On January 29, 2016, we held our third annual OpenApply Admissions Conference at GEMS World Academy Singapore. We were thrilled to welcome a record-breaking 90+ participants from 46 schools, including representatives from schools in Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Saudi Arabia, and from places across Asia-Pacific.

(See the full list of participating schools here.)

During our pre-conference on Friday, January 28, we held workshops for OpenApply, including company updates and support sessions. During the OpenApply sessions, we also heard from Nivin El Aawar from the International School of London Qatar and Brit Beckers from the International School of London Surrey about their experiences using OpenApply.

They found OpenApply saves them time and enhances communication with parents, especially when it came to re-enrolment. Read more about their experiences here.

On Saturday, January 29, the conference began with a keynote address by David Edwards, Head of School at GEMS World Academy Singapore, which focused on encouraging a startup school mentality. David encouraged participants to think about the “why” of their jobs, arguing that sincerity can never be faked. He described admissions as the glue of a school, essential to the smooth operations, and offered a rolling 30-day action plan model for participants to use when they went back to school.

The next presentation was from Aimee Gruber, Senior Director of Outreach at SSATB, and T.K. Ostrom, admissions consultant. They reported on findings from the first-of-its-kind global survey of international admission professionals. The data revealed a disparate approach to the practice of admissions at international schools, from the salaries paid to the level of positions held (ranging from clerical to senior leadership) to gender balance (a whopping 84% of admissions officers are female!).

After a coffee break, Nivin El Aawar, Head of Admissions and Marketing at the International School of London Qatar, reviewed smart techniques for managing the admissions process and cultivating soft skills.

Vincent Jansen, an education consultant for Finalsite, ended the morning with a review of digital strategies for managing a school’s online presence. He drew on tips and skills from the marketing world to show participants how to better leverage their school website.

During lunch, Kellie Hammond and Stephanie Tseng, admissions officers at GEMS World Academy Singapore, led participants on a tour of the school.

After lunch, Brit Beckers, Admissions Secretary at the International School of London Surrey, presented on emotional intelligence in the school admissions office. She reviewed the latest thinking & research on emotional intelligence, and showed participants how to improve their emotional intelligence for better success at work and in life.

Next, Natalie Kvackova-Sipula, Admissions and Communications Manager at the International School of Prague, led participants in a Job-Alike. The Job-Alike covered four topics: the school tour, admissions applications, admissions forecasting, and managing expectations.

Lastly, all speakers came back together for a final panel discussion and Q&A from the audience.

The evening ended with dinner and drinks at Wine BOS, just a stone’s throw away from the historic Raffles Hotel.

View photos:


For more information, you can:
– View the conference schedule & browse presentations
– Download the conference progamme

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