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Thursday, February 8, 2018
Language Barriers in College Admissions
It has been widely estimated that the number of international students studying at U.S. universities has surpassed the million mark in recent years. These numbers have been on a steady rise over the past several decades, with the overwhelming majority of students coming from China and India.
Most universities welcome international students with open arms. Having students from different countries and cultures enriches the learning environment. Foreign students are required to pay higher, non-resident tuition-a fiscal win for the colleges.
One obvious problem makes this transition difficult for foreign students to navigate: the language barrier. The TOEFL exam helps to set minimum standards for entry to U.S. universities, but even students with a decent grasp of the English language may struggle to perform at the collegiate level.
The University of Oregon in Eugene has an alternative. It is a program called "conditional admission", wherein students are offered "bridge" classes designed to raise their English language proficiency. The offering is available to students who otherwise qualify for admission. Through the courses, foreign students are able to ease their way into the curriculum, while also enjoying a gentler cultural transition.
Though programs such as these are unlikely to appear at top-tier universities, they are becoming increasingly common as a method of courting international students while also ensuring their academic success.
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