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Retention Model for International Students, Research Paper Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1567

Research Paper

Universities in U.S.A have taken a leading role in hosting international students. The issue of recruitment in addition to retention of the students is associated with high profile significance on a global context. The importance of international students in U.S.A universities is attributed to the development of international ties, fulfilling the talent shortages, maintenance of a diversity of intellectual pool and serving as a source of financial resources. International student enrollment in the American universities has been on an upward trend as a result of globalization, high level of awareness for opportunities of improved education and the concerted efforts of educational institutions in America in attraction of quality students (Hanassab & Tidwell, 2002).

Americans appreciate the importance of global consciousness towards the completion of global business economy in as far as the technical fields are concerned. The American universities also appreciate the contribution of gender as well as culture diversity in their institutions of learning and consequently amongst their employees as one important corporate strategy. This issue is associated with different perspectives with regard to the academic in addition to the corporate environment whose end results are substantial growth. According to the statistics in the Commerce Department in the United States, international students take direct responsibilities towards creating jobs in America which currently stand at 150, 000 (Felder & Brent, 2005).

Survey

In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the concerns afflicting international students, it was imperative to carry out a survey to highlight the concerns of the students.

Design

Students together with faculty members took an active role in the design of the survey. It was important to keep the confidentiality of the respondents and make the survey to be voluntary to international students in America universities. The appropriate models fro retaining the students for the purpose of this research was achieved through contacting administrative offices, student’s organizations as well as their colleagues. The survey was conducted through online means with 1640 participants taking part in the survey (Altbach, 2004).

Questionnaire structure

Different phases were considered and appropriate questions for each phase were prepared aimed at determining the concerns as well as the influential factors in joining the institutions. The respondents were given a list of the concerns and they were expected to rank them based on their priority at personal level. Some questions related to the challenges encountered by the students in the course of their study, factors which influenced their choice and issues of security along with safety during their stay in the institutions. The end of survey was marked by putting forward some open-ended questions to the respondents regarding their experiences, challenges and other issues that they faced as they underwent their study in the U.S.A universities.

Security as well as safety concerns, culture change, transcript evaluation as well as language issues were the issues that received higher scores in the study. Other issues that were raised by both the male and the female students were programs of funding and support. Participants also expressed their concerns over VISA acquisition and accessing the services of academic advisor (Hanassab & Tidwell, 2002).

Retention effort by US universities

Majority of the universities in the US appreciate the importance of adoption of appropriate models for retention of the best performing international students. With this regard, the participants were given optional factors that contribute to high degree of their retention in these universities. The factors included the perceived efforts of retention by the universities, effectiveness of correspondence with the university professors, university location, prospects of employment and the overall expenses

Results

The results of the survey of universities in the US identified a number of problem areas which could be improved. We believe that none were more important than the ongoing need for international student support on campus. In light of the results, a step system has to be developed to address the needs of the international students in the US. Such a step system involves assigning each new international student in US peer mentor. The peer mentor would be a volunteer undergraduate student who lives on campus who would be willing to take time out of their day to help the new international student with any type of questions that they have. The peer mentor program would be very easy to implement because there is no cost to the program at all. The mentors would be selected on an as needed basis from a list of people who are willing to donate their time to help international students.

Discussions

The importance of retaining international students in USA universities is an issue that has attracted immense interests to researches. This fact is attributed to the huge amounts of US $ billions that are spent by the foreign students on yearly basis to cater for their tuition as well as accommodation expenses (Tinto, 1993). The universities in the USA are in need of funds which are injected by international students. Along with these highly beneficial funds to the local universities, the international students facilitate for global connectivity, critical innovation as well as entrepreneurial spirit which are a preliquisite to economic development at the local level. Most of the students cater for their full expenses towards tuition aspiring for advanced degrees in USA universities. The international students happen to be the brightest and hail from the well up families in their home countries (Hanassab & Tidwell, 2002).

According to the argument of Tinto’s (1993), the most important factors include the following:

·         Individual attributes of the student

·          Student capability to meet finance needs

·          The nature of relationships that are developed with other students

·          Ability to address the potential impact which are associated with  pre-university education

·          Goal commitment

·         Institutional commitment, this factor implies to level of university commitment towards addressing the requirements of the student.

·          Quality of approaches to teaching in addition to learning

·          Interaction among the peer group

·          Interaction among the faculty members

·          Development of a harmonious relationship among the graduate at university.

The retention model and approaches for international students as they endeavor to join the U.S.A universities should aim at collaboratively, effectively as well as collectively attract them with the existing universities acting as a “brains drain” into. Among the potential approaches to achieve these objectives include steps by the universities administration of introducing the students to companies with potential for hiring them in consideration of the specific fields of study undertaken by the students (Rai, 2002). The students may also be introduced to the immigrants who have been successful in similar academic fields through initiating their companies or working in their field of proficiency in the country. The former immigrants have an upper hand in this respect as a result of their experience in the process of immigration and gaining sufficient experience with a family life in this region. They thus have enough to tell the new students what they should expect as they start their academic and social life in this nation.

The international students should also be assisted in familiarization to the region as well as its attractions. It is also important to orient them to individual along with the potential resources which are likely to increase their comfort as well as familiarity as they start their life in this region. The international students also require to be facilitated with venues of network acquisition which will facilitate their socialization process with other students, universities, the immigrant populations as well as the entire community. They also require access to seminars, opportunities of networking and appropriate resources which can promote entrepreneurship in the context of global student community (Hanassab & Tidwell, 2002).

Conclusion

International students should be provided with special needs in the process of adjusting to the new environment. The students are faced with acute stressors such as deficiencies of writing as well as speaking skills brought about by the anxiety of second language. Deficiencies of this nature have significant implications to academic performance together with social success among the international students. Language skills deficiency may hinder high performance from their maximum output and they be could be perceived of poor performers (Rai, 2002).

An acculturation process is another important requirement for international students as they acclimatize with their new environment. The students should be appropriately cushioned against culture shock experiences, social isolations, homesickness as well as loneliness. In most cases, the students are victims of racial discrimination and financial burdened, a situation that is different from the local students.  Some of the students are in dire need for assistance as they try to adjust to the new environment, a good example being the higher vulnerability of the females relative to that one of the males (Rai, 2002).In doing so, it is important to appreciate the importance associated with development of a strong workforce. This consequently has the implication of the fact that attraction and retention of international students in addition to the skilled immigrants is an admirable development towards the alleviation shortage of skilled labor in the United States. With a continued trend of retirement of the baby boomers, a cessation of the growth in workforce is predictable.

References

Altbach, P. G., (2004). “Higher Education Crosses Borders”. Change, 36.

Felder R. M. & Brent, R. (2005). “Understanding student differences”.  Journal of Engineering Education, 94(1), pp. 57–72.

Hanassab S. & Tidwell, R. (2002). International Students in Higher Education”.  Journal of Studies in International Education, 6, pp. 305–22.

Rai, G. (2002). “Meeting the educational needs of international students: A perspective from US schools”. International Social Work, 45.

Tinto, V (1993) Leaving College: Rethinking the Causes and Cures of Student Attrition. U CP: Chicago.

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