If you are an international student and you want to pursue your undergraduate studies in the United States, this blog is for you! You will definitely need to have a clear plan of action as you go through the application process. To help you get started, we asked our friend and highly accomplished international admissions expert, Peter Davos, to provide a list of the steps to college success in the US.
1. Pursue your academic passion
With over 4,000 universities in the US, it's important to make the right choices. Take the time to choose a university that offers the major that you want, the flexibility that you seek, and the activities with which you want to get involved.
2. Get involved
Take part in and show commitment to a few extracurricular activities that you love. Be it sports, volunteer work, music, leadership programs, or internships, it’s important to show that you’re a well-rounded student.
3. Choose a rigorous curriculum
It's not enough just to get good grades. It's also important to show that you can handle the rigorous curriculum of a US university. The best way to do so is by choosing a rigorous high school program, such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, Advanced Placement, or A-Levels.
4. Take standardized tests
As much as we wish it weren't so, standardized tests are a critical component of the application that can make or break admission. Choosing the right exams (SAT vs. ACT, SAT Subject Tests, TOEFL) to take and when is a crucial part of the process. Plan to retake tests up to three times and seek tutoring if needed. (To get a customized study plan for the SAT, ACT or both, take the TestRocker Diagnostic test for free. Simply create a free account by clicking here.)
5. Create a balanced college list
Choosing the right colleges to apply to will not only impact the responses you will receive but also ultimately impact your happiness and success in your four years at university. Create a list of universities that matches your personality, credentials, and learning style.
The most labor-intensive part of the process, applying to a number of US universities takes time and effort. Managing your time and understanding deadlines is key. Take the time to craft a structured and well-written personal statement. Ask for letters of recommendation from your teachers and prepare for possible admissions interviews.
7. Research scholarships
US higher-level education can be very costly, particularly for international students. That's why it's always worthwhile to research what types of scholarships there are out there. Make sure you're eligible to apply!
8. Get accepted!
It's April and responses from colleges are now coming in. With two or more acceptances in hand, it's time to make an informed choice. Make sure you are confident and comfortable with your decision. Some considerations include: university reputation, amount of aid received, academic curriculum, location, and extracurricular programs.
9. Apply for your student visa
There's one last step to be completed before you embark on your American adventure: apply for your F-1 student visa. Getting your student visa can be a smooth and stress-free process if you manage your time and prepare all the necessary forms in advance. Get your parents involved!
10. Pack your bags
Pack your bags, kiss your parents goodbye and get ready to live the best four years of your life. Study hard, get involved in student life, and make lasting friendships. Your ids education the most powerful tool you will have to make a difference in the world!
Students in the GCC region: Click here to request a free consultation with Peter.
About the Author:
Peter is the founder and Managing Director of Carian College Advisors, the GCC's leading educational consultancy focusing exclusively on US university admissions. He graduated Phi BetaKappa, with a double major, from Johns Hopkins University and spent his junior year abroad completing the General Course in International Relations at the London School of Economics. Peter holds Master’s Degrees from Oxford University and Harvard University, where he was selected Marshal of his class. He has completed UCLA’s Certificate in College Counseling and IECA’s Summer Training Institute. A Johns Hopkins Alumni Interviewer for over twelve years, Peter is also a member of the Johns Hopkins Alumni Council, Second Decade Society, and founder/co-president of the Johns Hopkins Alumni Society of the UAE. He is a proud member of the HECA (Higher Education Consultants Association), OACAC (Overseas Association for College Admissions Counseling), HASUAE (Harvard Alumni Society of the UAE), and American Business Council of Dubai. Peter is an Offensive/Defensive Lineman for the Emirates American Football League’s Dubai Barracudas and has been chosen to represent the UAE on the country’s National American Football Team, the Falcons. He is a contributing writer on US Education issues for Gulf News has lived in Dubai since 2010.