We need to stop overlooking global colleges

The University of Tokyo. Imperial College London. ETH Zurich.

These colleges, as well as countless other international schools, rival the prestige and educational quality of America’s highly selective universities, often at a fraction of the cost. However, with only three members of the Class of 2018 attending schools outside of the United States, it’s clear that the majority of U-High students are cut off from a world of opportunity.

As the world and the workforce become more globalized, now is as good a time as any for students to consider college abroad. The U-High community should encourage international colleges as an equivalent option to the standard, four-year domestic experience.

Shifting the paradigm around college should start at home. Parents should have an open mind about international college plans, even though they deviate from the norm. Post-college employability and cost are often among the most pressing concerns surrounding the college process for parents, but the international factor can easily be incorporated into existing discussions about these topics. European colleges in particular are often tuition-free, or have yearly tuition that’s a fraction of the cost of even public universities in America. In the 2017 Global University Employability Ranking conducted by Times Higher Education, 73 of the top 100 schools on this list were outside of the United States.

As integral guides in the college process, college counselors have a responsibility to help students explore a variety of schools, and that should include international options. By devoting time in Junior College Workshop to explain the process for applying to colleges internationally or more freely including international schools on individual college lists, students would be more likely to see these schools as legitimate options, especially students who have strong interest in international affairs, have family members in foreign nations, or who are in a more limiting financial situation.

Students themselves are ultimately responsible for taking advantage of the college opportunities that fit them best. While U-High students often create and perpetuate an environment where success means acceptance into name-brand schools, it’s up to individuals to break the norm and create their own definition of success, under their own specifications around their college experience. If you’re interested in adapting to other cultures, alleviating the financial burden that often comes with American college tuition, or simply having a completely clean slate, you might be a perfect fit for an international institution. 

As U-High students continue to grapple with how to define college success, the option of attending an international school should be a natural component of these conversations. Parents, students, and college counselors jointly have the ability to expand the scope of the college search, from the typical to new horizons.

This editorial represents the opinion of the Midway’s Editorial Board.