Foreign Enrollment Levels Off
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 28, 2012 03:09
While annual international undergraduate application totals have grown significantly since the turn of the millennium, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions intends to keep the proportion of international students on campus stable going forward.
International students, who comprise 9 percent of the undergraduate population at Georgetown, have applied to the university in rising numbers in recent years, according to Dean of Admissions Charles Deacon. The university received close to 2,200 international applications for the Class of 2016, compared to about 600 such applications for the Class of 2004.
According to Deacon, the admissions office has sent admissions officers abroad to inform prospective students about Georgetown since the early 1980s.
“Georgetown’s goal has always been to be representative internationally, so an international student population of 7 to 10 percent is the range that we hope to have every year. But within that range, we hope to have our students coming from a fairly wide distribution of countries,” Deacon said. The Class of 2016 includes students from 47 foreign countries, though no more than 20 students hail from each individual nation.
Georgetown admissions officers work with admissions departments at Harvard University, Stanford University, Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania in the Exploring College Options Group, which travels abroad to provide information sessions for parents and students across the world.
Senior Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions Jaime Briseño is responsible for recruiting students from Latin America and the Caribbean as well as much of southern California, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Briseño said that traveling with other well-known schools allows Georgetown to present itself to high school students who may not have heard of the university.
“The program really increases our visibility for areas that may have heard primarily of Harvard or Stanford. When students abroad consider American colleges, they tend to go by the most known name,” he said. “They are able to learn about Georgetown and walk away knowing why it might be a great fit.”
According to Deacon, admissions officers advertise Georgetown for its location, Jesuit values and global perspective.
Briseño added that while Georgetown’s Catholic values are appealing to much of the Latin American market, traveling with other universities gives Georgetown access to a wider variety of students who consider Georgetown for reasons other than its religious affiliation.
“[I hope] that students gain a better understanding of how broad the Georgetown population is as a Catholic school … so that they realize that although we are very much a Catholic Jesuit school, we actually appeal to a large proportion of non-Catholics and are supportive of everyone,” Briseño said.
Georgetown’s alumni network also helps draw international applicants. Former Filipino president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo attended Georgetown, so the school is well known in the Philippines, according to Filipino student Randy Puno (COL ’16).
“There is a solid alumni class back home, so I’ve considered Georgetown as a possibility my entire life,” Puno said.
But according to Briseño, Georgetown’s limited financial aid budget for foreign students limits the number of international students who can attend.
“The challenge isn’t as much market penetration in some foreign cities but rather the limited budget that the university has for foreign students,” he said. “It would be great if the financial aid office had a greater budget, because it would allow us to reach out to more middle-class students from across the world.”
However, Deacon emphasized that his office has no intention of increasing the proportion of international students on the Hilltop.
“We are happy to have international students, we get a very talented pool, we get a very representative group from all around the world, but we also feel the responsibility to U.S. citizens,” he said.