Just as I adjust to the time difference between Asia and the U.S., our APSIA graduate school tour is coming to an end. As glamorous as recruitment travel may sound, we spend the majority of our time in hotels, airports and getting lost on public transportation (I will speak for myself on the final item). However, the energy gained from meeting with excited and brilliant prospective students is always energizing and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love to travel? While on the road, we usually meet up with our APSIA collegues and this trip is no exception. We try to stay in the same hotels, share taxis, pick restaurants and usually manage to plug-in a sightseeing trip or two.
Here’s a brief overview of a week in the life of a graduate school admissions representative during the fall recruitment season:
Sunday, Sept 18
Wake up at 3:30am, fly to Chicago then direct to Shanghai. Sleep – who needs sleep? There are way too many reruns of The Office to get any shut-eye during the 14+ hour flight.
Monday, Sept 19
Arrive in Shanghai at 2pm, taxi to hotel, throw bag in room, brush teeth and head to alumni reception at 6pm. Is the floor swaying or is just me?
Tuesday, Sept 20
Go to SJTU University for an info session from 10am-1:30pm. Meet with many wonderfully talented and well-educated students at the Hui campus and Dean HU Wei. Twelve APSIA schools are present and we give a brief presentation about our programs and answer questions about our schools, admissions requirements, fin aid, etc.
We have three hours before the next event – what to do? All of us would love to kick off our heels and take a quick snooze but who can pass up the opportunity to check out some sights? A few other APSIA reps and I hop in a taxi and head to Yu Yuan gardens and eat lunch, shop in the pouring rain (umbrellas are ridiculously cheap in China (surprise) and they come out of the woodwork the minute a drop falls, go capitalism)go back to hotel, check emails and head to Fudan University for info sessions and grad school fair from 5pm-8pm.
#1 Question: What is your GRE requirement?
Answer: We don’t have a minimum GRE requirement – we look at each applicant holistically, evaluating all aspects for admission. Generally, we pay closer attention to TOEFL scores as it is a better indication of English proficiency.
Beautiful campus, very bright students. Dinner, check out the Bund, email, (kind of ) sleep.
Wednesday, Sept 21
Hit the gym early and head to airport at 9am en route to Hong Kong. Arrive at 3pm. Check emails, take the tram up to the Peak, take in the sights, eat dinner, email, sleep.
Thursday, Sept 22
Amazing breakfast spread at the hotel – from decadent pastries to soba noodles and tofu. We all sip the “energizer” juice made from carrots, celery, mango and ginger and chug coffee before heading to the ferry terminal en route to Macau. In addition to feeling the full effects of jet lag at this point, some of us are now seasick but we smile pretty for the camera as people snap photos of us, odd shades of green streak our cheery faces. Cheese 🙂 It’s a beautiful ferry ride though, Hong Kong is lovely and the people at the University of Macau, Education USA and GAIS were incredibly warm and welcoming. We had an amazing lunch with faculty and advisors and then meet with about 100 students at the Uni of Macau. Pictures to come! Fortunately, the return ferrywas much smoother and ventured to our 6-8pm recruitment fair at The Focal Point.
The power of social media: apparently a high school student saw our flyer and assumed that our reps were there to represent the entire institution. So we had about 20 high school students asking about acting programs, sports scholarships, etc. Very cute but first things first: read the flyer properly!
Friday, Sept 23
My life flashed before me as a SAIS rep and I head to the airport with a sleepy taxi driver. We clapped, laughed loudly and almost broke out in tune to keep him awake. A little sketchy but so was the driving in Shanghai, what can you do. We made it to the airport and boarded our flight for Bangkok.
Which is where I write this post. Although it’s now Saturday in the wee hours of the morning. I happen to love Bangkok and 3 of us just returned from a well deserved foot massage.
So as your sip your morning brew, I turn down the lights and snooze before our final recruitment event in Bangkok before returning to Denver.
There you have it folks: 6 days, four international cities, 300+ students, one near death experience and a foot massage.
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions