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Top universities coming to town to participate in CIS

Sep 21, 2011 2:30:40 PM - www.ft.lk

Initiated as an add-on trip to the Council of International Schools (CIS) South Asia Tour and coordinated by Scholarships for USA (Pvt) Ltd. (www.scholarshipsforusa.com), Vanderbilt University, Pepperdine University and Penn State would be visiting Colombo on October 4/5 in the company of few prestigious universities that have rarely travelled to the island before.
The highlight of the visit would be an opening evening where the best achievers of the nation could discuss with each rep of admissions and financial aid.

CIS will be held on 4 and 5 October 2011 with expectations of expanding international recruitment of high ranking US universities and colleges to outstanding Sri Lankan students and the Lankan public will be offered the rare chance of meeting the admission officials of several top schools on a one-on-one basis at the fair.
Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University is well recognised for its impressive academic standards, outstanding quality of life, and ability to produce inquisitive graduates in pursuit of a variety of goals, from breakthroughs in medical research to Nobel Prizes.
US News & World Report consistently ranks Vanderbilt among the top 20 universities in the country. As an internationally recognised teaching and research university with strong partnerships among its 10 schools, neighbouring institutions, and the community, Vanderbilt’s undergraduate international population is rising steadily, and included 6% of the most recently admitted class.
At Vanderbilt, students can pursue undergraduate degrees in science and engineering while also fulfilling their passion for languages, fine arts, music, education, and human development. This combination of breakthrough research, liberal arts, interdisciplinary research centres, and a distinguished medical centre creates an invigorating atmosphere where researchers collaborate to solve complex problems affecting health, culture, and society, and students tailor their education to meet their goals across disciplines.
The 8:1 student-faculty ratio gives each student access to faculty members of prominence in every area of academic study. Full-time faculty share their perspectives as instructors and advisors united by one goal: Providing a challenging, comprehensive education that helps students think critically and broadly. From the first year on, students may work beside professors who are performing original research, deciphering genetic codes, or decoding ancient scripts. Undergraduates co-author approximately 25% of the research papers published by Vanderbilt faculty and share in presenting their work at professional conferences.
The university’s community thrives on interaction, not only between professors and students, but also between students who hold different views and interests.
At Vanderbilt, students are among a very select group of international students who represent more than 100 countries in its combined undergraduate and graduate student populations. Vanderbilt has long-valued having an international presence on campus, including students from China, Mexico, and Germany in its first class.
Since then, international students have set standards and broken barriers in almost every facet of the university community. Several international students have received honours for highest achievement in their class, including a student from Taiwan who was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in the School of Engineering.
Today, the Vanderbilt International Office (VIO) serves as an important resource for its international students by providing one point of contact for information and assistance with visas, human resource questions, and other issues. And though a student may be thousands of miles from home, there are over 20 international student organisations to help make Vanderbilt a home away from home.
Pepperdine University
 Pepperdine University is a Christian university committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership.
The independent, medium-sized university enrols approximately 7,600 students in five colleges and schools. Seaver College, the School of Law, the Graduate School of Education and Psychology, the Graziadio School of Business and Management, and the School of Public Policy are located on the university’s 830-acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu. Courses are taught in Malibu, at four graduate campuses in Southern California, and at international campuses in Germany, England, Italy, Argentina, Switzerland, and China.
The university was founded in 1937 by George Pepperdine, a Christian businessman who started the Western Auto Supply Company. For the first 30 years of its life, the institution was a small, mostly undergraduate college. University status was achieved in 1970 as the institution added graduate and professional schools. In 1972, the university opened its new campus at Malibu.
Pepperdine University is religiously affiliated with Churches of Christ, of which George Pepperdine was a lifelong member. Faculty, administrators, and members of the Board of Regents represent many religious backgrounds, and students of all races and faiths are welcomed.
It is the purpose of Pepperdine University to pursue the very highest academic standards within a context that celebrates and extends the spiritual and ethical ideals of the Christian faith.
