Attending college in America has become an increasingly popular trend amongst international students. For international students, academic achievement entails completing an undergraduate degree program in four years with a passing grade point average. The diverse foreign population is compiled of students from countries all over the world who travel thousands of miles to receive quality education, development at training at American institutions. According to the Institute of International of Education, “3.5% of the U.S. higher education enrollments, more than 723,000 international students were enrolled in the United States during the 2010-2011 academic years” (p. 362). International students are willing to take a risk and endure financial obligations, language barriers and a new culture in order to better equip themselves to be successful professionals in the future. America must continue to compete in the global market in order to be the ideal destination for foreign students to receive higher education instruction.
Previous studies have shown that academic amongst international success is directly related to the levels of student engagement and advising received throughout college. Student engagement involves the amount of time and effort spent studying and participating in meaningful activities within a campus community. As Kim (1994) illustrates, “It is only through communication that strangers can come to learn the significant symbols of the host culture, and thereby to organize their own and others' activities successfully” (p. 394). College students must be self-driven and learn to take advantage of the opportunities and resources a campus has to offer. The other factor measured in student engagement is the deployment of university resources and effectiveness of academic advisors. Universities must provide adequate facilities and development centers/offices for students to receive counseling and academic support.
American universities must create a mission statement that fully embraces international populations within a campus community. A diverse and multicultural student body has the ability to strengthen the educational environment and prosperity of an institution. The successful integration of international students within a campus creates economical and educational benefits for the student and university. Universities will not profit from simply admitting a certain quota of foreign students in order to diversify class demographics. International students must also take responsibility by forming effective study habits and reaching out for assistance when necessary. Student engagement is directly related to the academic success of foreign students and intervention must begin during the First-year of college.
There are a variety of common difficulties associated with international students attending American universities which include: financial pressures, home sickness, and language barriers. Previous studies have shown that financial pressures are the leading source of anxiety amongst international students. Tuition and housing are expenses that all foreign students must face during the transition to a new country. Higher education institutions all over the nation must be willing to address these concerns immediately. Financial aid offices and academic advisors need to maintain steady contact with all international students to assist with their integration into a new environment. Many foreign students do not know anyone in America, and are unfamiliar with the educational system and application process for scholarships, grants and other financial awards. International students should not be blamed for their unfamiliarity with our educational system. Instead, their lack of knowledge allows universities the opportunity to reach out and make a meaningful connection with new students. If a First-year international student is struggling academically, financially and socially, the chance of he/she dropping out before completing a degree increases significantly. Freshman international students benefit from constant interaction with an advisor or counselor. Utilizing these professionals is an ideal way for students to feel accepted within a community and become aware of other activities and professional experiences a campus has to offer.
The methodology applied to gather information in this study consists of a questionnaire designed by graduate assistants, international advisors and a variety of directors from Offices of International Service (OIS). A student survey is an effective method of determining the active engagement of students and amount of guidance they receive from academic at a university. The results being analyzed in this report are in reference to First-year and Senior international student responses from a variety of four-year institutions in America. The survey will assess the amount of time international students spend on academics and their overall experiences with academic advisors. Further analysis of this information will allow for the creation of new methods for effective advising, developmental opportunities, and student engagement in the University setting.
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