International Students in CACREP-Accredited Counseling Programs

By Ng, Kok-Mun | Journal of Professional Counseling, Practice, Theory, & Research, Spring 2006 | Go to article overview

International Students in CACREP-Accredited Counseling Programs


Ng, Kok-Mun, Journal of Professional Counseling, Practice, Theory, & Research


This was a descriptive study on the presence of international students in counseling programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Findings show that international students were enrolled in at least 41% of the programs surveyed during Spring 2004 and at least 49% of the programs surveyed had international students enrolled during the most recent three years. Enrollment in doctoral programs accounted for slightly more than half of these students. Findings support the need to pay attention to the training needs of international students, which have been overlooked despite an increased attention to American ethnic minority students.

International Students in CACREP-Accredited Counseling Programs

Under-representation of ethnic minority students in counselor education programs and related fields of applied psychology has been documented and discussed in the literature at various junctures (Atkinson, 1983; Atkinson, Brown, Casas, & Zane, 1996; Lawlis & Barr, 1974; Ponterotto & Alexander, 1995). However, international student representation in these programs has received very limited attention, even though the annual enrollment of international students in American colleges and universities has been on the rise for the past several decades (Institute of International Education [DE], 2004). In this article, archival descriptive findings on the presence of international students in counseling programs accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling, and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) are reported. The focus of the article is on the enrollment of international students in the Spring Semester of 2004.

International Student Enrollment

Open Doors (HE, 2004), an annual report published by the Institute of International Education on International Educational Exchange provides a plethora information on international student enrollment in U.S. post-secondary institutions. International students come from all parts of the world to study in colleges and universities in all 50 states and territories of the U.S. Their enrollment has been climbing steadily in the past several decades. There were a total of 572,509 international students enrolled in the 2003/2004 academic year, constituting 4.3% of the overall enrollment. Among the international students, 274, 310 (47.9%) were enrolled in graduate programs and 248,200 (43.4%) in undergraduate programs. More than 50% of these international students chose business, technical, and scientific fields of study. There were 15,909 (2.8%) students enrolled in education and 8,352 (1.5%) in psychology. Among graduate programs in these disciplines, about 4% of the international students enrolled in graduate educational fields of study. Enrollment data of international students in counseling related programs were not separately reported, however.

Even though the overall enrollment of international students is less than 5% of the overall student enrollment, authors have recognized the significance of their presence and contribution to campus diversity (Peterson, Briggs, Dreasher, Horner, & Nelson, 1999). N. Rudenstine (2001), the president of Harvard University, asserted that there is no substitute for direct contact with talented students from other countries and cultures. He further noted that international students help drive teaching and research in new and fruitful directions.

International Students in Counselor Preparation Programs

The concern for the persistent under representation of ethnic minority students has been raised and examined by researchers in the last several decades in counselor education and other related fields of applied psychology. Enrollment data on counselor education programs in 1982 revealed that representations of Native Americans and Asian Americans were close to parity when compared to population statistics; however, in terms of percentage, Blacks were under represented by over a percentage point and Hispanics by almost a factor of two compared to their respective representation in the general population (Atkinson, 1983). …

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International Students in CACREP-Accredited Counseling Programs
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