Recruiting in Latin America

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JoAnn Shore with a prospective student and her mother in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.

Lead Admissions Counselor JoAnn Shore spent the past few weeks visiting high schools throughout Latin America. Here’s a recap of her trip and some of the people she met along the way:

Our first stop was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I was greeted by excited high school students at each stop. Two of the schools were new to me but Penn State did not seem to be new to them.  I had lots of interested students talk to me. The traffic in that city is constant. It is hard to imagine that they will be ready for the World Cup, but we will see.
I then met up with the larger group and visited more schools in Brazil. In Campinas, I was in the middle if the college fair when a smiling woman walked up to me and said, “We Are!” It was the mother of a student named Vanessa who attends Penn State Erie. She was a bit hesitant to go there at first but now her mother reports she absolutely loves it. Her younger sister is looking to study in the United States also.

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JoAnn Shore and Penn State alumni Rebecca Pettit-Williams.

That same day I met Rebecca Pettit-Williams, a Penn State alumni and teacher in Campinas. I gave her a banner for her room because she wants to tell all of her students about how great Penn State is.

The stop in Quito is always a very busy one for me. Since Penn State is on the list of top global universities, students in Ecuador can get a full scholarship to Penn State if they are admitted. As a result, our enrollment from Ecuador is growing substantially, and current students are telling future students how fabulous their experiences have been at Penn State.

We visited three different high schools in Honduras this year, the most that I have ever done in that country. At one school, we were greeted by live marimba players who

Marimba players at a college fair.

Marimba players at a high school in Honduras.

serenaded us during our lunch. The students there were eager to find out what it is like to study in the United States.

I celebrated my birthday in Nicaragua. I was totally surprised when a student stopped by with a chocolate cupcake, and then a bit later, another one stopped by with a handmade tote bag for me. I had mentioned by upcoming birthday to one of our current Penn State students and he told his cousin and girlfriend to bring me gifts. What a wonderful surprise to make my day really special! Many students there are quite interested in learning about Penn State.

I had told one interested student from Panama to watch the THON video and this is what he wrote:
“I particularly remember that you told me to watch the YouTube video on THON, which I immediately did that day when I got home. I was extremely impressed at the size of the event; I would’ve never imagined it to be that huge. I was extremely blown away by THON, and specifically love the idea that the kids and families that participate in it every year have let it become a huge part of their lives. I was impressed by how much money they collected to support cancer! I really hope that someday I can be a part of the THON team.”

We ended the 2013 tour with a visit to two islands:  Dominican Republic and Grand Cayman.  We had several very successful fairs there.  It is always so inspiring when I have so many students stop at my table to learn about Penn State.

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