The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Global recruits remain a priority

Until SMU’s Board of Trustees stepped in eight years ago with the goal of increasing diversity within the student body, the International Recruitment Office did not exist or recruit students overseas. Now, Michael Clarke and Amy Kice, international recruiters, travel to an array of countries to attract more international students.

International students make up about 5 percent of the undergraduate student population and 6 percent overall, totaling about 750 students. The most students came from India this fall at 179, followed by 78 from China, and 26 from Panama. According to Kice and Clarke, the most popular majors for these students are business and engineering.

Kice, who has worked in the office for three years, says her career started after she traveled to Spain in college. “It changed by life. I love my job and I’m passionate about it. It’s a part of me,” she said.

Kice typically travels to Latin and South America where many students are drawn from Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico. However, Kice says she hopes to travel to the Middle East in the future, which is in her contract, but has yet to go since the 9/11 attacks.

Clarke’s passion in recruiting also began in college when he spent a year abroad in Denmark. Clarke generally travels to Asia where he recruits students from countries such as Japan, Indonesia and Singapore.

Recruited students include locals and expats living abroad and are seen by the office as international students. Admission is on a rolling basis whereas domestic students are given a specific application due date.

Traveling for the recruiters is typically done with about 20 to 25 other colleges in the U.S. and is organized by recruiting tours, committees or organizations.

One of the obstacles Kice and Clarke have encountered started after the 9/11 attacks, when international students began to favor universities in Canada, England and Australia where they said they felt more comfortable and it was easier for them to attain visas.

To encourage more international students to apply to SMU, Clarke said, “It is very important that we welcome and embrace international students now and in the future so they know we want them here.”

Jeremy Chang, a freshman who lives in Shuttles, came here after graduating from the Singapore American School. Chang heard about SMU from a friend who is enrolled here and who had graduated from his high school. Chang, who holds a Singapore and Australian passport, says he came to SMU because of the business program, and its location.

“The U.S. is more recognized around the world when it comes to colleges,” he said. “But I still feel that the international community could be bigger.”

Yet, Chang feels comfortable here and says that adjusting to SMU was very easy as “it is more laid back,” than some universities abroad.

Freshman Natalie Morrow grew up in England and Spain and says she is impressed with the amount of international students here.

“The international population is bigger than I had expected. When I first arrived I thought SMU was going to be really Texan, but I’ve found that most people I meet here are either from out of state or other countries.”

Through the efforts of Kice and Clarke, the number of international students attending SMU is steadily increasing, creating more diversity on campus. In the future recruiters are hoping to extend their travels to more African and Middle Eastern countries

“To build up a good reputation and relationship with high schools abroad we need to keep going and keep our name alive,” Clarke said.

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