Edition 51 - July 2005

ACA seminar outcomes: Admissions of international students and Europe-Australia compared

The July European Policy Seminar focused on the challenges of admissions, specifically the “policies and tools for the admission of international students into higher education”.  Below please find conclusions from two presentations, the ACA admissions study and Dr. Robert Coelen's comparison of European and Australian institutional strategies for international admissions.

The ACA presentation built on the findings of a recent study on the admission of international students into higher education.  Some key conclusions from the presentation by Senior Officer Franziska Muche were:

National level:

    1. National authorities and higher education institutions need to recognize the importance of adequate admissions and selection procedures
    2. National or state legislation should not be a straightjacket
    3. National bodies should provide comprehensive information on foreign qualifications
    4. In a competitive environment, there are limits to national-level or discipline-specific cooperation in foreign admissions

Institutional level:

    1. Institutions need a strategic approach to the admission of international degree students
    2. Institutions should take responsibility for their foreign degree students
    3. Several organisational models may work, as long as potential problems of each structure are anticipated
    4. Institutions should employ a sufficient number of competent staff and establish clear communication structures

Assessment and timing:

    1. The admissions decision should be based on academic criteria, and these should be transparent and clearly communicated
    2. Selection and assessment should take into account the variety of educational systems and qualifications
    3. Language is important but should not prevail over academic criteria
    4. Timing should take into account specific needs and constraints of foreign applicants

Europe and Australia compared

In addition to this, national and institutional level experts from different European backgrounds presented various models for international admissions, and discussed their usefulness.  Dr Robert Coelen, Vice-President International Universiteit Leiden and presenter delivered some key take home messages to a lively audience related to a comparison of European and Australian institutional strategies for international admissions:

  • No matter what happens, admission staff are working to transform the lives of young people
  • A high level of automation is a must to allow staff to be people focussed and not process focussed
  • The motivation for internationalisation has a strong influence on the strategy deployed in admission
  • Universities can be very innovative when it comes to structuring pathways of entry and will ‘capture’ students through partnership arrangements

ACA wishes to thank all its seminar participants and speakers for their contributions.  We look forward to welcoming you to the next seminar focusing on:

English-Taught Programmes and Language Policy in European Higher Education, Brussels, 30 September 2005. 

Background of the Admissions Challenge seminar
Next ACA seminar: English-taught programmes

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