WOOSTER, Ohio – Students are coming from Brazil, Cyprus, France, Kazakhstan, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sudan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and everywhere in between to attend The College of Wooster. Whereas international enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities is in a troubling two-year decline, according to a recent report by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, it is continuing to flourish at Wooster based on this year’s projections for the Class of 2023.
A record 20 percent of the incoming class, or 110 of 550 total first-years, is expected to be either an international student or a global nomad (defined as an American living abroad), up a tick from last year’s record 19 percent.
Another way of putting it, one out of every five new students comes from outside the U.S., but what’s even more remarkable, they will represent 40 countries. While many schools commit their international recruitment efforts into one or two countries (usually China or India), Wooster intentionally seeks to be diverse geographically, now with 55 countries represented among the total student enrollment of 2,000, according to Reon Sines-Sheaff, director of international admissions at Wooster.
“International students consistently choose Wooster because of our incredible research opportunities and the diverse, inclusive, safe, and welcoming community on our campus. Students from all around the globe find Wooster through connecting with Wooster families, alumni, and current students, as well as the work our international admissions counselors do on a daily basis,” remarked Sines-Sheaff.
These new students came through an initial pool of more than 1,900 applicants (yes, another record) who were international students or global nomads. That marks a fourth consecutive year with a dramatic increase in applicants from overseas.
“This is four straight years of steady, desired, planned, perfect international student enrollment,” stated Scott Friedhoff, vice president for enrollment and college relations at Wooster. “No evidence here, at all, of the downturn nearly every other college is facing.”
This steady trend has created a truly global campus and a powerful, unique asset for Wooster, which now rates as the most internationalized college in Ohio. It benefits each and every student—no matter their academic discipline—to engage, study, research, and live alongside classmates from many different cultures.
“I love hearing our faculty talk about how their classroom discussions are so much richer with commentary from students who bring such a variety of cultural backgrounds and experiences. And, watching the growth in the popularity of so many student organizations, such as Model UN, cricket, rugby, table tennis, fencing, and Amnesty International, has certainly further enhanced our spirited social life,” Friedhoff noted.
“It sure builds confidence in our future as so many students—both domestic and international—recognize the value of attending a college that so celebrates its international diversity,” he added.
So, how is Wooster thriving in an area in which so many others are struggling? Well, it has rigorous academics featuring mentored research, which culminates in Independent Study (I.S.), fun and quirky traditions, a picturesque campus, surrounded by a vibrant micropolitan area, and supportive programs, such as the center for Advising, Planning, and Experiential Learning (APEX) and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. All of these attractive features add up to Wooster being a popular choice for international students – just listen to them.
“I feel that (Wooster’s) faculty and staff members are actively helping all students, especially international students, to reach their best potential. Additionally, Wooster provides resources for students … that allow them to feel very safe on campus,” commented Stacey Park, a rising junior from Seoul, South Korea, while Maryam Abdul Hye, a rising junior from Bangladesh, said “I knew if I chose Wooster, I would be done with a mini Ph.D. (a reference to I.S.) by the end of my senior year and none of the other schools would let me do that as an undergraduate.”
Yifan Jiang, from China, noted “Professors here are really brilliant, patient, and interesting, and I also love that Wooster offers lots of activities … to help get out of your comfort zone,” and fellow rising senior Marco Roccato of Italy stated, “I was looking for a place that was going to challenge me while also allowing me to thrive as part of a positive community. I am lucky and honored to be a Fighting Scot.”