Category Archives: Education

10 Quick Takeaways from the 2019 PISA Survey

December 6th, 2019

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The latest scores from PISA, the Program for International Student Assessment, were announced on Tuesday, December 3, 2019. The PISA survey is carried out every three years by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and this time it was among its 37 member states and 42 partner countries and economies. The latest PISA study was based on two-hour tests taken by 600,000 15-year-olds last year.

PISA’s overreliance on standardized test is seen by some as flawed as demonstrated by a call for a moratorium on PISA by more than 100 academics from around the world. On the other hand, the OECD which sponsors PISA and its supporters stand in defense of the test and regard it as a comprehensive and reliable indicator on how students around the world are doing and performing. Nevertheless, the results are worth reviewing.

For this week’s blog, we’ve prepared a quick summary of the latest PISA survey:

  1. U.S. students ranked eighth in reading, 11th in science and 30th in math. (Note: In the United States, a demographically representative sample of 4,800 students from 215 schools took the test.)
  2. China ranked first in science, reading, and math (Note: PISA survey only considered 4 of more than 20 provinces in China that included Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.)
  3. Singapore ranked second in science, reading, and math.
  4. Macau, Hong Kong, Estonia, Canada, Finland and Ireland outperformed the US.
  5. The United Kingdom, Japan and Australia performed similarly to the United States.
  6. 15-year-olds in Germany and the US perform better in mathematics than students in Peru or Indonesia. (Note: Per capita income in Peru and Indonesia is less than that in Germany and US.)
  7. Colombia, Peru and Portugal were among the countries that demonstrated improvement on the test.
  8. 3% of American children from poor families were top performers in reading, compared with an average of 4% of poor children among O.E.C.D. countries.
  9. The report showed that fewer than one in 10 students surveyed in the OECD countries could distinguish between fact and opinion, based on implicit cues pertaining to the content or source of the information.
  10. The only areas in which more than one in seven students demonstrated the ability to distinguish fact from opinion were the four parts of China (Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang), Canada, Estonia, Finland, Singapore and the United States.

Below is the performance ranking for reading (OECD average is 487)

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Source: OECD

Below is the performance ranking for mathematics (OECD average is 489)

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Source: OECD

Below is the performance ranking for science (OECD average is 489)

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Source: OECD

Sources:

https://www.oecd.org/pisa/publications/pisa-2018-results.htm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/12/03/expert-how-pisa-created-an-illusion-education-quality-marketed-it-world/https://sg.news.yahoo.com/china-outclasses-west-key-education-survey-111838983.html

https://menafn.com/1099363307/Which-countries-punch-above-their-weight-in-education-rankings

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/404762/nz-teenagers-hit-new-lows-in-reading-maths-and-science-tests

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/03/us/us-students-international-test-scores.html

https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/03/asia/pisa-rankings-2019-intl-hnk/index.html

https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/pisa2018/#/


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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International Students Enrollment Numbers Drop

November 22nd, 2019

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On Monday, November 18, 2019, the Institute of International Education (IIE) released the latest 2019 Open Doors report confirming that international student enrolment in the US is steadily declining. The annual Open Doors report is compiled jointly by the IIE and the US State Department.

In this week’s blog we will offer a quick summary of the outcomes of this report.

  1. For the 2018-2019 school among 19,828,000 total students in institutions of higher education in the U.S.,1,095,299 were international students which is 5.5% of all college and university students in the U.S.
  2. According to VOA new: The numbers showed a slight increase in total international enrolment, 0.05 percent from the previous year, but a decrease in new international student enrolment, -0.9 percent.
  3. The Open Doors Report shows decreases in undergraduate (-2.4%), graduate (-1.3%) and non-degree (-0.5%) enrollments.

Subsequent news reports reacting to the 2019 Open Doors cite the following as reasons for the declining numbers of international student enrollments:

  1. Negative perception of President Donald Trump and the growing negative rhetoric regarding international visitors, immigrants, and non-U.S. citizens.
  2. International students concern about gun violence and their safety on U.S. college campuses and cities at large.
  3. Sharp rise in value of S. dollar in 2015 and 2016.
  4. Saudi Arabia’s decision in 2016 to cut back on its scholarship impacted the number of Saudi students coming to study in the U.S.
  5. According to an OpEd by Justin Fox in Bloomberg, “public universities in the U.S. aren’t quite as desperate for full-tuition-paying international students as they were a few years ago, with state per-student spendingup 15% in real terms since 2012-2013.”
  6. S. higher education faces fierce competition from Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom when it comes to attracting international students. Lower tuition and safety make these countries a more attractive option.

