A scene with International Student Services & Admissions

by Irena Mullen-Menard

After visiting the International Student Services office for some simple statistics that could be provided right then, a young student behind the front desk stared back at me blankly and handed me the card for Senior Director, Monique Ngozi Nri. I quickly emailed her to see if she had the answers and she responded with an offer to meet. Hoping to get information on foreign student statistics and more, I gladly accepted.

I came to Monique’s office with a list of questions, eager to find out about the testing process and experience for foreign students that have come to The New School. However, I left disappointed and a little pissed off. The Senior Director of the ISS could not give me specific statistics on anything, although I asked her in an email days before the meeting. Monique told me which school had the most and which had the least, but I’m pretty sure all New School students could figure that out on their own. I asked her about the TOEFL exam and was told I was in the wrong place for that. So what could Monique tell me? She said they dealt with “getting foreign students settled”. As I asked her more questions, I found myself writing down names of other people I should ask rather than answers or information. When I then asked her about the many students who are not able to communicate in class, a fact that is not a secret, she immediately became defensive and a bit withdrawn, explaining that they must know how to communicate. O.K., well they don’t. “Do some drop out early?” I asked and she quickly snapped back that more national than international students drop out early. I guess that is a good sign, but judging by the many students in our classes who barely understand and speak English and by the ambiguity in the few answers I got, the ISS might not be all they claim to be.

Desperate for some kind of information, Alexandra and I went to Admissions to see if they could provide something, for ISS could not. We walked up the front desk, where students work and greet visitors and incoming New School students. We asked a young man, a current New School student, the same simple questions I asked ISS. “Do you know of any statistics on international students at the New School?”. In 3 seconds, he was telling us numbers off his computer screen as we scribbled them down. He told us the required TOEFL exam scores for each division and real percentages of the international students. His co-worker/fellow student next to him also provided us with a website called “Peterson’s”, a huge database that has information and statistics on all universities, including Parson’s and Lang. In 10 minutes, two New School students could tell us more than the head of the ISS. We were stunned. That itself says even more about how inadequate our ISS really is.