Top 10 College Admission Trends You Should Know

A very warm thanks to another guest blogger, Katina, who runs a blog called Zen College Life which is truly an interesting site so go ahead and check it out! She’s written and contributed a Top 10 for us and who doesn’t like a great Top 10? They’re packed with info in short format making it a great, fun read.

It’s now 2012 but these Top 10 admission trends are still quite applicable for students. Remember that every college is not the same and certain American colleges have ways of working with the student but nonetheless, some of these trends are applying to international students everywhere! 

So again, with a special thanks to Zen College Life, let’s take a look at the Top 10 Admission Trends:

During a recession, college is definitely the safest place to be. But no matter how smart or talented a student is, it’s all up to college admissions. With more competition to get into college and to nail a solid job, institutions and students will continue to see changes in their admissions every year. Here are 10 college admission trends you should know:

  1. This year — 2011 — is the toughest admissions year yet

    This year has been the hardest for high school seniors applying to college. A combination of the weak economy and the increased number of applications each student submits has made it much harder to get into college. Years ago, seniors typically applied to a handful of schools, but now students have doubled their application submissions to 10 or even 30 schools.

  2. More students are interested in southern colleges

    In recent years, more college students have been saying goodbye to snow and hello to sunshine as they make their way down south for school. Whether it’s the quality of education or quality of life, students are taking greater notice of what southern colleges have to offer year-round.

  3. International student applications are on the rise

    An increase in the number of international students applying to American schools has made getting into college even more competitive. And colleges are accepting more international students because they provide a financial boost by paying full price to attend school in the United States.

  4. More grad students are aiming for Ivy League

    Ivy League schools have always been the quintessential place to receive an education, especially a graduate degree. But now the country’s unemployment rate and increased job competition have made this dream of attending an Ivy League school a necessity for many students who want to outshine their peers and lock-in a good job. In addition to competing with fellow graduates, students will also have to beat out recently laid off workers who hold years of experience and industry knowledge.

  5. More homeschoolers are applying to college

    Over the last few years, admissions departments have seen an increase in the number of homeschoolers applying to college. While it’s nice to diversify, many colleges find it difficult to compare homeschoolers to traditional students, therefore making the admissions process a little more tricky.

  6. Admissions waitlists are growing

    More colleges have admitted that their dreadful admissions wait lists are growing in size to account for more applicants. Schools like Harvard and Princeton no longer have early admissions and have to implement the wait list, which makes it extra difficult and painfully nerve-wracking for applicants. During this waiting period, students are more likely to send follow-up recommendation letters and pull as many strings as possible.

  7. Public schools are accepting more out-of-state students

    In an effort to diversify and, of course, cash in on higher tuition rates, public schools are admitting more out-of-state students. Public schools are also accepting more non-resident students because it helps increase their numbers and avoid the need for more student housing.

  8. More college applicants are interested in creative writing

    Today’s college applicants are showing a greater interest in creative writing programs and are making their choice of college based on this subject. Whether students are just looking to build up their creative writing portfolios or have a sudden urge to write, creative writing has and will certainly continue to be a popular major for students.

  9. More Californians are applying out of state

    It might seem strange that California students are applying outside of their beautiful and educationally renowned state for college, but the decline in state funding has left many with no other choice. California schools are accepting fewer freshmen than in the past to counteract the budget cuts. In fact, just under 70% of California freshmen were accepted for fall 2011, which is down from 71.7% in 2010 and 72.6% in 2009.

  10. More students are taking a gap year before college

    Over the last few years, admissions departments have noticed that more students are taking a gap year before attending college. There are many reasons that students are opting for a break, such as lack of tuition money, high school burnout and even fulfilling a desire to travel abroad, volunteer and work. Another major factor in students’ decisions to take a gap year is the increased competition to get into college.

So there you have it! Remember that not all colleges are the same, especially when dealing with international students. Some colleges have rolling admissions and some colleges accept international students quite easily but these are just some thing to think about when applying to college.

That’s it for now. Don’t forget to check out Zen College Life!

Posted in International Students, Study Abroad, Studying in America, Top Ten, Top Ten Lists | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Universities Popular With UK students

A very big thanks to Chris Price, PFL‘s Regional Director, North America, who sent in an extremely interesting news report that you’ll definitely find both helpful and surprising when thinking about which destination to choose for your higher education. The news article is something that many of you are probably already starting to notice and if you haven’t, you’ll learn quite a bit so have a great time reading through this piece and see if you can’t relate to it yourself!

