International guidance counsellors get a first-hand look at York

York is home to more than 1,300 international students, but it is uncommon to experience visits by the very people who help students choose the University as their postsecondary destination.

On May 16, Admissions & Recruitment welcomed 30 international guidance counsellors from the United States, United Arab Emirates, Jamaica, India, Turkey, Germany and Malaysia, who came to see for themselves why York is a preferred destination for students from around the globe.

The international counsellors received a tour of York’s facilities including lecture halls, labs, student areas and residencesLeft: The international counsellors received a tour of York’s facilities including lecture halls, labs, student areas and residences

The counsellor’s stop at York was part of an annual joint tour organized with Ryerson University, University of Toronto, University of Guelph and The University of Western Ontario. Now in its sixth year, this year’s joint tour boasted the largest participation yet.

The counsellors’ dedication to their students was evident in their trip to York University, as many of the counsellors personally covered their own air travel fees. Only two counsellors, one from India and one from the US, were sponsored by the five participating universities. The counsellors’ tour of York was arranged by York’s international recruitment team.

The visitors attended an information session about York’s programs and services. Following the session, they were led on a campus tour by current international students. During the information session, many of the counsellors said they were thrilled to hear from a panel made up of four current international York students and one alumni. The panellists enthusiastically addressed questions about why they choose York and Canada over other destinations, and what types of supports they found at York as first-year international students.

A panel of current international students along with one recent grad addressed the counsellors' questionsRight: A panel of current international students along with one recent grad addressed the counsellors’ questions

“All your students that showed us around – their enthusiasm and love of their university was clearly evident,” said Maureen Young , a college admissions counsellor from Dubai. “Canada is most certainly a viable option for most of my students, and judging from my straw poll most will elect to apply there in their senior year.”

The evening portion of their visit included a dinner at the Schulich Executive Dining Room with representatives from each of York’s Faculties, including several deans and associate deans. Conversation centred around York’s world-class programs, scholarships, career prospects for students, admissions requirements and supports for international students.

“From the tour to the presentations, everyone at York was willing to answer questions and help us to get to know the academics, activities, unique programs and student experience there,” said Having fun on the Keele campusDeborah Cossey, from Rainier College in the US. “I appreciated all the time and effort given to making York ‘come alive’ for me and the students with whom I work.”

Right: Having fun on the Keele campus

Following dinner, 14 of the counsellors went on to visit York’s Glendon campus and another two visited the next day, giving them an opportunity to discover York’s bilingual campus and programs, and picturesque campus. Besides a look at the other hosting universities, the tour also included time to explore Toronto, including the CN Tower. “I especially enjoyed our spectacular adventure in the fog high atop the CN Tower!  The entire tour was fantastic and I have been enthusiastically pumping up Toronto-area universities ever since I got back to school,” said Dorothy Street, a counsellor from Germany.

York’s international recruitment team is looking forward to more counsellor visits this summer as a Tri-Toronto Universities Tour has been arranged, in conjunction with the University of Toronto and Ryerson University, ahead of the Overseas Association for College Admission Counselling conference in Calgary.