According to estimates from NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the continued decline in international student enrollment since the fall of 2016 has cost the US economy $11.8 billion and more than 65,000 jobs.

Can the U.S. reverse this tide? Can it reclaim its #1 ranking as the destination for international students and regain its dominance? If so, how?

Helpful links:

https://studyinternational.com/news/trump-blame-decline-international-students-us

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-11-18/trump-is-scaring-away-some-foreign-students

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/19/business/international-students-decline/index.html

https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2019/11/18/international-enrollments-declined-undergraduate-graduate-and


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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5 Facts on Hong Kong Protests and their Impact on its Education System

November 15th, 2019

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Photo credit: Nora Tam

The anti-government protests continue for the 24th week in Hong Kong. The protesters–many young high school and university students–have dug in at several university campuses across Hong Kong. The latest epicenter of the protests was the Chinese University of Hong Kong which this past Tuesday evening became the site of violent clashes between police and the protesters. Tensions continue to run high and the confrontations between protesters and police have turned violent.

The unrest in Hong Kong was triggered by a now-withdrawn extradition bill which would have enabled the transfer of fugitives to mainland China. The movement, as reported by Hong Kong Free Press, “has evolved into wider calls for democratic reform and accountability for the police handling of the crisis.”

Here are a few facts on the impact the protests are having on the schools and universities in Hong Kong:

  1. Hong Kong’s Education Bureau announced that all schools would shut on Thursday, November 14th. This means the suspension of kindergarten, primary and secondary school classes citing safety concerns arising from the city’s three consecutive days of unrest. Source
  2.  Most of the city’s universities and other higher educational institutions also announced there would be no classes on Thursday, November 14th. At least 10 have suspended classes the rest of the week. Source
  3.  The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and Baptist University (BU) had cancelled all on-campus lessons. Several universities had announced they would be introducing online learning and other assessment methods for the remaining weeks of the term. Source
  4. Some exchange students are being advised to leave Hong Kong as the protests continue. Norway and Denmark, for example, have advised their students to return home. Source
  5. A group of students from Mainland China were helped by Hong Kong police to leave their campus after it was barricaded by demonstrators. Many are taking advantage of a program that offers them a week of free accommodation in hotels and hostels in the neighboring city of Shenzhen. Source

This is an on-going crisis in Hong Kong and ACEI-Global will include updates as they become available. Please follow us on Facebook for continued updates on Hong Kong and education news from around the world.

Sources:
https://in.reuters.com/article/hongkong-protests/protesters-block-central-hong-kong-streets-as-chaos-grips-city-idINKBN1XN04O?il=0
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/11/13/hong-kong-govt-condemns-violence-cancels-school-classes-u-turn/
https://www.chron.com/news/education/article/The-Latest-Classes-suspended-at-Hong-Kong-schools-14830782.php
https://www.chron.com/news/education/article/The-Latest-Classes-suspended-at-Hong-Kong-schools-14830782.php


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE PEOPLE YOU CAN’T EAT THEIR FOOD: Diversity for Dummies

November 8th, 2019

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In my last post on White Privilege I ended my piece with a quote from Trevor Noah, who in his Netflix show, Son of Patricia said, “There should be a rule in America. You can hate immigrants all you want but if you do, you don’t get to eat their food.”

That line, in its simplicity, gets to the point of the question of “why diversity”? Why is it so important that schools are hiring directors and consultants to help them diversify? Is it imperative that our education system introduce cultural differences as a way to break down barriers – a.k.a. bringing about world peace? Or do these unique attributes enkindle students’ intellectual, moral and social growth thus making them better, more interesting people? Or is it just that there’s no getting around diversity?

I’ve been watching and re-watching the Playing for Change remake of The Weight. It too, very simply demonstrates the value in diversity. The ukulele played often in Hawaii, originated in Portugal. The congo drum is Afro-Cuban. The oud is originally Persian. Maybe you prefer the original version. It is pretty great, but I prefer the richness of the latest version with the various riffs from people all over the world.

