Andover Partners with Keio University In Japan To Bring One Student a Year to Study at Andover

After two years of planning, Head of School John Palfrey and Kevin Graber, Associate Dean of Admission, signed an agreement on October 1 with Keio University in Tokyo, Japan, that will bring one Keio high school student to Andover each year to join the Senior class, beginning in fall 2015. Keio University is the oldest institute of higher education in Japan; it also has affiliated schools from elementary to high school, and graduates of the Keio high schools often attend the university. According to Jim Ventre ’79, Dean of Admission, Andover currently has four students from Japan. Ventre added that, although Andover received applications from students from 86 different countries for admission to the 2014-2015 academic year, the Office of Admission felt that Japan was only mildly represented. “What we had hoped to do with this agreement was to secure a regular cultural addition in our Asian and Asian-American community. There wasn’t representation regularly in our student body from Japan, and that, we felt, was a gap in our opportunities for kids,” said Ventre. As part of the process of finalizing the agreement, members of the Andover and Keio University faculty have visited each other’s campuses to meet with members of their administration. “We would visit [Japan], and students would apply, and we would have no one whom we felt we could admit because their English literacy was not consistent with the demands of our curriculum… the kids were unbelievable, we just don’t have the capacity to offer English as a second language,” said Ventre. The idea for the partnership first came up several years ago. “When Palfrey first became Head of School, a member of our board of trustees named Scott Mead introduced Palfrey to a friend of his who is basically on the board of Keio University,” said Ventre. Ventre said that, because Keio University is a highly regarded institution in Japan, Palfrey thought that the quality of their students could match the value structure of Andover. As part of the partnership, Keio University will encourage three to five students to apply to go to Andover for their Senior year, and Andover will accept one of the students. “So [Keio University] is going to filter [the applicants] for us, which is sort of important because the major obstacle is training in writing and speaking English,” said Ventre. According to Ventre, Andover has the same English literacy standards for international students as Harvard College does for admission to its Freshman class. This literacy standard is defined as a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 100 out of 120 points. To help the student acclimate to life at Andover, part of the agreement requires the student to attend Summer Session before starting his or her Senior year. “We have an arrangement with Summer Session to allow for students to enhance their English literacy skills. Its primary purpose is to provide a smooth transition for that student, which we felt was important,” said Ventre. Ventre emphasized that, although Andover hopes to have a long-term partnership with Keio University, the agreement will be evaluated on a year-by-year basis. “Andover actually is not in the business of signing contracts for quotas of students or long term agreements…. It’s important that both the folks at Keio and the folks at Andover are in agreement in order to foster the long term relationship and potential… we’ve agreed that we will hold one spot for a student from Keio for next September,” said Ventre. In an email to The Phillipian, Ventre wrote that Keio University will cover all costs for the student including tuition and travel expenses. This cost will total approximately $50,000 for one year. Andover has already formed partnerships with schools in other countries as well, according to Ventre, including the Kingdom of Bahrain and South Africa.