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Drop in International Enrollment Leaves Dickinson Unaffected

Soo Min Kim , Staff Writer 

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Despite the slowing of international student enrollment in the United States, Dickinson welcomed its largest class of international students ever last year.

The Open Doors, an information resource on international students studying in the U.S., reported that “international-student enrollments grew only modestly,” and “the number of first-time students fell in 2016 by [three] percent.”

Director of International Admissions, Brian Atkins said there are 99 international students in the class of 2021, accounting for 16 percent of the newest Dickinsonians. “The trend for us is to increase the number of international students. It has been increasing the entire time for the past five years,” Atkins added.

When asked about the demographic of international students that Dickinson recruits, Atkins said, “In terms of socio-economic aspect, [students] vary across the spectrum from the wealthy to people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.” Atkins also noted that the majority of international students come from East Asia.

When asked about the possible financial impacts the drop in international students could have, he noted: “It depends on where the drop is coming from. We are taking people from across the full socioeconomic spectrum, if we start getting fewer and fewer applications from the people above the means, then we are going to have financial implications,” said Atkins.

There are two groups of international students on campus. “There are the F1 visa students and J1 visa students. F1 students are four-year full time Dickinson students and J1 students are Juniors or Seniors from different institutions who come to Dickinson for a year as a language assistance but [who are] also students as well,” said Atkins.

According to Atkins, Dickinson admissions use various means to recruit international students: “The website is a big factor. We send emails out to database students we have, giving them more information about Dickinson.” He also said that admissions staff travel to many different countries and schools to meet students and give presentations. “This is the significant part of the recruitment process,” said Atkins.

Currently Dickinson has 255 F1 visa students and 21 J1 visa students according to Luis Fernando Apolinário Johnson, coordinator/advisor of international student and scholar services.

When asked how international students contribute to overall college experience, Atkins said they enrich the conversations in the classroom by sharing their own perspectives and experience on the topic, “if we are sitting in the political science class and we are talking about X, people from the US have one perspective, people from Argentina ha[ve] another, people from Korea ha[ve] another. We need to hear those voices and perspectives that change the conversations and change the understandings of the things, it changes the quality of the education that you are going to get.”

When asked about future plans, Atkins said Dickinson is looking to expand its presence in different countries to recruit more international students. “We are working with the group called Futuro Las Americas, an organization that is working with the schools and Chamber of Commerce in Latin America to sponsor students to come to the US,” said Atkins.

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Drop in International Enrollment Leaves Dickinson Unaffected