If you’re a student who wants to attend college in the US, there are a few guidelines and steps you need to follow in order to prepare for the exciting adventure!
1. Set proper goals
The first and most important step you need to take is to decide which school you want to attend. Start your search with what you know about yourself. This will help give you some direction and narrow down the long list of suitable colleges.
Which field of study do you want to pursue? What are your career goals? Asking yourself questions like these will help you identify which courses, universities, and cities are ideal for you.
For instance, if you want to learn economics, you’ll have to consider institutions with the best undergraduate economics programs. It’s also advisable to settle on a geographical location, as even having a specific city or state in mind can help narrow down your options.
2. Research and select colleges
In order to be flexible and realistic, you should know all your options. The United States has thousands of colleges and universities that range from large, public universities and private liberal arts colleges to community colleges. Whatever your needs, there are excellent choices for almost everyone.
It’s advisable to apply to around five to ten schools. Make sure you read all their admission requirements before filling out the application form.
3. Take admission tests
Before you’re admitted, most colleges and universities require you to sit through admission tests such as the ACT or SAT, or English language tests such as the TOEFL or IELTS. Thoroughly prepare for these tests, as your score plays a huge role in deciding whether you’re accepted into a US educational institution. Remember that every college has different requirements when it comes to test scores.
Filling out applications can be extremely tiring and time-consuming, but the process is faster and easier if you already have all the documents you need for the application before you start.
Most college applications require your official high school transcripts in English, mid-year grade report, test scores (IELTS exam, TOEFL, ACT, SAT, etc.), application fee, personal essay, financial statement, and letters of recommendation.
5. Calculate your budget
Unfortunately, studying at an American university is quite expensive. If you don’t have a large sum of money in your bank account, don’t apply to colleges that don’t provide scholarships or financial assistance to international students. Each educational institution will provide instructions on how to apply for aid or scholarships.
Keep in mind that once you receive your acceptance letter, you’ll have to pay tuition for the upcoming semester before you’re officially enrolled.
6. Apply for a student visa
Along with an acceptance letter from a SEVP school, you’ll also get an I-20 form that you’ll have to complete. This form will allow you to apply for a student visa online. Then, you’ll have to pay the SEVIS fee and sit for the visa interview.
7. Prepare for the next phase of your life!
Before you start your studies in the United States, you’ll need to make the proper travel arrangements, find and rent a student home, get health insurance, organize your finances for your tuition fees and expenses, and pack your suitcases!
Applying for a student visa can be an extremely tiring and lengthy process, so make sure you start as soon as possible. Make sure you also stay on top of all the application deadlines for the institutions of your choice.
While it’s advisable to apply online whenever it’s possible, it’s also important to send all additional required documents through airmail as soon as you can. Missing important deadlines can significantly set back your admission, so make sure you fulfill all requirements on time.