Top 10 Universities in USA for International Students

The United States or the USA is one of the most powerful nations on the planet. It has the number one largest economy in the world and a population of around 350 million spread across 50 states. It is also a world leader in many fields, such as space exploration, military, intelligence gathering, agriculture, and more.

The USA is also home to some of the finest educational institutions in the world, and the country’s educational system is used as a model for other countries to follow. As such, the USA has attracted a huge number of international students, who have no shortage of universities to choose from, as they are present in every state, and all offer a unique experience. In this article, we will be going over the best universities in the United States for international students.

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How satisfied are international students studying in the United States?

According to a recent study, international students in the US are “overwhelmingly satisfied” with their experience studying in the country, as 91% of the ones questioned answered positively. Additionally, more than three-quarters of the questioned students answered that they feel welcome in the country. Among the strong points for students were the very high standards of education, quality of life, and social life on campus.

Despite this, there are still plenty of challenges that international students face during their time in the US, particularly students from South-East Asia, primarily China, who have the hardest time out of any other group to form relationships with the local students and are the most likely to face discrimination.

What are the most popular programs in the United States for International Students?

Engineering and Business Administration are the top programs that international students go for in the US, with 200.000 students each. Business Administration in particular has been a very popular option among international students for many years, primarily students from South-East Asia and parts of Europe, but Engineering has caught up in recent years and is now the most popular program.

Other popular programs are in Computer Science with 100.000 international students, as well as Visual & Applied Arts and Social Sciences with around 50.000 students each.

How many international students study in the United States?

The US is by far the most popular destination for international students in the US. There are currently over 1 million of them enrolled in the country, which is twice as much as the UK in second place. Although there were small dips in the number from 2016 to 2019, in 2019 the number was the highest it has ever been.

The highest number of international students come from China, with nearly twice as many students as second-placed India. South Korea and Saudi Arabia occupy the 3rd and 4th positions, respectively, but are way behind the first two countries.

What is the most prestigious university in the United States?

Harvard University is easily the most prestigious university in the United States. While there are plenty of world-class institutions in the country, none come close to Harvard, which is perhaps the most popular university in the world and is considered as a model on how a higher education institution should operate. That being said, universities like Princeton, Stanford, and a few others are not far behind, maybe not in prestige, but certainly in terms of quality.

There are countless notable alumni at Harvard, such as Mark Zuckerburg, Mitt Romney, Steve Balmer, Conan O’Brien, Matt Damon, and many more.

Best Universities in the United States for International Students

1. Stanford University

Stanford University is the best university in USA for international students and is ranked number 2 in the US. It is located in the heart of Silicon Valley on an enormous 8.180 acres campus that includes all of the 7 schools that are part of the university. Being in Silicon Valley, the university is very involved in entrepreneurship and has funded numerous start-ups. Stanford has produced some of the most powerful people in the world, including 76 living billionaires.

Stanford has welcomed a large number of international students ever since its inception, and that trend continues to this day. However, the financial aid budget for international students is limited, and whether you request aid or not will play a factor in the admission evaluation.

2. Harvard University

Established in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest higher education institution in North America and is the most prestigious university in the entire world. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, part of the metropolitan area of Boston, and sits on a 5.000-acre campus that is full of world-class facilities.

Apart from a top university in the USA for international students, Harvard is also very popular around the world and has attracted plenty of international students through the years, over 7.000 of which who are currently enrolled, and 50.000 living graduates.

3. Princeton University

Princeton University is an ivy-league university based in Princeton, New Jersey. It is a very prestigious university around the world, and international students comprise a significant percentage of the entire student pool. It offers full accommodation for its undergraduate students, and an impressive 98% of them live on campus, making for a great social life.

There are only 10.000 enrolled students, which means that the selection process is fairly strict, so you need to be at the top of your game if you want to be accepted here. The university only has a 5% acceptance rate, but if you are a top student, there are not many places to continue your education that are better than Princeton.

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Next on our list of best universities in USA for international students is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT. This university is another world-class private university based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is ranked as the second-best in the US, and number 5 in the world, making it the highest-ranked Institute of Technology there is. The Institute is organized into five different schools: management and science, engineering, architecture and planning, humanities, arts and social sciences.

MIT is a diverse environment, welcoming students from all over the world. International students make up nearly one-third of the entire student pool. There are 18 residencies for students at the MIT campus in Cambridge, as well as playing fields, greenery, and plenty more.

5. University of Chicago

Established in 1890, the University of Chicago is a private research university based in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. It’s on the list of the top 10 universities in the world and is very well known for its professional schools. UC scholars have had significant contributions to the development of various disciplines such as economics, math, sociology, and more.

International students are of great significance for the University of Chicago, as they make up around one-quarter of the total number of students. The application process is the same for both international and home students, aside from internationals having to go through an English proficiency exam.

6. University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley, or UC Berkeley, is a public research university that is one of the most reputable in the world, ranking top 10 in various categories. Established in 1968, it is the oldest member of the University of California system. It is located in the Bay Area of San Francisco, which is a great area for students to be in, with a large number of start-ups and internship options.

Among its notable alumni are many foreign nationals who went on to become heads of state, Olympic Gold winners, and award winners in their particular field. Due to increased interest from students, the selection process is becoming stricter each year, depending on the faculty.

7. Columbia University

Columbia University, another top university in the United States for international students, is a private ivy league university based in New York City. Established in 1754, it is the oldest such institution in New York and the fifth oldest in the country. With its campus being located in the heart of New York City, in Broadway, the university is one of the tops on plenty of international student wish lists. It is organized into 20 schools, of which 4 are undergraduate and 15 graduate schools. It also has various Columbia Global Centers spread across the world, in order to facilitate collaboration between the different areas.

It was the alma mater of many influential people, including the former president of the US, Barack Obama.

8. New York University

Next on our list of best universities in the USA for international students is the New York University. With 17.000 international students from over 140 countries, New York University or NYU has the highest number of international out of any university in the United States. This largely has to do with New York’s massive appeal, but the university itself is also one of the best in the country, ranking within the top 30 in the world. The main campus is located in Lower Manhattan, but there are also various NYU centers across the globe. NYU is also very active when it comes to research activities, contributing to many different fields.

9. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania, commonly referred to as UPenn, is a private ivy league research institution based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1740 and is one of the founding members of the Association of American Universities. Today, it is considered as one of the best in the world, ranking top 20 on a global scale. UPenn’s medical school was the first of its kind established in North America, opening in 1765.

Thousands of international students apply to the university each year, but only a limited number are lucky enough to get accepted, with an acceptance rate of just over 5%.

10. Yale University

We end our list of top universities in the United States for international students with Yale University, another world-renowned and famous higher education institution in the United States. It is located in New Haven, Connecticut, and was founded in 1701, making it the third oldest in the continent. International students are very prevalent, as 1 out of 5 students come from outside the US. What’s unique about this university is that it houses its students in residential colleges, which is unusual in the US, but can be seen in major UK universities like Cambridge and Oxford.

Hillary Clinton and many other notable alumni attended this university.


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