Top 10 Colleges for International Students: A Post-Pandemic Evaluation

Moving to another country can make anyone stressed. Researching a multitude of universities to decide where exactly to apply doesn’t make anything easier, either. If you feel like crying for help, overwhelmed with how much you need to do—here I come dressed in a superhero costume to save you from falling down the research rabbit hole. As an international student myself, I know that not all universities end up being as generous in scholarships for international students as they claimed. Or their international student community ends up being smaller than they say. I’m coming to the rescue with my research on the percentage of international students attending, scholarships, majors that international students tend to study the most (business studies, economics, computer science, law, social sciences and engineering) access to fabulous internships and housing costs.

Let’s dive in to the top 10 best schools for international students, shall we?

1. University of Pennsylvania

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Do you want to feel like Rocky running up the famous stairs in the morning? Or, as a history geek, do you look for National Treasure-style adventure? This college makes sense for you then. Our trip together starts on the east coast where we land in Philadelphia: a big city that offers incredible internship opportunities at companies and organizations like Goldman Sachs, MetLife or American Conservation Group, while remaining more budget friendly than New York or Boston. At the University of Pennsylvania, one in five students comes from outside of the United States, creating a diverse community of students. The school offers unlimited need-based scholarships and financial aid, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Feeling welcomed doesn’t stop at financial aid.

“There were many programs that helped us acclimate to UPenn’s campus and our dorms. UPenn also created second year orientation for us this year since last year was just virtual…UPenn has a very diverse community. Both students and faculty come from diverse backgrounds,” University of Pennsylvania sophomore Rosemary O’Neil said.

Talking about university life is impossible without talking about dorms. Housing costs on average around 10 thousand per year. Final note: it offers all most desired majors and beyond, everything from medical school and STEM majors to law school under one roof.

2. University of Chicago

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Let’s move west to Chicago, Illinois. If you like Transformers or Batman you will find couple of gems in this city. Chicago makes for a budget friendly city to live in as it offers a lot of things to do in your free time on a budget , like free events with Chicago Cultural Center, free access to the Lincoln Park Zoo or discounted entries to Aquarium and Science museums. At the same time it offers the perks of various of internships  with companies like Johnson &Johnson, United Airlines or TikTok. Moreover, the University of Chicago offers unlimited need-based financial assistance to international students, making it an appealing option if finances worry you. 20th Century Studios filmed Home Alone in Chicago, but you won’t feel lonely on this campus as 26 percent of students come from outside of the United States, showing a well-balanced, distinct community.

“I would say the diversity on campus is really impressive. I come from the Bay Area, which is already pretty diverse so I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be even more diverse. In terms of international students and student life, I would say there is a good mix of international students and I’m friends with people from all over the world. It also shocked me was the diversity of opportunities on campus. I meet people from different majors all the time so it’s cool to see that we’re not just all STEM or Econ,” University of Chicago student Leena Tantawy said.

No one can complain of lack of choices when it comes to a major, no matter your interests. Therefore, the existing diversity makes the campus feel welcoming right away no matter where in a world you cam from.

3. Northeastern University

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Moving on to the home of the Huskies sports team and underwear run, an annual tradition of students racing each other in undergarments. This Boston based school has multiple perks including one of the highest rates of international student at 32.5 %. This school attracts students with its wide variety of majors, including all of the most popular majorsStudents themselves share stories on amazing international representation.

“The campus is extremely diverse. In one of my classes there are only 4 people originally from the US and most classes are like that. I have had classes where no one is from here. I felt very welcomed. There are many resources and we do have orientation. They tried their best to ensure we have all necessary resources even though it was covid time,” Northeastern University student Valentina Mendez said.

Vibrant student life goes beyond the university itself as Northeastern’s location offers close proximity with Boston College and Harvard, so you can set your eye on that famous law school from Suits and Legally Blonde. All international students get considered for need-based aid between $10,000 to $30,000. It may not cover all the tuition, but the university offers variety of other scholarships students can apply for. Housing costs lands somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000, which puts them in the middle of all mentioned.

