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Are you ready to find your fit?

If you’re thinking about studying in America, then by all accounts that’s a great idea. The USA has the world’s best education. That’s not an opinion but a statement of fact. Every list of college rankings backs this up. For example, the 2018 Times Higher Educatiolist of the world’s best universities features 15 US colleges in the top 20. Even more impressive is the QS Top Universities list, where American colleges are ranked as the top four educational institutions globally. So choosing America as your number one place to study is commendable. After all, you want a high-quality degree from a country filled with opportunities. 

But if you’re not from America, then studying at one of the US’s colleges can be a challenge. Some US universities are definitely more geared towards taking on and improving the prospects of foreign students than others. And if you want to live in America after you complete your degree, then certain colleges will give you an edge. Immigration in America is getting stricter day by day, but it’s also a fact that there will always be a demand for highly skilled people.

Anyone from outside of America that wants to move there indefinitely after college needs to put together a plan. You need to pursue a career that has more job openings than qualified Americans (such as STEM or medicine.) But even then, it’s a challenge. But if you go to the right college in America, then that can significantly boost your odds of finding graduate employment that keeps you in the country. Therefore, picking the right college should be a vital part of your plan! 

If you’re wondering what the best colleges for foreign students are, then look no further. This list tells you everything you need to know. It compiles, from various sources, the US colleges that are incredible at educating non-US students and which lead to integration into the American job market. Perhaps none of these choices is right for you. That’s ok. You can take what these colleges are doing and see how the institutions that you’re considering compare. 


We’ve researched the most respectable sources in curating this list. We’ve stacked up a range of articles and then looked into the statements with our own research. Many colleges view our sources and use their rankings on the source lists to boast about their credentials. However, our list combines each source, creating the most definitive guide online. The different source materials inevitably have their own biases. So we’ve filtered the listings by most frequently cited and backed up the most consistent entries with our own supplementary research. The articles we’re referencing are as follows:

50 Best U.S. Colleges For International Students 2017:

50 Best Colleges for International Students:

10 Universities Where International Students Receive Aid:

Most International Students:

Best U.S. Colleges & Universities for International Students:

Below are our rankings, from 30 to one, of all the best US colleges for foreign students. In our list, we’ve factored in aggregated college placement on the articles, percentages of foreign students at the colleges, financial aid that colleges grant to international students, post-education graduate employment rates and statements of satisfaction from foreign students.

The results are here:

Rank School Location
1 Columbia University in the City of New York New York City, NY
2 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
3 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
4 New York University New York City, NY
5 Babson College Wellesley, MA
6 Claremont McKenna College Claremont, CA
7 University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, CA
8 Emory University Atlanta, GA
9 Pomona College Claremont, CA
10 Boston University Boston, MA
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  1. Columbia University in the City of New York

    New York City, NY

    With a strong showing on every methodology list, Columbia University tops our poll. and College Factual name Columbia as the best international college. Forbes places it at 6th. Additionally, between 2016-2017, 213 international students received on average $62,004 in financial aid, the second highest sum of any college in America. This world-leading educational institution is located in the upper portion of Manhattan, New York City. And perhaps unsurprisingly for a college placed in the middle of the most international city in the world, Columbia is diverse. 15-17% of its students are international. That percentage makes it the 20th most foreign student occupied college in the country, according to US News. What's even better is that unlike other US colleges, Columbia accepts more international students each subsequent year. In fact, its international student body increased from 8,200 in 2009 to 14,000 in 2017.

  2. University of Southern California

    Los Angeles, CA

    Over 18,000 international students currently call University of Southern California home. And like many of the other best colleges on this list, USC's foreign student population is growing significantly. In 2011, 5,828 foreign students came to USC, meaning that the number has more than tripled in the last 7 years. places USC as the third best college for foreign students. Forbes places it at 18 on its list. Most impressively, it's second on College Factual's list.

