Leading Colleges See A Rise In International Applications

Prominent colleges and universities in U.S are reportedly seeing a surge in international applications in the past two years, following the relaxation of pandemic and travel restrictions.

As of March 15, an online platform for university applications, The Common Application found that the number of international applicants has increased to 34% since 2020.

This data has revealed a compelling source of potential enrollments as colleges are still grappling with a significant loss of student enrollments during the pandemic.

After the pandemic died down, Yale and other selective universities suspended its admissions testing requirement, which allowed students to apply without SAT or ACT test scores. This proved lucrative in attracting potential students from around to world to apply immediately, who otherwise might have hesitated.

Natalie Bitton, president of the International Association for College Admission Counseling, said that she sees the beginnings of a rebound in demand for U.S. higher education. “Two major barriers have been lifted,” Bitton said. “One is the ability to leave their country and get visas. And the second is the testing requirement changes.”

However, the recent growth in applications is uneven.

Public institution Indiana University received international applications up to 11% for freshman admissions over the past two years. Additionally, public school system University of California had an increase of 17%.

However, big-name schools did not face similar struggles, instead revealing huge numbers: Dartmouth College was up to 71%, and Yale University, 99%.

Yale, being one of the world’s highly selective universities, received applications from both foreign and domestic locations, effectively topping 50,000 this year. That was a 42% increase from the total admissions the university received in 2020.

Test access proved to not be the only problem. Issues like health, financial and travel worries have also plagued international students from pursuing their higher education abroad.

From 2020-2021, the Institute of International Education found that the number of international undergraduates in the United States had plummeted to 14%. This aggravated major recruitment problems to take place domestically, contributing to colleges and universities to lose nearly 1 million student enrollments – amidst the economic chaos of the pandemic.

Data from The Common App revealed that the top suppliers of international applicants this year are China, India, Canada, Pakistan, and Nigeria, in descending order. Several admissions experts point to India as a key source of growth for the industry.

“There is a little bit more optimism from enrollment managers,” Pérez said. As the pandemic eases, he said, “the infrastructure to get students to the United States is also coming back.”

He added that these were signs of a return to normalcy, and that most of the international application growth was due to pent-up demand. “Many potential students want to hit the road after not being able to travel for a couple years,” he said in a statement.

“It’s obviously a huge population of young people around the globe who could potentially pursue education here,” said MJ Knoll-Finn, senior vice president for enrollment management and student success at New York University. “There’s a lot of strength in the U.S. market.”

Tee May

Tee May

Teemay is a content writer who relishes telling a good story as much as she enjoys reading one. A fan of fantasy and time travel lore, she indulges herself with quaint daydreams of living in a vintage cottage settled deep in the woods. She hopes to achieve this one day, or may just settle with a treehouse instead. In her free time, she practices amateur astrology and interprets birth charts. These started out as a hobby for ‘fun’, but they come close to being obsessions these days.

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