Applying for a Job Off-Campus: Writing a Cover Letter

May 27th, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

Frustrated Businesswoman With Hands In Hair At Office Desk186363333With off-campus employment opportunities for international students, many students will be applying for jobs in their new host countries. Many international students may need a reminder of both the importance of writing a cover letter to accompany a resume and application, as well as how to write an effective cover letter.

Why Write a Cover Letter at all?

Most hiring managers agree that including a cover letter is as important a part of an application resume. However, it isn’t important to write a cover letter because the hiring manager is going to carefully read it—in fact, many will admit to “just browsing” them or, in many cases, not reading them at all—but because hiring managers often DO remember those applicants who didn’t bother to take the time and include a cover letter.

In a situation where someone is looking for easy ways to reduce the amount of similarly qualified applicants to look through, the people who didn’t care enough to put forward the effort are an easy choice when faced with a number of applicants who took the time to craft an individualized cover letter.

Features of a Good Cover Letter

That being said, a cover letter should not be a resume or a condensed version thereof. A good cover letter requires a bit of research and should fit the following guidelines:

  • Write directly to the hiring manager overseeing filling the desired position. No “To Whom it May Concern”—do your research and personalize your letter. After all, this is the person making the decision to hire you or not.
  • Show that you are passionate about working with this particular company. But don’t do so in a way that comes off as flattery. Demonstrate you didn’t just send out 1,000 resumes to whatever company. You chose a company where you felt you could make a difference, whose vision and practices you stand behind, and that you would be proud to work for.
  • If you have a name to drop, this is the place to do it. Whether it is someone you know in the company, a mutual acquaintance, or a mutual contact in the broader industry, the cover letter is the place to mention it.
  • Avoid re-hashing your resume or writing a ‘form letter’ style cover letter. Only list accomplishments that are directly relevant to the position or the company’s projects, and make sure to make the letter individualized enough so that the hiring manager doesn’t feel as if they just wasted their time reading the same generic letter attached to your resume you sent to every company.
  • Be brief. Certainly no more than a page, though, the consensus seems that even less than a page is the most ideal.

Take the time to set yourself apart from the mob of similarly qualified applicants and include a well-written cover letter—it will really go a long way!


Win Free Tuition Scholarship

May 23rd, 2014 by Bryanna Davis

money and book 487770639Win Free Tuition Scholarship
Deadline: June 30

The Win Free Tuition scholarship will grant one individual $10,000 to be used for tuition at the school of their choice. This sweepstakes is open to residents/citizens of Canada and the United States who are age 14 or older. This is a biannual sweepstakes, for this round all applications must be received by June 30th.

Eligible students can enter to win this free tuition scholarship in one of three ways:

  1. Submit the entry form online- to get to the link first visit the link below
  2. Complete and submit a Business Reply Card located in a
    NextStepU Magazine. The card must be completed in full, post marked by June 30th and received by July 7th.
  3. On a 3×5 postcard you can print your name, complete address including city and zip code, age, phone number (with area code), and email address. Postcards can be mailed before June 30th to the following address:

Win Free Tuition Sweepstakes, NextStepU
2 W. Main St Suite 200
Victor, NY 14564

The Win Free Tuition sweepstakes is sponsored by NextStepU. All entries must be postmarked or submitted online no later than June 30th to be eligible.

If interested, you can learn more on this scholarship and if you’re eligible here.


How to Find A Scholarship – Live Hangout Friday

May 22nd, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

money in binoculars (email) 100326897Funding your education doesn’t have to be impossible if you don’t have the money on hand. There are thousands of scholarships out there designed for international students – you just need to know how to look and what you need to include to make your scholarship application standout. This Friday, May 23 at 11 am EST, our partner InternationalStudent.com will be putting on a live hangout on How to Find a Scholarship.

Topics will include:

  • Where to look for an international scholarship
  • How to apply for a scholarship
  • Tips and tricks to increase the likelihood of getting the award

Scholarships are essentially financial awards that do not need to be paid back, and because of this, they can be competitive. Tune in this Friday to increase your odds of getting picked. Here’s how:

  • Step 1. Sign up and reserve your spot.
  • Step 2. Set a calendar reminder so that you can tune in.

It’s that easy! At the end of the Hangout they will take any questions you have so make sure you have all of your questions ready. Hope to see you there!


Learn About International Student Loans – Live!

