Four things immigrant students need to consider before choosing a college program

Identifying an academic program is a very challenging step for most non-traditional immigrant students because of the lack of enough information and uncertainties. In my opinion, the following four factors are crucial to make decision and be successful afterwards.

Career opportunities: return for education varies across countries and fields of studies but choosing a program that help secure a job after graduation is not an easy task for most immigrant students because getting a job depends on many factors including demand for the program in the labor market, rank of the University/Program, academic stand of the student, etc. According to best jobs in 2021. Among top occupations with the low unemployment rate, high job growth rate, and high median salary, Physician Assistants, software developers, nurse practitioners, and Statisticians are among the few that Immigrant students could consider especially those who have related backgrounds and interests. I chose these programs because their requirements are not stringent enough compared to other high-paying jobs. 

Interest: There is a strong association between self-interest and success that works for both individuals and the macroeconomy. So, before we decide on any field of study, we have to make sure that we have a permanent interest that will not die out when we face challenges. In addition, education is a long journey with high opportunity and out-of-pocket costs. Specifically, there are some situations where the return to higher education graduates might be not higher than high school graduates. So, if our goal is only to achieve a financial goal through education, we might end frustrated because of enthusiasm and correlated with only permanent interest. 

Cost: College education is a costly endeavor in the U.S. Though tuition, room, and board, and transportation costs vary by state, program, in-state/out-of-state, public/private non-profit colleges, etc, according to the College Board’s, on average, a four-year program costs in the range of $90,000- $180,000, depending on where you attend. Hence, having full information about different types of funds is a very crucial step for an immigrant student to consider. Though scholarship could be available for few students awarded based on academic performance, scholarly promise, athletic or artistic aptitude, cultural and economic backgrounds, and financial need, student loans are the major source of finance to immigrant students that could be federal loans, private loans, State and Institutional loans, etc. So, immigrant students need to have a brief overview of the pros and cons of each student loan type before enrolling in any program because these loans will be paid back with interest.

Grades. Once a student is enrolled, his/her academic standing is the main factor that helps to be eligible for further funds and scholarships. Hence, students should be vigilant in their performance. In most cases, having good grade also help to get a scholarship and creates an opportunity for further education. 

In conclusion, the web is crowded with a lot of information, but could be overwhelming and difficult to process especially for immigrant students like myself. So, I thought this information could help give some insight if you are at the beginning of your college journey. You can follow me via my @EndeshawEndesh1 for further questions or comments. 

Published by

Kassahun Endeshaw

I was born and raised in Ethiopia, a small village in Northern Wollo. When I grew up education was a privilege only for a few lucky. As a result, I started school at 11 years old. To compensate for the missed opportunity, I always work hard in my school. Though my parents did not afford to send me to college at the time, I used all the opportunities available to do my BSc and MSc in my home country. I moved to the United States at the end of 2015 looking for better opportunities, however, the job markets were no so inviting with my experience and education due to curriculum mismatch and culture and language barriers. Hence, I had to become a cab driver for a while. While I was working as a taxi driver I met several immigrants from my home country who have Ph.D. So, I decided to go to school here in the US. I chose the EMBA program at the University of Nevada, Reno. I am also lucky I got at the College of Southern Nevada as a Math and Statistics tutor. But there are still many immigrants who are aspiring to get the job they are happy to do. And I believe using my experience and business education would help immigrants by sharing the ups and downs I went through and inspire them to live their dreams.

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