A measure of the most populated international student bodies was included in the 2018 US News and World Report Best Colleges Rankings, for the academic year 2016/17.
As well as coming out top overall, Soka University, a private institution based in Aliso Viejo, California, had the highest proportion of international students among liberal arts colleges. Meanwhile, Florida Institute of Technology came out top among other national universities, with international students forming a third of its student body.
Soka’s director of community relations, Wendy Harder, said attracting international students was largely down to word of mouth, and online advertising.
“A wonderful example is a senior we have from Nepal who was the first student from his country to come to Soka University,” she told The PIE News.
“This year we have six students from Nepal… because he went home and talked about it.”
“Soka University does not work with international education agents to recruit students,” Harder added.
Soka University was followed by Massachusetts’s Mount Holyoke College
US News details the difference between the two categories, saying that national universities “offer a range of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and emphasise research”, while national liberal arts colleges “focus on undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in liberal arts fields”.
For the national universities category, Florida Institute of Technology (33%) led New York City’s New School by a single percentage point, with the University of Tulsa, in Oklahoma, (24%) and Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania (23%), rounding out the top four.
And among the national liberal arts colleges, Soka University was followed by Massachusetts’s Mount Holyoke College, whose student body was formed of 27% internationals. St John’s College in New Mexico followed with 25%, and Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and Earlham College in Indiana completed the top five with 23% apiece.
Soka University is also tied with Goucher College in Maryland for the percentage of 2016 graduating seniors who participated in some form of mobile study during their course.
In both cases, 100% of the graduating students on four-year courses studied outside of the US for some period of time. However details on the length of stay or type of international study are not immediately available.
Elsewhere, Princeton University topped the overall US News rankings for national universities for the seventh year in a row, and showing even greater consistency, Williams College (Massachusetts) reigns over other national liberal arts colleges for the 15th consecutive year.