More international students enroll at OU in 2011
International students make up less than 10 percent of the OU campus, but it’s a growing minority.
The number of active international students has increased by 28 percent, from 1,632 to 2,094, according to the statistics from the Office of International Student Service.
And the growing number of students from abroad isn’t just a Sooner trend.
Universities in the United States have been setting records for international student enrollment since 2008, according to several articles published by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
International students become more visible as they are involved in more front-end roles. They are no longer satisfied with merely taking up part-time on-campus employment, but actively seek positions that, in the past, one would naturally expect an American to be in charge, according research by the chronicle.
The Chronicle for Higher Education reports suggest this is mainly triggered by the increase in purchasing power by the national from the emerging countries, namely the BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
With an increasingly diverse pool of international applicants, how does OU evaluate their applications? As an American student, do these potential international students make competitions tougher?
Max Matthis, assistant director of International Admissions, said the university has no preference for American or international students, but there are two additional requirements for international students.
“They must attain a certain level of English proficiency and satisfy the immigration requirement prior to coming here,” Matthis said.
Currently, international applicants must obtain a minimum of 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Applicants with 500 score or above are advised to take one semester, 12 credit hours of English class in the Center of English as a Second Language in the College of Continuing Education before they are eligible for pursuing a full time degree at OU.
But test scores are not the only factors for international students seeking entrance.
“As an American institution, we also look heavily at their scope of interest, extracurricular activities, community involvement, and their ability to take initiative to realize their plans,” Matthis said. “GPA has never been the only benchmark for our applicants, American or international.”
But Gedi Yotbarek said, in his case, his schooling made it harder to apply for school in the United States.
“The system in Ethiopia is designed to test the memorizing capability of students as opposed to testing their thinking ability. That makes it harder for students to score higher results. That usually doesn’t not translate well when applying for a college in the States,” Yitbarek said.
But Yitbarek said OU made applying less of a hassle.
“The admission office is so helpful throughout the process. I thought they understood me, and they did whatever they could to help me be part of this great school,” Yitbarek said.
Michael Li, a University College freshman from China, said success at OU isn’t determined by one’s country of origin.
“In my opinion, it’s not difficult to get an A in either the U.S. or China. The question for students is ‘Do you work hard enough?’ I do believe that students have to challenge themselves frequently,” Li said.
BY THE NUMBERS
Students from abroad
302 Number of international students from China
171 Number of international students from India
102 Number of international students from South Korea
89 Number of international students from Nigeria
85 Number of international students from Vietnam
84 Number of international students from France
76 Number of international students from Saudi Arabia
74 Number of international students from Colombia
37 Number of international students from Venezuela
36 Number of international students from Canada
Source: College of International Studies