Here’s what Chris had to say:

A recent article on the BBC news24 website indicted the increasing popularity of studying in the USA for British and international students based in the UK.

The numbers of UK based student expressing an interest in US higher education has increased significantly according to the Fulbright commissions and event organizers like the Student World.

The key factors for this are:

  • Quality higher education with excellent facilities
  • The depth and breadth of study options offered by the USA’s 4000 degree awarding institutions
  • The introduction of fees levels of up to £9000 making US studies more competitive
  • The wide range of scholarships available in the USA meaning that most UK students with good “A” level and “IB” grades could get full or partial scholarships and bursary opportunities making the USA comparable to the UK in terms of fees
  • The requirements of top employers who are looking for graduates with international awareness, global skills and experience

And here is the news article he is referring to which is posted below for you to read yourself:

UK students switch to US universities

By Sean Coughlan, BBC News education correspondent

Within four years, a quarter of sixth formers at a leading UK independent school will be heading for universities in the United States.

That’s the prediction of Anthony Seldon, head of Wellington College in Berkshire.

From Leighton Buzzard to Yale: Jason Parisi will have saved money by studying in the US

Dr Seldon, one of the UK’s most prominent head teachers, says that ambitious teenagers are looking further afield than ever before in their university choices.

The lure of well-funded US universities, with more broad-based course options, is proving increasingly attractive to youngsters in the UK, he says.

At a recent talk with pupils, he said that about 40% claimed to want to go to US universities, with the expectation that many of these will actually go on to enrol.

This surge in academic wanderlust reflects the experience of the Fulbright Commission, which promotes educational links between the US and UK.

The level of interest is “rising sharply” this year, says commission director Lauren Welch.

They were taken aback when 4,000 students turned up for a US university recruitment fair in London last month – double previous years.

When admissions figures are known in the new year, she expects a spike in applications.

Anthony Seldon says that young people are looking at wider horizons for university

The most recent figures, from this autumn’s intake, saw big increases in applications from

students in the UK to universities such as Harvard, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.

Students wanting to apply to US universities can take the SAT common entrance test in the UK – and the College Board which runs the test reported a 30% increase in such UK candidates.

The introduction of higher tuition fees at UK universities, up to £9,000 per year, is pushing students to think much harder about their options. It’s also changing the balance of what is affordable.

Dr Seldon says that universities in the UK are going to have to take more care about what they’re offering in terms of contact hours, subject options and pastoral care. The competition is now global.

He says that for the price of UK fees, students are being offered courses in Hong Kong, with change for the air fares home. There are also pupils looking at universities in Canada, Australia, China, South Africa and in continental Europe, he says.

Budget Harvard

The headline price of US universities can be dauntingly high – the top bracket are above $50,000 (£32,000) per year – but this is often offset by high levels of means-tested

Road trip, Southwestern University: UK students are drawn to the adventure of going to a US university

financial support.

Harvard spokesman Jeff Neal says the university has seen growing numbers of students from the UK and that families with “low and middle incomes will likely pay no more to send their students to Harvard than to a UK university”.

From next year, students at Harvard from families earning below $65,000 (£41,000) per year will not have to pay any tuition fees.

The most competitive US universities, hungry for the most talented students, recruit from around the world, with means-tested support available.

So what’s it like to go from a school in England to an Ivy League institution?

Jason Parisi, from Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, has started this term at Yale and talks enthusiastically about his experiences.

He says he was drawn by the quality of the course on offer, and the belief that the international experience would give him an advantage in the jobs market when he returned, marking him out from the rest of the graduates.

The idea of an international education – gaining a more global perspective – appealed to him and he says that the “insular culture” which sees UK students stay at home is beginning to change.

He is studying Mandarin, economics, English and physics. “There is nowhere in the UK where I could have had that combination. You can build your own education here,” he says.

Wealthy colleges

Major US universities are extremely wealthy institutions – Yale’s endowment rose to $19.4bn (£12.3bn) this year – and he says he was “very surprised by the amount of resources”.

“Whatever you want to do, as long as you provide the motivation, you’ll get the funding,”

Yale versus Harvard: Will the competition be for the brightest UK students?

he says.

