Greetings to all SCC community members direct from Beijing, China. I am pleased to report to you that this trip is off to a very successful beginning!
Today, Bo Fu and I met with the President, Executive Vice President and Vice President of Beijing Limai Foreign Language School. This meeting was a follow up to an initial visit several months ago by Bo and Diana Sampson, Shoreline’s Executive Director of International Education. The goal of today’s meeting was to bring us together to execute a memorandum of understanding between our two schools, one that I believe will pay substantial dividends for SCC in both the short and the long term.
Why is this Agreement Important for SCC?
Over the past two years our International Education team has been very successful expanding our reach into China, an effort that is primarily responsible for triple-digit growth in Chinese student enrollment at SCC during the same period. While the majority of SCC’s student recruitment there is still accomplished through our relationships with independent agents (to whom we pay commission for recruiting and enrolling students), the market is beginning to trend in a different direction.
Chinese high schools have begun to recognize the value of providing “agent-like” services directly. Because the trust level between parents, students and their high school institutions is generally very high, both have far more confidence in the advice and counsel provided by schools (rather than agents) when it comes to preparing their children to attend college in the U.S. For Shoreline Community College this represents a unique opportunity to directly cultivate prospective students throughout their high school careers, rather than once or twice through a third party. Having the ability to connect one-to-one with both students and their parents over a longer period of time will allow us to control our own destiny, so to speak, and could give SCC a very substantial competitive edge over other schools.
Having an “edge” will be crucial to our long-term recruitment efforts in China (and elsewhere), because the marketplace for international students is extremely competitive throughout the U.S. In the past two months we have signed two such agreements; more are planned. Limai is anxious to explore a wide array of creative pathways for us to enhance our partnership, as are we. This is indeed a great way to begin!
Tomorrow we will meet with Tsinghua University’s Director Yan, who visited SCC earlier this month and attended our graduation ceremony! Lee Lambert, Diana Sampson and Bo Fu have worked with Mr. Yan over the past year to establish and cultivate a strong relationship. As a result of Mr. Yan’s many connections, SCC will enroll 8 students from Tsinghua University (1+1 program), and another 9 from Yuyao High School, this fall. More on this tomorrow…
Saturday we head to Xi’an, to visit with our housing partners. This, of course, is the primary purpose of this 6-day China visit. Upon arrival I will hand deliver a letter from Board Chair, Phil Barrett, to our housing partners. The letter expresses the board’s continued strong support of the housing project, and pledges its ongoing commitment to a long and prosperous relationship.
Look for more blog posts as our trip continues…
Until then, be well!