On November 3-5, 2016, we held our fourth OpenApply Admissions Conference in Asia-Pacific at the Western International School of Shanghai. We were thrilled to welcome over 80 participants representing 43 schools.

See the full list of participating schools here.

On November 3 and 4, we offered two pre-conference options to participants:

1. The Fundamentals of International School Admissions
With 15 years of admissions experience, Catalina Gardescu, Manager of Admissions and External Relations at the American International School of Bucharest, provided a 2-day certificate course based on her work with the ECIS Admissions Committee, the International Ideas Group, SSATB and the Common Ground Collaborative Admissions Group.

2. Transition & Mobility
Drs. Douglas W. Ota, Psychologist, Coach, Author, Presenter | NIP Registered Child Psychologist provides a comprehensive overview of the field of transitions at international schools to give you the language and tools to make substantive inroads in improving how mobility is addressed at your schools.

On Saturday, November 5, we started the main conference with a keynote from Drs. Douglas W. Ota, who spoke on “Moving & Our Schools.” Doug shared his own personal stories demonstrating the impact of unresolved loss, and encouraged participants to think more deeply about how their schools recognize and deal with loss and attachment.

Next, in his session Dr. David Willows, the Director of Admissions and Advancement at the International School of Brussels, introduced a new process of “Re-imagining School Admissions as a Learning Experience.” He engaged participants in four playful exercises:

  • The Brain (focused on connecting with families)
  • The Script (focused on re-framing the school tour)
  • The Space (focused on the architecture and design of the admissions office)
  • The Game (focused on eliciting real priorities and interests from families & students)

Following a coffee break, Aimee Gruber, Senior Director of Outreach & Business Development at The Enrollment Management Association, presented the results from the first-of-its-kind “Global Survey of International Admission Professionals.” The data revealed a disparate approach to the practice of admissions at international schools, and helped provide a more data-driven picture of the work being done at international schools. (For example, 71% of admissions leaders at international schools do not have the final decision making on applicants.)

Next, insights into the “State of Admissions in China” were presented during a panel discussion including:

Findings show that more expatriates are leaving than entering the country, and bilingual schools are on the rise, prompting international schools to re-examine their identities and futures.

After lunch and school tour, participants broke for variety of afternoon workshops, including:

Final notes of the day were given by Dr. David Willows who reassures us: “Best practices are our next practices.” He encouraged participants to focus on incremental change by writing down one new practice or initiative to focus on in the next 66 days.

The evening ended with a spicy Yunnan experience at Lost Heaven on The Bund!

Further notes:

We were honoured to support the community of international school admissions staff in Asia-Pacific and look forward to reconvening next year.

Participants said:

I had such a good time! I learned tons (already applied some!) and met so many wonderful people

You have no idea how happy I was to be part of the conference. I must congratulate you for putting up a great show and very well organized event in terms of logistics and course content.

As always, the Admissions conference was so well-organized and a great platform for networking.

 

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