Challenges International Students Face

Unfortunately, finding the right program at the right US university at the right cost can be confusing and difficult. With hundreds, even thousands, of programs to choose from nearly 4,000 plus US colleges and universities, each with its own admission criteria, deadlines, and tuition, finding that one university or college that is the right fit for you is not an easy task. So if you want to do this on your own, make sure you start your search at least 18 monthis before you plan to start your studies.

There are many reasons why finding the right US university is a challenge for international students. Different universities require different tests (GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, etc); each university, and sometimes even different programs within the same university, have different expectations of what tests to take, what scores are needed on the tests, GPA required, and other academic criteria.

Each university has different application deadlines. Some accept applications only in Fall, others in Spring and some throughout the year (this is referred to as rolling admissions). Each university has its own deadlines and these are firm deadlines. In other words, US universities will not honor requests for extension of deadlines.

Also, it is not always easy to find out the tuition or fees charged. Some universities will show tuition based on per credit (each course is usually three credits); some will show tuition on a per semester basis and yet others based on 9-months or two semesters. Further, tuition does not include other fees that students are often charged (computer fees, lab fees, student union fees, etc).

Although there are many new and emerging academic programs with great job opportunities, international students are not even aware of these programs and hence never apply to them. Even if they know what they want to study, students find it difficult to assess program quality since even programs with a similar name may specialize in different things.

There are other difficulties as well in applying to US universities. Sometimes it is difficult to learn about the place where the university is located. Placement data is sometimes buried deep or simply unavailable. The terminology used on university websites are often different from what international students are familiar with.

Overall, applying to US universities is challenging and confusing. We understand. Our website provides a lot of information to help students who want to do it on their own. Use our Blog and forums if you have specific questions. Good luck!