Education Today: Time to revive that American dream!

The United States offers a versatile and flexible higher education system catering to international students with diverse origins

By   |  Srikant Gopal  |  Published: 21st Jun 2021  12:51 am
Srikant Gopal, Executive Director TOEFL at ETS (Educational Testing Service)

In the last two decades, India has emerged as the world’s second-largest country after China from where students go abroad to pursue higher education. According to IIE’s Project Atlas 2020 release, a staggering 1,93,124 Indian students applied for the United States as their preferred destination last year— nearly 1/5 of the more than 1 million international students enrolled in American universities in 2020 alone— the largest destination for international students.

The United States offers a versatile and flexible higher education system catering to international students with diverse origins. An academic degree from a US university has a very positive reputation in the international job market and significantly enhances a student’s long-term career goals by developing their self-confidence and cross-cultural skills – attributes which are highly valued by employers globally.

A key reason for Indian students to choose the United States is because of the quality and choice of STEM master’s degrees in the country, which offer longer pathways to work and stay in the country. In fact, of the nearly 2,00,000 Indian students studying in the United States last year, nearly half – 44% – were pursuing graduate programs, according to IIE data.

In a recently proposed immigration bill, President Joseph Biden and his administration have sent welcoming signs to foreign students by reducing lengthy wait times for visas and offering foreign graduates with advanced degree pathways to help them stay and work in the United States. As the Biden administration begins their work on friendlier policies for H-1B visas and immigration laws, Indian students have better times to look forward to as they start planning for their education abroad.

As the Indian students start preparing their application portfolios, one of the essential steps to securing a seat in prestigious U.S. varsities is to take an English-language test. A strong, well-designed English-proficiency test will measure students’ English-language skills.

For over five decades, the TOEFL program has been pioneering new ways to assess English-language proficiency through several assessments and tools, for a range of students – from young learners through college-bound learners. The TOEFL iBT test is the premier test of English-language proficiency for high-stakes colleges admissions and is accepted by more than 11,000 institutions in over 150 countries. It is universally accepted in English-speaking countries like the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. It is also universally accepted by English-taught programs at universities in non-English speaking countries worldwide including in Germany, France, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and across Europe and Asia.

Soon after the onset of the global pandemic early last year, TOEFL iBT Home Edition was launched for students who were unable to take the test at traditional third-party test centers.The at home test continues to be a safe and convenient option for test takers and has been added as a long-standing option in the TOEFL product portfolio, so that Indian students can choose the test format or location that works best for them. The TOEFL iBT Home Edition test is identical in content, format, on-screen experience and scoring to a test taken in person, and is available 24 hours a day, 4 days a week.

After the last few years of tougher higher education and immigration policies— which were exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic — the United States is once again sending strong positive signals to foreign students to come and study there. To make sure one is on the right foot while applying to the premier universities in the United States, students should strengthen their candidacy in all possible ways, including with a reputed English-proficiency test like the TOEFL iBT test. These steps will help Indian students to secure admission into the university of their choice and live their American dream!

Srikant Gopal
Executive Director
TOEFL at ETS (Educational Testing Service).


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