Richard L. “Rich” Dawson has been working in international education for 22 years as the Director of the Office of International Student Services for Pepperdine University. That office serves approximately 600 international students each year at the five schools of Pepperdine University – Seaver College, The School of Law, The George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management, The Graduate School of Education and Psychology and The School of Public Policy.
Dawson has led five tours to East Asia, Oceania and the Asian sub-continent over the last nine years, the most recent one being to Oceania in June of 2010. He was recently honoured by the Overseas Association of College Admission Counselling in 2010 with the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also honoured in 2009 by the Council of International Schools with the T. Michael Mayberry Award for distinguished service.
He speaks regularly at international conferences such as the CIS Forum in Europe, NAFSA the Association of International Educators, the OACAC Summer Conference and at Education USA regional conferences in East Asia/Pacific and at MENA, the Middle East and North Africa.
Penn State
Penn State is a multi-campus public research university that educates students from Pennsylvania, the nation and the world, and improves the well being and health of individuals and communities through integrated programmes of teaching, research, and service.
Penn State offers more than 160 majors in areas such as business, engineering, information technology, and the liberal arts. Its programmes are ranked among the best in the United States by the National Science Foundation, U.S. News and World Report, the Princeton Review, Newsweek, and many other national organisations and publications.
Its graduates are very competitive in the job market, with many academic programmes having fulltime job placement rates at or above 90 per cent. Additionally, graduates of its business, engineering and technology-focused programmes often have starting salaries of more than $ 60,000, with many receiving signing bonuses.
Penn State graduates are also well-prepared for advanced study in law, medicine and other disciplines. Penn State encourages students to take advantage of internship opportunities during their undergraduate studies and offer many ways for students to connect with potential employers at career fairs and other events hosted by the University’s Office of Career Services. Penn State has more than 500,000 alumni, many of whom recruit students for positions at their companies. The value of a Penn State degree is recognised around the world.
Penn State is a Research I university, bringing in more than $700 million in funding annually from the public and private sectors to conduct cutting-edge research in healthcare, cyber-security, and many other fields. Its faculty members include Fulbright scholars, Nobel Prize winners, and National Science Foundation fellows.
Its research, scholarship, and creative activity promote human and economic development, global understanding, and progress in professional practice through the expansion of knowledge and the application of that knowledge in the natural and applied sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and the professions.
Penn State offers students the opportunity to select from among 1,200 student clubs and organisations, including sports and athletic groups, community service organizations, and religious/cultural groups. Penn State’s dance marathon (THON) is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world and, in 2011, raised more than $9 million for paediatric cancer research through the Four Diamonds Fund. Penn State encourages students to get involved from their very first days on campus as a way of becoming part of the Penn State community while bolstering professional experiences through student leadership opportunities.
Penn State has a vibrant international student community with extensive resources available through the Office of Global Programs. The Office of Global Programs is there to help students coming from outside the United States transition to Penn State and life on campus. The Institute for International Education listed Penn State as 18th among US institutions hosting international students.
Penn State encourages all international students to complete their application for admission by 1 February for summer and fall admission, and by 1 October for spring admission. For more information about Penn State and the application process, visit the Undergraduate Admissions website at: admissions.psu.edu.
Associate Director in the Undergraduate Admissions Office at Penn State Mary Adams has helped connect international undergraduate students to Penn State for the past 25 years.  She has travelled to over 60 countries meeting with students and their families to discuss both the benefits of a US education and the opportunities offered at Penn State. With over 160 baccalaureate degree majors and 20 undergraduate campuses, Penn State provides a broad range of options to students.
Mary has served the international admissions community on a variety of committees and advisory groups including the Council of International Schools, The College Board, The International Baccalaureate, the Cambridge International Examinations and NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Mary is excited to return to Sri Lanka. She was last here in 2003.

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