Rep Newsletters: Making the Best of Two Sides of the Same Coin - International Admissions and International Services
International Admission (IA) and International Student Services (ISS), or whatever your institution’s
name for each is, are two sides of the same coin – the international experience and support at an
institution. IA recruits international students and brings them in, then ISS supports the students
throughout their academic journey. Each traditionally operates separately in their assigned roles, but
are there ways they can better collaborate to support their students? Not only is there a key transition
period between when a student is admitted until they become a fully enrolled and attending student,
but there are ways throughout the entire process of admission and enrollment that the two offices can
support each other and collaborate. As an international professional that has worked in both areas
(separately and at the same time), I have been afforded a unique vantage point that has helped me
identify key areas in which they can. The following is anecdotal based on over a decade of experience to
provide my reflections and tips that I hope can help you and your offices at your institution.
First and foremost, have office structures and staffing that meet the needs of your institution and its
goals, and understand the structures you have, the overlap, and the transition period. This is essential to
ensure a comprehensive and actionable workflow for staff and experience for students, and structures
and staffing naturally vary from institution to institution. In some institutions an admission DSO issues all
incoming F-1 and J-1 documents, but in others it’s an ISS DSO. In others it might be a staff member that
reports to both offices – someone that essentially is the transition point for students. Other factors
when setting up your structure and flow are to consider are: which team follows-up regarding next steps
(both academic and status related), which handles arrival and orientation, and who are a student’s
contact points and for what. Knowing, understanding, and enacting the answers to these questions is
essential for smooth operations and transition for the student.
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