  3. Carnegie Mellon University

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Every methodology list agrees that Carnegie Mellon is one of the five best American colleges for non-Americans. It's fifth on, fourth on Forbes, and fourth on College Factual. Additionally, it has one of the highest foreign student populations in America. 23% of its students are international. One of the reasons why Carnegie Mellon is so popular among international students is due to its strong employment rates. According to the college's fall statistics for 2017, 3,178 out of 5,426 international students were able to secure OPT or STEM work extensions, allowing them to stay after their degrees' completions.

  4. New York University

    New York City, NY

    Ranking at 10th on the list, 11th on the Forbes list and 8th on the College Factual list, New York University is an incredible choice for international students. Its foreign student services are staggering. For example, the Tisch Office of Career Development's team is dedicated to helping international people with their careers. On top of a high likelihood of being integrated with the thriving New York industries, foreign students benefit from bespoke college curated programs. These are geared toward making the foreign students happy and successful.

  5. Babson College

    Wellesley, MA

    Forbes considers Babson College to be the top US university for foreign students. The other methodology lists are less generous but still consider it to be a great choice. places it at 24th, and College Factual has it at 52nd. Babson is proud of its welcoming reputation and states that it, "values the individual cultural perspectives and experiences international students bring to the classroom and the community." These values are upheld by the college's staff in times of adversity. For example, when President Trump issued immigration restrictions on middle eastern countries, Babson College President, Kerry Healey, released a statement opposing it and vowing to help and affected students.

  6. Claremont McKenna College

    Claremont, CA

    Coming in at seventh on, third on Forbes and 80th on College Factual's lists of the best colleges for international students is Claremont Mckenna College. Getting into Claremont Mckenna College is incredibly difficult, however, due to its prestigiousness and small size. It only accepts around 1300 students per year. In 2016, 230 students were international. And by far the most popular subject for international students at Claremont Mckenna is economics, followed by mathematics and international relations & national security.

  7. University of California-Berkeley

    Berkeley, CA

    California colleges dominate this list for very specific reasons. The state's liberal focus and booming economy combine to form an incredibly appealing career destination for non-US citizens. And Berkeley is a fine choice for international students looking to integrate into this destination. It ranks eighth on, 15th on Forbes and 13th on College Factual's lists. And the good news is that, after three years of stagnation, international student enrollment is increasing at Berkeley. From 2014 to 2016, the international student enrollment numbers stood at around 5,900, but in 2017, this increased to 6,345.

  8. Emory University

    Atlanta, GA

    The top international student college in Atlanta, the city that many consider to be the capital of the south, is Emory. ranks this college as the 4th best in America for non-US citizens. Forbes isn't so generous and places it at 29th. College Factual has it at 32nd. US News states that Emory was the college with the 16th highest international student population in 2016-2017. And international students attending Emory form a key part of its global strategy. This includes a range of pathways that allow international students to enter into jobs in worldwide American corporations, such as The Coca-Cola Company and Delta Airlines.

  9. Pomona College

    Claremont, CA

    No one can doubt that Pomona College is welcoming for foreign students. According to, 19% of its full-time students come from overseas to study at this California college. And Pomona College has a range of services that ensure international students thrive. For example, the International Student Support Program is a free service that gives foreign students all sorts of help. This program has advisors available 24/7 and even has its own app! considers Pomona to be the second best college in America for international students. Forbes ranks it at 41st. College Factual has it at 117.

  10. Boston University

    Boston, MA

    Placing at seventh on Forbes, 17th on and 14th on College Factual's international student lists, Boston University is one of the most consistently ranked colleges. This result makes BU the best choice for an international student looking to study in Boston, Massachusetts. This city is home to a range of thriving tech and STEM companies that need qualified professionals. By teaching almost 10,000 international students in 2017, Boston University is doing its utmost to meet this demand. Additionally, international students benefit from the International Student & Scholar Hub, which assists with community, health, career and housing matters.

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