Massachusetts makes the top five of most desired states for international students, and Boston offers a wide-range of internship opportunities with a variety of businesses, law firms and non-profits like Microsoft, Estee Lauder, and Pfizer. If you dream of investigative journalism you can set your eye on the Boston Globe which reported on one of the biggest scandals concerning the Catholic Church. Want to know more? Watch Spotlight!

4. The New School

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Want to be close to student life, internships, museums and other fun activities? New School’s location at the heart of Manhattan makes it a dream school for all those who wanted to taste that city life. Just a couple of cool places close by: Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment (a 20 minutes’ walk away), Soho (two stops by subway) and Broadway (three stops away)— you will know all the city’s secrets.  The university can pat itself on the back because 31 percent of all students came from abroad. Living in New York ends up expensive, but it offers many internship opportunities in virtually every single field from fashion and film to law firms and the United Nations. Whatever you dream of doing, this concrete jungle is where dreams get made and there’s nothing you cannot do *wink*. Bonus points for the New School—when applying, students automatically get considered for multiple scholarships.

5. Illinois Institute of Technology

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Can you learn thermo nuclear physics overnight like Tony Stark or want a multiple STEM degrees like Bruce Banner? Welcome to the STEM major mecca. The university also proudly shares its astonishing 41.8% rate of international students. Although, it doesn’t offer social sciences or law, its diverse pool of engineering and computer sciences degrees makes it appealing to any international student that loves STEM. Located in Chicago, the school offers a multitude of internship opportunities at companies like Cisco, Fermi lab and Deloitte,making it a less expensive alternative to New York. Probably the biggest perk? This school offers need-based scholarships to international students which universities often limit to U.S. citizens, so if money makes it to the top of your priority list, check out their website.

6. Columbia University

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Take the subway uptown as we land in Columbia—yes, that Columbia to which a couple of Gossip Girl characters went on to study. And in case superheroes do exist, the uptown locale saves you from all the midtown destruction. It has a high rate of international students, with 36% of all students coming from outside of the U.S. The diversity and welcoming spirit goes beyond visible numbers.

“I was incredibly impressed by how diverse the campus is. I live in suite style housing, and 4 of the 14 students in my suite are international. This is great because we end up having some national holiday to celebrate together every week… Also, I really enjoyed Columbia’s weeklong new student orientation program It was 7 days of touring campus and meeting students during the day, and then venturing into downtown Manhattan and the neighboring areas at night,” Columbia University student Alex Chen said.

The New York location definitely helps the university in the department of finding internships. Its uptown locale allows for a little more space and escape from the busiest parts of Manhattan. Let’s talk money, because we don’t all possess the budget of Blair Woldorf. Columbia strives to meet 100% of students’ financial needs. If you plan to reach for Columbia, don’t forget to mark the box that you will need financial assistance. They offer a vast variety of majors from social sciences and law to multiple engineering degrees. Moreover, Columbia’s website points out that they can tailor their programs to students who want to pursue a specific path for their academic career.

7. Rice University

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Rice University, located in Houston, Texas, proudly shares that one in every four students came from outside of the United States. Housing costs in Texas both on and off campus will end up lower than in New York City or California. Houston also offers great internship offers that include companies like Bank of America, Hewlet Packard and the Kraft Heinz Company. If you can take the heat and handle spicy food, you will thrive at this Texan school.

“At undergraduate level campus life is extremely vibrant, welcoming and friendly. The residential community set up and small student-to-professor ratio allows for closer cooperation between faculty and students. As in all Texas, this friendly atmosphere allows students to feel welcomed on human level and not just treated as a number,” Associate Vice-Provost for International Education Adria Baker said.

Rice University strives to improve the quality of student life each year and leads in the standard of welcoming international students with a comprehensive orientation and student centers ready to assist all freshman and transfer students. Rice offers multiple majors across seven divisions, but most know them from their Cognitive Science, Economics and Biochemistry programs.