May 20th, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

college loan135903390If you need an international student loan for the semester, you have a few more months to prepare! That’s why tomorrow, Wednesday, at 3pm EST, International Student Loan will be hosting a free Google Hangout to answer all of your questions. Join them to learn about international student loans including:

  • What you need to apply
  • Requirements for approval
  • What to expect during the process

They’ll be available to answer all of your questions when it comes to your international student loan, so don’t miss it! To join the Hangout live, all you need to do is:

  1. Sign up for the Hangout
  2. Bookmark the page
  3. Set a calendar alarm for 3pm EST on Wednesday, May 21st
  4. Get your questions ready
  5. Join us live!

Want to see previous hangouts? Check out International Student Loan’s YouTube page where you can find videos on all things financial aid for students studying abroad.


US Universities Establish Joint Venture Pathways

May 16th, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

Ready to join team concept466557511Good news for international students, US Universities establish joint venture pathways that offer an alternative to international recruiters and another way into prestigious American universities.

As the United States continues to expand its efforts to attract more international students to its campuses, a number of American universities have taken to establishing joint venture pathways in collaboration with private partners to facilitate international students’ transitions.

What is a Joint Venture Pathway?

A joint venture pathway is a collaboration between individual universities and private business partners that carry out various recruitment activities abroad. These recruitment partners seek out students, screen and assess them, then direct them to specific Western institutions.

How is it Different from an International Recruiter?

International recruiters are common in many parts of the world. In fact, in many countries it would be nearly impossible to navigate the various channels to applying to Western institutions without the assistance of an international recruiter.  These recruiters work by matching international students with fitting Western institutions and assisting in the application process.

Joint venture pathways instead seek out students that fit the institution’s desired criteria and prepare them for progressing through the universities program. This preparation includes not only assistance in the application process, but also preparatory courses (often an English language course with selected introductory courses) chosen by the university.

Joint Venture Pathway Recap:

  • US universities are expanding joint venture pathway programs to increase international student enrollment
  • Joint Venture Pathways offer more benefits to international students than foreign recruiters typically do
  • The benefits of Joint Venture Pathways come in the form of assistance with the application process in addition to offering language and introductory courses selected by the university to prepare the student for advancement through the university’s program

Given the inherent benefits, international students applying to institutions in the United States should be sure to check if the university they are considering offers joint venture pathways.


NextGen Scholarship

May 15th, 2014 by Bryanna Davis

nextgen scholarshipNextGen Scholarship
Deadline: June 6

The NextGen Scholarship fund was created to assist international students coming to the US. In college, P.E.R.K. president Andrena Sawyer saw how many deserving international students often lose the opportunity to pursue higher education due to the lack of funds. Because of this, the NextGen Scholarship fund was created.

Applications can be completed and submitted online, however, the application must be completed in one sitting. It is recommended that all necessary information is gathered before beginning the application.

To be eligible for this award, students must be high school seniors and college undergraduates who have a 3.0 GPA or higher. Students must also be non-US citizens and currently reside in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia. Or, students must be accepted into a school that is in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia.

All applications must be submitted by June 6th- the winner will be decided upon by July 30th. The winner of this award will receive $1,000

To learn more and to enter to win the NextGen Scholarship students can visit here.


The US Colleges with the Highest International Student Populations

May 10th, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

top 10 phrase 475089357With studying abroad being such an increasingly popular decision in today’s world, international students may be surprised to learn that there are only a few universities in the United States where international students make up more than 15% of the student population.

Studying abroad used to be just a great way to enrich a course of study, gain some global perspective, and have an interesting life experience while attending university. Now, studying abroad offers a number of academic and economic advantages to students (and the universities that host them). As such, countries the world over are increasingly encouraging their students to study abroad and international student populations are on the rise on campuses across the globe. However, international students may be surprised to learn that there are only a handful of universities in the US with international student populations over 15%

US Colleges with the Highest International Student Populations (Undergraduate)

  1. New School (NY)–29% of 7,010 students
  2. Florida Institute of Technology (FL)–28% of 2,978 undergraduate students
  3. Illinois Institute of Technology (IL)–23% of 2,800 undergraduate students
  4. Lynn University (FL)–22% of 1,657 undergraduate students
  5. University of Tulsa (OK)–22% of 3,160 undergraduate students
  6. Carnegie Mellon University (PA)–18% of 6,279 undergraduate students
  7. Purdue University—West Lafayette (IN)–17% of 30,147 undergraduate students
  8. University at Buffalo (NY)—SUNY–16% of 19,505 undergraduate students
  9. University of San Francisco (CA)–16% of 6,344 undergraduate students
  10. Northeastern University (MA)–15% of 13,107 undergraduate students

Recent findings indicate that each of the above schools has further expanded its international student enrollment. Moreover, as studying abroad transitions from “enriching undergraduate experience” to “extremely prudent academic and career move” the number of international students is likely to continually increase over the next few years.

