Top schools in the US – wrong!

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Ask any international student anywhere in the world and they probably can name the top one, or two, or three, or may be even five colleges and universities in the US. Of course, the favorite ones all over the world are Harvard, Princeton, Berkely, MIT, and Yale. But this is like saying the only good shirt in the world is a Polo shirt or the only good watch in the world is a Rolex. In fact, there are many outstanding colleges and universities in the US that many international students have never even heard about and hence won't consider even applying! Finding a good college is a dance that involves two partners: the student and the college or university trying to recruit the student! Both have to be in harmony if it is to be a great dance!

As an international student, look beyond the four or five colleges that your friends and family can name. Think about what your study of interest and identify all the colleges and universities that offer such a program. Look into the qualifications of the faculty who teach in the program; examine their career placement and assistance; look at the Advisory Board; see if the faculty have published in leading journals; examine the kind of courses and electives the school offers. Don't be biased against a college or university because you have never heard about it!

Students often complain that finding a "good" school is hard work. Amen – it is true. But if you don't invest the time and effort upfront, you may get an education that is not worth much or you may have paid too much for your education!

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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.

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  1. Students also can ask any college they are thinking about attending to put them in contact with current students to ask them questions. Or international students can simply find the website of the college’s organization for students from their country and email the president for more information about what it’s like to be a student there. A current student often is the best resource for a possible applicant.

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