Friday, April 13, 2012

Of Education fairs

One annual event of the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy I find quite interesting is the College and Career fair.  Organized by the Education Advising Center of PAS, they are usually held simultaneously in Abuja and Lagos and attract many young people, their parents and guardians.  One noticeable thing about the program is it reveals the high premium Nigerians attach to good quality education.  For most parents, it doesn’t matter how far or what the sacrifices may be.  Meanwhile, American colleges remain the preferred destination for international students and it’s not surprising.  Among the most reliable university and college ranking organizations, American universities consistently top the best 100 list and dominate the top ten.

Over the years the College and Career fairs have directly contributed to an increase in the number of highly qualified Nigerian applicants to U.S. institutions.   It provides parents and students with unbiased information and counsel about study at U.S. universities and colleges.  This is important because of the misgivings and concerns some parents have about the U.S.  and sending their young wards there.  Some are put off by the purportedly high cost of education in the U.S. while others have concerns about their wards moral and spiritual state if they are allowed to go to America.

On the first, getting counsel from the experts has enabled parents to discover the cost may not be as high as they imagined.  They discover with over 4,000 accredited universities there are quite a lot to choose from and the cost varies.  A child does not have to attend Harvard as there are equally excellent colleges with much lower tuition.  In addition several colleges provide scholarships to highly talented students while the EAC in turn runs the United States Achievers Program (USAP) which identifies talented indigent students and provides them with an opportunity to access scholarships.

On moral issues parents especially from Northern Nigeria can meet or learn about students from the North who are successfully studying in the U.S. and the fact it has not impinged in any way on their faith.  The freedom to practice ones faith is guaranteed by the American constitution and many people of different faiths continue to do so without any problems, including students.

As usual with every college fair, recruiters from American universities visit Nigeria to promote their colleges.  Among those in Nigeria at the last fair were West Virginia University, Hult International Business School and Huston-Tillotson University.  All the schools have significant international student populations, specifically Nigerian students.  At West Virginia for example the Nigerian students make up the largest African student body followed by Kenya.  The college also offers a course of particular interest to Nigeria and that is Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering.  It is one of only three colleges in the U.S. that offers this course at undergraduate, graduate and doctorate levels.

Another interesting college is the Hult Business school which has Nigerian alumni from as far back as the 1960’s.  It is primarily a business school with campuses in London, Shanghai and Dubai so students can start out for their undergrad program at Boston, US and from there do their graduate studies in London or Shanghai giving them a broad business education.

These two schools exemplify the diverse and unique opportunities that exist in U.S. institutions of higher learning and the opportunities that abound for Nigerian students who choose to study there.


  1. Some are put off by the supposedly expensive price to education and learning in the U.S. while others have issues about their wards ethical and religious condition if they are permitted to go to The united states.

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  2. Once you are qualified(have good grades etc); you would be admitted. But that is not the CASE. The problem lies in acquiring VISA in NIGERIA. No student plans to fail an interview. But I tell you ; go to the US embassy in Nigeria and see the dozens of STUDENTS that are being rejected each day. The most painful thing is that when they are rejected, they wouldn't be told why they were rejected. They'd just be given an ambiguous sheet and told to refer to it for any question they might have. I'm a living example (well, although I didn't really get my secondary education in Nigeria)... I don't think that at all is fair...Besides to book a visa appointment in Nigeria is another big issue (because of the number of people applying)...

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