Universities that already have significant populations of international students, resource and support networks for international students and school cultures that accept and admit the perspectives of international students will continue to stand out and benefit from their diverse student bodies. Moreover, as those students who do decide to study abroad decide on potential institutions, knowing there’s already a thriving international student body may make the transition that much easier.


Give Advice to the Class of 2014 to Win $250

May 8th, 2014 by Bryanna Davis

contest text bubble 183167857Give Advice to the Class of 2014 to Win $250
Deadline: May 31

This month International Student is giving away $250 to the student with the best advice! Throughout the month students can send in their best piece of advice or tip to graduating international students. At the end of the month the International Student judges will sift through each of the tips and tricks- and the student that sends in the best advice will win!

Your tip should be original (meaning you created it) and helpful. Adding creativity to your tip will also help increase your shot at receiving the $250! The contest is open to current international students or those who are planning to study abroad in the near future. It is not restricted based upon your home country, the school you attend or the degree you are pursuing.

After you have brainstormed for your best tip for graduating international students, send it to International Student through their Facebook, Twitter or Google+ page. Make sure to send it in during the month of May to qualify to be entered to win the prize.

You can find more on the Give Advice to the Class of 2014 to Win $250 contest here.


US Universities Pay Foreign Recruiters to Attract More International Students

May 2nd, 2014 by Jennifer Frankel

business handshake455685683Public universities in the US state of South Dakota have started looking into paying foreign recruiting companies and agents in order to help draw international students to their campuses.

According to the chief academic officer for the state Board of Regents, Sam Gingerich, there are a number of reasons for the state’s desire to attract a growing population of international students and why going through foreign or international recruiting companies is a great way to do so.

Why is South Dakota Paying to Recruit International Students?

Sociocultural Benefit

The Midwestern US tends to be more culturally homogeneous than life on the east or west coasts and, as such, integrating students from other cultures and bringing a global perspective to student life provides a much needed exposure to global society.

Financial Benefit

In recent years, both graduating class size and the rate of graduation in South Dakota high schools has decreased. Therefore, an increased number of students from other areas (students paying the out-of-state tuition costs, no less) presents a financial boon to both the institutions at which the international students will study, as well as the cities in which they will live and spend while present.

Why Use International Recruiters? 

  • US colleges and universities are allowed to use foreign student recruitment agencies
  • There are a number of steps an organization must go through in order to be verified as a legitimate entity with which to do business—and it is this somewhat costly step that has traditionally limited the use of foreign recruiters as a means to attract undergraduates.

What Does it Mean for International Students?

International students in countries like China and India stand to benefit tremendously from the shift to utilizing foreign recruiters. In those countries, student recruitment agencies are the norm—helping parents navigate through thousands of universities (many in other countries) and their relative merits, application procedures, costs, etc.

With universities in the US tapping into this resource, international students in countries where recruitment agencies are the norm ought to begin to see some very competitive incentives from American institutions that were previously either unavailable or unknown to them!


Paul Sumerall Memorial Scholarship

May 1st, 2014 by Bryanna Davis

international money transfer 458050463Paul Sumerall Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: September 5th

In memory of Paul Sumerall and to help promote research toward international money transfers and cross-border remittances, the Merchants Bank of California established the Paul Sumerall Memorial Scholarship.

Six scholarships will be granted in a varying amount between $500 and $2,500. Students from around the world are able to apply for this scholarship by completing the online application. Individuals who apply can be college/university students, graduate students and researchers with an interest in international transfer of funds.

The application consists of five parts:

  • basic information
  • academics
  • activities
  • awards/honors
  • project

Pursuing studies related to international money transfers will be an important deciding factor when considering candidates- as the funds can be used toward expenses related to a money transfer project or study.

If interested, you can learn more about the Paul Sumerall Memorial Scholarship here.