Perhaps more surprising is that the four years in Yale won’t cost him anything, as the financial aid package is covering all his fees and costs, including travel. It’s support worth about $250,000 (£158,000).

It’s not just the big beasts of US higher education which are finding themselves increasingly popular with UK students.

Norman Renshaw, managing director of InTuition Scholarships, says his firm has been “inundated” with inquiries this year about applications for US universities, increasing threefold on last year.

He connects would-be applicants with US universities offering academic and sports scholarships, representing about 100 institutions stretched between Michigan and Florida.

The typical cost for students, after scholarships, is about £6,500 to £8,000 per year, he says.

Global Market

“Clearly tuition fees is the key driver, although I think the lack of availability of places at UK universities is also an underestimated factor,” he says.

There is a wider trend too, he suggests, related to anxiety about getting an advantage in the graduate jobs market.

“It’s becoming an international market. We’re no longer just competing with each other.

German universities teach in English with no tuition fees: Canadian David Ravensbergen studied in Berlin

Employers are looking for people who have an international awareness.”

When ministers in London announced plans to encourage more competition in the university system, the expectation was that overseas institutions would set up in the UK. Instead it seems that students are heading in the opposite direction.

It’s not just US universities who are recruiting. Continental European universities are offering courses taught in English, with low or no tuition fees. Dutch universities, such as Utrecht, are touring schools in London and inviting applications. Maastricht has said it would like to become part of the Ucas admissions system.

Highly-internationalised German universities are teaching courses in English to native English speakers, without charging such overseas students any tuition fees.

Perhaps what has been odd before is that so few students from the UK had applied abroad.

‘Global skills’ lacking

If numbers going to the US are now climbing upwards it’s from a low base, because there has been remarkably little tradition of travelling abroad to study, particularly for state school pupils. For every 10 overseas students coming into the UK, only one UK student goes in the other direction.

The most recent US figures showed 723,000 overseas students in its institutions, paying

Utrecht calling: Dutch universities have been visiting UK schools this autumn on a recruiting drive

$21bn (£13.3bn) each year into the US economy.

Almost half of these places were taken by students from three countries: China, India and South Korea, the rising education superpowers. Only about 1% of overseas students in the US were from the UK, fewer in number than from countries such as Nepal, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

A cluster of reports and organisations have warned against the dangers of such a stay-at-home tendency, when young people need to be able to navigate a globalised economy.

A report from the Association of Graduate Recruiters and the Council for Industry and Higher Education, published last week, said that UK students were “lagging behind” in the skills needed by employers in a global economy.

The report said major employers, operating across international borders, wanted competencies such as “global knowledge”, “a global mindset” and “cultural agility”.

The British Council’s Richard Everitt also backed an increase in students moving between the UK and US.

“Increased mobility between students in both directions can only strengthen our current ties, and create mutual opportunities for greater prosperity,” he said.

The 1994 Group of research universities in the UK last week warned that internationalisation had to be a priority for higher education, including creating more overseas campuses.

“Ensuring that UK universities have the support needed to thrive on the world stage is a key factor in driving growth, and should be at the heart of the government’s economic strategy,” said the group’s chairman, Michael Farthing.

Among the most high-profile pioneers of such a global strategy has been John Sexton, president of New York University.

“Talent is found around the world and to ever greater degrees it flows around the world. That reality will radically re-shape US higher education in the years to come,” he said.

Posted in Higher Education, International Students, News Report, PFL, Studying in America | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Studying Abroad “Misunderstood”

After so many serious posts, it’s time to have a little bit of fun! When students head out to study in America or any other country, for that matter, there’s a lot to be thought about that includes all family members involved.

Parents are scared their children will make the wrong friends, fathers think their daughters will find boyfriends or mother will worry that their child may be into all the wrong things. All are legitimate things for parents to worry about and yet, it may not be quite as serious as it sounds.

So if you’re one of those parents, grandparents, older brothers or aunts/uncles that are terrified to let your teenage (or early 20’s) family member head off to the U.S. for higher education, here is a fantastic picture created by Alid Art sent in to me that will put your worries to rest!

Now, obviously, this is done in jest since international students are known to work diligently at their studies. They go through an extremely rigorous and often long process to be accepted into an American college which is by no means, any simple feat.

