New Kensington campus targeting Canada in recruiting efforts

Strains of “O’ Canada,” cheers of “Go Leafs” and sentences ending in “eh” may soon emanate from the student apartments at Penn State New Kensington. Hockey night in Pittsburgh won’t necessarily mean the Penguins playing on television; it might be the Toronto Maple Leafs streaming on a laptop.

In keeping with Chancellor Kevin Snider's international recruiting initiatives, the campus admissions office is beginning to make forays into Canada. Danielle DeStefano, assistant director of enrollment management, spent a pre-Thanksgiving week in the True North, as the denizens of 10 provinces and three territories call their country, where she visited high schools in the Ontario province.

“It was a great opportunity to promote Penn State New Kensington to students in the greater Toronto area,” said DeStefano, who joined the admissions staff in 2008 after earning a bachelor’s degree at the campus. “I talk a lot about the quality of a Penn State education and the benefits of starting out at a smaller campus.”

Penn State’s recent enrollment report cited the increase of international students on campus from one to six. The new group of internationals, from China, India, Uganda and Ghana, makes the campus more culturally diverse.

Targeting our neighbors along the international boundary, the longest border in the world between two countries, seems like a natural progression in bolstering enrollment. DeSefano visited more than 25 high schools and reached thousands of students from across Ontario.”

The biggest challenge in recruiting in Ontario is the local colleges, such as the University of Toronto, a major research institution, similar to Penn State. Residents of the province have access to higher education at universities that have lower tuition rates than those in the United States. DeStefano counters this advantage by extolling the career benefits of attending Penn State.

“Internships and experiences in a foreign country are the big selling points,” said DeStefano, who was promoted to her position a year ago. “If they are planning to remain in the U.S. after graduation, then internships can open doors to career choices. If they are returning home to begin their careers, then exposure to a foreign culture can enhance their resumes.”

With Penn State New Kensington’s Canadian recruiting strategy in its nascent stage, Penguins games will still dominate the airways and the Pirates’ fortunes will still be discussed in the apartments and cafeteria. However, the Maple Leafs, Blue Jays (MLB), Raptors (NBA), Argonauts (CFL) and Toronto FC (MLS) may soon have a fan base in Upper Burrell.

“Recruitment ventures like this take time, so the hope is that we begin with at least one or two students and then grow the population from there,” DeStefano said.


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Last Updated November 29, 2012