IELTS USA Best Practices Award

When colleges and universities break down silos and collaborate across departments, they can foster an environment where international students are empowered to take full advantage of their education. IELTS USA is keen to promote the 'whole-institution' approach to help foster international student success.

The IELTS USA Best Practices Award recognises outstanding international enrolment management models aimed at providing a seamless educational experience for international students.

The award highlights collaborative and strategic enrolment management initiatives that link admissions and recruitment practices to institutional support programmes. These may include academic and socio-emotional support, mentoring, career development, language support, and cultural enrichment.

For example:

  • The admissions team partners with ESL (English-as-a second-language) staff to develop an extended orientation programme. This could begin prior to international students' arrival on campus, helping them to settle into their new location more smoothly.
  • The admissions team, international students and scholars' office, and academic advisors come together to share information about academic and acculturation challenges for international students, creating a taskforce to solve these issues.
  • Academic departments, career services, and ESL partners join together to host a career bootcamp for students and employers in support of career readiness.

What is the award?

The award committee will select one programme winner and one programme they feel should be highly commended.

The winners shall receive:

  • NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo registration for two (award recipient only).

Both winners and highly commended teams shall receive:

  • an opportunity to co-present with IELTS USA on featured webinars and/or regional/national conferences
  • a plaque to recognise programme and/or contributors
  • promotion of their initiative on the IELTS USA website, newsletter, and social media channels.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must be employed by an accredited, degree-granting higher education institution in the US or US territories that accepts IELTS.

  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate collaboration among two or more departments.
  • One of the departments must include international enrolment management/admissions
  • The selection committee is made up of the IELTS USA Higher Education Advisory Council members. Applicants employed at any of the same institutions are not eligible.

How to apply

To apply for this award, you will need to fill in the IELTS USA Best Practices Award application form.

You will be asked to write 700–1000 words to describe your programme, complete a demographics form, and include a letter of endorsement from the Chief Enrolment Manager or Chief International Officer at your institution.

Award timeline

  • February 2024: Applications open (week commencing 6 February)
  • 7 June 2024: Deadline for applications to be submitted
  • June 2024: Applications reviewed
  • late July 2024: Award announcement

Selection criteria

The selection committee will evaluate proposals based on the following criteria:

  • the degree of innovation in the institution's approach
  • the extent of institutional collaboration and commitment
  • relevant impact on the student population
  • qualitative and/or quantitative research that supports outcomes.