The decision to travel to another country to attend graduate school is a weighty one. Not only do prospective students have to decide what academic program is right for them, they must also choose a destination that could be halfway around the world from home.
It’s essential for prospective graduate students to choose an institution that not only supports their academic goals, but is also committed to making their time in graduate school as effortless and rewarding as possible.
Monica Chen, associate director of international initiatives at Chapman University, understands the unique concerns facing international students. We asked her to share her perspective on why Chapman is an ideal destination for international graduate students hoping to study in the United States.
At Chapman, small programs with a high student-to-faculty ratio means that graduate students get to work closely with faculty who have industry experience in their field, with opportunities to contribute to ongoing research and creative projects.
“Our STEM programs, in particular, are really intentional when it comes to partnering students with a specific faculty member, so that there’s alignment based on their interests,” says Chen. “When you’re doing your research, your thesis, your dissertation, you’re getting a faculty member mentoring you, walking you through it. There’s a dynamic level of connection. You’re their assistant in their research, the partner on their project.”
Graduate students at Chapman benefit from the university’s robust alumni network. Alumni maintain close ties with faculty in their programs and often “Think Chapman First” when it’s time to hire in their industries.
Even better, because most programs at Chapman are small, faculty can make handpicked recommendations when a former student or other industry contact comes looking for new, qualified employees. Graduate students also get targeted career advising, introduction to professionals in their chosen field and lifetime support from Chapman’s Office of Career and Professional Development.
Personalized education is a hallmark of the Chapman experience, but for international students it means much more than being able to tailor studies to meet academic needs. Here, international students will find individualized guidance for navigating the complexities of living and learning abroad, including dealing with immigration, assisting with living situations and more.
“We have faculty advocating for our students constantly,” says Chen, “saying, ‘I don’t want them to fall out of immigration regulations’ or ‘I’m concerned about them because they’re an international student.’ There’s so much forethought and care for our international students from the faculty when they know their immigration is based on their academics. They take those extra steps to help care for the students when it comes to immigration.”
As a private institution, tuition at Chapman is the same no matter where you call home – unlike public universities, international students won’t have to pay more just because they’re not residents of California.
In addition, the university’s holistic admission process means that all students are considered for merit based scholarships based solely on the competitiveness of their application. All students will be automatically considered for a financial award, with no additional application required.
There’s no denying that southern California has a lot to offer international students. Orange has great weather all year long, and nearby beaches and mountains offer a variety of recreational activities – not to mention that Disneyland is only minutes away!
But more than that, the region is a hub for industries, with major companies located in our backyard including in the engineering, biotech and entertainment fields. Chapman maintains close relationships with many of our local companies, who provide extended learning, internship and mentorship opportunities for students – not to mention job opportunities once a degree is earned.
Chapman University offers graduate degrees in business, film and media, communications, health sciences, data science, education, law, international studies, creative writing and more.
“Each year, we welcome families and students to campus during orientation week who have flown to Orange from over 40 different countries,” says Chen. “Our international events are uniquely tailored to the message that Chapman staff, faculty, administrators, and other students are their support system as they make Chapman their home-away-from-home. President Struppa especially celebrates the arrival of our international population relating to them as a former international student himself.”