International College Options (ICO) is a non-profit organization, directed by a board of volunteers, that seeks to educate families and counselors on options for full-degree international studies for American high school students.
International College Options (ICO), emerged from several different conversations between suburban Chicago Counselors on the topic of how to increase awareness of Bachelor degree programs outside the United States. In May 2013, a small committee gathered to explore the interest and feasibility of implementing programs to educate students and Chicago area counselors on international college options. After several months of planning, in November of 2013 two college fairs and one high school counselor luncheon provided opportunities to various constituents regarding specific college/university information and their respective countries. ICO focused on institutions located outside the U.S. that provide opportunities for students to earn full country regulated degrees; rather than study abroad or programs sponsored by colleges/universities with campuses in the U.S. 13 organizations registered, and over 100 students and parents attended each of the two evening college fairs. Over 60 high school counselors attended the luncheon meeting.
After repeating the events in 2014, again to overwhelming response, the committee decided to host events every other year and considered expanding to other locations. In November of 2016, ICO included a week-long string of events (college fairs and counselor luncheons) in Detroit, Chicago, and Denver. Due to space limitations, the number of participating colleges/organizations was capped at 30; all spaces were filled by the registration deadline of August 1st.
In response to requests from participating colleges/organizations, ICO added two new locations in 2017 - New York City and Pittsburgh. ICO events are organized by volunteer teams of school counselors working in the local area. ICO has agreed to a 2-year rotation for all locations, thus allowing a year off between events for each local team.