Random Fact: Did you know that the United States of America accept more international students than any other country in the world? If you didn’t know that before, now you know!

Posted in College Fun, College Life, College Students, Studying in America | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

DAWN Education Expo – Organizational Mode

Perhaps the largest attendance in Pakistan’s history of education expos, Dawn Education Expo 2012 flew by with a BANG! There were literally thousands of students visiting the halls in all three major cities and visit they did!

It was a lot of fun but now we’re in setup mode so that we can begin working one-on-one with each of you to get you through all of the required processes. Once this process has been completed, then we’ll be able to start firing away so don’t worry about losing touch with us! Also, many of you are working with PFL or agents in which case you can talk to them about setting up Q&A sessions with me and hopefully, I’ll recognize some of you!

All in all, it was a blast and the best expo by far, especially for us! Stratford University, USA’s hall was jam-packed with students from the time the expo opened until it closed which was amazing.

Thanks to those of you who follow this blog, many of you came and talked about questions in person that you’ve been having, such as: The many options that are available in the U.S., questions answered regarding student visas and  many other types of questions that students have about studying abroad.

If there are any agents or staff who work at a reputable university and are interested in having a presentation done or a Q&A session for your students, you can email me at

For students with questions or students who would like to meet up and have a chance to ask me any questions you have, whether it’s about courses available, tests required for visas, visa interviews, etc. then go ahead and leave a comment with your name and email or email me directly at

For those of you who attended the expo, how did you find it? Was it fun and great to see all the universities out there or was it something you were recommended to do?

I’m really interested to know the student’s perspective of these types of experiences so if you’d like to write a guest blog, you will be our student of the month plus a free application fee to Stratford University, USA!

Posted in Studying in America | Leave a comment

Differences Between F-1 and J-1 Status

I thought I’d try to squeeze one more very important post in here before the Dawn Education Expo this weekend. This article was sent to me by Stratford University so I’m getting off easy with the writing bit this time!

Last year, the J-1 visa was pretty new with not many people having heard too much about it. Fast forward a year later and now it’s out in the open, a lot of questions being asked and a lot of questions that will be asked during the expo so hopefully this will help you in understanding the J-1 visa a little better.

There are two types of entry visas issued to non-immigrant students who intend to study full-time – the F-1 Student visa and the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. A student’s accompanying spouse and children are given an F-2 or J-2 visa.

  • Source of Funding – J-1 Exchange Visitor status is available to those students who are supported substantially by funding other than personal or family funds. Such funding may include that which comes from the U.S. government or the student’s home government, an international organization, or the University. Students who are supported by personal or family funds are ineligible for J-1 immigration status, and must come to the U.S. to study in F-1 immigration status.
  • Foreign Residence Requirement– Students in J-1 immigration status and their J-2 dependents may be subject to a “foreign residence requirement“. This applies to those who have receive U.S. or home country government funding or those who are on the “Country Skills List”. The foreign residence requirement means that upon completion of the J-1 program they must reside in their countries of last legal permanent residence for two years before they are eligible to apply for entry into the U.S. on a specialized work visas (H or L) or an immigrant visa.J-1 students who receive direct or indirect U.S. or home government funding, or who are studying in fields for which personnel are considered in short supply in their home countries (most developing nations have “Country Skills” lists of varying lengths), are ineligible to apply for a change to another non-immigrant status (except A or G) or permanent residency in the U.S. until they have satisfied the “two year home country physical presence requirement”. To see if your country is on the Skills List and which fields of study are included, consult the Exchange Visitor Skills List in PDF format.There is no foreign residence requirement for F-1 student status. Refer to the Department of State’s web site for additional information on the Exchange Visitor Program.
  • Medical Insurance – Students in J-1 status and their J-2 dependents are required to have comprehensive medical coverage in order to fulfill U.S. government regulations governing the J Exchange Visitor status. If you purchase insurance other than the insurance offered through the University for your dependents or yourself, it may cost as much as $3,000 per year in excess of the usual living expenses.
  • Work Permission – Students in either F-1 or J-1 immigration status may work part time (up to 20 hours per week) on campus with permission from the ISSO or the IAO. For both statuses, permission to work off campus based on economic need may be requested only after the first full academic year of student status, and only under extraordinary circumstances of unforeseen need. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) authorizes F-1 students to work off campus, whereas J-1 students submit an application for work permission to their visa sponsor, i.e. the agency or school that issued the DS-2019 form.
  • Practical or Academic Training– Students in F-1 and J-1 immigration status are eligible to engage in differing lengths of practical or academic training during their studies and at the completion of their academic programs.Practical training, a privilege of F-1 immigration status if you are eligible, is employment in one’s field of study. Those in F-1 immigration classification may be eligible for “curricular” practical training (which is authorized by the ISSO or IAO) during their programs, in addition to one year of “optional” practical training that may take place during or after one’s program of study. Permission to engage in practical training may be granted only after you have been in valid student status for one academic year. The ISSO and the IAO recommend optional practical training and the USCIS authorizes it. Refer to the Practical Training Overview for complete information on both curricular and optional practical training.Academic training, a privilege of J-1 immigration status if you are eligible, is employment which is integral, not just related, to one’s field of study. One is eligible to apply for permission to engage in academic training after one academic term in valid student status. The period of time allowed for Academic Training cannot exceed the length of the program of study. In most cases, there is a maximum of 18 months with the exception of some postdoctoral research and teaching positions that may qualify for up to 36 months. An application for academic training is made to the J-1 student’s Exchange Visitor program sponsor. Refer to Academic Training Authorization for Those in J-1 Exchange Visitor Immigration Status for complete information.
  • Dependent Employment – Immigration regulations allow no circumstances under which the spouse (F-2) of an F-1 student can apply for work permission while in the U.S. The spouse (J-2) of a J-1 Exchange Visitor, however, may apply to USCIS for permission to be employed, if he or she can demonstrate a need for supplemental support for self or children. The spouse cannot obtain work permission in order to support the J-1 student. Form I-765, required to apply for J-2 work permission, may be filed electronically. The form may also be obtained from the ISSO or the IAO.

