How to achieve college and graduate admissions as an International Student
Applying for a college or university in the United States is a big opportunity for many students from abroad. It’s actually quite exciting because you would be studying in a place so different from your own, which can be a very enriching experience. If you are an aspiring foreign student, you will need to look into many facets of your student application so that you get through the application process successfully.
As a foreign student, you will find the college application process of colleges and universities in the United States to be somewhat different and at times more intricate than what you were used to in your country. So, to get things right, you need to closely follow all given instructions and ensure to submit your records, the way it is mentioned in your college application. If you are not clear on this point, your application will not be considered and this a great opportunity missed. In case English is not spoken in your country or your education has not been done in the English language, you must be aware of the special requirements in your case.
With so many requirements to understand, let’s break down the whole thing into steps, each of which will address a particular aspect of the foreign student college application process.
Understand the kind of demands from the College or University to which you are applying
In the United States, universities are classified into ‘High Selective’, ‘Selective’, ‘Moderately Selective’, and ‘Open Admission’.
As you can see from this classification, the admission process is a bit tough for those universities that are classified as High Selective’ and ‘Selective’, but fine for universities classified as ‘Moderately Selective’ and ‘Open Admission’.
When you are applying for a college in the United States, your preparations must be based on this classification, so that you can successfully gain admission. If your academic progress suit more of the Moderately Selective’ and ‘Open Admission’ type of college, accordingly apply to gain admission. Applying in demanding colleges may prevent you from joining a course of your choice.
How your record will be judged
Your qualifications for admissions will be judged by the university to which you apply, unlike other countries, where usually the Ministry of education carries out such decisions. Mostly, the University or College Staff will evaluate your records. However, your student records can also be evaluated by an agency specializes in such evaluations. If this is the case, the university to which you apply, will inform you of the same and you would have to send your records to this agency.
Getting Things Ready
Now that we have gone over the general scenario on college and universities in the United States, let’s get down the specifics involved in the application process:
Make a list of colleges and universities that offer the course you want. Get their application form and write out separately the requirements for admission. Each college has a different requirements, so do not assume what applies for one will do for the other.
The institution where you studied must send a copy of your academic records for evaluation to the colleges or universities to which you are applying. Do not send the records yourself as this is not considered proper procedure.
American universities require students from other countries to undertake standardized tests such as GRE, GMAT and SAT as part of the admission process. Ensure to take these tests and send in the results with your application.
If English is not your native language and if it your education was not in English in your country or region, you will be required to take an English proficiency test like Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
Presenting your financial documents the right way is very important. In case you require A -1 or M-1 visa (student) or else if you require a J-1 visa (exchange visitor) visa , you need to show that you can financially support yourself, during your period of study in the United States.
Usually, when you apply to any college or university, you will be informed to provide necessary documentation on your financial status and also told what these documents should be with due verification.
Most foreign students will find the finance part of the education to be expensive. It definitely is. Students living in the United States have to pay an average $7,000 to over $40,000 a year towards their college education. So, be prepared for this. Aid is also not easy to come by. One alternative is considering enrolling into multi-ethnic student community college, wherein you have better chances of getting scholarships.