Cort Johnson responded to my previous post and wrote:

Great entry! I think it is so true for students to first understand the importance of finding a school that is a good fit for them before worrying about for example: "How am I going to get my visa to study in that country?" Do you have any thoughts on how to change the mentality of the prospective international student to understand the importance of doing their homework on finding the right institution for them before worrying about immigration issues? Posted by: Cort Johnson | September 30, 2008 at 10:32 AM

His question as to how to change the mentality of international students is important and relevant. Unfortunately, the answer is complex!

Before we can change the mentality of our international students so that they reflect on who they are before they think about what college or university they wish to attend, we must first teach them to be wise and prudent customers in the higher education market. They must look beyond the marketing blitz. Every college and university in the US and around the world that is eager to recruit international students wants students to believe that their campus is the ideal place that will lead to the fulfillment of all dreams, particularly financial dreams. But we know that this is simply not true. International students must first know how to dig deep for meaningful answers for themselves, be willing to ask probing questions, and be prepared to walk away from colleges and universities that have little more to offer than glossy brochures.

Unfortunately, many students, particularly international students, are often flattered when they get admission in a US university. If it is US, it is got to be good is a wide-spread belief, particularly in developing countries. But for those of us who work and teach in the US, we know that this is simply not true!

In fact, there are signs that this mindset is slowly changing. Students in India and around the world are eager to gain admission to good colleges and universities in the US, not just any college or university. They are looking more closely at the brand and image of schools and colleges and asking more questions about their success of alumni. All of this is a good starting point! The bottom line is before you worry about your visa, you must first be confident about your vision for yourself, for you are, and what you want to accomplish in life!

Dr. Uma Gupta is the President of, a global consulting company that assists US colleges and universities expand their markets in Asia.


About Dr. Gupta

Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the Founder and President of STEM.SMART, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the pipeline of U.S students interested in STEM careers. In addition, she is the CEO of PlanetGPA, an international student recruitment services that serves as an extension to the recruitment offices of U.S. universities.

One response »

  1. Thank you so much for the reply. I think the alumni aspect of your answer was especially interesting. I have been talking to a lot of college and university admissions offices here in the U.S. and there are major efforts to corral not just American alumni but even more effort going into international alumni.
    I believe that a majority of international students are looking for a reputable or ‘good’ education to use as a stepping stone to financial security. But what better way to prove a college’s ability to prepare and assist in a student’s ambitions than to show them what they have already done for their former students.
    Thanks again for the reply and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts!

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