5 Questions International Students Should Ask About Online Education

5 questions international students need to ask about online education

Technology has made it possible for online degree international students to study at a U.S. university from anywhere in the world. Not all online education is created equally however, and it’s not suited for everyone. Do your research before enrolling. These 5 questions will help you get started.

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1. Does the university have proper accreditation?

The goal of accreditation is to ensure that the education a school provides meets acceptable levels of quality. Accreditation should be listed on the school’s website, but don’t take the school’s claims at face-value. It only means something if the accreditation is from a reputable agency. It’s easy to check. Schools with valid accreditation are listed in the U.S. Department of Education’s database of accredited postsecondary institutions and programs.

Accreditation will help to identify the good from the bad, and it’s one of the most important criteria to consider when choosing your school.

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2. What standardized tests do I need to take?

If your education in high school or at the college or university level was not in English, you will need to show evidence of oral and written English language skills. That will include taking one or more of the following tests. Requirements vary among schools, as does the minimum grade necessary.

  • TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language
  • IELTS – International English Language Testing System
  • EIKEN – Jitsuyō Eigo Ginō Kentei (Test in Practical English Proficiency)
  • PTE Academic – Pearson Tests of English
  • TOEIC – Test of English for International Communication
  • DLPT – Defense Language Proficiency Test
  • ECL – English Comprehension Level
  • An English Proficiency Examination, administered by the institution you choose.

3. What are the admissions requirements for online education international students?

International study requirements will depend on the institution but should include:

  • Official high school or post-secondary transcripts. If the transcripts are not from an English-speaking country, a certified English translation will be necessary.
  • Proof of English language proficiency. (See the answer to question 2 for details on the standardized tests that provide this evaluation.)

4. What are the international study visa requirements?

You can earn your degree from an accredited American university  – from wherever you call home. No visa is required if you are studying online from outside of the U.S.

5. Am I suited to online study?

To succeed in meeting your educational goals online you will need good time-management and study skills. You’ll also need regular internet access and general computer proficiency.

  • Do you have the time for online study? Set realistic goals. You should plan on having up to 12 hours available per course each week.
  • Do you have the self-discipline for online study? People are attracted to online study because they can study from home on a flexible schedule. Those same reasons make it easy to get distracted and fall behind.
  • Do you have the required computer skills for online study? You must be comfortable navigating web pages, and using word processing software.
  • Will you have the necessary virtual support from the school you choose? Earning a degree is not easy, but the better institutions make the process smoother by offering easily accessible academic resources and technical help.

There are many benefits to online education for international students. Accreditation from U.S. institutions is respected worldwide, your cost of living may be less expensive outside of the U.S., you can study from anywhere in the world and from the comfort of your home—to name just a few.


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