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On the road again

Marie Vivas is the IB Americas University Relations Manager. She has overall responsibility for university recognition in the Americas region, working closely with admissions professionals counseling university bound students.

Here we are, mid-September. Admissions colleagues everywhere are either on the road or trying to finalize the last few school visits before they hop on a flight. In IB schools all over the world, counselors are checking college lists, writing recommendations and juggling visits from admissions reps. I have to admit, I miss those days – on both sides of the desk.

I thought this would be a good time to share some ideas on how to work together to best serve our students.

If you are a counselor or coordinator in a school, you may receive a lot of requests from admissions officers who would like to visit and meet with your students. It would be great if you could find time to meet with these wonderful colleagues and share information about your programme and your students. This is also a good time to encourage your students to attend college fairs and to take advantage of school visits. Yes, I know, their teachers will kill you if you pull them out of class. However, your admissions colleagues are great resources so, if there is a good match, it would be great to help them connect.

College Fair

If you are an admissions officer you might want to add some IB schools to your schedule. IB students are extremely well prepared for the rigors of university study. They are also highly engaged, internationally-minded, young people who will contribute greatly to campus life. While you may already know the school counselors in your territory, it would be a good idea to contact the IB Diploma Coordinator and devote some of your visit time to getting to know him or her. They frequently work closely with IB students when it comes to university selection and application. You can find their contact information on the IBO website.

Of course, the fall season also offers many opportunities for admissions counseling professionals to connect, network, and learn from their peers.

Later this week, many of us will gather at the NACAC Annual Conference in Indianapolis. The National Association for College Admission Counseling is probably the largest professional association for those of us who work with students in the transition from secondary to higher education.


For many years the IB has had a presence at NACAC and 2014 is no exception. We will host a booth in the Exhibit Hall. Come visit at table 1018. Rachelle Bernadel and I will be there with materials, information and a friendly smile. We will also host the IB Special Interest Group on Friday, September 19, at noon, in ICC room 121. This is your opportunity to learn about our most recent initiatives and to join a conversation with your colleagues and counterparts. Finally, on Saturday morning, at 10:15 AM we will offer a session entitled The IB Diploma Programme International Education for the 21st Century. We have assembled a very diverse panel. Ray Marx from Colegio Americano de Quito, Valerie Piehl from Fishers High School in Indianapolis, Cindy Gould from the University of Michigan, Molly Weinstein-Gould from the University of Pennsylvania, and David Zutautas from the University of Toronto will share their experience working with IB students and answer questions from the audience.

While you’re at NACAC make sure to attend your regional affiliate’s meeting. For those of you in international schools and admissions, the OACAC meeting will take place on Thursday after the Opening Session in Wabash 2.

If you’re traveling in Latin America, you may be attending the CIS-Tri-Association Institute on International Admission and Guidance, on October 7. If you have some time, please consider connecting with ASOBITICO the IB World Schools Association in Costa Rica. This group works closely with all public and private IB Diploma schools in the country.

Many IB educators will attend the IB Africa, Europe and Middle East Regional Conference, in Rome, 16-19 October 2014. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the IB in the region and to network with colleagues from IB schools.

For those of you traveling in the Asia-Pacific region, the IB Global Team will host the IB Higher Education Symposium at the University of Hong Kong, October 16-17.

We round off the season with the CIS Forum on International Admission & Guidance, in Amsterdam on November 20-21. The IB Global Recognition Team will present at this conference and be available to answer your questions about university recognition.

Tired already? Not to worry, every time I had the opportunity to connect with my peers and counterparts in the admissions counseling profession, I came away feeling recharged and inspired to help students make the most exciting choice in their lives. I strongly recommend it!

As usual, I would like to remind you that Rachelle and I are happy to answer questions and assist you in your work. You can email us at and

Safe travels to those of you who are on the road. May you meet many wonderful students!

To my counseling colleagues, may your recommendations flow easily and eloquently!

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