Originally Posted: Oct 27, 2011
Last Updated: Jul 11, 2016
Thomas B. Hassett
Director of International Admissions
With well over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States, how do you, as an international student, make the right choice and find the right college for you? The following questions will help you make informed choices.
- The first question involves geographic location, or where in the United States do you want to study? Regional differences include climate, cost of living, safety, and access to airports. You may also have family or friends in certain regions who will help you with your choice.
- The second question forces you to consider the surrounding area—in particular, whether a university is located in an urban, rural, or suburban setting. The more urban a campus, the more activities you will find at all levels, from recreational activities to internships. Rural or near-rural campuses are in regions that usually have a low cost of living, high safety, and provide all of the activities and services that you will need for your education.
- The third question is in regard to size. Bigger research universities have more choices in academic offerings and activities; they also have large auditoriums for classrooms and student teachers. Smaller schools tend to be more personal and nurturing, with greater access to professors who teach their own courses.
- The last big question involves campus culture. Is the community international? Does it embrace diversity and know how to support students who come from different cultures? Is the community friendly and supportive, or does it encourage competition and independence?
There are other questions you will need to answer eventually; however, if you provide honest answers to the questions above, you will have a foundation you can use to find universities that meet your needs. Of course, if you are interested in an academic program that is not typically offered, then you will need to consider schools that have your program as well. You will find, however, that most universities in the United States offer a similar selection of academic programs and that real differences come from other considerations, like extracurricular offerings on campus. The good news is that there are likely many universities that will meet your needs. You need but honestly define those needs to find the right school.
Search for universities that are right for you here.