Finishing High School is the first step towards a great future, being the second and probably most important step: Getting into college and getting a higher education that will lead you to your dream job.
Nowadays, hundreds of young people are making the right choice and moving into the United States of America to pursuit the best education they can get. And if you’re one of them, we are here to help you!
Choosing the right career and University is one of the most important choices you’ll ever make in your life, which is why, when deciding to go to the USA and study as an international student, there are many things you should take into consideration.
From why you should study in the U.S, from which colleges are the best for you and how to know about your visa or ESTA status, we have put together the ultimate guide for international students.
Why you should study in the USA.
The United States of America has several of the most prestigious Universities in the whole world, and one of the best educational systems as well. Even if you aren’t aiming to study in Harvard or Stanford, but rather a community college, the education is still top notch.
Not to mention, the U.S has a great variety of scholarships and different international student programs made for people like you! People who want to go there to study and better themselves through higher education.
If you are thinking about taking the chance and moving to the US to study, now is the time to do so! No matter where you’re from, these next tips will help you turning your dream into a reality.
Get to know your VISA or ESTA status.
One key part of going to the USA to study is knowing your Visa or ESTA, which are two similar yet different things. Let’s start off talking briefly about them.
If your country is part of the visa waiver countries, it means you only need an ESTA, which is basically an electronic authorization that allows you to get into the United States without having to ask for a VISA.
Having the benefit of the ESTA means you can travel to the U.S and get to visit the different universities and colleges first hand before actually requesting your student VISA.
If your country isn’t part of the visa waiver countries, and you don’t have an ESTA status, you will have to apply for a VISA, specifically for a student VISA, although you can only do this once you have been accepted into a college, but we will get to that in just a second.
Choose the right University.
The very first thing you have to do is make a list of all the possible opportunities and colleges. Keep in mind, each University or college is drastically different from the other.
You should start your search by state. Look for the best universities in every state or, if you already know where you’ll be stating (New York, Miami…) then look directly into the different colleges in those places.
A great tip is to look them up on the internet and look for their “International students” section to learn about what they have to offer to these types of students, what are their policies and what kind of benefits do they offer.
Luckily, most Universities around the U.S have these types of programs integrated and offer great opportunities from students all around the world. Just make sure to do your research and compare their programs until you find one that actually fits you.
Get in contact with the University.
Although looking for information on the internet is the first step, it’s not enough. You should look for a contact number on their webpage where you can email them or call them to request for more information.
Most of the Universities and colleges in the United States have a department designated exclusively to treat these kinds of matters, and you can almost always contact them by email or phone and they will gladly help you gather all the information and important papers you will need to get accepted.
A key point is to remember to specifically ask for their scholarship and financial aid programs and whether they apply to you, since this can significantly lower the price of your college tuition.
Apply to your University of choice.
All the specific instructions on how and when to apply should be given to you directly by the University, however, most of the procedures to apply are pretty standard.
First, you should request an application form. The University will email you the application and all the information necessary for you to know before you fill it out. Please, be careful and accurate when doing so, otherwise, your acceptance process could be delayed or affected.
Most colleagues will require you to send them not only your application form already filled out, but these other documents as well:
- A college application essay: These essays are for YOU to let them know why they should accept you, for them to get to know you. Take advantage of that, sell yourself to them, since this essay is extremely vital for your acceptance.
- School transcripts: They will ask for all your school notes throughout High School, meaning how well you did on every class, and these notes should be certified for them to know they are real.
- TOEFL or IELTS tests results: You HAVE to have a decent score in either of these tests in order to be accepted. They will request your scores and evaluate them accordingly.
Every University in the U.S will require you to take either the SAT or ACT tests, which are standard tests every student must take before entering college. However, chances are you will have to take the test after you have been accepted.
Get a sponsor.
Both the University and the U.S embassy when you apply for a student VISA, will require you to prove you can pay for your studies while in college, therefore, you will need a sponsor.
A sponsor can be anybody that can prove they have enough money to cover your tuition and financially support you while you’re studying. Although you can apply for a scholarship or financial aid, you should get a sponsor when putting together your application (and applying for a VISA)
Move to the United States.
Last, but definitely not least, is moving. Once you have gathered everything, sent your application and be accepted, you have two things to do:
One, apply for the student VISA, for which you’ll have to take your admission letter to prove you’ve been accepted into an University.
Once you have got your VISA, you can actually move to the U.S, however, you can only move there a month before starting classes, you can’t enter the country before that.
And that’s it! Being an international student in the U.S will be one of the best experiences of your whole life! You just have to take the opportunity and chase your dreams of a better education.
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