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  • Writer's pictureBrooke Early

Choosing the Best University for You: Let’s Review

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

This webinar was to help international students learn how to get started in the college search process and what to consider when trying to find the right fit for you. Presenting was the University of Iowa’s Becky Hanson, Associate Director, International Outreach & Recruitment, as well as Tom Paulsen, Senior Associate Director of Admissions.

Missed the webinar? Watch below!

Topics Covered

  • Evaluating the criteria most important to you as an individual

  • Consider admissions requirements, affordability, areas of study, campus life, location and size, and the outcomes of your investment.

What You Should Consider & Questions to Ask Yourself

What do You Want for Your New Home?

  • Do you want to be in the city or more rural? Do you want to attend a large university or a small university? Keep in mind that large universities have classes of varying sizes; some large lecture halls and small classes more focused on specific topics. Small colleges and community colleges will generally not have the student body to have large lecture hall type classes.

  • What is the relationship between the school you are considering and the surrounding community? Do you want to be involved in community events, athletics, and more?

  • Living arrangements and options. Do you want to live in a dorm or apartment? Most universities offer housing on campus for students.

  • How safe is the campus? Would you feel safe walking around campus from point A to point B, even at night?

  • What access to diverse food is there? Consider what countries are represented by international students and food options on campus, and in the surrounding community.

  • Weather throughout the year. Do you want to see snow or do you want it hot year round? Some places have more rain than others, do you like rain?

  • You can ask to speak with a current student to learn more about what there is to do around campus and gain a general idea of the student experience.

Financial Fit - What Can You Afford?

  • What can you afford? Make sure you understand the cost of attendance at a university before you start submitting applications, as you don’t want to pay an application fee if you cannot afford to attend.

    • Remember, you must be able to show a bank statement of available funds to get your I-20. Don’t pay application fees to universities that are not affordable to you.

  • Make sure to ask questions about costs, some universities may have hidden fees that need to be considered. Common expenses can include, but are not limited to:

    • Tuition and fees

    • Housing and meals

    • Books and supplies

    • Insurance

    • Other related educational costs

Moving forward: What Support is Offered?

  • Does the school offer resources to help you move forward? It is important to talk to the universities you’re considering and see how they support students, especially related to career growth and development.

  • Does the school offer student services to support you in every aspect of life? Such offices can include:

- International student offices

- Multicultural student support and engagement

- Academic advising

- Tutoring services

- University counseling

- Student services

- University police

- Family services

- Child or parent care giving services

- Food pantry

It is important to remember that universities want to see their students succeed in every way possible, so take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about what they can do to help you succeed. Ask questions and advocate for yourself along the way, and remember that EdAgree will support you in finding the right university for you. We have over 21 university partners to explore.

About Becky

Becky Hanson is the Associate Director of International Outreach & Recruitment. She is a proud alumna of the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business. She has made a career of supporting and finding new Iowa Hawkeyes. She has traveled to over 40 countries to meet students, parents, and counselors. She is a past president of the Study Iowa Consortium and International Enrollment Liaison for NAFSA Region IV. She is a current member of NAFSA, IACAC, CIS, and AACRAO.

About Tom

Tom Paulsen is a Senior Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Iowa. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Minor in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and Counseling. He has served on numerous state and national committees in over 25 years in college admissions. Tom currently oversees the University of Iowa Campus Visit Experience Team; the Transfer Relations Team and he leads the Office of Admissions efforts in strategic partnerships and campus collaborations. Tom enjoys traveling and has represented the University of Iowa throughout the country and around the world.

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