- Larissa Ragonesi
College Fair - Some tips from the colleges representatives for international students
On September 27 we had a college fair at school attended by 16 universities and colleges: Augustana University, Ball State University, Cascadia Community College, Colorado State University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach, Emporia State University, Gettysburg College, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Nova Southeastern University, Shoreline Community College, Temple University, University of Cincinnati, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Missouri - Columbia, and Valencia College. All these colleges are from different areas of the United States and each of them had a time to present themselves to the students before the fair actually started.
Some differences were noticeable if you compare these colleges with the ones from the first college fair: the colleges cited previously were either cheaper or offered more scholarships than the ones from the previous visit, and I would even take the risk to say that all of them offer scholarships for international students. Another difference is that students were more prepared and aware of what they wanted to know and what they should ask about. Even though in the first college fair Ms Paulina gave us a paper with a lot of ideas of questions, I felt that everyone was still a little bit lost, which served as a learning experience because on the second event everyone seemed more confident.
After the first college fair I was thinking: how could I take advantage of the presence of so many universities in the school? So I decided to ask some questions to different college representatives who were attending the college fair about international students. I chose to ask more general questions because I was not looking for the college's opinion, but for the personal answer of the representatives, as these people work in the field and understand it well.
The first question was about the factors that commonly make international students want to do college in other countries, but especially the United States. The answers were all different but all cited a common reason: the world we live in today is very connected. The world being highly connected creates the want of going to college in other places because young people today want to constantly be in different places and learn things in different ways; going to college in the US accomplishes all these wishes, which is why a lot of students want to do that. Additionally, the college representatives told me that going to college in America is a great opportunity, since the learning method there is different and could be more beneficial than going to college in another country with a different learning system.
After asking the first question, the second one I inquired about was related to what are the characteristics that make an international student stand out to earn a scholarship with more ease. The answers I received were related to having a great academic curriculum (this is having good SAT scores and a high GPA) and also to starting the process of preparing for college early, which is a fundamental trait in an applicant. For an international student to have greater chances to earn a scholarship, they must be an active communicator and constantly stay in contact with the college.
Finally, the last question I asked was about the opportunities that international students receive compared to the ones US students receive. The college representatives' answers were that they were similar, only some differences which are the different programs that exist, some more focused on the international students while others are more focused on the US students. However the same amount of opportunities are offered to US students and international students in general.