Everyone has their dream university that they want to go to, and a lot of times the university is in another country. Moving abroad for gaining higher education is no more a pipe dream for students and it’s becoming a common practice with each passing year.
Countries, like the United States, the United Kingdom, and many more, that have some of the best universities see a large number of international student admissions. There are a lot of factors that influence the number of international students applying for universities in any country. As the practice of going abroad for education is becoming more and more common, the competition is becoming tougher and tougher. Therefore, the smallest of mistakes or flaws in your application can end up costing you the admission chances.
Any student applying for an international university must first do their research thoroughly before beginning with the admission process.
Here, we discuss some of the factors that can make or break the admission process of international applicants.
Often the students applying for international universities belong to developing countries where education is relatively poor quality than that of the developed countries. These students are often held back from applying for international universities due to the extremely high tuition fees that one needs to incur. However, there are scholarship programs as well hosted and funded by many countries wherein the educational and accommodation expenses are covered by the scholarship. A lot of such scholarships are available in many countries but due to lack of awareness, most students don’t get the benefits of these scholarships. Thus the students need to be aware of all the scholarships that are available for them and what they have to do to get these scholarships.
Some universities provide full financial aid to international students. To find such universities, one must do a lot of research beforehand and gather information about said universities from their respective websites. If universities don’t provide funding aids, there will be a steep decline in the number of international students as most would not be able to afford it even if they want to.
Accommodation is another factor that can affect international students’ applications. Universities do provide accommodation in some cases but often when the universities don’t have enough money to spend, the students’ accommodation is not provided. There are a lot of websites out there on the internet that provide details of accommodation for international students. Irrespective of the country that you’re planning to travel to, it’s always a prudent idea to find all the info beforehand. These sites show you the contact details of people providing accommodation and details of the location. It is better if the students pre-plan things like the university they are going to, the course they want to take, and housing as well.
Students can contact the accommodation providers and discuss the terms and conditions. Often some sites do not verify the information about the accommodation providers and this can lead to fraud and ultimately students left without any place to live. To avoid this, students need to make sure to choose trusted sites rather than sites that claim to provide cheaper accommodation. The cost of living per person of any said country also plays an important role in the number of students applying for universities of that country.
- Student visa
Acquiring the visa is an important and perhaps the most crucial element of the entire application process. It is a requirement for any student traveling abroad to obtain a visa from that nation. If let’s say, a student from India wants to study in a university in the United States, he will need to get a student visa from the United States. The process of getting a visa however can take some time and can be a bit confusing for people who also need money to pay the visa fee. So, students often hesitate to apply for international universities due to the complex procedure of getting a visa, selecting a good college, looking for accommodation, etc.
Student visas often get rejected due to various reasons like lack of proof of ability to support foreign education or wrong use of language or inadequate language skills. In such cases, students may need to reapply and go through the whole process all over again. The probability of your visa getting accepted or rejected also depends on the number of people applying for it as there are always applications in excess.
- Social environment
Another aspect of moving to another country for education is the social environment of the college and the place you choose to live. Countries where international students are treated equally and properly often attract more international students. Friendly locals mean a safer place for international students, who are not used to the culture and atmosphere of the new country. The environment of colleges also matters. No student would like to go to an international university just to get bullied or discriminated against by local students. Many times international students withdraw their admissions after facing bad situations in their colleges. The teachers and students should be friendly and helpful towards international students. Taking in international students can be said to be a form of cultural exchange as well. The students can learn something from the country’s culture and in turn, spread awareness about their own country’s culture. The more comfortable it is to live in a country, the more will be the number of international applicants.
- Language barrier
Suppose you are a student who wants to apply for a certain course that only a few countries teach in their universities, and you find out that the universities of those countries do not teach in standard languages like English. Instead, they only in the local language. This will leave you with no other choice but to not apply. Although this does not happen very often, it is one factor that creates doubts in the minds of a lot of students applying for international universities.
