EducationUSA connects international students with opportunities at America’s most prestigious learning institutions. In this article, we look at some of the programs run by this State Department network and the opportunities it creates for international students and US colleges and universities.
EducationUSA’s network consists of 425 student advising centers in over 175 countries.
Located in consulates, embassies, universities, and nonprofits, these advising centers promote US higher education to young people all over the world. Advising centers offer comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date information on opportunities to study at accredited US postsecondary institutions. In addition, EducationUSA supports the US higher education community by enabling American university and college leaders to meet key objectives for diversity and internationalization.
International students have a positive impact on American higher education.
International students are an asset for any university: their presence can help all students, both foreign and American, to have a better understanding of international issues, foreign affairs, and different cultures. A more internationally diverse campus encourages all students to challenge long-held assumptions, grapple with different ideas, and embrace a more global perspective on current events. Of course, such diverse campuses also promote international cooperation and friendships—between individual students, universities, and their respective countries.
International student enrollment at American universities has steadily increased over the years. In 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that international students represented 4.8% of all undergraduate and graduate students at US colleges and universities. The countries that send the most international students to the US are China, India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia.
EducationUSA responds to millions of queries from international students each year.
The organization’s professional advisers provide a variety of virtual and in-person services to students and their families, supplying up-to-date information on a wealth of different topics, including:
- The admissions process at US colleges and universities
- Standardized testing requirements
- How to finance a US education
- The student visa process
- Preparing for departure to the US
The network serves the US higher education community.
EducationUSA supports internationalization efforts and the recruitment of international students by accredited US higher education institutions by:
- Sharing information about scholarship programs and foreign education systems
- Organizing college fairs and school visits, both virtually and on location
- Connecting domestic and foreign learning institutions
EducationUSA operates a variety of initiatives to promote US higher education.
EducationUSA presents a variety of different programs at venues around the world:
MOOC Camps are staged at various US consulates, embassies, and other public facilities throughout the world. They host discussions around Open Courseware, including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and other free online learning tools.
Discussions are led by alumni who have completed the Fulbright Program, or similar US government exchange programs. Currently, US consulates and embassies in over 60 countries are participating in MOOC Camps, presenting discussions on a wide variety of different subjects, from college writing and entrepreneurship, to science and technology.
Competitive College Clubs
Competitive College Clubs (CCC) are advising programs established to help promising international students apply to US universities and colleges. The program currently accepts 8th to 11th grade students in the top 10% of their class.
Advisers lead a range of student activities, including preparing students for SAT and ACT exams; organizing study groups, lectures, and assignments; and completing community service projects. While the program does not guarantee that CCC students will be accepted at a US college or university, this cohort-based advising program provides a wealth of support for motivated, high-performing students.
EducationUSA Leadership Institutes
Leadership Institutes help higher education officials from all over the world to increase their knowledge and understanding of the US higher education system. The Institutes also help educators build capacity in their own educational systems, and connect them with officials and administrators in US higher education. Additionally, Leadership Institutes support American university and college administrators and government officials in engaging with international students.
Opportunity Funds Program
This program helps highly qualified students who are likely to be awarded financial aid by US universities and colleges, but who lack the material resources to cover the upfront costs, such as airfare, testing, or application fees. Students in the Opportunity Funds Program bring socioeconomic as well as cultural diversity to more than 100 university and college campuses throughout the United States today.
With a duration of 3 to 4 weeks, this summer academic program provides international students with tours of universities and colleges throughout the United States.
The program also offers English language courses, an overview of the US higher education system, college preparatory content, and cross-cultural activities for self-funded students ages 15 to 16. The Academy’s long-term goal is to establish a pipeline that connects promising international high school students with US higher education.
EducationUSA’s 5 Steps to US Study
EducationUSA has created a five-step action plan for international students looking to study in the United States:
- Researching study options
- Financing studies
- Applying for a student visa
- Completing university or college applications
- Preparing for departure
Whether international students plan to pursue short-term study or a full degree program in the US, EducationUSA connects them with the information and services they need to identify and access the right program for them.