International student enrollment in the U.S. higher education system has recently experienced profound growth. This research examines leadership-oriented differences between international and domestic students and focuses on their growth in capacity associated with participation in co-curricular leadership programs. Similarly-sized gains emerged after participation, suggesting that these leadership programs create equal growth effects across both groups. However, the factors that predicted international students’ increases in leadership skill were different than their domestic peers, suggesting that developing effective leaders among college students across national background is a non-uniform, complex process. Recommendations include the suggestion for partnerships between international student scholar units and leadership educators, specialized workshops for international students, and creating nuanced curricula based on the various pathways that students take to becoming an effective leader.

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© 2015 Association of Leadership Educators

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