International officers from US and UK share great advice for college counsellors

Great tips for international school college counsellors were shared in an ISC Research webinar this month. 

A webinar for international school college counsellors, hosted by ISC Research in October, featured guest speakers Aaron Anderson, President of International ACAC and Rob Carthy, a member of the Executive Committee of BUILA who shared advice for college counsellors about engaging with universities. Both speakers are also Directors of international student recruitment and development; Aaron at the University of British Columbia in Canada, and Rob at Northumbria University in England.

Here’s some of the practical advice they offered to international school college counsellors during the webinar:

1.       Relationships between a college counsellor and an international officer are very important so invest the time and budget you have available to network and build these relationships.

2.       Face to face contact between counsellors and international officers is most valuable for successful long-term relationships that support the best possible student representation, so attend conferences and events when you can.

3.       International ACAC has a very popular Facebook group that connects college counsellors and international officers. It’s a great place to ask questions with the chance of receiving a breadth of feedback. If you don’t want to actively engage, following the Facebook threads is valuable for building your knowledge and understanding of college counsellor/international officer engagement.

4.       If you are requesting a visit from an international officer to your school, be very clear what you want from that visit; is it relationship-building and knowledge gathering between officer and counsellor? Is it a chance for students to meet and engage with a university officer? Or is the focus to be on parents, or parents and students connecting with the university representative?

5.       If you want to engage with British universities, BUILA is an excellent place for you to start. BUILA can help you engage with over 2,000 British university international officers.

6.       International ACAC offers bursaries to college counsellors who have the time but not the budget to attend national or regional conferences.

7.       Whenever you can, work together with a network or cluster of schools, or a group of schools located in close proximity, to engage with international officers while they are on tour. If you can help an international officer most efficiently coordinate a day in a city; assisting their travel plans, collaborating on a schedule, or joining together for visits, there is more chance that you will be able to engage directly, and benefit most effectively, with long-term relationship success.

8.       If your school is remote and difficult for international officers to visit, consider a webinar event with a university to enable the international officer to engage with your students and take them on a virtual tour of their campus and undergraduate opportunities.

9.       In your email signature, along with all your contact details, include valuable details about your school and its students to help inform or remind international officers quickly and easily about your school.

10.   Create a dedicated college counselling webpage including details about your school, students, curriculum, key contacts within college counselling, and all the valuable information that university international officers need.

11.   Get your students involved in connecting with the universities your school hasn’t previously engaged with: in groups, set your students an assignment to research a university of their choice, connect with the international officers, and even challenge them to set up a visit for the international officer to your school.

Much more advice was shared during the 45-minute webinar. If you would like to receive a full recording contact

If you’re an international school college counsellor and would like to have your say in the latest Pathways to Higher Education study by ISC Research, the survey is open until 15th October and you can  participate here.