8. George Washington University

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Want to live your best House of Cards or Legally Blonde 2 life in D.C.? No problem. Check out the more budget-friendly alternative to some of the more expensive and less financially-giving universities. Yes, the international students’ rate hangs only at 14.2%, but look on the bright side. First of all, considering total number of students at the school (nearly 26, 000), the 14 percent still means quite a lot of students come from outside of US. Second of all, that rate can easily change if just enough international students reads the article.

Washington D.C. as a city offers a lot both in terms of social sciences and STEM internships with multiple governmental and non-governmental institutions located in or around D.C. Examples of internships offered in the past include the Smithsonian, World Bank and multiple offices around Capitol. Unfortunately, internships at S.H.I.E.L.D. are no longer offered due to collapse of Headquarters back in 2014. It also offers all the majors desired by international students and many more. Finally, the university makes a budget-friendly option as the only school in D.C. that offers merit-based scholarships to international students—no additional application needed. The school automatically considers every student for these scholarships and when we add all these thousands of dollars necessary to study in the United States, this will make it easier for your dreams of D.C. come true.

9. University of California, Davis

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Want to attend climate conscious university? No problem. UC Davis’ carbon output decreases each year and it aims to achieve carbon neutral campus by 2025. California also makes the list of one of the most desired states among international students. Understandably, as who wouldn’t want to live their La La Land dream or soak in the sun after classes? Unfortunately, most universities in the state only offer limited scholarships for international students. But UC Davis offers a long list of scholarships available for everyone no matter their citizenship. It proudly shares its 18% international student rate. Davis offers multiple internship at companies including Bank of America, PG&E Corporation and ATT. Another perk? Housing costs average between $10,000 and $15,000 and you can find all of your desired majors.

“Yes, it is not in Los Angeles, but you still get to enjoy California with both San Francisco and Sacramento close by. There are many ways to find jobs, internships and entertainment. Moreover, UC-Davies offers so many opportunities on campus, especially when it comes to research that it is a great option,” Postdoctoral Scholar at UC Davis Yuanjun “Steven” Shen said.

Speaking of San Francisco, you can cross visiting The Princess Diaries off your bucket list – what a Teenage Dream!  UC Davis can make incredible option if you want to study in California. Additional points for the fact that I couldn’t find one complaint on how they treated students during the pandemic. How a university acts in crisis makes of a good determinant when making a choice.

10. University of Rochester

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Does community rank high on your list of priorities? Do you want to find your family away from family like in Pitch Perfect? One thing guaranteed: you won’t feel alone as an international student, because one in three students here came from outside of the US. 120 other countries to be precise. The University of Rochester definitely got our stamp of approval when it comes to diversity ratings. They offer all of the majors international students gravitate towards, including a legal studies major offered at undergraduate level. Undecided students or those with multiple interests benefit from University of Rochester’s approach towards curriculum.

“We have a unique curriculum here at Rochester that allows student to be flexible. There are practically no requirements or very limited ones, which leaves students more time to figure out what to major in. It also gives more flexibility to discover additional interest,” Executive Director of International Admissions Jennifer Blask said.

Flexibility makes Rochester excellent for anyone who comes to US unsure about who they want to be in life. Here, no one will look at you weirdly if last minute you will decide to go to law school like Elle Woods. Similar to most American colleges, they do not offer need-based scholarships for international students. They do, however, offer a very long list of scholarships for everyone. The university location in New York State makes the commute to the New York City possible, allowing students to intern in the city. However, Rochester itself also offers a lot of internship opportunities with companies like General Motors and L’Oreal.The commute might take a while, but at the same time living expenses outside of city itself make up for that.

The post Top 10 Colleges for International Students: A Post-Pandemic Evaluation appeared first on College Magazine.

Top 10 Colleges for International Students: A Post-Pandemic Evaluation