From school year 2005/06 to 2015/16, the number of international students in the USA has grown from 564,766 to 1,043,839. These counts include international students from both public and private institutions. Is the growth of this number a good or a bad thing? Opponents would say that a greater number of international students meant more competition for our domestic students.
Are we making it difficult for the students from our country to attend the colleges they aim for just because we want to make more space for foreigners? A survey from Higher Education Strategy Associates’ Canadian Education Project showed that domestic students had both positive and negative feelings about this trend. This is the most interesting detailed from that survey: 80% of the students who had international friends strongly agreed that international students were welcome on campus. Over two-thirds of the respondents felt like the internationalization of the campus has increased their curiosity to learn about other cultures.
In this article, we’ll list 3 strong proofs that international students are changing U.S. colleges for the better. Then, we’ll offer few tips on how to attract the best ones among them.
Why We Want International Students in Our Schools
- They Are Good for the Economy
During the 2015-2016 academic year, the international students contributed with $32.8 billion to this economy and supported 400,812 jobs. The largest part of their funding comes from sources outside of the United States. International students make a large impact on the progress of any university if we take the financial element into consideration. More money means greater investment in equipment, top-level lecturers, lecture halls, and research. From this aspect, our domestic students gain great benefits by sharing the campus with international students.
- They Bring Diversity
International students bring money, and that’s good for everyone. However, that doesn’t mean we only want them for the money. Their greatest contribution is towards the campus culture and diversity, which we are all striving for. Our nation faces complex global challenges, which it cannot solve if it isolates itself. The issues imposed by globalization demand us to bring together talented, creative, and knowledgeable minds from all around the world. International students give us new perspective and enrich the quality of discussions in the classroom halls. They are making domestic students open-minded, too. That’s the kind of dynamics that makes our nation a leader in innovation and progress.
- They Are Promoting Our Brand
This country has a strong educational brand. We have an excellent reputation for offering education of the highest quality at welcoming and safe campuses. We are creating something the whole world wants to be part of. Since international students are promoting our education, we have a chance to attract more of them and make real changes in this world. We are producing educated and open minds outside our borders, and that’s something we should be proud of.
How to Attract International Students
It’s clear: international students are making our universities better and we want them on our campuses. The question is: how do we attract the best ones?
- Preserve the School’s Core Values. The rest of the world is attracted to our educational system because it works. There is no reason to change the core identity of a university in order to make it appealing to foreigners. If you represent an institution that’s focused on science, you will emphasize that fact. This doesn’t mean that our colleges shouldn’t evolve. In fact, there’s no reason not to change a major from Chemistry to Chemical Technology when that’s what the current generations demand. We all understand that we’re working in a competitive industry that changes as it grows. However, we still need to stay true to the core identity of our institutions. Prestige comes from legacy.
- Adjust the Assignments. When we attract international students, we promise to treat them equal to our domestic ones. That’s the only way to do things. However, this also means we’ll expect them to express themselves like natives and write complex projects in academic English. Our universities need to provide better writing courses for international students. When a talented student from a foreign country gets informed about all assignments they will have to complete, they get scared and they might change their decision. We need to make them feel safe they can accomplish all goals by providing the training they need.
- Share the Story. You can use your international alumni to attract more students from other countries. Feature their impressions and recommendations at the main page, and create video testimonials. The students should get into details when they talk about their experience, in a way that conveys the true advantages of being part of that school. When prospective international students see that someone else managed to fit in, they will be encouraged to take the chance.
A virtual campus experience is an inseparable part of this story. These students will want to see and feel the campus, but most of them don’t get the chance to visit before applying. An interactive virtual tour and campus map can make up for that disadvantage.
Thanks to international students, we can translate the phenomenon of globalization into our own campuses. We’re creating better experiences for our domestic students, but we’re also making great contributions to development on a global level. Hopefully, we’ll keep seeing even more of them in our country in future.