Admissions recruiter applies his own experiences as an international student
When Jan Marco Jiras came to Caldwell 13 years ago from his native Peru, he was provided with an opportunity to play soccer and tennis in the United States. Following his playing career, he remained in the Caldwell community as part of the university staff. Today, Jiras travels the globe recruiting from a prospective international student population as the director of undergraduate admissions.
As a young college student Jiras chose to attend Caldwell despite not having visited the campus. He received an athletic scholarship to play soccer and tennis, joining the Cougars in the fall of 2004. He came to Caldwell on the recommendation of a hometown friend, Jorge Ibarcena, who was a freshman on the soccer team in 2003. The soccer team become his second family as he played in one of the most successful eras in the program’s history. During his four years, Caldwell boasted a record of 47-25-8 and was one of the top teams in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. The Cougars advanced to the CACC tournament semifinals all four years that Jiras played, and they were the runner-up in his sophomore season.
Following his undergraduate days, Jiras chose to stay at Caldwell to continue his studies in the graduate program. He became a residential life assistant and pursued his master’s in business administration degree. He joined the admissions office in 2010 as a travel recruiter and later moved into his current role as the lone international student recruiter, a job that has taken him to places such as Vietnam, Nepal, China, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador, Chile and Peru.
Jiras believes what attracted him to Caldwell was the close community atmosphere and the proximity to New York City. In the classroom, he received personalized attention in the small classes Caldwell offers. His connection to his professors is one of his fondest memories as a student.
“For me, Caldwell University has been my home for many years. Recruiting international students to Caldwell University is personal to me as someone who took a chance and came to the United States from Peru. I believe that the international students that I help bring to Caldwell make it a diverse campus community. This contributes to better discussions and new ideas that these students will bring to their classrooms and their fellow students.”
When Jiras embarks on a recruiting trip, he promotes Caldwell and mentions his personal experiences to prospective students. International recruiting is a challenge but Jiras’s background as an international recruit has enabled him to reap success in his efforts.
Like Jiras did in 2004, prospective students hear about Caldwell from friends who also took a chance on an American education. In the international student world, word of mouth is a key component to growing Caldwell’s reputation and sharing all the positive aspects that it has to offer, he says.
His efforts have been fruitful as Caldwell has become a top destination for international students in the North. With 9 percent of its student population coming from other countries in 2015-16, Caldwell ranked eighth in the North in international student population in a report released by U.S. News & World Report.
Jiras has found that international students are intrigued at the opportunity to make the trip to the United States. Many come to Caldwell with an interest in computer information systems, which has become the most popular major among international students. Having a degree from a prominent university like Caldwell that is close to New York City also gives these students advantages in obtaining top internships and having successful careers, he says.
Jiras continues to find international recruiting to be a rewarding experience. The lifelong friendships he developed as part of the Caldwell soccer family are what he hopes the international students will experience at Caldwell.
—JT (John Tagliaferri is Director of Athletic Media Relations for Caldwell University.)
Jan Marco Jiras in his playing days on the soccer field.