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Meet Denise Nijhuis

Denise Nijhuis
Head of International Student Recruitment
University College Roosevelt (The Netherlands)

What drew you to the world of college admission? 
Like many in the world of college admission, I wasn’t necessarily drawn to the profession. Rather, I stumbled upon it and have loved it ever since. I wasn’t sure what my next steps would be after completing my master’s degree, so I contacted my alma mater to see if any jobs were available in the communications office where I had worked as a student assistant. Two weeks later, I started working as student recruitment officer. Back then, this meant a primary focus on the Dutch market. About a year into the job, the university shifted gears and I needed to start on the international playing field. This opened my eyes to a world I did not know existed up to that point – international college admission.

What is your favorite part of the job?
I was drawn in by the opportunity to travel, meet new people, and see new places. I love the conversations with students, helping them find the right path for them, and seeing that light in their eyes when they find something they didn’t think was possible.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
Through NACAC and International ACAC I have found countless resources, from conference panels to ethical standards, to help me understand and grow in this profession. Most importantly, it has provided me with great mentors, many of whom I now call friends, and a network of caring, supportive, and motivated ambassadors for international students.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
I do not think there is just one big challenge facing our profession all around the world and I want to be conscious of different challenges facing different groups. Think about crippling student debt, a lack of understanding of the college system leading to students missing out on opportunities, or a scarcity of test opportunities around the world. I fully believe that working together and being willing to listen to each other and respect differences will contribute to sustainable solutions to many of the issues facing our profession.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I am an avid board gamer and reader. I also love to go for a nice hike and enjoy walks on the beautiful beaches of Zeeland.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
A combination of Elphaba from Wicked and Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. Both women speak up for what they feel is right. I aspire to have Elizabeth’s strength to not always care what others think and Elphaba’s confidence despite her obvious difference.

Describe yourself in five words.
Pragmatic, motivated, reliable, caring, and resilient.

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