International Students

Why Consider Colleges and Universities Outside of the US

As the political landscape continues to evolve in the US, American and international students are considering broadening their horizons beyond US borders.

Each year, we have some students who decide to apply to colleges and universities in the US and abroad, and if this might be a consideration for you, you should begin to weigh the options of different possible paths. Some of the primary factors students consider when deciding to study in the US or abroad include:

Language: While it may seem obvious, it’s necessary to study in a country where the language of instruction is a language that you have already achieved native or high-level proficiency in. This is why the most popular destinations for American students is often the UK and Australia. While the native language of the country does not have to be one you speak, you should check that the language of instruction is still English (such as in Sweden).

Clarity of Intended Major and Career Goals: Colleges and universities in the US usually offer students more flexibility to explore different subject areas, and even after declaring a major, some offer freedom to choose additional courses or even build your own major. Typically in other countries, students must choose a field of study even before applying. For example, in countries like the UK and Germany you apply to a specific degree program, so you must have a clear sense of purpose by Grade 12. If this sounds like you, you can research the top universities in the world by major here.

Cost: The tuition of US universities is generally higher than that of other countries. Throughout Europe, tuition is subsidized by the government, and even international non-EU students enjoy generally lower tuition.

Application & Entry Process Differences: The college admissions process in the US is complex and the process and factors considered in how highly selective colleges and universities make admissions decisions is rather obtuse. In other countries, admissions decisions are typically fairly black and white, and are based on your transcript, and if required, standardized test scores. In the UK, students must complete an application through UCAS, and different systems use different application processes, so it is important to notify your high school counselor if you are considering universities abroad to ensure you do not miss any deadlines and meet all of the necessary requirements.

Perks of studying outside the US:

  1. Finish in less time-- You can graduate from university in the UK and Europe with a Bachelor’s degree in three years, meaning one less year of tuition.

  2. Much more affordable-- The UK and Europe tuition is much more affordable, and in some countries even free- Germany and Norway don’t charge tuition, even for international students.

  3. Differentiate yourself-- In an increasingly global world, obtaining a bachelor’s degree abroad stands out, and indicates that you have a higher level of maturity, independence, and an ability to adapt

  4. Culture and language immersion-- If you attend a university where there are other languages spoken, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself and expand your worldview well beyond the culture you grew up in.

  5. Increased Network and Travel Opportunities-- You will likely meet classmates and friends from all over the world. Similarly, travel opportunities to many other countries and cultures in places like Europe and Asia are also close at hand.

Curious to dive deeper into the options at home and abroad? Get in touch with us to start a conversation about domestic and international university options, and how to track your course to successful college admissions.

Advice for International Students Adjusting to US College

No student has the same experience, even in the same school. Challenge yourself to not fall into the trap of stereotyping people, and accept that at times, things might be tough! There will be an adjustment period, but that will be different for every student. Culture shock is real, and expect that you will make it through the troughs, and be better for it. Academic expectations will be high, and more than anything you should seek to take advantage of the opportunities available to you.  With that in mind, what follows are my tips for you as you embark on this new chapter in your life:

1.   Build a support network of local teachers, local student friends, and international friends: Spend time getting to know people, learn what their interests are, where they are from, why they chose to study or teach at your school, show interest in them and they will show interest in you. No one can do it alone, and when times get tough or decisions must be made, this network will be invaluable!

2.   Get involved!: This is very important to do things beyond your classes and homework. Find at least one activity in your first term on campus to test out, it’s a great way to meet people with common interests or people from different backgrounds than yourself.

3.   Don’t be afraid to ask questions: Everyone is new in your first year of school and others are there to help you adjust and find your classroom or how to print something. Just ask!

4.   Meet with your advisor: They will be your guide to ensure you are meeting your academic requirements and will stay on track to graduate. If you have any difficulties later on, it’s best that they get to know you well earlier on.

5.   Go to the writing center and tutoring center regularly, even if you don’t think you need help, it always helps!: Universities offer many free (paid with your tuition) resources to help you, find out how to sign up online and go often.

6.   Enroll in writing or study skills courses: College-level writing is often a challenge even for American students, so learning through a hands-on writing workshop or seminar and spending time improving your study skills is a good investment of your time.

7.   Go to your professor’s office hours: university professors are required to hold office hours, and it is a great way to ask questions and get to know your professor. It may lead to a research or internship opportunity.

8.   Do something you’ve never done once a week: College is the time to try new things and push outside your comfort zone. It is easy to get into certain habits and routines, and not change them.

Be bold, study hard, and take advantage of this special opportunity. YOACO- you only attend college once!