Finances, visas & best fit challenge int’l grad students

A new survey has analysed the perceptions of the international applicant experience among students and professionals in a bid to improve operations at US institutions.

Student support platform Interstride partnered with NAGAP to expand research previously published last fall on utilising technology to address gaps in international admissions.

Key findings from the report were debuted at the recent NAGAP GEM Summit in NYC last month.

“By identifying alignments and misalignments between graduate enrolment management professionals and international students, possibilities emerge on how to better support international students,” Interstride’s Judy Chen, who specialises in strategic partnerships.

They reviewed the survey process and identified the top three challenges of the 345 international graduate students from 56 countries who completed the survey. The central concerns were finances, visas, and finding the best fit institution.

Results also indicated that while 43% of students found the selection process arduous, having better information on certain topics, such as scholarships and finances, may have an influence on students’ HEI selection.

Julie Deland, director of administration in health policy and management at Harvard University, underscored the importance of advising students to prepare an application for financial aid while they are preparing their application for admissions. “For as much as we try to encourage students to think about funding, many had a hard time internalising the process and then [completing] it.”

Regarding institutional selection, Chen shared, “Notably, the report found that international graduate respondents named better information on career outcomes as a key factor that would have influenced their choice of institutions.

Deland suggested coordinating better with colleagues, speaking to students about career outcomes, and recognising that no one person has all the information about every service or opportunity. Therefore, “it will take a coordinated and collaborative approach,” she concluded.