Date of Award

Spring 4-10-2024

Document Type

Research Paper


Whittier Scholars Program

First Advisor

Smirnov Kristen

Second Advisor

Scott Creley


In the dynamic realm of higher education, the pursuit of inclusivity and accessibility stands as a central endeavor. This research project delves into the hurdles faced by Latin American students aspiring to pursue opportunities in the United States, aiming to unravel the complexities of admission requirements and immigration processes. Against the backdrop of the evolving educational landscape post-COVID-19, the study seeks to redefine the higher education sector's approach, fostering an environment that transcends barriers and embraces a more inclusive ethos.

The research holds significance in its mission to illuminate the academic achievements of international students, particularly those from Latin America, recognizing their potential to enrich the intellectual fabric of classrooms through cultural exchange. However, Latin American students encounter obstacles such as stringent admission requirements and a lack of guidance in immigration processes, hindering their path to academic fulfillment.

This project uncovers the challenges faced by U.S. universities in effectively engaging with international student admissions due to scarce resources, leading to a less-than-ideal immigration experience for many Latin American students. Economic constraints further exacerbate the struggle, with some students unable to meet prerequisites or access scholarships. Despite recent shifts towards inclusivity, rooted in alternative English proficiency tests and partnerships with credit evaluation agencies, economic disparities persist, dissuading many Latin American students from pursuing higher education in the U.S.

The research advocates for a reevaluation of international recruitment strategies, urging institutions to enhance processes and harness social media to create a more inclusive environment. By fostering heightened engagement and unlocking unexplored opportunities, this dynamic relationship has the potential to benefit a spectrum of industries and amplify the profiles of international students. As the study envisions a new direction for higher education—one characterized by accessibility, inclusivity, and a genuine commitment to international recruitment—it highlights the transformative potential of embracing diversity in academic environments.