Success of international students in higher education

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.S. in Education


School of Education and Health Sciences


Advisor: Susan Davies


This research study examines the various definitions of success that international undergraduate students hold for themselves, how they seek help when needed, and what resources and study strategies they used. Data for this study were collected in two phases through qualitative interviews and an online survey. International and American undergraduate students at a private Midwestern university were selected through random sampling. Sample groups were matched according to gender and major. Results from this study indicate that the primary way international undergraduate students define academic success for themselves is by applying their education to a future career. In contrast, American undergraduate students most often define their academic success by earning good grades. Both International and American students prefer to ask the class professor for help with an academic issue, and ask a friend's help when the issue is personal. International and American students both report using time management strategies at least once per week in addition to frequent use of the computer and internet for their studies. In addition, International students reported higher use of dictionaries and translations devices, as well as more frequent trips to the library. A significant difference was found for grade pointaverages below 3.0 and English language test scores. The information collected through this study will inform higher education administrators of academic characteristics common among international students and help to revise university support services and admission procedures so they are better equipped to serve this population.


Students, Foreign Attitudes, Students, Foreign Services for, College students Attitudes, Academic achievement Statistics

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Copyright © 2012, author