Commitment to diversity brings new students to campus
For international students, the University of Denver has long been an attractive option, but in recent years, interest in the institution has grown dramatically.
In 2010–11, said Marjorie Smith, associate dean for international admissions, the University saw an increase in undergraduate applications and enrollments from China, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Italy, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Venezuela.
There were 1,757 international undergraduate applications for the class enrolling in fall 2011, a 29 percent increase over the previous year. Of those students, DU accepted 717, a 25 percent increase. International graduate applications hit 2,668, a 21 percent increase, and DU accepted 816, a 32 percent increase.
Not surprisingly, world events affect DU’s international recruiting and its student body. For example, DU now has one of the largest Libyan student populations in the country, but due to the country’s recent instability, Smith doesn’t expect many new Libyan students this fall. (In 2010–11, DU enrolled about 60 students from Libya, many of whom were sponsored by their government. When, in February 2011, the U.S. froze Libyan assets held in American financial institutions, DU’s International Student and Scholar Services staff worked with the students to help them find ways to continue their studies and cope with the news from home.)
Smith attributes the interest in DU among international students to the University’s commitment to their educational experience and to the value it places on their contributions to the campus’ intellectual life.
“So many universities look at international student enrollments as a profit center,” Smith said. “That is not the University of Denver’s perspective.” Instead, DU recruits international students because it welcomes the diverse perspectives they bring to campus, as well as the opportunity to influence the lives of people who will work in key positions and professions in their countries.
As testimony to DU’s interest in diversity, the institution recently began offering a new incentive scholarship to certain international students. “This year, we offered 50 students an international diversity award,” she said. “Of those, 15 took us up on it. These are 15 students we probably would not have enrolled without the award.”
Smith expects international interest in DU to mushroom in 2012 when it hosts the 2012 Overseas Association of College Admissions Counselors. That event will bring 800 participants, more than half of whom are high school counselors in overseas secondary schools. The other half includes international admissions officers from around the world.