Why You Should Apply To International Schools

Since no one else is talking about it

This year, on Mr. Cosgrove’s recommendation, I decided to apply to Trinity College in Dublin and the National University of Ireland in Galway. If the idea had not been introduced directly to me I would not have ended up applying at all. I had actually considered applying to an American university in Italy but dismissed the idea mostly because I didn’t know much about international universities and wasn’t sure if I was going to get the same college experience or education. But, as I researched about Trinity and NUI Galway I realized that becoming an international student could become a reality for me. I don’t have a lot of information on the experience or any tips and tricks because I haven’t done it myself yet. Making the decision to go to an international university is different for everyone. The main purpose of this article is to introduce more students to the idea of it so that you can do your own research to see if it is a good fit for you.

The decision to not only study abroad but to study all four years at an international university is a life-changing decision. You have to first decide whether moving to a new country for the next four years of your life will be a good fit for you. For me, I knew I wanted to study international business and Spanish, and above anything else, I want to travel. Both of the universities I applied to in Ireland have a major called Business and Spanish which focuses directly on learning the Spanish language in a business context. I have done a ton of research on the universities and Ireland itself and come to the conclusion that not only is it an option for me but my first choice. So while I understand that moving to Ireland and adjusting to life there will be difficult, it is without a doubt worth it in my opinion.

Choosing to go to St. Andrews was the greatest and biggest decision I’ve made thusfar.”

— Mary Helen Elliot (Magnet Alumni)

Obvious Pros

Many of us have heard time and time again that we have to take the opportunity to travel and study abroad in college. Going to an international university for four years offers the same benefits x4.

  1. See the world
  2. Learn a language
  3. Experience new cultures
  4. Independence
  5. Challenges/Personal Development
  6. International Job Prospects
  7. Global Mindset
  8. Unforgettable Experience

 

Cons

Before I go into anything else I want to quickly go through the cons I’ve encountered when applying/researching

  1. The Application Process: for most universities, you can’t apply through CommonApp. Instead, you have to apply through the university website. In comparison to CommonApp, this can be time-consuming and tedious. However, I would also like to point out that in my experience since I applied as an international student through the international admissions office I received my decision letter from the universities in about a week as opposed to months.
  2. Cost: I know I put cost later in this article as a pro. However, the drawback of applying to an international university is that on top of normal tuition and room and board expenses you have to consider travel expenses to and from home.
  3. Scholarships: This is another point that has both pros and cons to it. The disadvantage to applying to scholarships as an international student is that many scholarships especially local ones only apply to American schools.

Cost

In the grand scheme of things, the cost of international universities is significantly less than American universities. In fact, the only reason international universities are as expensive as they are to American students is because the universities know that spending an outrageous amount of money on college tuition is the standard in our country. However, the value of the cost of an international university is completely dependent on the applicant. For example, the cost of Trinity College in Dublin for tuition only for a Business major is €20,009 or $24,165.47. Of course, compared to tuition at in-state universities, this is costly, however, I planned to go out of state for college no matter what. For me, the average cost of tuition for the out-of-state American universities I applied to is $49,420 before aid and scholarships.

First-Hand Experience

Of course, I can’t speak directly on the experience of attending an international university yet. So I reached out to Mary Helen Elliot, a Magnet alum who graduated in 2019 and is now a sophomore at St. Andrews University in St. Andrews, Scotland. I asked her about her experience thus far at St. Andrews and if she had any comments about it. Here was her response:

Choosing to go to St. Andrew’s was one of the biggest and greatest choices I’ve made so far. First-year was definitely intimidating and challenging at first especially because I literally knew no one and was so far from everything I was familiar with. But putting myself so far out of my comfort zone really helped me grow all around. In St Andrews, or “the bubble” as students endearingly call it, I have been surrounded and supported by people from all over the world who are on the same sort of adventure. I think being a part of that type of community of like-minded people who are so interested in trying new things and putting themselves out there is a major benefit of going to school abroad.

On the academic side, I would say the major difference between British universities and those in the US is how hands-off the teaching style is. I think this has really made me a more independent thinker because I have been given the freedom to find my own interests in my subject.”

Hopefully, this has shed a bit of light on what it might mean to apply to and/or attend an international university. I hope this inspires some of you to do your own research and consider the possibility when you start applying to colleges. For me it definitely took some of the stress out of applying to colleges by adding some excitement and curiosity. Ultimately, 10/10 would recommend.