A couple of weeks ago and for the first time in 29 years, the number of international students enrolling in the UK dropped. On the other hand, the US is attracting 40 per cent more international students today than it was 10 years ago, contributing an estimated $24.7 billion to the economy in 2012-13. More than a quarter of all international students in the US come from China, but American colleges and universities attract students from all over the world. Numbers are on the rise and the US has become a serious alternative for students looking for a quality education abroad.

Pic: Student orchestra at Youngstown State University

Academic excellence
The United States has thousands of accredited colleges and universities, renowned for the variety of programs they offer and their quality. Beyond the famous Ivy League institutions the US has much to offer international students seeking thriving study environments and the study abroad experience of a lifetime. The liberal arts system is one of the main reasons many international students choose the US as their destination of choice. Enabling students to study a wide range of subjects in the first two years before choosing a ‘major’, the system has been compared to the UK’s A-Levels, which give students more time to specialise. In many ways, this is considered to guarantee better decision making further down the line when students select what subject they wish to graduate in. US higher education has a great reputation worldwide, not only for its academic quality but for the student experience as a whole. In the US, students are encouraged to develop as well-rounded individuals and much emphasis is placed on extra-curricular activities, sports and volunteering. Liberal arts colleges are known for their relatively small class sizes and low staff-to-student ratios.

Pic: New Haven University Campus

Variety of choices
The decision for international students to pursue their higher education in the US does not end once they have decided to go abroad; there are many other factors to take into consideration for applicants to ensure their choice will truly match their ambitions. Universities and colleges in the US vary much in terms of size, geography, extra-curricular activities and societies, and areas of studies. Students should consider whether they want to study in small campus communities which make meeting new friends easy and might be more cost effective; or whether they would rather be closer to a big city and its attractions, which may offer more career and networking opportunities. Many US universities also offer scholarships and bursaries to international students, which can be extremely helpful towards living expenses and tuition fees. With US universities taking more than 40 places in the world’s top 100 universities, their reputation for excellence is well founded. Here are some of the best US universities for international students:

JOHN CARROLL UNIVERSITY – CLEVELAND, OHIO
John Carroll University is a private Jesuit Catholic university located in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. It delivers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts, sciences and business, and in selected areas at Master’s level. The University has recently expanded its offering of international programs and now welcomes many students from all over the world. John Carroll University has been ranked in the top 10 universities in U.S News & World Report’s annual guide to “America’s Best Colleges” in the Midwest Master’s Universities category for 23 consecutive years. With 5% of students coming from outside the U.S, John Carroll provides a truly cosmopolitan learning community which attracts newcomers each year. Read the full profile here…

UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAVEN – WEST HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
The University of New Haven (UNH) is a private university located in West Haven, Connecticut, and has been named the 100th best university in the northeastern United States. The University was founded in 1920 on the campus of Yale University and moved to its current West Haven campus in 1960. Its Orange campus opened in January 2014. The University welcomes approximately 6,400 students and provides undergraduate and graduate degree programs through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and College of Lifelong and eLearning. Read the full profile here… 

YOUNGSTOWN STATE UNIVERSITY – YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO
Youngstown State University is a research university located in Youngstown, Ohio. It emphasises a creative, integrated approach to education, scholarship and service. Established in 1908, the university now welcomes more than 13,000 students and offers programs recognised all over the world. The institution prides itself on the internship and co-op opportunities it provides students in a variety of disciplines. Student success is the main mission of this university, which is home to an internationally renowned faculty and promotes and facilitates student engagement. Read the full profile here…

Pic: John Carroll University campus

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND – BIDDEFORD & PORTLAND, MAINE
The University of New England (UNE) is an independent, non-profit university with campuses in Biddeford and Portland, Maine and in Tangier, Morocco. The institution welcomes around 8,000 students from all over the world and is proud to host the only medical school in the state of Maine. The university is an innovative health sciences university grounded in the liberal arts that also offers unique study abroad opportunities. UNE has more than 40 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs, including comprehensive initiatives to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals.

VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY – ETTRICK, VIRGINIA
Virginia State University was founded in 1882 and is one of Virginia’s two land-grant institutions. Located 20 minutes south of Richmond in the village of Ettrick, the University welcomes 5,300 students on its countryside campus overlooking the Appottamox River. Virginia State offers 55 baccalaureate and masters degree programs as well as doctorates and certificates in agriculture, business, engineering, science, technology and the liberal arts. The University offers abundant research opportunities and access to faculty members who are leaders and innovators in their field. Virginia State prides itself on the personalised, student-focused teaching and academic advisement and mentoring it provides all students in preparation for their professional life.

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS BOSTON – BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
The University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) is an urban public research university located in the City of Boston which welcomes more than 16,000 students from all over the US and the world. UMass Boston’s academic reputation for excellence is growing and it now offers more than 80 undergraduate programs and 110 graduate programs over 11 colleges. Students come from all over the world to prepare for careers in industries such as finance, health care, technology, service, and education at UMass. Students have access to employers from all sectors and can gain work experience via internships, clinicals and many other career-related placements during their studies to boost their professional opportunities.