So there you have it – the differences between the F-1 and J-1 Status! If you have any questions, feel free to ask or come see me at the Dawn Education Expo this weekend!

Posted in Exchange Visitor, F-1 Status, J-1 Status, Studying in America, United States Government | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Dawn Education Expo 2012

We haven’t gone anywhere and will be back to writing our normal weekly posts in the latter half of next month. In case you haven’t heard (it’s in just about every newspaper!), the DAWN Education Expo 2012 is about to kick off next month!

That puts all of us into overdrive so that we can get everything in order for you to be able to check out different foreign universities and local universities to help make the right decision that suits your needs.

Last year we met with a lot of students in their last year of school so this year, come back with your friends and refresh your memories, take a look around and also, take some time to talk with International Education Advisors. We’re there for you!

We, especially at Stratford University, USA, are looking forward to seeing you!

Who’s planning on participating? If I see your name on here, I’ll be watching out for you at the Stratford University, USA stall!

Posted in Dawn Newspaper, International Education Advisors, International Students, Studying in America | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Here’s To A Brand New Year!

First of all, a very Happy New Year to everyone – of course, you’ve probably heard that a million and one times but all the same, a new year means new goals and a fresh start. This is especially the perfect time for international students to set that New Year resolution of getting accepted into colleges abroad and starting a brand new year with a lot of brand new opportunities!!

With that being said, WordPress has sent us our yearly recap of how we’ve done with our posts over the past year which has also been our first year in doing this!

At first I was hesitant to post it because it lets everyone into our good days (which is fun to share), our bad days (which is never any fun to share) and even worse than that, some may look at it as a competition which is definitely something that it shouldn’t be.

After some thinking (way past January 1st), I thought, why not let people see how they’ve contributed to our international blog? That’s exactly what this is meant for: Keeping international students connected to each other no matter which country they’re in. That’s what’s really important – not the ups and downs along the way but the contributions, interests and gratitude shown by everyone around the world!

It also helps us to see what students are most interested in, what they feel strongly about or what might educate them the most which in turn, helps you out even more, giving us a chance to show our appreciation to all of you as well.

Most importantly, it means a lot to us that so many of you read our posts daily with thousands of return visitors and new visitors. It’s a high form of gratitude and for that, we thank you for having participated in what it was meant to be: A way to keep international students, globally, connected together as one!

So, if you’d like to take a look, here are our stats for our first year of international student blogging! Cheers to a fantastic New Year!

Posted in College Parties, Holidays, International Students, Stratford University, Studying in America | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment