Orlando, FL – While Central Floridians make up the majority of students at Valencia College, a recent survey showed that growing numbers of foreign students are finding value in what the college has to offer – and not just because it’s located near theme park central.
The International Student Barometer, a survey conducted by U.K.-based igraduate, found that international students attending Valencia College reported the highest level of overall satisfaction with their experience when compared with 26 other colleges and universities in the United States, including Northwestern University, George Washington University and University of California-Santa Cruz.
“We are very pleased with the results – they are a positive affirmation of Valencia College’s approach to providing individualized attention to students to help them achieve their academic goals,” said Lisa Eli, managing director of International Education at Valencia.
The ISB is an annual online survey of international students. Twenty-seven colleges and universities in the U.S. and 178 worldwide participated in the fall 2013 survey.
Valencia’s high satisfaction scores were based on a number of factors, including the student’s experience upon arrival, academics, support services and living environment. Survey respondents identified campus safety, opportunities for further study and low cost as factors in their decision to choose Valencia. Furthermore, nearly 90 percent of students said they would recommend Valencia College to other students thinking of applying.
“It makes sense that Valencia did well in the survey,” said Richard Garrett, North America director of igraduate. “As the number of international students coming to the U.S. continues to increase, the profile of this population is broadening. The language and academic challenges faced by many international undergraduates are similar to those that community colleges encounter every day with a significant portion of their domestic students. A growing number of international students will find the supportive atmosphere of a community college a good starting point.”
While community colleges have seen an overall decline in international student enrollment over the past five years, the number of international students pursuing degrees at Valencia has grown by 20 percent in the last year, from 382 in spring 2013 to 457 in spring 2014. Valencia’s international students come from 86 countries, with the vast majority coming from South America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
Many international students choose to attend college in the U.S. because of a desire to improve their English skills. Valencia’s Intensive English Program (IEP) and ESL for Teens Program attract large numbers of international students who come from around the world to study English and enjoy the Orlando area. The IEP is designed to help international students who don’t have a sufficient level of English language proficiency to be accepted to a U.S. college or university. By starting at Valencia’s IEP, students can improve their English skills and adapt to college life in the U.S.
After students transition from the IEP program into a degree program at Valencia, international advisors are available to help them with the admissions process. And after they earn their associate’s degrees, students can then transfer their credits to four-year schools to complete a bachelor’s degree. The University of Central Florida offers guaranteed admission to Valencia graduates (both international and domestic) through a program called DirectConnect to UCF.
About igraduate: Established in 2005, UK-based i-graduate works with over 1,400 educational institutions in 28 countries, tracking and benchmarking student and stakeholder opinion across the entire student journey. The International Student Barometer survey tracks and compares the decision-making, expectations, perceptions and intentions of international students from application to graduation.