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The international graduate student admissions experience

interstride logo by Interstride
May 1, 2023

International admissions in the US are becoming more competitive than ever as international student enrollment returns to pre-pandemic levels. With the continued increase of graduate-level students, there has never been a more exciting or crucial time for graduate enrollment management (GEM) professionals to better understand and support their international students.

A recent report from Interstride and NAGAP, the Association for Graduate Enrollment Management, highlights areas of growth for the international graduate student admissions experience. The study identified areas where students and admissions professionals were not aligned on what students needed support with. We surveyed 345 graduate international students studying in the US and 84 NAGAP members who are GEM professionals. The participating students represent 56 different countries.

Download the full report here for more details.

What graduate admissions professionals need o know

  • Admissions professionals rely heavily on email to share resources with prospective students, but students are turning to university websites, general internet searches, and university admissions offices before email.
  • The top challenges graduate international students face are navigating finances and tuition and visas and immigration.
  • As one graduate student explained, “Applications are overly expensive specifically for international students. Plus the cost of taking and sending GRE/TOEFL scores to each university adds an additional expense of ~200$ per university.”

  • Prospective students want to make sure they will get a good return on investment for their education. 58% of international graduate students reported that a better understanding of career outcomes may have swayed them to choose a certain program.
  • Highlighting career outcomes from alumni is a great way to boost graduate international student enrollment.
“Finding the right program which matches the market value and my interests was the most important and difficult process.”
  • International graduate students want clear information, timely communication, and better overall support throughout the admissions process. Addressing these needs could help increase international student enrollment.

Download the Interstride & NAGAP report for free

In the full report, you will find information on the challenges international graduate students face and the top resources they use during the admissions process. It includes stats on student satisfaction with the information they received from universities. Lastly, in the report, you can see where professionals’ responses align or misalign with international students’ responses and areas of improvement that could influence international students’ choice of institution.