• 3-minute read
  • 8th July 2016

6 Things to Consider when Applying to Study in the U.S.

The U.S. is the most popular destination for international students in the entire world. And why not? As well as a great higher education system, the U.S. is the home of freedom, equality and competitive eating (and we’re proud of all of them, for better or worse).

God bless America! [Photo: Seattle Municipal Archives/wikimedia]
But competition to study in the U.S. is high, so if you’re planning to apply, there are some things you’ll need to know about first.

1. Setting a Schedule

Applying to study in the U.S. can be a lengthy process, so it’s vital to set aside time accordingly.

It can help to create a timeline for each step in the application process, from initial research into courses right through to making travel arrangements for when you start your studies.

2. Admission Tests

Most U.S. colleges use standardized admission tests, so you’ll need to check which tests are favored by the institution at which you’re planning to study.

Common tests required for undergraduate students include the SAT, the TOEFL English proficiency test, and the American College Test (ACT).

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Make sure to prepare for the exam properly too!
Make sure to prepare for the exam properly, too!

3. Soft Factors

As well as test scores and academic qualifications, most American colleges look at “soft factors” when assessing an application. These include extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, application essays and other relevant experience you might have.

4. The Common Application

The Common Application (or Common App for short) is a standardized, online application used by more than 600 colleges. Using this can make the application process much simpler.

5. Finance

Many U.S. colleges operate on a “need-aware” basis for international students. This is unlike the “need-blind” approach used for U.S. citizens (wherein a college will not consider ability to pay as part of an application and may offer financial aid to successful applicants).

As an international student, you’ll need to check whether your college uses a “need-aware” or “need-blind” approach for applications. You may find the application process is quicker if you’re able to pay tuition fees yourself, without needing financial aid.

It’s funny how piles of cash can make things simpler.

6. Get In Touch!

When picking a college, it’s a good idea to get in touch with their international student advisor to ask about the application process (every college is a little different). They should also be able to answer any questions you have about the institution at which they work.

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