Besides the language barrier in universities, international students also face the same problem while they are in the said country till the completion of their graduation. They are unable to live a hundred percent comfortable life there because they cannot interact with the locals. These problems can be simply avoided by learning the language and about the culture of the said country that you want to study in but not everyone can just learn a language in a short period.
- Courses available
Depending on what the students want in their career, they choose different courses. The more fluid the choice of courses there is, the more students will be attracted to any university. Some courses are taken more frequently than others. And often some courses are taught better in one country than other and based on that there are different job opportunities in said countries. Some of the most commonly taken courses are business studies, management studies, finance, law, computer science, economics, marketing, etc. Courses like pharmacology, computer science, health science, etc. are more in demand in the United States.
If a university cannot provide some of the most commonly taken courses it will not attract international students’ applications. Sometimes some countries do not accept the teaching pattern and curriculum of another country’s universities and if a student graduated from a foreign university wants to apply for a job in such a country they will have to take another test equivalent to the course they took in the international university.
- Job opportunities
Degrees of different countries have different values all around the world. For example, if you are a graduate from the United States you are more likely to get a job anywhere in the world, whereas if you are a graduate from a country that is not best known for its education, you might not get jobs so easily. While your probability of getting a job easily depends on the university, it also depends on your merit and the course you have graduated in. If the university cannot provide good job opportunities after graduation, then international students might not be inclined to invest their time and money in such universities. Such universities are just investments of time and money without any guarantees of future profits.
- Aptitude tests
There are a lot of aptitude tests like the SAT examinations that students need to qualify and score merit to get admission into their choice of universities. These exams can be moderate to extremely hard, varying each year. This can affect the admissions of international students as easier levels mean more number of students qualifying with good grades and lesser number of students qualifying when the level of these exams is very difficult. Apart from these exams, universities also conduct their aptitude tests. Students who have done their research properly will know these things and will be well prepared for any aptitude tests, but students who are not well aware of these conditions may suffer in these exams and will not be accepted into the college of their choice.
- Quality of education
Quality of education might just be the most important factor when it comes to international student applicants. Countries like the United States, which are known for their high-quality education end up receiving the greatest number of international student applications. Students who apply for international universities are often looking for a better education system than the one of their own country. Better-known universities mean better quality of education, better job opportunities, and ultimately better income. Thus better quality education attracts a lot of international applicants. But what do we mean when we say quality education?
Universities that do not just focus on academics but also focus on the overall skill development of their students, universities that can provide highly qualified and experienced teachers, universities that provide multiple courses, universities with good infrastructure, and universities that provide some of the best job opportunities to boost their students’ careers can be said to provide quality education. If universities are not competent enough, it will be hard for them to take in international students and no student would like to go to such a university if there are better options available.
- Online education
In times like these where people cannot go out of their homes, students are studying their courses through online learning. A student in Mexico can choose to attend a university in California and vice versa. Although online learning limits efficient education in a lot of ways it has emerged to be the most convenient mode of learning, especially for international students. A student can even apply for two to three universities together. Due to increased popularity and demand for online learning, the number of international student applicants has increased manifold. This method of learning is called distance learning. However, the one thing that all students have to take care of is preparing for the respective aptitude tests required for eligibility to take admission in the universities of their choice.
- Long admission process and need for pre-planning
If you are a student wishing to take admission to an international university, you will first have to do a lot of research, sort out, and select the universities of choice that have the courses you want to take. You would then need to get your funds in place (like education loans from banks, or funding aids by colleges). You would then need to study and plan for standardized aptitude tests, then collect all the required necessary documents and other admission material. After this, you will have to submit the information to the universities you want.
Once you get accepted into a university, you would then have to get a student visa and also look for accommodation. Such a long process takes some time and mistakes are made that can cause students to withdraw their applications. Universities can make their admission process less complex and can provide accommodation and financial aid to reduce the stress on new international students.
Apart from these, there may be many more factors that can influence students on whether or not to take admission to an international university.