Many international students around the world wish to attend a Master’s program in the United States but feel they lack the English language skills and social confidence to live and study in a foreign country. It is especially for these students that Florida State University (FSU) has implemented its Pathway to Graduate School. This two-semester initiative helps international students (who have already obtained a Bachelor’s Degree) prepare for FSU’s highly ranked graduate programs.

In FSU’s Pathway to Graduate School, students complete prerequisite classes while also earning 9-12 credits toward their graduate degree. This program helps overseas students become familiar with the US academic system and helps guide them in their decisions about their future research focus and even their faculty advisors. All students who have successfully completed the FSU Pathway to Graduate School and apply to an FSU graduate program have been admitted.

One hundred per cent of the participants who successfully completed the Pathway program and applied to FSU’s competitive graduate programs have been admitted and 25% have been encouraged to pursue funded doctoral programs in engineering at FSU.

- Cynthia Green, Ed.D. Director, Center for Global Engagement, Florida State University

Students can apply to FSU graduate Pathway Programs in the following fields: Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Communications, and Public Administration.

SchoolApply interviewed Jing Peng, an international student from China who recently completed an FSU Pathway to Graduate School program.

Florida State University

Location: Tallahassee, Florida (USA)

Student Name: Jing Peng (Daisy)

From: Qingdao, China

Master’s Graduation Date: Spring 2019

FSU student in blog 1

Quick-Fire Questions

Favorite class: American Public Administration. The class environment is excellent and the instructor is good at communicating with international students.

Favorite school event: Being a Chinese student, the Chinese Spring Festival Bazaar is my favorite event. The Spring Festival is the most important festival in China – it is like Christmas in America. In China, people spend quality time with their families during this festival. In America, we do not have school holidays for this event. Fortunately, FSU organizes this annual bazaar for Chinese students as an opportunity for them to spend time together like a big family.

Three words to describe Florida State University: Friendly, Professional, Green

Tell us a little about yourself, in what places have you lived and studied?

My name is Jing Peng and I was born in 1993. My English name is Daisy and my major is Public Administration. I enrolled in Florida State University’s [Pathway to Graduate School program] in 2016 and I think it is an excellent start to studying abroad.

I am from Qingdao, a beautiful seaside city in China, and I spent some time in Wuhan, a place that attracts the highest number of college students in China, for my undergraduate studies.

I have changed my Master’s program to a Doctoral program. My Master’s program will be completed in Spring 2019 and I will finish my Doctoral program in five years.

FSU student in blog 2

How did you hear about FSU’s Pathway to Graduate School and what made you decide to study in the United States?

One of the Chinese professors in my undergraduate studies was a visiting professor at FSU and she recommended the university to me as a good place to study. Also, the Public Administration department at FSU is in the top 20 in the United States. It is because of these reasons that I chose FSU when I decided to apply for a Master’s program.    

Did you have any problems adjusting to life in a new country and university? If so, how did you overcome them?

The major problem I met coming to the United States was the language gap. When I started to use English instead of my native Chinese language, I lacked confidence in my studies and in life, in general. I felt embarrassed when I failed to understand the class context and I felt shy to ask questions. But time is a good teacher and my English improved a lot once I started using English every day. While I still have trouble sometimes understanding a whole lecture, finishing my paper without grammar mistakes and communicating freely with people, I now feel more empowered and more confident to speak in English.

FSU student in blog 3

What made you decide to study Public Administration?   

I chose this major when I applied for my undergraduate and my graduate program because I believe that public service has the value to benefit every citizen.

What has your academic and social experience been like as an international student at FSU in the Pathway to Graduate Studies program?  

As an international student, I have had a great experience at FSU. The professors in my department are very nice and understand the barriers overseas students face in a new country. Without the [Program], it may have been difficult for me to make American friends. However, [the Program] brings international students to a lot of events and activities to help us meet people and make friends. Also, there are many international organizations at FSU. For example, I am a member of the FSU Chinese Scholar and Student Association, a registered student organization that helps Chinese students and scholars academically and socially. Moreover, FSU’s Reading/Writing Center is a good place to go when I need to have my papers reviewed for grammar mistakes,  so this helps me academically.

FSU student in blog 1

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What were your first impressions of Florida State University?

It is a pretty campus, like a beautiful green garden with lots of different trees and plants.  The residence hall is lovely and I like the food here also.

FSU student in blog 4

Do you take part in any extracurricular activities at FSU?

There is a big gym at FSU where I like to swim and work out. I am also part of the FSU Chinese Student and Scholar Association (CSSA).

What would you say to international students who are considering studying at Florida State University in the Pathway to Graduate Studies program?

It is an excellent program with many staff members who help international students get used to living and studying in a foreign country. Personally, the program gives me a sense of security and support. Furthermore, this program goes a long way in helping overseas students immerse themselves in the local environment and it is a good transfer stage for any international student wanting to study in the United States for their graduate degree.

Apply to Florida State University’s Pathway to Graduate Studies program today by visiting SchoolApply