The 2017 International College Board Data Trends report confirmed our suspicions about international applicantions and presented some interesting insights.  Here’s a quick high level overview from our own Michael Gamerl (VP, Business Development and International):

The number of international students studying abroad is growing (not exactly breaking news), but it’s projected to be 8 million students by 2025!  It was 4.6 million in 2017.  At the same time, the share of those students studying in the US is shrinking and according to TPR’s international offices, students are considering the UK, Canada and Australia more than previously.  Again, not breaking news, as the so-called Trump Effect is clearly on display with students voting with their feet.  Our anecdotal findings are that students who really want to come to the US are still pushing to come to the US, but those on the fence are looking elsewhere.  Canada appears to be the big winner in all of this.

The percentage of students from the top 5 Countries of Origin studying in the US is shrinking.  Saudi Arabia has even gone negative for the first time in a decade and South Korea continues to go further negative.  Some of this is due to budget cuts to normally generous scholarships offered by countries like Saudi Arabia, but again the Trump Effect is compounding things.

I tease my SAT students about how they need to work hard to compete against international students.  Well, now we see that the average international kid scores 1134 compared with 1060 for US testers*.  Sudents from East Asia/Pacific top out at 1241 on average.  And they score higher in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.

The most interesting part of the report for me was the data on the number of score reports sent to schools and to which schools.  International students on average sent their scores to more than six schools with China leading the charge at 10.6 schools per tester. In the US, students average a little more than 5 score sends. Not surprisingly, students from countries like China, UAE and Lebanon sent their scores to a narrow band of schools.  Indian and Nigerian students, however, sent their scores to a significantly broader range of schools.  Maybe they’re hearing our message about best fit school!

The College Board report identifies the schools that receive the most score reports from various nations and regions.  Here is the top recipient for each of them.

Nation or Region US University Receiving the Most SAT Score Reports
China Ohio State University
India Purdue University
United Arab Emirates New York University
Vietnam Temple University
Sub-Saharan Africa New York University
Americas New York University
East Asia/Pacific UC Berkeley
Europe/Eurasia Harvard College
Middle East/North Africa New York University
South and Central Asia Purdue University


And here are your top five nations for sending international undergraduate students for the past two years.

Country 2016 Undrgrads 2017 Undergrads Change
China 135,629 142,851 5%
Saudi Arabia 33,952 32,338 -4%
South Korea 32,695 30,080 -8%
India 19,302 21,977 14%
Vietnam 14,390 15,266 6%
All Countries 427,313 439,019 3%

For the real geeks among us, you’ll want to check out IIE’s Open Doors report from which CB got loads of data.  Click here to check it out.

*Yes, I understand that international testers are much more self-selecting, so the comparison is not completely valid, but I unapologetically neglect to mention that when talking to my SAT students!


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