Tips for International Students Considering Graduate School in the U.S.

The number of international students enrolling in United States graduate school programs continues to rise. This increase can be attributed to a number of reasons including quality of education, future employment opportunities, cost, scholarships, social recognition, and opportunities for immigration.
Without a doubt, America has one of the world’s best education systems, with outstanding programs in virtually all fields. Combine this with several thousand colleges and universities to choose from, and the U.S. has options and educational opportunities for everyone.

American culture and the opportunity to meet diverse, new people are other major draws for international students. Many employers, both in the U.S. and abroad, value the knowledge, adaptability and experience that international students acquire by studying in the U.S. Worldwide career prospects increase for job seekers with cross-cultural skills, communication abilities, self-confidence and independence.

International students oftentimes find themselves frustrated by the graduate school admissions process. However, they should not let these feelings stop them. The expert advisors at International College Counselors can help international students navigate the admissions process and overcome a number of specific challenges including the following:

1. Deciding where to apply. Getting into a U.S. graduate school is typically more difficult for international students. Although international students in some fields like STEM make up more than half of enrolled students, many of the “more known” schools often limit the overall student population. A student can gain an advantage if he or she knows which schools want international students to add diversity and cultural enrichment to their programs.

2. Taking the required tests. Many universities require international students to take the TOEFL or IELTS as part of the application process. The TOFEL and IELTS test a student’s understanding of English. Oftentimes, the only exemption for this requirement is if an international student’s native language is not English, but the student earned a bachelor’s degreein a particular country like the United States, the United Kingdom or Australia, or Anglophone Canada. Students also need to complete the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT or other standardized test.

3. Completing the application process. International students may need help gathering some of the elements needed to complete this application. For one, students need to make sure colleges receive translated versions of transcripts or grades they require along with letters of recommendation. Essays are another area of the application that may cause problems for students of English as a second language. In writing the essays, international students should not try to “Americanize” or “mainstream” their applications. Schools want diversity; emphasize diversity. The goal is to stand out and not appear to be like all the other applicants.

4. Deciding where to attend. This is made more difficult because it is often impossible for students in other countries to visit all or any of the graduate schools being considered. Some countries have international fairs so students can meet school representatives, but students should still try to visit the college prior to making their final decision.

5. Getting scholarships. Searching for scholarships can be a daunting process. For top students, there may be aid through fellowships and assistantships, but these aren’t available to everyone and don’t cover all expenses. Some countries provide assistance to students for international study. Students should look into these options and research them fully. Some, but not all, of these require students to return home upon graduation.

An expert advisor at International College Counselors can help the student avoid frustration and get the best opportunity to succeed.



This year, college advisors at International College Counselors helped more than 300 students find, apply to and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert college counselors at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college application process.

For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college counselor, please visit http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.com or call 954 414-9986.