Messiah’s Overseas Recruitment: Students’ Perspectives.

Phoebe Chua (left), Bryan Leong (middle), and Joel Ngui (right) enjoy their welcome to Messiah (and the cold!) Phoebe Chua (left), Bryan Leong (middle), and Joel Ngui (right) enjoy their welcome to Messiah (and the cold!)

Features Editor: Nicholas Tay

Three Malaysian students provide insight on how they found Messiah College

In the late winter of 2011, President Kim Phipps, vice president of enrollment John Chopka, and assistant director of admissions for international student recruitment Cindy Blount, traded the cold of Grantham for the sunny climate of Asia as they arranged a recruitment trip to the region. One of their stops was a pre-university institution in Malaysia, Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL).
They arrived at a campus where most students’ higher education plans focus on studies in Singapore, Australia, or the United Kingdom. On their trip, they presented the benefits of studying in the United States, especially identifying the strengths of Christian perspective integral to Messiah’s mission.

As a result, three students from MCKL enrolled at Messiah for the 2012-2013 academic year. While the college’s recruitment trip impacted their application, other individuals and factors influenced Bryan Leong, Joel Ngui, and Phoebe Chua’s final decision.

Leong remembers the college presentation by President Phipps. “President Phipps came with Ms. Cindy to the pre-university meetings, which are held every Tuesday. I had never heard of Messiah College before their presentation as it was not as famous as the Ivy League schools. The main point presented by President Phipps was how higher education in the United States was different from other countries, especially since there’s a bigger focus on the liberal arts here.”

While President Phipps’ presentation focused mainly on the positives of American higher education, Leong still recalls the president’s mention of Cemetery Hill. “She mentioned how when it snows in the winter, students would take trays from Lottie and go sledding. That was what I remembered Messiah College to be.”

Chua and Ngui were not present at President Phipps’ talk yet their decision to apply was largely influenced by Blount’s continual trips to the region and Veronica Yap, the USA Universities Placement Advisor and Counselor for MCKL.

For Ngui, Blount’s recruitment drives at MCKL connected him with an idea of the American pedagogical style, the Christian aspect of higher education, and Messiah’s engineering program.
“I was drawn to the States because they focus more on the holistic growth of the individual. My parents also encouraged me to go to a Christian college to explore the whole integration of learning and faith, and the impressive engineering program was just another salient quality about Messiah College which attracted me.”

Chua received direction from both Yap and Blount.

“I heard about Messiah from Ms. Cindy during her presentations and a memorable part of her talk was the sunflower fields. It was pretty interesting to know that Messiah places an emphasis on sustainable projects. But what caught me the most was that it was a Christian college.”
The Malaysians’ choice of tertiary education depended on their ability to afford the high costs of overseas studies. Messiah’s financial aid structure and generosity was an answer to their prayers.

Leong recalls, “I was set on applying to Birmingham University in the UK, but I realized it was pretty costly and would be a burden to my family. When Ms. Yap mentioned the affordability of a  United States education, I decided to apply to both Messiah and Kent State. By God’s grace, the [financial] door to Messiah opened for me.”
Chua’s dream of teaching mathematics at the college level and Messiah’s generosity influenced her decision.

“The only way to pursue my dream was to go overseas. The UK and Singapore weren’t among my choices because scholarships require bonding to certain companies or the government. I didn’t want that. Money was the main deciding factor and Messiah offered generous financial aid opportunities. Messiah was my dream college but I wasn’t sure how I would be able to afford the education. Yet I knew God would provide, and He did.”

For many international students, a leap of faith is required when making decisions of higher education. Even though the final choice is personal, the institution’s influence impacts the outcome. For the MCKL students, Messiah College’s decision to recruit in Asia, along with its generous financial aid, offered these individuals an opportunity many do not have: quality tertiary education.


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