Sunday, November 16, 2014

Study In America: Guide for Students from Saudi Arabia

By Zhengrong Lu, 
Research Assistant, World Education Services

Are you a Saudi Arabian student planning on studying in the U.S.? Are you interested in learning more about the degrees your peers are pursuing, the academic programs they are engaged in and their favored academic destinations in the United States? Today we’re sharing some data for prospective students from Saudi Arabia and other tips to answer your questions so you can make an informed decision before applying to schools in the U.S.
According to the Institute of International Education’s 2013 Open Doors report, 44,566 students from Saudi Arabia were studying in the United States during the 2012-13 academic year (up 30.5% from the previous year.) The number of students enrolled in the U.S. has increased so much so that the country has been the fourth leading place of origin for international students coming to the U.S. for two years in a row; just behind China, India and South Korea.

What degrees are Saudi Arabian students pursuing?

In 2012-2013, about fifty percent of Saudi Arabian students came to the U.S. to obtain a bachelor’s degree while 20% of them were pursuing a master’s or advanced degree. There are also a high percentage of students who first enrolled in a non-degree program, such as the Intensive English Program (IEP) or English as a Second Language (ESL) program prior to enrolling in a degree program. This has largely been due to the King Abdullah Scholarship Program (KASP) which covers up to a 12-month ESL preparation period.
What fields of study are Saudi Arabian students typically engaged in? IEP has been found to be the most popular field of study for Saudi Arabian students in the U.S., followed by Engineering and Business Management. Nearly three out of ten Saudi Arabian students chose to be enrolled in an IEP program before they commenced their academic study in the last year. It is also clear to see that Saudi Arabian students tend to hold a strong affinity towards the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) majors since nearly 30% of the enrolled Saudi Arabian students were studying in these fields.

Where do Saudi Arabian students typically go? 

California, Texas and Ohio are the leading states that Saudi Arabian students preferred to attend. Interestingly, New York and Illinois which are typically among the top 5 host states for overall international students in the U.S. are not on the list. In each of the top 10 states on the list, there are a number of accredited ESL institutes which have been saturated for enrollment. It would be wise to read up on the accredited ESL institutes list first before you begin to apply to ESL institutes.

So what does this all mean for you?

First of all, if you are not ready to apply to a school in the U.S. right away, you can start your journey with IEP as many of your peers have done. This could be a good stepping stone in becoming accustomed with life in the U.S. so can become better prepared to handle university applications. Secondly, you should be aware that many popular ESL institutes are likely to become over-saturated. This means that you must make sure to apply to multiple schools as a backup.

Hope this blog has been useful in providing you information to further your academic career and we welcome you to leave a comment below about any other questions you may have about studying in the U.S. To your success!
Zhengrong earned a master’s degree in applied statistics from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in public health administration from Fudan University, China.


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  3. is there any website that provide saudi arabian student data list that take master business at new york?


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