Factors to be considered before you finally choose your US University

Once you have completed your application process, you would start receiving acceptance / admit letters and then, finally i20s. Now that you have more than one admission offer, you should give a thorough thought to factors like cost of tuition, career goals, support services, the location of the University, where to stay and work after graduation etc before you finally decide on which U.S University you would like to attend. Many universities also allow prospective international students to interact with the current students to inquire about the campus environment and safety for international students. Read on to get a better understanding of all these factors.

How to Make a Final U.S. College Decision

As U.S. colleges and universities begin sending out acceptance letters, prospective international students who applied and gained admission to more than one school will have a big decision to make.

Here are four key factors prospective international students should consider when deciding which U.S. college to attend:

1. Price

“The biggest factor for most students and families usually comes down to the cost of tuition and additional cost of living,” Charles Hornstra, regional educational advising coordinator for Southeast Asia for EducationUSA, said via email.

That was the case for Farah AlHaddad, a recent graduate of Macalester College in Minnesota who hails from Syria. AlHaddad needed – and received – financial aid to help fund her education.

Among other things, AlHaddad says international students have to think about currency conversion, “which might make someone’s education even more expensive if they’re from a country where perhaps their currency is weaker than the dollar.”

2. Career goals

Prospective students should make sure the college they choose offers a program in the field they want to study, such as business or engineering.

“Most U.S. institutions don’t have every major and every program,” says Mandee Heller Adler, founder and president of Florida-based International College Counselors.

Students should also think about where they want to live and work after graduation, says Monica Gallego Rude, a director at Collegewise, an admissions consulting company. If students want to try to stay in the U.S. to work, they will want to pay attention to a potential college’s U.S. job placement numbers for international students, she says.

Admissions offices might be able to provide or direct prospective students to this type of information. If not, students can reach out to the institution’s career services office, says Gallego Rude, which may have a counselor dedicated to working with international students.

On the other hand, prospective international students and their families often have questions about how a degree from a particular school will be viewed abroad, experts say.

“If students are returning to their home country, it can be true that employment then hinges more on the name of the university,” says Gallego Rude.

Gallego Rude says talking with the school’s recent international graduates who have found employment in their home country can be a helpful way to gauge this. Colleges can sometimes make alumni introductions.

3. Support services

Students will also want to consider available support options before making a final decision.

In addition to career services, some U.S. colleges and universities offer other types of resources to help international students adjust to a new country and a new school, such as tutoring centers. A college’s international student services office can usually provide information about available programs and services, experts say.

Support can also come from international peers, so prospective students should consider the size and makeup of a school’s international student body.

“For the most part, I feel like my international students are happiest when there’s a community of international students that they can rely on and make friends with and feel comfortable with,” says Adler.

4. Location

Gallego Rude says students should also consider the logistics of travel from their home country to a particular college campus. Sometimes students and families are more comfortable knowing a direct flight is available in case of emergencies or if the student wants to come home during breaks.

Zhen, the Wheaton student, says one of the most important aspects of a school’s location – for her parents too – was safety. Once she narrowed her options down to three schools, she says she did some online research on crime rates in each of the areas she was considering.

Patrick Parnell, director of international services at Missouri State University, says talking with current students is a good way to get a real picture of a college environment, in terms of safety and otherwise. Many schools, including Missouri State, can connect prospective international students with current international students willing to answer questions about campus life.

“Whenever you know somebody who’s had the experience themselves or is currently living it, that’s always going to be your best bet,” Parnell says.

The above article first appeared in https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2018-01-29/decide-which-college-to-enroll-in-as-an-international-student and is written by Kelly Mae Ross.

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