Taking Dickinson Home
International counselors experience Dickinson to take it home to their students
by Lauren Davidson
July 20, 2012
Dickinson welcomed 25 members of the Overseas Association for College Admission Counseling with a dinner at the College Farm. Photo by Brian Atkins.
On July 16 and 17, 25 members of the Overseas Association for College Admission Counseling (OACAC), representing schools from all over the world, visited Dickinson to learn firsthand about the college and how to identify international students who would find the right “fit” here. Their stop in Carlisle was brief and in the middle of a whirlwind 15-institution tour, but they left with a strong impression of Dickinson’s distinctive features.
After arriving on Tuesday evening, they were treated to dinner at the College Farm, which was a great opportunity for them to learn about Dickinson’s leadership in sustainability initiatives, how students and faculty participate in these living laboratories and the ways Dickinson encourages students to think outside the box. One counselor was even inspired to start a recycling program at her home school in Shanghai.
“We first thought Dickinson must have an agriculture program,” says Karen Kaylor, from the United States Educational Information Center in Singapore. “But just like you don’t have to be a music major to do music at Dickinson, you don’t have to want to pursue agriculture to be involved with the farm.”
“I love that the farm and programs like it at Dickinson encourage students to dig a little deeper than who they thought they were,” added Jennifer Bieck, from the Thai-Chinese International School in Thailand.
On Tuesday, the full agenda started with breakfast with Provost and Dean Neil Weissman and several faculty members who explained Dickinson’s academic program, including the interdisciplinary approach, certificate programs and experiential-learning philosophy. The counselors then split into small groups and enjoyed campus tours led by members of the student Liberty Cap Society.
“That was a wonderful opportunity to hear from the people who are the college,” said Andrew Whyte, director of guidance at Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland. “Our guide was David [Cochrane ’14], and he showed us everything we wanted to see. He told us about what’s really going on here, what students are doing, what traditions are important to them. That helps us understand how we can find the right match back at our schools.”
Tours were followed by a session, Global, Sustainability and Security Studies at Dickinson, and then free time, which included optional visits to the Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life, the Weiss Center for the Arts or the Goodyear Art Studios. One counselor, from Kenya, enjoyed a personalized tour of The Trout Gallery from Director Phil Earenfight and left with several catalogues of displays of African art that the gallery has featured over the years. Another heard about our Community Studies Center and set up a meeting with Director Susan Rose and two of her students to learn more.
The OACAC members then enjoyed a casual question-and-answer session with current students, followed by lunch with the admissions and financial-aid staff, where any lingering questions were answered and they shared their lasting impressions of the visit.
“We could really see the passion in the people here,” said Whyte. “It’s all about the feeling … who can I picture here? It’s not one thing but the totality of the experience. That's what we need to take home to tell the kids we think should be looking at Dickinson.”