21 high school students and 6 guidance counselors from the largest and most prestigious private high school systems in Pakistan visited Brookdale’s Lincroft campus on July 17. Their visit was part of a three-week summer immersion program, offered by EducationUSA in partnership with EdPrograms, that provides students a glimpse of the American college experience through exposure to a wide variety of colleges and universities throughout the east coast.
At each institution visited, students participate in hands-on activities in disciplines ranging from business and science to humanities and multidisciplinary studies, while counselors in attendance receive professional development workshops. Topics include U.S. Higher Education, application review, college essays, financial aid and scholarship opportunities, effective counseling and advising, honor code, plagiarism, and other facets of cultural adjustment and integration into American Higher Education.
The delegation’s visit to Brookdale began with a welcome from Director of Brookdale’s International Center Dr. Janice Thomas, who expressed her excitement at the opportunity to host students and counselors from Pakistan. She stated “I’m so blessed to work with a wonderful group of folks who worked hard to prepare a wonderful experience for you today.”
Thomas introduced Brookdale’s President, Dr. David Stout, who explained the focus of community colleges and the ways in which Brookdale is unique among them, including its rich history and success in academics and athletics. “This community college is on the map,” Stout stated, “it is one of the most prestigious community colleges in the U.S.” Thomas also introduced the group to Brookdale’s Vice President of Learning Dr. Matthew Reed and others involved in hosting this group on campus.
Associate Director of One Stop Revé Anderko and Student Success Coach / Advisor Kirsten Nordgaard presented Brookdale’s mission, honing in on access and affordable education, illustrating the almost twenty-three thousand dollar cost comparison between Brookdale and four-year institutions, including tuition and fees, living expenses, books and supplies, for the same high-quality education.
Student Services Advisor Lucyna WadychKetley followed, stating “we have a unique opportunity for you. It feels quite overwhelming, in the beginning, to attend a four-year school. Here at Brookdale, that will never happen to you. When you come here, you are very well-prepared to study and be successful.”
After a campus tour, the students learned about The Innovation Network (TIN), Brookdale’s interdisciplinary project-based learning initiative, before collaborating on project-centered activities related to food insecurity, with recent Brookdale graduate, Erika Etkine, an active participant with TIN.
In the afternoon, students were led by Professor of Chemistry Dr. Tom Berke, Associate Professor of Communications Debbie Mura, and Associate Professor / Librarian Valerie Bonilla through case studies developed by students from the Educational Opportunity Fund Program (EOF) and TIN, who also helped facilitate the afternoon’s experiential activities.
Bonilla also offered a workshop on Academic Integrity, Honor Code, and Plagiarism, for counselors. She stated that the counselors and students “want to learn, and we want to learn from them; to understand the different definitions of academic integrity, internationally, helps us to help them be successful in the United States.”
WadychKetley provided a workshop for counselors on cultural adjustment, before they were led to the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education by docent Mimi Werbler who shared the exhibit “Journeys Beyond Genocide: The Human Experience!”
Berke stated “Through the TIN experiences our visiting Pakistani students got a very warm, personal feel for Brookdale. This, I suspect, is something very few if any other schools will offer them. Also as the day progressed we could feel [them] opening up and by the time they presented their solutions to hunger in their assigned countries they seemed comfortable presenting to the group.”
After a campus tour led by student ambassador Bani Kaur, visiting student Shafay Naveed, 17, stated “The campus is lovely,” while Abdul Moeed, 17, happily pointed out that “the campus is full of nature.” Ayaan Sultan, 17, said “It’s amazing, I like it. The classrooms are amazing, capacity is low.”
In just one day, students learned the benefits of attending community college, and were particularly impressed with Brookdale. As Shayan Abbas, 16, said “I would consider community college, tuition is low and you get the same experience in a four-year college, which has so many students that you don’t get individual attention. Here, you can be more connected to Professors.” Clearly, the experience was worthwhile for everyone in attendance.
To learn more about Brookdale’s International Programs, click HERE.