Middle Eastern International Students
An introductory guide for students from the Middle East interested in studying abroad in America.
The United States is the most popular country for Middle Eastern international students.
While the Middle East offers high-quality education at the secondary-school level, its higher-education system does not meet high standards. As a result, many college-aged Middle Eastern students receive an undergraduate or graduate degree in America.
Many countries in the Middle East give students full scholarships to study in the US, which is an attractive incentive for students who otherwise may not be able to afford such a venture.
International Students from the Middle East
The Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange reports that of the 690,923 international students enrolled in American four-year colleges and graduate schools, 33,797 came from the Middle East.
The report, published by the Institute of International Education (IIE), also shows a large increase in enrollment from the following Middle Eastern countries:
- Qatar: 43 percent
- UAE: 36 percent
- Iran: 34 percent
- Saudi Arabia: 25 percent
- Kuwait: 20 percent
This increase in numbers is probably due to a recent trend in heavy recruiting from American colleges and universities in Middle Eastern countries.
For example, the US Educational Group and Al Jamiat Magazine, a Middle Eastern company with a mission of helping international students studying in America, host free US College Fairs in Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Colleges for Middle Eastern International Students
The transition from high school to college is hard enough without having to deal with moving to a different country. Having a support system in place is important for an international student’s adjustment to living and learning in the US.
To help with this adjustment, you might want to search out a college with a Middle Eastern Student Association (MESA). Among institutions with a MESA are Vanderbilt University, Washington State University, Collin College and the University of Texas – Dallas. The University of Virginia is particularly friendly toward international students from the Middle East, offering a Middle Eastern Mentoring Program in which first-time undergraduate students are matched with upperclassman who can help them get acclimated to college life in America.
The most popular degree programs for international students include:
- Business management
- Physical and life sciences
- Mathematics and computer science
- Social sciences
Admissions Requirements for International Students
Most colleges will outline the admissions requirements for international students on their website. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the Internet, contact your prospective school directly.
Typically, students are required to complete 12 years of school and earn the equivalent of a high school diploma for admittance to an undergraduate program. The University of Michigan, which has a large number of international students, states that the entrance requirement for Middle East students is the completion of the national secondary school certificate examinations with high marks.
Beyond this requirement, foreign students must also complete an entrance exam like the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT or MCAT, depending on which program you are applying for.
You will also be required to complete and pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which measures your ability to speak, write and comprehend the English language.
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