Dr. Marlena Corcoran on International Students and Study Abroad

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Welcome to College Admissions in the Era of COVID-19 Virtual Summit! On today’s episode, we give you a glimpse into Dr. Legatt’s conversation with Dr. Marlena Corcoran.



VO: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk with Dr. Aviva Legatt, a podcast for students seeking to get admitted to top-tier colleges. Each episode will feature an important tip for your college admission success, delivered with candor and love. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the mind of a college admissions officer, this is your chance. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. So, what’s your dream school? 

AL: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk. I am Dr. Aviva Legatt, founder and elite admissions expert at Ivy Insight and author of “Get Real and Get In”. You’re going to be hearing today from our summit speaker, and I’m so excited to share just a glimpse of the summit with you. I wanted to give you a sense of what you missed if you had to miss it and invite you to get a VIP All-Access Pass to the summit. This access pass will allow you to get full, unlimited and lifetime access to all those session recordings. This is just a clip. You’ll also have the ability to attend live Q & A session with me where I will answer your questions about college admissions right on the spot. And you’re going to also gain access to my personal Ultimate College Application Template bundle with bonus materials and that has a value of $397. So click on the show notes. Go ahead, reserve your VIP ticket so that you can gain access to the full summit experience and all its perks. See you soon. 

With that, I’m going to get started with introducing Marlena. She is the founder of Athena Mentor. She is the author of “Year By Year to College for IB and International Students”, which is available on Amazon and Admit Me, which is a course on the new audio first channel, knowable.fyi. Both contain special sections on admissions in the age of COVID-19. Dr Corcoran is a Brown PhD with research experience at Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, and the Normal CNRS Party. She specializes in advising international families and so excited to talk to Marlena today about the international student and study abroad landscape. Obviously, this has been very upended by COVID and Dr Marlena has a lot of great experiences working abroad, living abroad and working with students from all over the world. So welcome, Dr. Marlena.

MC: Thank you, Aviva.

AL: Oh, my pleasure, my pleasure. It’s so good to have you. So tell us what brought you to working with international students and the international realm.

MC: I’d like to begin by saying how much I admire international students, people who have the gumption and the courage to get up and leave their families, their homes, the places that are most comfortable for them. And I suppose that’s what I like most about meeting international students and supporting them. I was an international student myself. As you heard from Aviva’s introduction I studied in Paris. It teaches you that not everyone thinks the way that you do, and for me and for many others, it’s a life changing experience. I also worked with Brown University’s Basque, the alumni interviewing program, and started with Poland. And when I retired six years later from my service, I was the regional director for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. So I remember those years very fondly meeting hundreds of wonderful students and discovering that many students outside the United States simply don’t understand what American colleges, in their words, are really looking for. That the American College criterion of looking at the whole person and not just at their academic records. That’s something that’s very new to international students. And I felt like we were missing out on a lot of talent. That’s how I began advising international families.

AL: So you’ve had these tints of being an international student, talking with international students and now advising international students and helping them to sounds like understand the culture of the United States in a way. So I’d be curious, what are some things that are different or special about the Us that you would think to highlight to someone from abroad?

MC: It’s very difficult for people outside the United States to hit the right tone in talking about themselves, to be not too modest or not too dismissive of their own accomplishments, but not thinking that it’s just about bragging to be informative about themselves and to manifest through their accomplishments what they’ve been doing. And most importantly, to talk about their dreams. And that can be hard for anyone but the colleges really want to know. What are your dreams in life? And do you have the kind of initiative and courage that it takes to come here and realize those dreams?

VO: College Admissions Real Talk is hosted by Aviva Legatt, edited by Stephanie Carlin, and produced by Incontrera Consulting. I’m Caroline Stokes and this has been your daily boost of college admissions insight. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. For more information on Dr. Legatt and Ivy Insight visit www.ivyinsight.com. And you can pick up Dr. Legatt’s book, “Get Real and Get In”, at major retail outlets across the world. Insight out.