Community College Draws Foreign Students by Serving as a Gateway to Universities


This is the title of a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article that begins with this sentence: 

When American community colleges attend student-recruitment fairs abroad, they are often greeted with blank looks.

This is true in a lot of countries but not in Vietnam, where many students and parents have recently discovered the benefits of a US community college (CC) experience.  When I was country director of the Institute of International Education in Vietnam, I worked with a colleague from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to organize a community college-only fair series in 2006, the first of its kind in Vietnam.  These and subsequent fairs were very successful even – in competition with the usual US higher education fairs held at around the same time.  In fact, the consciousness-raising process has been so successful that Vietnam currently ranks 2nd in international student enrollment at American CCs – between South Korea (#1) and China (#3).

The main advantage for participating colleagues is that these fairs shine the spotlight squarely on CCs.  They don’t get lost in the mix, which can happen at larger US higher ed fairs.  Students and parents who attend these events have the opportunity to obtain information and ask questions about what has become a very popular US institution of higher education. 

Since the overwhelming majority of Vietnamese and other international students attend CCs as a stepping stone to a four-year school and completion of a bachelor’s degree, Green River Community College, featured in this article, has done all of the right things in adopting and implementing a diversified recruitment strategy.   

Email me at markashwill[at]hotmail.com, if you’re interested in reading the above article, which is only accessible to CHE subscribers.  There was a webchat a few days later (14.9) as part of The Chronicle’s  “Innovators in Internationalization” series about the same topic. 

US Community College Fairs in Vietnam

I have continued to organize US community college fairs, now under the auspices of my company, Capstone Vietnam.  The fall 2011 StudyUSA Community College Fairs, which will take place from 2-8 October in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Nha Trang, Danang and Hanoi, respectively, have attracted 20 CCs from 12 states representing all regions of the US.

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