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College 101

International Student Admissions
Article Type: Quick and Dirty

These are exciting times to be applying to college, especially if you are one of the thousands of international students considering applying to study in the United States.

Why are we so excited? Too much coffee, to begin with. That’s not the only reason, though. The world is an increasingly global place, with travel and communication seeming to shrink the distances between us every day. This globalization is leading to more and more students from around the world developing a desire to earn their undergraduate or graduate degree in the U.S.

On the flip side, more and more colleges and universities in the United States are realizing the benefits of enrolling increasingly diverse freshman classes. This has led to a concentration of efforts to recruit qualified international applicants, and to expand their (unwritten) quotas of how many international students they admit each year.

These numbers still vary a great deal, with the average university freshman class in the U.S. consisting of about 5% international students. Some of the top schools for students from abroad enroll more like 25% international students – which is a huge number.

And that number is growing. For the first time in more than a decade, undergraduate admissions for international students are greater than graduate admissions. Percentages of international students at loads of schools are going up. As these go up, so do your chances of getting in.

This increase is a result of a lot of factors. In some places, wages are increasing and an increasing middle and upper class is more and more able to afford U.S. tuition. Other nations have begun offering scholarships for students to study abroad. In the U.S., schools are seeing the trend as an economic advantage, as much higher numbers of international students pay full tuition (some schools even charge extra international fees).

So the numbers look good. The reality for you is that you’ve got a lot of work to do to enroll in a U.S. college or university. Start by having a look at our Checklist for International Students. Once you have a solid idea of the steps, we invite you to Make a Plan with Shmoop.

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