Studying abroad as an international student can be a dream come true, but finding the right university can be a challenge. With so many universities to choose from, it can be overwhelming trying to determine which one is the best fit for your academic and personal goals.
Unlike domestic students, you don’t have the luxury of visiting campuses to physically check out various schools. Thankfully, with the proper tools and strategy, you can still get a good picture of the schools you’re interested in.
Here are some of the best ways to research universities abroad as an international student:
Take a Deep Dive Into the University’s Website
Most universities have comprehensive websites that provide information about their programs, admission requirements, campus life, and more.
Here’s a breakdown of information that you can find by browsing university websites:
- The programs and majors offered at the university, including course requirements, academic calendar, and faculty profiles.
- Admission requirements for international students, including language proficiency, academic transcripts, and financial proof.
- Student life in the campus including campus activities, housing options, and student organizations.
- Tuition and fees for international students as well as information about scholarships and financial aid.
- Location information including transportation and local attractions
To narrow down your list of schools abroad, make sure to explore different their website. Doing so will give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
Use Online University Ranking Systems
University rankings provide a crucial snapshot to help domestic and international students select their best fit colleges and universities.
Rankings provide important information on key factors such as academic reputation, freshman retention rates, financial resources, selectivity, and university specializations.
The top university ranking systems include:
- US News & World Report
- Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)
- Times Higher Education World University Rankings
- QS World University Rankings
However, note that university ranking systems have different methodologies and ranking factors. These means that some universities may have high ranking in one system while they fare more poorly in another.
Keep in mind that rankings are just one aspect of choosing a university and should not be the sole determining factor. You should also look at multiple rankings to get a well-rounded view of the university.
By using online university ranking systems, you can get a better understanding of how universities compare globally and find the universities that fit your academic and personal goals.
Participate in Virtual Information Sessions
Most universities offer online information sessions for prospective students. These sessions provide a great opportunity to learn more about the university and ask questions directly to admission representatives.
During these sessions, admission representatives provide an overview of the university, its programs, and the admission process. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions and get a better understanding of the university’s campus culture and student life.
Virtual information sessions are typically held online – either through webinars or video conferencing, making it easy for international students to participate from anywhere in the world. You can typically find information about upcoming virtual information sessions on the university’s website or by contacting the admission office directly. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the admission office and ask to participate in a virtual information session if you’re interested in learning more about a university.
Join Online Student Forums
Joining online student forums is a great way for prospective international students to connect with current students and alumni of the universities they’re interested in. These forums provide a platform for students to share their experiences, ask questions, and learn about the university from a student’s perspective.
You can find online student forums by searching for keywords related to the university and student life, such as “international student forum” or “study abroad student forum”. When participating in these forums, be respectful and professional, and make sure to ask thoughtful and relevant questions.
Online student forums are a valuable resource for prospective international students as they provide an inside look at the university and give you the opportunity to connect with others who have had similar experiences. By participating in these forums, you can gain a better understanding of the university’s culture, student life, and overall experience.
Connect with Current Students and Alumni
Connecting with current students and alumni is a great way for prospective international students to get a firsthand look at what it’s like to attend a university. You can reach out to current students and alumni through various channels, including email, social media, or online forums.
When connecting with current students or alumni, be respectful and professional. Start by introducing yourself and expressing your interest in the university. Ask questions about their experiences, including what they like and dislike about the university, what the campus culture is like, and what the local area is like.
The information you receive from the interactions with current students and alumni will give you a better understanding of what to expect if you choose to attend the university.
Connecting with current students and alumni is also a great way to build a network and make connections that can last a lifetime. They may be able to provide valuable insights, advice, and support as you navigate the admission process and your time at the university.
Attend Virtual Campus Tours
Most universities and colleges abroad offer virtual campus tours that allow you to explore the campus from the comfort of your own home.
Attending virtual campus tours is a great way for prospective international students to get a feel for the university and its campus, even if they’re unable to visit in person. Virtual campus tours are typically offered by the university’s admission office and are conducted through video conferencing or virtual reality technology.
During a virtual campus tour, you’ll have the opportunity to see the university’s facilities, including:
- Residence halls
- Recreational spaces
The tour guide will also provide an overview of the university’s programs, student life, and campus culture.
Virtual campus tours are a great way to get a sense of the university, its facilities, and what life is like for students. You’ll be able to ask questions, get a feel for the campus, and learn more about the university in a way that’s convenient and accessible, even if you’re unable to visit in person.
Reach out to the admission office and ask to participate in a virtual campus tour if you’re interested in learning more about a university.
Check the University’s Financial Aid Resources
Lastly, don’t forget to check the kind of financial aid and scholarships you’re eligible for, both through the university and external organizations.
Universities often offer scholarships and financial aid to international students to help offset the cost of tuition and living expenses. You can find information on financial aid and scholarships on the university’s website, through the financial aid office, or by contacting the admission office directly.
Start your scholarship and financial aid search early – many opportunities have deadlines and limited funding. Researching the various scholarships and financial aid opportunities available to you can help you find additional financial support to help pay for your education abroad.
Over to You…
Virtual research is a valuable tool for prospective international students considering attending university or college abroad.
As a prospective international student, take advantage of virtual research tools to help you make an informed decision about which universities or colleges to apply to. With the right resources and a little bit of research, you can find the right school for your goals, interests, and needs.
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