Home Study in USA Admission Process

Admission Process

Finding the “Right School”

Thousands of people flock to United States in hopes of achieving the American Dream. In reality, that dream of success is years of thoughtful preparation and education. The US has some of the best postsecondary institutions in the world, and every year over half a million international students come prepared to make the most of their American education.

Applicants should research as many schools as possible and apply only to those that meet their needs

But finding the “best” school is a subjective and arduous task. Every prospective student takes into account their own ideas, goals, and expectations into the decision making process. The “Right” school for you might not be the “Right” school for your friend or classmate. Applicants should research schools carefully and apply only to those that meet their specific needs.

Identifying Personal Needs

To make an informed decision, applicants need to define.
• future goals
• expectations of the postsecondary experience
• values they need a campus to uphold  (religious practice, community ties)
• the type of school where they would learn best (i.e. single-sex, coed, historically black and religious schools)
• size of campus they would feel comfortable at
• whether they wish to live on or off campus, in a city or a small town.
• extracurricular activities (fraternities or sororities, volunteer service organizations, intramural sports)
• types of facilities they want to access (i.e. athletic facilities, art studios, theatres, music rooms).
• type of program (flexible academic program or one that is highly structured; a liberal arts or   preprofessional program; visual or performing art studies).
• importance of internships or co-op programs.
• Importance of overseas study and work opportunities.
• the current job market trends in the applicant’s filed of choice.

Applicants should also consider statistical information

• How many students return for a second year.
• How many graduate?
• What are the average class sizes?
• How frequently are classes offered?
• How often do class meet?
• How do graduates and current students feel about the learning environment (this type of information can be found by checking school message boards and feedback forums)
•How many professors have the highest degree in their filed (usually the PhD)?
• What percentage of classes are taught by teaching assistants?
• What percentage of faculty members hold full-time positions?
• What percentage of classes have labs or tutorials?

Special Considerations for International Applicants

International applicants should decide whether they plan to attend a college or university with a large international student population; one with a high representation of students from their country of origin: or one where international students enjoy a range of special services, activities and meeting places. International applicants should also consider the degree of language and orientation support they require. To get the most out of postsecondary education, students should honestly assess what type of course load they can handle and set up a support system with tutors, professors, classmates and International Student Services support staff in order to help them reach their academic goals. International students must also determine whether or not they require financial aid. International students are usually required to submit their financial records with their applications. However, some schools offer scholarships, grants and financial aid to international students based on academic performance and need. Some schools also allow international students to work while in school, usually only part-time and on campus. For more information about working and financial aid, students should contact the international Student Services office at their postsecondary institution.

The Application Process

The application process is an opportunity for applicants to evaluate accomplishments, set goals and improve communication and interpersonal skills.

The Application Form

Students request forms from and apply to directly to colleges and universities. They should read instructions carefully and provide honest answers. Responses should be free of grammatical errors and carefully proofread.

Academic Transcripts

Colleges and Universities require official copies of all academic transcripts. Students who attended the schools where the primary language of instruction was not English must provide certified English translations of their transcripts.

Standardized Test Scores

The most frequently used tests are the American College Testing program’s Assessment Test (ACT) and the College Board’s scholastic Assessment Tests (SAT).

Although these tests are often not required of international applicants, they can pose unique problems when requested. It may be difficult to find a testing center, and test content and format are often unfamiliar. US admission officers take this into consideration and objective components of the test-such as math scores- may be given more weight than the more subjective components.

Personal Statement of Essays

Personal essays enable applicants to explain their history, goals and special abilities to the admission committee. Schools may request either a personal statement or an essay on a given theme.

Letters of Reference

Reference letters should be written by people who know the applicant well, but not by family members or friends. Teachers, professors, guidance counselors and employers are the best sources. The reference letter should clearly and honestly discuss the applicant’s skills and achievements.

Personal Interviews

Some schools interview qualified applicants, either in person or by telephone. International applicant may be exempt, or may be interviewed by a college representative visiting or living in their country.

Proof of English Proficiency:

College and University courses in the US are generally given in English, so a working knowledge of the English language is necessary. Those who are not from English-speaking nations can demonstrate proficiency by:

• achieving at least the set minimum scores on English tests such as the TOEFL or the MELAB.
• completing at least a portion of their education at an English school.
• completing intensive ESL courses.

Health Certification:

If international applicants have to provide health examination reports, instructions will be included with the application. Certificates should be written in English or be accompanied by a certified translation.

Financial Aid Forms

Submit financial aid forms and supporting documents with the application for admission. The Foreign student’s financial aid application is used for international applicants, though some schools have designed their own. Financial aid is often based on need and the forms request information about the applicant’s family income and assets as well as living expenses. For further information, see “Financing an Education” in this guide.

Statement of Financial Support

Applicants or their sponsors must explain their financial situation, provide a signed statement indicating their intention to meet all expenses, and attach a recent bank statement in their application package.

The Application Fee

A fee is often required to cover the cost of processing applications without a doubt attending a US college or university is a costly endeavor. It also offers much in return: personal growth, intellectual maturity, professional preparedness.

The following is an introduction to the financial assistance possibilities.

International students should note that they are ineligible for many types of aid.

Financial Aid Options

Financial aid for international students is quite limited at the undergraduate level. Assistance most likely comes from the college or an agency within their home country.

Applicants should conscientiously and thoroughly research all possible funding sources

To be considered for financial assistance in the US, international students are expected to complete detailed financial aid application forms, usually the foreign student’s Financial Aid Application and certification of Finances forms provided by the college scholarship service. Some schools have designed their own forms. All require applicants to provide information about their family’s annual income and living expenses as well as the value of any property they own. Bank statements must also be submitted.

Schools frequently require international applicants to prove that they can meet 50 to 100 percent of total education expenses. Some demand that they pay tuition fee in full before they the school year begins.

International applicants cannot depend on receiving offers of financial aid from US Colleges. They should approach government agencies within their country for financial assistance.

International applicants also cannot depend on employment in the US while they may be permitted to work part-time on campus; it is difficult to work off-campus.

Tuition waivers may be offered to international students in exchange for an educational contribution to US citizens. These are often reserved for graduate students.

International student advisers based on US campuses can help international students sort out the complexities of financing their education.

How to Meet Expenses

• Some schools offer flexible payment plans that permit students to pay their tuition in installments, often without interest. Others have introduced discounts for those who prepay, or low- interest loan programs.

• Students may also shorten the time required to complete their degree, or reduce some of their tuition fees, by taking courses through distance education.

Financial Aid Tips

• Research all sources of financial aid, including employers, colleges and government agencies.
• Complete and submit necessary forms as early as possible.
• Keep photocopies of all forms.
• Remember to include processing fees.
• Contact college aid administrators, FAFSA or PROFILE about discrepancies during the process.
• Ask a financial aid officer to reevaluate its aid package, especially if a comparable college has made a more attractive offer. The initial offer cannot be withdrawn simply because a reappraisal was requested.

Conclusion

Financial aid is available to help students pursue undergraduate studies in the US. Applicants should conscientiously and thoroughly research all possible funding sources, and apply to as many as possible. This process may be difficult and time consuming for international students; however the hard work is worth the effort to gain the resources needed to finance a college education.