Career Pathways for International Students

Anna Esaki-Smith
Date of Publication: 
January, 2021
Source Organization: 

According to a 2017 survey of 100 postsecondary institutions, 65 percent of respondents stated that they did not track international alumni, despite the increasingly important connection between overseas study and work in today’s global economy. Career Pathways for International Students examines how the study-abroad experience impacts the career paths of international graduates from U.S. universities. Using data drawn from various surveys, reports and research, including Optional Practical Training and H1-B visa data, the report calls attention to the declining enrollment rates of international students at American colleges and universities, as well as the success of U.S. competitors, including the U.K., Canada, India and China, in attracting these students. Among the contributing factors are barriers to obtaining work visas and the "obstructive” immigration policies of the Trump Administration. The report further highlights the lack of consistent data across graduate levels and subject fields in tracking international graduates, which has impeded the U.S.’s ability to increase recruitment and enrollment. The report concludes with several proposed research questions and suggests that a U.S.-specific study should be completed to gather stronger data showing the connection between international study and employability. (Stephanie Depauw for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)


Esaki-Smith, A. (2021). Career Pathways for International Students. American Council on Education.