After growing up in the Middle East, Nida Ali says she thought it’d be a safe option to choose American University’s Kogod School of Business because she had some distant cousins in Washington, D.C.. But as soon as she arrived, she discovered that her cousins had graduated. Originally from India, the 18-year-old found herself in the U.S. for the first time with no friends or family.
It is without hesitation that Ali says the university provided a support system that was her lifeline in navigating the major transition, even before she set foot in the country. “International Students and Scholar Services (ISSS) at AU helped with the transition a great deal — they held events for us, sent us thorough instructions, introduced us to different places, held orientation and informative sessions, organized cultural shows where all us International students could get together and celebrate our backgrounds,” Ali, a senior analyst of merchandising operations at Marriott International, says. “They made sure to let us know of all that was available to us before we came to the country. They also ensured we had the necessary documents and appointed us a current student ‘ambassador’ as our point of contact.”
Ali thinks that one of the reasons American University has such a great support system for international students is because of the high volume of international applicants they receive and accept and she isn’t wrong. About 32% of the fall 2017 incoming class of business students at Kogod are international students. The only U.S. business school included in our 2017 Best Undergraduate Business Schools to enroll a larger international student population is Albers School of Business at Seattle University with almost 35% of students coming from abroad.
Other business schools at the top of the list with foreign students making up more than 20% are Babson College, Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, New York University’s Stern School of Business, and George Washington University.
One of the reasons American University has such a high international student rate is because they are a test-optional school, where students can choose to submit their standardized test scores as part of their application, says Katya Popova, director of strategic communications at Kogod. Popova says the school has also ramped up the number of online recruitment activities so students can take part in admissions interviews and informational webinars even before choosing the school online.
For many international students, adapting to life in the U.S. takes time and support from everyone around them. From asking for simple things like water and restrooms to learning about things like tolls on freeways, international students that Poets&Quants spoke to say in the first few days of arriving on campus, it was new friendships forged that helped make the transition to a new country and culture easier.