Maybe music and food aren’t your thing. You’re more of a sports fan. In an article by James C. Witte and Marissa Kiss writing for The Institute for Immigration Research, on Predicting the Outcome of the 2019 MLB All Star Games they conclude “so with this year’s game coming on July 9th, die-hard fans, inquiring minds and hopeful gamblers want to know who will win: the National League or the American League? Our answer? The team that plays the greatest percentage of foreign-born players.”

Their findings are based on statistics.

Let’s put aside the many wonderful flavors and sounds that enrich the U.S., so many brought here from other countries. There is no getting around diversity in most of America these days. According to the Migration Policy Institute as of 2017, 44.5 million immigrants resided in the U.S. 14 % of the nation’s population are not from America. These statistics are increasing annually. And it’s not only in the U.S. According to a report (Gurria, 2018) from the European Association for International Education (EAIE), one in ten children in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with 36 member countries, are foreign-born.

Instead of being frightened by these statistics can we be intrigued by the scents, the sounds, the visual effects and stimulation that those varied and colorful cultures bring us? Imagine the stories these people have to share. Think of friends who have traveled and the tales they have told. Sometimes they make us scratch our heads. Sometimes they make us laugh at their absurdity. But they mostly intrigue us and compel us to get out and see more of the world.

In an article in Diverse Magazine (Elfman, 2019) Dr. Alyssa N. Rockenbach whose project, Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS) reports that “having a diverse peer group enables college students to understand and appreciate other cultures and reduces prejudice,” a.k.a. world peace. This seems obvious to me and I could never really grasp how it wasn’t obvious to everyone until, in one of my classes at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS), we were asked to introduce ourselves and tell when we first experienced diversity. Most students talked about the first time they went abroad or when a study abroad student came to their school. My first experience was the opposite. It happened when I left my home in Cambridge, MA for college in San Diego, CA. My college campus was so white. There were a few black students and two Iranians but that’s all I can recall of diversity. Not only did that help me appreciate the richness of cultures I’d grown up with, but it made me an open-minded person, excited to break down barriers of exclusion so that my friends could also know the excitement that comes with experiencing another’s culture.

That said, it isn’t obvious to everyone which I was reminded of while listening to an episode of Safe Space Radio. The podcast Can We Talk: Talking to White Kids About Race and Racism is led by two mothers, one black and the other white. The black mother explained why it was so hard to talk to white children about race. “My job is to protect you (her children) out there and the white parent’s job is to create a bubble to keep their kids safe.” If we’re not purposeful in bringing our children together are we causing more harm, actually sowing division? We need to consciously decide to break down barriers by creating a culture of diversity and not just between black and white families, but that’s a good start here in the states.

I will always love the idea of and work towards world peace, but what I really want to relay is how much richer our children’s education will be when schools consciously make an effort to diversify. That comes in the form of teachers and staff, curriculum and the students themselves. Children are born eager to learn. It’s inherent and it’s our responsibility as parents, teachers, and schools to encourage the full range of exploration that includes not only thought and intellectual stimulation but what culture brings. So why diversify? Does it matter if we do so because the world is just going that way or should we bring more intention to it in order to reap the benefits of variety in tastes, sounds and sights? Mmmm. Suddenly, I‘m craving my nana’s lasagna and some Italian opera.

References:
Encompassing All Voices Diversity and Inclusion: a strategic issue for European universities, Anna-Lena Claeys-Kulik p 5 (Gurria 2018)

Suggested Readings:
This Land is Our Land: An Immigrants Manifesto – Suketu Mehta
WHY ARE ALL THE BLACK KIDS SITTING TOGETHER IN THE CAFETERIA And Other Conversations About Race – Beverly Daniel Tatum, PHD

k_hylen

Kathleen Hylen, M.A. International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Graduated with honors from UC, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Community Studies, focus on anti-bias. Kathleen is also a member of ACEI’s Professional Consultancy Team. Her focus is on helping institutions and organizations develop and/or bolster their diversity and inclusion strategies. acei@acei-global.org

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What is Transnational Education?

