University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

International College Advising Certificate Program

September 2021 - January 2022

New Content

Help move your career forward by earning a certificate in college advising! With attention to current admissions issues and cultural contexts, the International College Advising Certificate Program at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education stands apart as the only comprehensive college advising program designed for international counselors. This program helps counselors develop their capacity to guide students seeking multiple global higher education destinations with confidence and skill.

Program Format

The program consists of 10 live interactive virtual sessions, each focused on timely topics and taught by expert faculty and practitioners. Before and after each live virtual session, readings, discussions and related activities will be assigned. Participants will also have the chance to identify and research a problem of practice, providing the opportunity to develop new knowledge in an area that is important to them.

Live sessions will tentatively occur on the following Tuesdays:

Date Course EST
Philadelphia, Boston, New York


Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore

September 14, 2021 Program Orientation and Trends in Global Higher Education
Eric Kaplan and Barbara Chen

7:30 - 9:30 am 12:30 - 2:30 pm 7:30 - 9:30 pm
September 28, 2021 Institutions of Excellence: Reframing World Class Universities
Alan Ruby

7:30 - 9:30 am 12:30 - 2:30 pm 7:30 - 9:30 pm
October 12, 2021 Cultural Frameworks and Ethics in Advising
Michelle Chow-Liu

7:30 - 9:30 am 12:30 - 2:30 pm 7:30 - 9:30 pm
October 26, 2021 Crossing Cultures with Success
Aleka Bilan and Barbara Chen

7:30 - 9:30 am 12:30 - 2:30 pm 7:30 - 9:30 pm
November 9, 2021 Understanding Holistic Admissions and Institutional Priorities
Eric Kaplan and Elizabeth Heaton

6:30 - 8:30 am 12:30 - 2:30 pm 7:30 - 9:30 pm
November 23, 2021 How Race Conscious Holistic Admissions Works
OiYan Poon

6:30 - 8:30 am 12:30 - 2:30 pm 7:30 - 9:30 pm
December 7, 2021 External Pressures and Rankings
Barbara Chen and Eric Kaplan

6:30 - 8:30 am 12:30 - 2:30 pm 7:30 - 9:30 pm
December 21, 2021 Beyond Case Studies: What Really Happens in the Candidate Selection Process
Isthier Chaudhury and Becky Konowicz

6:30 - 8:30 am 12:30 - 2:30 pm 7:30 - 9:30 pm
January 4, 2022 Discussions of Problems of Practice
Barbara Chen and Eric Kaplan

6:30 - 8:30 am 12:30 - 2:30 pm 7:30 - 9:30 pm
January 18, 2022

Putting It All Together: Next Steps in Networking and Career Development
Amanda Barry


6:30 - 8:30 am 12:30 - 2:30 pm 7:30 - 9:30 pm

Program of Study

The International College Advising Certificate Program is designed for mid-level college advisors who work with students that seek higher education destinations outside their home country. The expertise and focus lies with universities in the U.S, Canada, Australia and the UK.

From the program curriculum, you can expect to:

  • Develop fluency with the U.S. higher education system, including a market orientation of colleges and universities and how this orientation relates to admissions policies and practices.
  • Understand the role of various quantitative and qualitative factors in the college admissions process.
  • Appreciate various external influencers (third-party vendors, parents, rankings) and their roles in college admissions.
  • Embrace an ethical perspective in counseling students and families engaged in the college admissions process.
  • Display cultural competencies with students and parents across various ethnic, racial, and national backgrounds, and university locations (e.g., US, UK, Canada, Australia).
  • Consider the socioemotional aspects of students and families related to the transition to college, and decisions related to these transitions.
  • Identify a problem of practice for exploration and research.

Application and Registration

Ideal candidates for this program are mid-career college advisors at international secondary schools, counselors at boarding schools with a large international caseload, or independent educational consultants working with students who seek higher education destinations in the U.S, Canada, Australia, and the UK.

Language requirements: Advanced English language proficiency is required. Participants are expected to be able to read scholarly texts and current news articles. Participants must be able to produce written coursework as assigned and actively engage in nuanced discussions with faculty and cohort members.

This program reserves the right to request proof of English proficiency from applicants whose native language is not English, who have not earned a tertiary degree in English, or who have not worked in a predominantly English language office for at least two years. Duolingo (Score: 120) is the preferred method for demonstrating proficiency. Results should be sent via Duolingo by accessing the website's search filter, filtering institution type to “Other”, and sending the score to 'Penn GSE International College Advising Certificate Program'. Please contact us if you have a financial need and require a testing fee waiver.

Payment Options

If you are accepted into the program, you will be emailed directions for how to pay your program enrollment fee. When submitting payment, you will see two options for paying the $7,500 program fee. Payment is required in order to finalize your enrollment.

Payment in Full - This option will allow you to pay the entire program enrollment fee after receiving your acceptance email.

Payment Plan - This option will allow you to enroll in a payment plan. The payment plan schedule is as follows:

  • Payment 1 - $2,000, due immediately upon accepting offer of admission
  • Payment 2 - 1/3 of remaining balance due on October 15, 2021
  • Payment 3 - 1/3 of remaining balance due on November 15, 2021
  • Payment 4 - 1/3 of remaining balance January 15, 2021


Please note that there is a discounted program fee of $6,000 for those who complete their application by August 16, 2021.



Program Staff

Barbara Chen

Program Director

Dr. Eric Kaplan

Academic Director

Program Faculty

The Penn International College Advising Program includes current and former senior leaders in college admissions and college advising as well as independent educational consultants with global practices. Please note that below is a partial faculty list that will be updated in the near future.


Dr. Amanda Barry

Deputy Director, Student Recruitment,
The Australian National University

Isthier Chaudhury

Senior Associate Director of International Admissions,
Trinity College

Michelle Chow-Liu

Head of High School Counseling,
Western Academy of Beijing

Becky Konowicz

Dean of Undergraduate Admission,
Santa Clara University

Dr. OiYan Poon

Program Officer, The Spencer Foundation

Elizabeth Heaton

Vice President,
Bright Horizons College Coach

Alan Ruby

Senior Fellow,
Penn GSE

Aleka Bilan

Aleka Bilan Counsulting


Apply Now

Application Close Date: September 7

Program Duration

5 months
Approximately 15 hours of work per month


Program Location


Program Fee


Early Bird program fee: $6,000 if you apply by August 16

Please note that a payment plan option is available. For details, see the 'Payment Options' section of this webpage.

For information about group payment options, please contact

Certificate and Credits

Upon completion of the program, participants will receive a Penn GSE Certificate in International College Advising.

Contact Us

Please contact with any questions about this program.