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Landing the African Student. EducationUSA Forum Friday, 8:45-10:00. Shade Adebayo: Abuja, Nigeria. The Team. Rebecca Zeigler Mano: Harare, Zimbabwe. Daphne Johnston: University of Kansas. Eric Weinhold : CIS. Nancy Keteku: Accra, Ghana. Diane Weisz Young: Washington, DC.

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Landing the African Student

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Landing the African Student

EducationUSA Forum

Friday, 8:45-10:00

  • Shade Adebayo: Abuja, Nigeria

The Team

  • Rebecca Zeigler Mano: Harare, Zimbabwe

  • Daphne Johnston: University of Kansas

  • Eric Weinhold: CIS

  • Nancy Keteku: Accra, Ghana

  • Diane Weisz Young: Washington, DC

Students’ Starting Point

Recruiting Advantages in Africa

More Advantages


How Do Students and Families Make Decisions?

What’s on Students’ Minds

Considerations for Francophone/Lusophone Students

We Show Students How to Deal With…

How EducationUSA Makes a Difference

  • Familiarity with students’ context: interpretation of academic achievement, readiness, thought processes

  • “We teach them to fish”: Training in critical thinking skills, writing, reading, decision-making: no shortcuts

  • Criteria-based selection of schools

  • Financial planning

Testing Challenges

  • Registration without credit card

  • Lack of preparation materials, classes, mindset

  • Poor access: out of 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa….

    • 8 countries have CBT GRE

    • 11 countries have GMAT

    • 36 countries have SAT/ACT

    • 23 countries have IBT TOEFL/IELTS/PTE-A

Reality Checks

  • IIE Locator Reports show that significant numbers of African students are paying for their U.S. education

  • Thousands of African students, especially those who worked with EducationUSA, return home each year

  • Africa has the fastest-growing economies in the world; middle class ($6,000-$30,000 annual income) is expanding

Institutional Self-Analysis

How Africans Enrich a Campus

How Africans Enrich a Campus

Outreach and Recruitment Concerns

  • Limited knowledge or understanding of the region— educational systems, economy, student demographics, interest, needs

  • Fear that recruitment/marketing/outreach efforts will not produce sufficient yield (ROI)

  • Limited financial resources for recruiting, including travel & scholarships

  • Relatively small numbers of African students and faculty

  • Historical issues that have created an impression of problems with applications and funding

Wall Painting in Chad!

Building Campus Support for Africa

  • Always start with vision, and stick to it

  • Find leverage by tying together institutional priorities, programs, community

    • education abroad

    • service learning

    • faculty and curriculum development

    • university linkages

    • reciprocal research opportunities

  • Creative funding for cost-effectiveness

  • Inclusiveness and wide circle of stakeholders

  • Spotlight African students’ success

Application Roadblocks

  • Inability to submit online application & pay application fee

  • Unofficial vs. official academic records—verifying authenticity of documents

  • Inability or unwillingness to submit required official test scores

  • Insufficient or invalid financial documents

  • Faculty unfamiliarity with African institutions

  • Challenge of matching to graduate faculty advisors/research partners

  • Third party involvement in application process

  • Erratic communication throughout the application process

  • Mailing issues—both to and from

  • Everything can be very slow, resulting in need to defer admission

  • Sending students through EducationUSA addresses these issues!


  • Understanding

    • less common academic credentials (e.g., Francophone/Lusophonesystems, or countries that send few students abroad)

    • how to identify and assess curricula, education systems, and schools (international schools, marquee schools (e.g. Oprah Winfrey, ALA, UWC), and national/provincial/local schools) and universities

    • Challenges students face with standardized testing and the impact of their test score(s)

    • Writing styles and approaches – US expectations

  • Banner Web access

  • Mobi apps/FaceBook/social media

Finances & Financial Aid

  • Consolidate smaller scholarships into larger, more effective awards

  • Provide clear, detailed explanations of comprehensive costs, billable and non-billable expenses, how financial aid works (tuition waivers/credits, loans, on campus employment), billing and payment policies and procedures, and summer/vacation living costs

  • Do not require the CSS Profile; offer alternatives

  • Waive application fees

Best Practices

  • “Like” EducationUSA center pages

  • Put EducationUSA link on your website and direct students to EducationUSA centers at initial and post-admission stages

  • Offer EducationUSA scholarships or nominations for special treatment: fast-track applications, etc.

The Personal Touch

  • Students need personal connection, frequent guidance in pre-departure & arrival process

  • Have African students on campus contact admitted students to improve yield

  • Orientation & initial adjustment

  • Adjustment of relationships and expectations

  • Need for community, mentors, friends, allies as well as academic advising

Doing Your Homework

  • Learn the educational systems, documents and credentials:


    • Consult advisors!

    • NAFSA’s Online Guide to Educational Systems:

    • Peggy Bell Hendrickson:

    • Resources on Accreditation and Higher Education in Africa: A Webliography(Keteku, available from author)

  • Learn the landscape and stay current:

    • EducationUSA Africa group on Facebook:


    •, Africa edition

Support for African Students

  • MIT Legatum Fellows

  • Michigan STEM-Africa & African Presidential Scholars Programs

  • Foundation for African Leadership in Business

  • Dartmouth King Scholarship

  • “Our goal is to double our African enrollment within 5 years”

  • More in pipeline

Why Work with EducationUSA?

Students who use EducationUSA choose appropriate schools (academic, financial and personal), complete the application process, are honest and committed students, qualify for admission, plan their finances, make good decisions, qualify for visas, attend pre-departure orientation, enroll, graduate and return home.

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