November 1st, 2019

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We have been hearing the term “transnational education” used when referring to distance learning programs, teaching partnerships, off-shore campuses, and MOOCs. And we can be sure that with the global demand for higher education overpowering supply, transnational education will continue to grow and assume permanency in our lexicon.

Although there are many definitions and interpretations, the definition provided by the UNESCO/Council of Europe Code of Good Practice in the Provision of Transnational Education (Riga, 6 June 2001), states “all types of higher education study programmes, or sets of courses of study, or educational services (including those of distance education) in which the learners are located in a country different from the one where the awarding institution is based”.

Transnational Education may include any one of these arrangements:

  • Articulation
  • Course-to-Course Credit Transfer
  • Branch Campus
  • Franchising
  • Joint Degree
  • Dual Degree
  • Distance Delivery
  • Progression Agreement or Sequential Degrees
  • Degree Validation

If your institution is exploring engaging in any one of the above-mentioned arrangements, there are a number of informative papers and articles on the subject. Rather, than repeat the same information and guidelines, below is a list of a few reports with links you may find useful to visit.

CIMEA: http://www.cimea.it/files/fileusers/5592_2004-What%20is%20transnational%20education.pdf
EAIE: https://www.eaie.org/blog/key-elements-transnational-education-tne.html
NAVITAS: https://medium.com/navitas-ventures/transnational-education-partnerships-and-internationalisation-gei-75-6fc581aa5122
INSIDE HIGHER EDUCATION: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/world-view/transnational-education-what-impact-local-institutions


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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U.S.A. – China: Sharing Expertise on International Credential Evaluations

October 25th, 2019

On October 18, 2019, the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI) had the pleasure of hosting representatives from the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE) and China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center (CHESICC) and colleagues from the American Education Research Corporation (AERC).

The purpose of the meeting was to learn more about our respective organizations and discuss the role of the US Department of Education and the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE).

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From L-R – Mr. Wenjun (Edward) Chen (CHESICC), Mr. Alan Saidi (ACEI), Ms. Martha Alvarez (AERC), Ms. Weiping (Heather) Yuan (CHESICC), Ms. Xiaoshu (Susan) Li (CHESICC), Ms. Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert (ACEI), Mr. Weixing Cheng (CHESICC), Mr. Bo (Simon) Zhou (CSCSE), Ms. Lei Zhu (CSCSE), Ms. Xiao Huo (CSCSE)

Association of International Credential Evaluators

Founded in 1998, AICE is a professional membership association recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for those involved in international credential evaluation and comparative education research. The mission of AICE is to provide guidelines and standards to be used by Endorsed Member credential evaluation services regarding the best practices in international credential evaluation. It also provides a forum regarding the development of standards for its member organizations. These member organizations are endorsed by AICE for having demonstrated excellence in credential evaluation and adherence to professional standards through a rigorous membership process. ACEI and AERC are both Endorsed Members of the AICE. For more information on AICE, please click here

Endorsed Members Representatives from AICE:

  • Martha Alvarez, Director, American Education Research Corporation (AERC)
  • May Li, Senior Credential Evaluation, AERC
  • Alan Saidi, Senior Vice-President & COO, Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI)
  • Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert, President & CEO, ACEI and President AICE (Association of International Credential Evaluators)

Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE)

The Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange was founded in 1989. It is a public organization under the Ministry of Education (MOE) of the People’s Republic of China.  CSCSE was initially founded due to the increasing number of Chinese scholars studying abroad and returning to China which necessitated the establishment of a specialized department to provide comprehensive services for this group of people. CSCSE mainly engages in international education services by supporting students who are pursuing international student experience and fostering dialogues between higher education institutions and organizations in international exchange and cooperation. CSCSE specializes in offering professional services for international scholarly exchanges, including Chinese students and scholars studying abroad, returnees from abroad, and international students and scholars coming to study in China. One of the services CSCSE provides its students, whether returnees or international students and scholars intending to study in China, is help with the evaluation of their educational credentials for comparability to the Chinese education system. For more information on CSCSE, please click here

Representatives from CHESICC:

  • Lei Zhu, Head of Evaluation Team (US & Canada), Overseas Academic Credential Evaluation Office
  • Bo (Simon) Zhou, Evaluation office, Overseas Academic Credential Evaluation Service
  • Xiao Huo, Evaluation Officers, Overseas Academic Credential Evaluation Service

