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Suppose I am an international student living in country Y and I apply to university Z in a european country/developed asian country Q. Would my chance for admission into Z, if applied, depend substansially on whether I did my previous schooling in Q or not? Would this be different for different levels like Bachelors and Masters?

Eg:

I do my Bachelors in India and try for Masters in America

Vs,

I do my Bachelors in America and then try for Masters in America again.

Of course, I do agree for some countries there is additional process. Eg: Germany an Indian student has to do one more year of highschool before university in undergraduate but that is not important for me here. I only care about the raw rates.

N.B: By competitive college I mean a place where there is a bit of competition for seats. For places with no seat caps then theoritically none of this matters.

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There is a difference. I would not call it substantial, but it is still there.

One of the difficulties of a admissions committee is that the members are much more familiar with the universities close by; maybe one of the members studied there, worked there, collaborated with someone from there, had students from that university, etc. They have an idea about that university, and what a degree from that university is worth. There is no such personal relationship with many universities further away, making it harder to evaluate those universities.

Another difficulty many applicants have is what is expected from letters of recommendation differs from country to country and culture to culture. This makes it very difficult to evaluate some of those letters that come from far away.

Both problems can be dealt with, and many committees are aware of them and do their best, but it is a friction that international students have and local applicants don't.

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First, such data would be difficult to obtain, but, also, more difficult to interpret. And, since you added "substantially", then I'll guess "no", or it would be a well-known effect.

But, more to the point, if your question is actually looking for advice on what you should do to increase your likelihood of acceptance to a competitive college, I suggest you look elsewhere, such as gaining all possible knowledge and skill in the field(s) of interest and trying to have something tangible to show for that, or even intangible in the goodwill of your current instructors.

The one way in which it might be advantageous to study in Q is that an application might be easier to analyze, since readers are more familiar with that educational system. But if it comes at the cost of having less time to "impress" potential letter writers, then it could easily turn in to a negative. That would be especially true in the US, where letters carry a lot of weight.

The problem is that there are too many possible factors affecting admissions (at any level) to pick out one and depend on it to get you over the line. And there is so much "noise" in any such data set as to be probably meaningless and almost certainly meaningless to an individual case. Gaming "at the margins" isn't going to be helpful.

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