International Students: 8 Things To Know About Attending American Colleges

Last Updated Nov 24, 2010 11:52 AM EST

American colleges and universities are extremely popular destinations for international students. You can find out how many international students are attending American schools by reading my last post:

International Students: Who is Attending American Universities
If you want to study abroad in the United States some day, here are eight things that prospective international students need to know:

1. Not all international students, who attend American colleges and universities, are affluent, says Eric Staab, the admission dean at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

"The wealthy tend to follow the Ivy League name brands or geographic location," says Staab. If a school is located in Boston or New York City, it has an easier time matriculating international students of varying academic abilities who need little support."

2. Financial aid policies for international students vary from school to school. While some universities are only interested in accepting students who can pay full-price for their college degree, many others provide financial aid and/or merit scholarships.

3. To find out about financial aid and scholarships for international students at particular schools, look on a college's website for the admission counselor who handles foreign student applications.

4. Prospective international student can also get a sense of the generosity of certain American colleges and universities by looking at a valuable list of colleges and universities that provide international financial aid. This annual list, which is compiled by the Overseas Association for College Admission Counseling, includes a breakdown of the number of international students who enrolled at individual schools, the number who received financial aid and the average international financial aid award.

5. The United States government does not produce US News & World Report's college rankings. Because "US" is in the magazine's title, many foreign students believe that the rankings are official and believable. These college rankings are not official and the methodology is flawed.

6. Ivy League schools are not the only American schools worth attending. One reason why international students hold Ivy League schools in such esteem is because of their lock at the top of US News' rankings.

7. An overlooked source to attend colleges in the United States is the liberal arts college. Some liberal arts colleges, are expanding their student bodies for economic reasons, Staab says, which is prompting more of them to look overseas for promising students.

8. A great resource to learn about liberal arts colleges is to read an extremely popular book entitled, Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College by Loren Pope.

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog.