Syracuse University

SU goes on a recruitment tour in the Middle East and Turkey

Over the course of just two months, Sherlyn Sychua, regional manager for advancement and external affairs/admissions, covered thousands of miles from Dubai to Istanbul visiting high schools and attending educational fairs to share the Syracuse experience with prospective students in the Middle East and Turkey.

Sherlyn’s trek began in Kuwait City, Kuwait, where she stopped to meet with students at the American School of Kuwait, Al Bayan High School and American International School of Kuwait. Her recruitment efforts in Kuwait City coincided with the US Educational Group Fair at the Marina Hotel. The event was bustling with 830 prospective undergraduate and graduate students. Sherlyn was joined by two SU alumni from Kuwait, Hessah Alojayan and Essa Al-Sadi, who helped staff the exhibition table.

“The students and their parents really gravitated to Hessah and Essa,” said Sherlyn. “Hearing their first-hand perspective of the academic and cultural experience of SU painted a real picture of the university that does not come through nearly as vividly in a brochure.” 

A trip to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, also meant high school visits and a recruitment fair. Sherlyn met with students at the American International School of Jeddah and British International School of Jeddah. The US Educational Group Fair in Saudi Arabia was held at Effat University. Syracuse University’s iSchool is currently providing curriculum at Effat University under a memo of understanding between the two institutions.

Dr. Hafia al Jamial, president of the Effat, opened the fair. More than 854 attendees kept Sherlyn busy from start to finish with questions concerning undergraduate admissions requirements, graduate programs and cultural opportunities on campus.

The American School of Doha and OBK Scientific Secondary Independent School were the two destinations on Sherylyn’s itinerary during her visit to Doha, Qatar. Though Doha was the shortest stop on her two-month recruitment tour, Sherlyn met with many prospective students who ranked Syracuse among those universities they were most seriously considering. Just like their peers in Saudi Arabia, students in Qatar were encouraged to learn of the numerous cultural offerings and various undergraduate programs available to them at SU.

The Council of International Schools Recruitment Fair in Istanbul, Turkey, brought many serious inquiries. The SU booth was busy all day and, fortunately, Sherlyn had the help of SU alumni Mark and Iren Steen who enthusiastically shared their insight and experience with students, parents and college counselors. The trio was joined by two current SU students, Stephen Keil and James Moschella, who are studying abroad in Istanbul. Collectively, the group was able to accommodate the high fair traffic and field all of the information requests.

“Prospective students and their parents were truly impressed to see the eagerness of former and current SU students to promote their beloved University,” added Sherlyn. “That kind of endorsement shows that the college experience is much more than just lectures and exams.”

While in Istanbul, Sherlyn visited several high schools, including Üsküdar American Academy, Koc School, ENKA School, Robert College, HISAR School and Istanbul International Community School, to introduce prospective students to Syracuse University. As with the other school visits, Sherlyn distributed informational brochures, conducted individual interviews and responded to the questions posed by students who are both intrigued by and anxious about the prospect of attending a university so far from their home.

Finally concluding her travels, Sherlyn returned to the UAE where she visited several high schools in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah before settling back at the SU Dubai office. She was joined by Karen Bass, director of international undergraduate admissions, on her visits to many of the schools in Dubai. 

Sherlyn returned to the office with the names of many prospective students as proof of a worthwhile, although whirlwind, trip. The recruitment tour made it more evident that the consideration of Syracuse University as preferred institution among Middle Eastern and Turkish students is, indeed, growing. According to Sherlyn, the zealous support and participation of SU alumni at the recruitment fairs was also a key component in securing such significant interest. “The enduring tie of alumni to SU, as well as its reputation for academic excellence and welcoming atmosphere, bodes well for sustaining the growing number of applications submitted by Middle Eastern and Turkish students.”