International Students - What You Need to Know Before Applying to a U.S. University
The United States of America has the largest number of international students enrolled in its universities (more than 800,000). Almost 4% of the students studying in the U.S. receiving higher-level education are foreign students. Universities report that the number of international students keeps growing with each passing year.
It’s recommended to start early with your application process because you will time to do a thorough research on the universities and programs that could best meet your academic goals.
The steps involved in applying to U.S. colleges are largely the same for international and domestic students. But international students need to undertake a few additional steps to make up for the differences in the school curriculum, grading system, and language.
Domestic vs. International Students - steps in the application process that are the SAME
As an international student, you have the option to utilize the same type of application as a U.S. student. The majority of colleges use the Common Application, although the Universal Application and Coalition Application are also popular. These simply require one-time filling and allow you to apply to multiple schools using the same application and essay.
The application of both an international and domestic student will contain their personal information. This would typically include details like name, date of birth, jobs, internships, and extracurricular activities. You will also be required to submit a personal essay, a transcript carrying high-school grades, letters of recommendation, and standardized testing scores (ACT or SAT scores).
Domestic vs. International Students- steps in the application process that are DIFFERENT
While a lot of the aspects of applying to a U.S. university might be common between a domestic and an international student, some key differences must also be noted in the application process.
The majority of the colleges in the United States require international students to take language tests such as the TOEFL and IELTS. International students coming from countries where the first language is English may be exempt from these tests. Also, if the student's SAT/ACT score is high enough it might allow for exemption as well.
International students applying to U.S. colleges may also be required to have their transcripts and/or other educational credentials assessed by an official organization. This is because the grading system used by certain schools is different from the 4.0 scale utilized in the United States.
As an international student, you will also require a certification of finances. For international students who require financial support, they will have to find out if it can be directly obtained from the colleges or not. Only U.S. citizens can receive federal financial aid.
Last but not the least; you will also have to determine the legal requirements associated with staying in the United States and apply for your student visa.