International admissions is a unique—even lonely—field. Depending on the size of your institution and the makeup of your student body, you may be the only person on your campus with the specialized knowledge necessary to understand and process foreign credentials.
That’s why keeping abreast of current developments and issues in international education is so important. Decisions about credential evaluation are made based on the best available information—but that information can change quickly or may even been written in a language that you don't know. International admissions professionals, perhaps more than most, are particularly obligated to seek out news and continuing education in their fields.
These three tips may help you meet your professional responsibility:
1. Read. What trade publications or newsletters do you follow? How do you keep up on international education news?
Be on the lookout for reputable organizations or recognized leaders in the field who offer expertise, write articles, blog or share information via social media. AACRAO IES Evaluator and Connect contributor Ann Koenig is one researcher and writer who helps to keep professionals informed about higher education-related developments in other countries. (See recent examples here and here.) In addition, check whether the education ministries of common source countries have a regularly-updated news outlet.
2. Network. Build a community of professional peers you can trust. Whether your discussions take place on the phone, email or over social media, finding your counterparts at other institutions gives you an automatic go-to when you come across sticky questions.
If possible, find a mentor in your field. She or he can answer questions, locate resources—and offer encouragement when the going gets tough.
3. Train. When it comes to understanding how to evaluate foreign credentials, nothing can replace good, old-fashioned continuing education—such as AACRAO’s 8th Annual Winter Institute for International Transfer Credit.
Over the course of three days, presenters cover:
--Educational systems in top sending countries, including China, India, Russia, and Germany.
--How to award credit for British CGE Advanced Level Exams and for German upper secondary studies
--Overseas post-secondary transfer credit.
--Converting ECTS credits to U.S. semester hours and foreign study into U.S. semester hours when a credit system is not used abroad.
The Winter Institute, hosted by AACRAO International Education Services, will be held January 27–29, 2014 at the Embassy Suites in Washington D.C.--but registration closes January 15, 2014. Click here to sign up!