Note: This week we take a break from talking to students attending an American university or college to discuss educational opportunities and other interesting facts for international students seeking to study in the United States.
Currently, there are more than 500,000 international students enrolled in U.S. colleges. Daniella Naidu, President of USAStudyGuide.com, says that even as other countries step up the competition to attract students and scholars to their universities, foreign students still want to study in the United States. “International students are still very much interested in coming to study in the United States. At USAStudyGuide.com we get thousands of students coming to us every day looking for information on coming to school in America, information on specific majors and specific schools,” she says. “They are still very much interested in coming to study in the United States, it is just that now the U.S. schools themselves are facing more challenges in bringing these students in. They are competing with schools in foreign countries more than they used to and they are having to be more creative in their marketing strategy to attract and enroll these students.”
American universities realizing the intense competition as higher education undergoes rapid globalization, colleges and universities in the U.S. are being creative in offering programs to continuously attract international students. “What they are having to do now is compete more aggressively with schools in countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia," Daniella Naidu explains. "And what they are doing is advertising much more, specifically on line as well because a lot more students are on line than they use to be and schools are now offering more scholarships and grants to international students to attract them to their campuses,” says Ms. Naidu.
“Some schools are waiving application fees to make it earlier for students to apply, and what some schools are also doing is developing educational programs that are specifically aimed at international students. For example, we have one school on our website that is the San Diego Golf Academy. They have a golf program that is actually combined with English as a Second Language program that is specifically targeted at international students and their main target audience actually is East Asian students from Japan, Korea and China are all very popular,” she says. “So schools are being creative and they make themselves more attractive to international students in those matters.”
So, what should international students be mindful of when seeking to study in the United States? “They are going to have to realize that the application process is going to be longer than it use to be in the past not so much because of the universities, but because of the visa applications,” Ms. Naidu explains. “The government takes longer than it used to. To process visas, they scrutinize the applications more carefully than they use to before 9-11. Now I must say that the government has improved quite a bit in the last couple of years compared to the changes that occurred right after 9-11 there was a time when the wait was very very long and the waits have improved quite a bit, but they are still not as short as they use to be,” she says. “Also, students have to be prepared to provide a lot of evidence to the government on their applications and be prepared for possibly being declined because of things beyond their control,” she adds.
“So my statement to students who want to come to school in America, "says Ms. Naidu, "what I would suggest to them is to have a very much open mind and to be willing to interact with many Americans as they can. To come to school in America and to not experience life in America and to not make as many American friends as possible means that you are actually missing out on a very large part of the education that you received by coming to school here. Not only are you getting an academic education but you are getting a global education in the form of being exposed to not only the American culture, but also the culture of your fellow foreign students and international students that you will meet in the university because there are some many new things that are going to be available to them in this country.”
For international students who want more about colleges and universities in the United States, Daniella Naidu says there is a website available with information. “USAStudyGuide.com is a website that was developed by international students for international students. It gives very detail information on the U.S. academic system starting from elementary school all the way up through university education,” she says. “It provides information on what a student needs to do in order to apply to universities, it tells students about what life is like in the United States and different parts of the country and what we try to achieve with our website is to provide students answers to the questions that they themselves are asking and also give information that is very detail and specific that will help them achieve their educational goals in the United States.”