Debunking Common Myths About Studying in the US for International Students


In a world that is increasingly interconnected, pursuing higher education in a foreign country can be an enriching experience, offering exposure to diverse cultures and perspectives.

Despite the evident benefits, international students often grapple with myths and misconceptions that may deter them from applying to U.S. colleges and universities. Let's debunk some of these common myths and shed light on the realities of studying in the United States.

Debunking Common Myths About Studying in the US for International Students
(Photo : Pexels / Nataliya Vaitkevich)

Yamily Villalba Paredes, a junior majoring in sociology and women's studies at the University of New Mexico, highlights the impact of political climates on international students' perceptions. While she initially felt welcomed, the Trump administration's policies created an atmosphere of uncertainty. However, Paredes emphasizes that such sentiments were not reflected on campus, emphasizing the welcoming nature of institutions of higher learning.

Myth 1: You Need to Be Wealthy to Attend American Schools

One prevalent misconception is that studying in the U.S. is an option only for the affluent. Pamela Rambo, founder of Rambo Research and Consulting, dispels this myth by highlighting the wide range of tuition costs. Colleges with the highest-priced tuition may range from $55,000 to $80,000 per year, but scholarship opportunities exist for high-achieving international students.

READ ALSO: How Does Financial Aid Work In US Colleges? Here's A Comprehensive Guide For International Students 

The University of New Mexico's Amigo scholarship, for instance, grants international recipients in-state tuition rates, demonstrating that financial assistance is available. Rambo advises prospective students to explore scholarship opportunities early in the application process and consider affordable institutions, such as Florida State University, the University of Missouri, and others.

Myth 2: It Is Nearly Impossible to Get a Student Visa

Navigating the visa process can be a concern for many international students, exacerbated by pandemic-related challenges. However, Eric Welsh, an immigration attorney, assures that colleges and universities actively assist foreign students in the visa application process.

Despite pandemic-related disruptions, the student visa application process is relatively straightforward. The Biden administration's efforts to review and revise immigration policies aim to remove obstacles implemented by the previous administration. Seeking guidance from qualified immigration lawyers is recommended, especially for those with concerns about eligibility or previous visa denials.

Myth 3: U.S. Colleges Are Located in Big, Unsafe Cities

Safety concerns often deter prospective international students from considering U.S. colleges, fueled by the portrayal of American cities in the media. In reality, the U.S. boasts a diverse range of college locations, from rural areas to metropolitan cities, each with varying safety levels.

Pamela Rambo suggests that families research campus safety and security using resources provided by the U.S. Department of Education. The University of New Mexico exemplifies a commitment to safety, collaborating with law enforcement to address common crimes and providing resources to empower students to make informed decisions.

Myth 4: American Colleges Have a Lot of Students Who Party

The Hollywood image of nonstop college parties can create an inaccurate perception of campus life. Nicole Tami, executive director of Global Education Initiatives at the University of New Mexico, dismisses the stereotype, emphasizing that the majority of students prioritize learning, growth, and co-curricular opportunities.

While some students may engage in recreational activities, Tami underscores the importance of balance and highlights legal and safe ways to socialize. Choosing a college based on academic programs, student outcomes, and overall fit is crucial, says Pamela Rambo, encouraging families to focus on the educational aspect of the college experience.

Dispelling these myths illuminates the reality that U.S. colleges and universities are accessible, diverse, and welcoming to international students. Scholarships, visa assistance, varied campus locations, and a commitment to safety contribute to a positive and enriching educational experience for those seeking to pursue their academic goals in the United States.

RELATED ARTICLE: New Reports Show Rapid Growth Of International Students In US 

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