Applying to college in the United States from another country can be exciting and challenging. The process may be different from the one in your home country, but it need not be difficult if you get accurate information and follow the required procedures carefully.
There are more than 900,000 students from other countries enrolled in degree programs at over 3,000 two-year and four-year colleges and universities in the United States. Many of these institutions have more applicants than they can accept in any year. As a result, college admission can be very competitive, especially for applicants from outside the United States.
The key to successful admission lies in careful planning and timely completion of the required steps. Keep in mind the following advice during your college planning.
Consider your own characteristics:
- What kind of person are you?
- What makes you happy?
- What are your interests?
- Are you sure you know what you want to study?
- Why do you think studying in another country will be good for you?
- What about studying in another country makes you feel anxious?
- Have you been away from your family for long periods of time before?
- Begin planning about 24 months before the date you wish to start studying in the United States. Contact universities that interest you at least one year in advance.
- Identify the things that are most important to you when looking for a college. Make a list of those characteristics to help you compare the colleges that interest you.
- If you have access to a computer with an Internet browser, you can link to the College Search on collegeboard.org, where you can find out quickly which colleges have the features you want. College Search also allows you to link directly to college websites, which are a rich source of information about degrees and courses offered, costs, student services and financial aid. Some even provide a virtual campus tour.
- Consult an EducationUSA advising center or the EducationUSA website (educationusa.state.gov).
- Talk with students in your country who have studied in the United States.
- Start planning your college budget. Be realistic about how you will pay for your education.
- If you plan to apply for scholarships, do so before leaving home. Little financial help is available once the school year starts.
- Be sure that your information is current and correct. Don’t rely on hearsay or someone else’s experience. Contact universities directly to get information and instructions about admission.
- Complete all the steps in the admission and financial aid process as early as possible. If you do not understand why a college asks for particular information or requires a particular process, ask them for more information about it.
The picture you have of yourself — your academic ability, interests, attitudes and personality — is very useful in choosing colleges and in completing the application forms you will be asked to submit. Colleges will ask you about yourself because they are interested in you and believe that personal factors play an important role in academic success.
From The International Student Handbook. Copyright 2014 The College Board. Reprinted with permission. For more information, visit: