All Around the Liberal Arts: The World, et al. Edition

By Alex Park

Grinnell CollegeAs a movement on campus to extend the existing need-blind admissions policy to international students continues to gather support at Grinnell, an initially narrow beam of criticism has expanded to focus on the college’s entire process of recruiting and admitting international students.

Like many institutions of its caliber and size that value an internationally diverse student body, Grinnell has long found recruiting students abroad to be a special challenge. Unlike most institutions of its size, the admissions office at Grinnell can afford to pay for at least one of its admissions officers to recruit abroad in multiple countries every year. Doing so gives the process the “personal touch” needed to put a face to the view books, according to the Scarlet & Black, Grinnell’s student newspaper.

But just showing up at someone’s high school for the afternoon is often not enough in itself to convince one to leave their home and fly to Iowa for the next four years. This is especially the case since international students rarely opt to visit before enrolling. Moreover, since the liberal arts method is unique to the United States, admissions officers often find that one of the first hurdles encountered when recruiting internationally is convincing students that the type of education offered at Grinnell is valuable at all.

“International students come here mostly by chance,” one senior from Guatemala told the Scarlet & Black. She, for one, said that no one from the college contacted her during the admissions process. All of her information came from the website and view books.

In the future, admissions officers say, they hope to revamp the admissions website to have testimony from successful international alums. A new recruitment DVD specifically geared towards international students is also being discussed. In all likelihood, it will contain sweeping footage of the college’s surrounding cornfields apart from the campus, the only other geographic feature in the entire area. Surely, that would get anyone’s attention.

Gloucestershire College

Forget self-segregation. After doubling its number of international students this year, a new dorm is being erected exclusively for international students on what is now considered an impromptu landfill at this Gloucestershire, England, institution.

Not everyone in the neighborhood is thrilled, however. Noise and crime are something of a concern for many residents. But, citing some bizarre attempt at a culturally sensitive line of thought, a college spokesperson said, “We don’t think there will be any problems with the halls of residence in terms of noise because the people there will be a different culture of people.” The spokesperson also had this colorful metaphor to illustrate the point: “They won’t be a lot of freshers; it will be a different kettle of fish.” Do you follow? I didn’t think so.

To quash any fears of a trans-cultural disaster waiting to happen, the college also intends to have four seniors live in the building as well, because apparently, people who hail from outside of England don’t always know how to “use [the building] in an appropriate manner,” according to the spokesperson. And people say we’re politically incorrect.