by Jeff Dong
As an international student residing in the dorm, the process of dorm student enrollment has always been interesting to me.
During the week of November 18th, I had the privilege of speaking with both heads of the OES Admission Office, Susie Gundle and Jen Bash. The whole meeting lasted for about forty minutes, primarily focusing on the recent issues on diversity and OES international promotion.
Many of you may have already noticed, the majority population in the dorm community speak Mandarin. Most are from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. The common use of mandarin has helped them create a strong bond within the dorms, which is positive in terms of establishing solid friendships.
Nevertheless, the language bond has been developed so coherently that many of the dorm members do not succeed in communicating with the day students or even cease to practice English inside or outside the classroom.
This year in particular, nine out of twelve freshmen speak mandarin as their first language. The dorm faculty is concerned about the diversity situation, because not only is the minority excluded within the dorm, but also mandarin users do not have the environment to improve their English skills.
With confusion and curiosity, I inquired about the promotion process of the OES Admission Office. To my surprise, their response was that the members have been working extremely hard to bring connections back from Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan and Eastern European countries.
Susie Gundle, the director of admission office, just returned from an international boarding school conference held in London where representatives from all over the world gathered and shared information on their school’s boarding program.
One of the positive signs Susie mentioned was that many African and Eastern European education organizations are fascinated by our school. If we could obtain more applicants, the Upper School population would be far more diverse and we would see an improvement in our multicultural education.
From the past few years, however, there has been an unbelievable trend that the Chinese families are sending more and more children to acquire education here in the U.S. The wave of Chinese applicants is not only present at OES, but in the entirety of North America.
To resolve that particular challenge, Jen said that they were keeping all the standards strict and selecting the most competent students from all around the world. So far the office has received a huge amount of applications already, reflecting the wonderful reputation our school has.
Overall, the enrollment process is a long and complicated mission. So how can we help as high school students? Well, the answer is very simple. Every single one of us is part of the promotion, the way we express our values, disciplines and beliefs absolutely show the communities we belong to and what type of school OES is.
Speaking of propaganda, it is significant for over 300 of us to realize the tremendous power we have as OES Upper School representatives — because we will be the ones who determine the future of OES.