China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center (CHESICC)

The China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center was founded in 1991 and is the MOE-authorized qualification verification institution in China. It is also the only MOE-authorized body for the verification of higher education qualification certificates. CHESICC maintains the China Higher Education Student Information (CHSI), an official higher education student data depository entrusted by the MOE, which manages a nationwide database that covers all MOE-recognized academic institutions and all post-secondary level students. CHESICC offers digital administration and services for student enrollment, student record and qualification management, employment information, ad military conscription. CHESICC verification service includes postsecondary student record, qualification certificate, college transcript, high school diploma, and Gaokao (National College Entrance Exam) scores. Student record and qualification verification are provided in different forms, including online verification, online verification report, and verification report. In China, the verification service is widely used for employment, graduate admission, and judicial examinations. For more information on CHESICC, please click here

Representatives from CHESICC:

  • Mr. Weixing Cheng, Director of Information Division
  • Mr. Wnjun (Edward) Chen, Project Manager of International Promotion Department
  • Ms. Lan Gao, Director of Verification Service Division
  • Ms. Xiaoshu Li, Project Supervisor of International Promotion Department
  • Ms. Weiping Yuan, Manager of International Promotion Department

At the meeting, we quickly realized how issues such as fraudulent documents, diploma mills, determining legitimacy of institutions and their accreditation/recognition are global problems and not unique to one country. When our CSCSE colleagues shared their questions about professional degrees in law and medicine from the U.S., we concurred that here in the U.S. we face the same conundrum when evaluating international professional qualifications in these fields as we try to determine their U.S. equivalent. From the U.S. side of the table, we shared our concerns about the inability to verify Chinese high school transcripts. Our CHESICC colleagues expressed that since high school education is under provincial control and records are not housed in a central depository, their verification is very difficult. They recommended that the provincial department where the school is located be contacted for help with verification. CSCSE indicated that the number of Chinese students returning to China after completion of their study abroad has been rising as is the number of international students coming to study in China. For this reason, evaluation of these students’ credentials is very important as the CSCSE reports on degree comparability intended for employers, higher education institutions, and other interested parties. It is heartening to learn that although we may be in opposite sides of the planet, we face the same dilemmas and employ similar standards when evaluating international credentials. We look forward to continued collaboration and mutual exchange of information amongst our respective organizations.


jasmin_2015
Jasmin Saidi-Kuehnert is the President and CEO of the Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute (ACEI).

President, Board of Directors AICE

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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5 Steps on the Study of Law in the U.S. for Professional Practice

October 18th, 2019

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If you are thinking about studying law in the United States and want to practice as a lawyer in this country, it is important to know that requirements for the study of law are different compared to other countries. Here are five quick facts about the study of law in the U.S.:

Professional Field
In the U.S., law is a professional field and admission to the degree of Juris Doctor (JD) which is the credential needed to practice law, requires completion of an undergraduate bachelor’s degree. In most countries, students can enter a law program at a university immediately after graduating high school. In the U.S., it is offered at the completion of a bachelor’s degree. Some exceptions may exist, depending on the State.

Law School Admissions Test
The  Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is another requirement for students planning to be admitted to law school. Most students will sit for the LSAT exam immediately after finishing their undergraduate studies and earning their Bachelor’s degree. The LSAT exam is a standardized test administered four times a year testing student’s analytical and logical reasoning skills.

Law Schools
The American Bar Association recognizes over 200 accredited institutions in the U.S. Admission to a law school is highly competitive and will take into consideration the students overall grade point average and scores on the LSAT.

Juris Doctor Degree
Once admitted to law school, students study for three years (full-time) to earn the Juris Doctor (JD) degree. The first year of law school is known to be the most rigorous, includes a set curriculum developed by the institution and provides the foundation of the skills students need to continue their legal education.

Bar Examination
To practice law in the U.S., students have to pass the Bar Examination. Each state board of bar examiners in the U.S. has its own licensing requirements. Students need to contact the board of bar examiners in the state they are interested to practice to learn about their requirements, register and sit for the test. Once they pass the exam, they can enter professional practice as a lawyer.

Helpful links:
https://www.internationalstudent.com/study-law/


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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