The U.S. arguably offers one of the widest selections of institutions for higher education in the world. The process of researching different universities and determining which ones to apply is an important step in your college application journey.
College guidebooks and websites generally provide statistical and factual information about a school like its ranking, admissions statistics and tuition. Additionally, international students might want to consider the following overlooked but equally important aspects that will shape your academic studies and school life during college, as well as your career development after graduation.
1. Career development of graduates and alumni: College provides abundant resources that aim to create the optimal environment for learning. A college education also equips students with the skills needed to enter the work force after graduation.
Learning about where graduates and alumni pursue their careers reflects the level of emphasis that the university places on the career development of its students. The school’s alumni center often provides statistics on the job placement of graduates.
Students can specifically about graduates’ employment breakdown across different industries and companies. It is also important to note which companies are recruiting on campus and which ones have a strong alumni presence.
All of this information provides a unique perspective on the career interests of the student body, as well as the recruiting platform and network offered by the school.
2. The university’s global presence: Some universities have launched exchange programs with schools from different countries and have even set up satellite campuses abroad. Doing so enhances the universities’ brand name internationally.
For international students who are considering jobs outside the U.S., enrolling in a college with a strong reputation worldwide helps with securing interview spots during the recruiting process.
The school’s partnerships abroad also allow students to study in foreign countries and broaden their network across the globe. Students who are considering working internationally are likely to find these exchange programs beneficial to their job search.
3. The research areas of the professors: If you have already developed interests in certain subjects, doing more research on specific academic programs and courses is worth the time. Faculty members’ profiles, which list each professor’s research areas and publications, are often available on departmental websites.
These profiles can tell you about the department’s focus, as well as the resources and courses available for you to specialize in an area of study.
You might be interested in writing an honors thesis during your senior year or might even consider applying to Master’s or Ph.D. programs after completing your undergraduate degree.
4. Student organizations: Academic learning is a major part of your college experience, but do not overlook the quality of your college life and engagement with your peers in college. By researching the student organizations and learning about the activities they held, you will be able to gauge the students’ different interests, whether in sports, arts-related and cultural activities or in career preparation.
It is important to assess how active and organized a student club is run, which can reflect how engaged and passionate the students are. A well-managed student club, for instance, will regularly hold activities that improve in scale or popularity among students or in other measures over the years.
Learning about the student organizations can also help you decide whether you will enjoy studying the school life of a university.