In 2019, St. John’s University was selected as one of 12 host institutions across the country to run an EducationUSA Academy.
The academy is an initiative of the US Department of State’s EducationUSA branch, which includes a network of more than 400 international student advising centers promoting US higher education. It seeks to provide international high school students with opportunities to explore US higher education and to act as a pipeline for international applicants.
St. John’s Office of International Education hosted its first academy in the summer of 2019. The St. John’s program included workshops on writing a personal statement, understanding the college application process, one-on-one advising with admission representatives, and campus tours of different institutions within New York City, a required component of any academy. The program also included cultural excursions around New York City. The program represents a unique and successful collaboration between the Office of International Education and International Admission.
In 2020, all academies were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, St. John’s designed and was approved to hold an online version of the academy, and the initiative was officially sanctioned as EducationUSA Academy Connects.
The first online cohort kicked off in February of 2021, with students enrolled from Argentina, Brazil, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, and Uruguay. Due to the six-week program’s tremendous success, St. John’s was asked to provide a condensed version in March for 30 students in Saudi Arabia, funded by AMIDEAST.
In June, a third cohort of the EducationUSA Academy Connects program was held. Forty-five students enrolled from various countries, from Chile to Ukraine to Timor-Leste.
Because of a lower price point and easier accessibility than the in-person academy, the Connects program has drawn significant interest and has expanded opportunities for many students who may otherwise not have participated. St. John’s will host new cohorts of the program in the spring semester.