two stops – Concordia Int’l School as well as Shanghai American School – Pudong. Just like the other schools that we have visited, the schools were very impressive.

The CIS tour group flew to Bangkok last night and arrived in the city around 10:00pm or so. Today is the only day that we are here (unfortunately). We will be visiting two schools (Ruamrudee International School and Thai Chinese International School) followed by a flight to Chiang Mai for our weekend stay.

And despite being halfway around the world, technology is absolutely amazing and I have still been able to answer emails (especially on long rides!). That being said, one question that continually has been asked by prospective students in emails is about SAT dates. Many students are wondering if they take an exam in October, will we consider the results for our November deadlines. For any prospective student that may be reading right now, I would encourage you to visit http://www.elon.edu/admissions and click on “Apply Now”. There, you should see a link that will show exactly what test dates we will consider for each of our deadlines.

On a final note (because I know this entry is incredibly long!), I just wanted to point out that I have already seen an elephant in Thailand! Last night as we were driving to the hotel, there was an elephant walking down the street transporting people – it was definitely a highlight after a busy day.

Best wishes to everyone for a safe and restful weekend – Sawat Dee Krup! (Goodbye!)