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International students strive for success

By Kara Pietrowski, For The Miami Student

Miami University is home to students from 49 states and 56 foreign countries. The Admissions Office works to attract students from many different backgrounds and cultures to add diversity to the Miami experience.

According to the Fall 2014 Statistical Information for International Students provided by the International Students and Scholar Services (ISSS), there are currently 1,670 international students enrolled at Miami's Oxford campus.

Like domestic students, international students have to submit their high school transcripts, recommendation letters, an essay and a list of extracurricular activities when they apply. In addition, they take an English proficiency test, the most popular being the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). International students must also meet Visa requirements.

Many international students also take the ACT and SAT, and their scores are factored into their admissions process.

"We want to enroll and admit students that will be successful here," Bixler said.

The primary focus when admitting international students is their TOEFL or other language proficiency test scores.

A prospective student must score above an 80 on the TOEFL, a four-part Internet or paper-based writing, reading, listening and verbal exam. The minimum requirement has been raised over the years from a 76.

If a student scores between a 65-79, but has an impressive academic transcript, they can be admitted into the American Culture and English Program (ACE), housed in Bachelor Hall.

"The program is a one-semester program in intensive English language instruction," ACE Director James Porter said. "Students in this program are conditionally admitted, and won't be fully admitted into the university until they pass the program."

Currently, the ACE program has 219 students enrolled, a big increase from the 37 they had when they began in 2011.

At international student orientation, about a week before classes start, international students are informed of the academic expectations. The course EDL 151: The American University, teaches students what is expected in American classrooms.

"International students are not just at Miami," ISSS Director David Keitges said. "This is a major initiative of American Education, globalizing itself with the students of other cultures."

According to the Institute of International Education, 819,644 international students enrolled in American colleges and universities in the 2012-2013 academic year.

"Having students and faculty from around the world benefits all students and is a critical part of increasing Miami's global outlook," Bixler said.

As Miami continues to reach out to other countries, each student enters with his or her own motives and personal goals.

"I wanted to come to America for school; for the chance to improve myself," first-year Jiachen Li said.

Li is from Shandong Province in China and is currently in the ACE Program.

"In China, you have to choose your major your first year," Li said. "Here I can look at many subjects and improve my English skills and learn about American culture."