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DePauw continues to court international students, recruiting

By Tyler Benware
On September 7, 2012

Ten years ago, the international population at DePauw consisted of only 20 to 25 students, accounting for a mere one percent of the student body. In more recent years, efforts have increased greatly in order to bring more students from other countries to DePauw. As of now, roughly 12 percent of students are international. 
This has been part of an initiative set in place by former university president Robert Bottoms, who at the end of his career made it a priority to increase the international presence on our campus. New strides are being made to ensure that many individuals from a variety of places are being recruited.
Dan Meyer, VP for Admission and Financial Aid, explained that the recruitment process for foreign students entails three to four trips per year across the globe that can include up to ten different countries. There are often major events where many universities are present.
"It's much like a college fair on the international scene," said Meyer. "Although, there can be as many as five to ten thousand families present." He continued stating that these trips are vitally important in making DePauw's name known abroad, as well as generating interest among upper-level high school students in these locations.  
The trips can be expensive, costing up $20,000. However, Meyer stated that there is often a good return on this investment. In the past four years, the number of foreign student applicants has increased from about 200 to nearly 1,000. This is 20 percent of all freshman applications.
Shudi Li, a sophomore economics major from China, stated that in addition to her desire to study at a liberal arts college in America, the generous amount of monetary aid was among her reasons to attend school here.
"My parents did sacrifice a lot for me to go abroad, so financial aid was a huge factor. Out of all the other universities that I applied to, DePauw offered the most financial need." Li said this is often the case with the majority of international students.
Regarding the amount of financial aid that would be allotted for applicants in the future, Meyer stated, "The University has adopted a policy with regard to international students in that we are seeking students who can contribute their fair share to the cost of their education."
 Meyer stated that one of the primary reasons the university continues to focus on recruiting these students is to make DePauw a more diverse institution. Meyer also pointed out that diversity on campus, in general, makes for a more enriched education experience for all students, not just international students.
 Li commented on the university's efforts to bring more international students to DePauw saying, "I think DePauw has admitted so many international students to try and add to the school's diversity. But, just because [these students] come from different countries doesn't mean that there is real diversity here. They have to come together. I often see groups of students from the same country or of the same ethnicity only sitting with or interacting with each other."
 When asked about this particular issue, Meyer responded by saying that the university is trying to figure out ways to bring minority and majority students together.
"We want to grow our international population, but we also want to better integrate international and domestic students." Li suggested that stronger, more efficient student organizations and better transportation would help solve some of the issues.
 The Office of Admissions continues to work hard to bring members of the international community to campus. Currently, the university is attempting to develop relations with Argentina and Brazil to recruit more students from South America. A new 10-day English immersion program has also been introduced, where students learn about the American classroom and can adjust to the environment prior to the start of classes.

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