If you’re an international student applying to US colleges, you likely have a long list of things to do to prepare your application. Explaining the curriculum of your school should be one of those tasks.
After all, you want to make sure the admissions team fully understands your achievements as an international student.
So before you apply to college in the US, take a look at these tips on telling the admissions department about the curriculum at your home school.
Make It Clear Which Classes You’ve Taken
In order for US students to graduate from high school and move on to college, they have to take a minimum number of years in each subject. Some common examples include three to four years of math, English/literature, science, and a foreign language.
The more prestigious schools, including those in the Ivy League, require four years of each of these subjects, while state schools often accept three years. So if you took more than the minimum in your country, be sure to note this to make your application more competitive.
Explain Which Programs Your School Offers
There are a few types of international school curricula that college admissions teams are used to seeing. If yours is one of them, you can mention it in your application and probably won’t need to provide much more explanation.
For example, US admissions teams are used to seeing international schools that offer International Baccalaureate, or IB, curriculum. The same goes for Advanced Placement, or AP, courses.
If your international school uses a different curriculum, let the admissions team know the name of it. Then provide a brief explanation and any supporting documentation such as a pamphlet, letter from your school counselor, or a link to a website about the curriculum in question.
Mention Any Language Barriers Overcome
If you’re going to a primary school that teaches in a language other than your native tongue, you should mention this to the admissions department of the US schools you want to attend, especially if that language is English.
Learning in a language other than the one you grew up speaking can be difficult. If you were able to overcome this challenge in high school and get good grades despite it, you need to make sure the admissions team knows this. It will strengthen your application and help you stand out from the pack.
Provide Translations When Necessary
If the international school you went to offers a description of its curriculum, but it’s in another language, make sure you send a translated copy to the US colleges to which you’re applying.
This is often quicker and more precise than trying to rewrite the descriptions of classes in your own words. All you have to do is obtain the written explanation of the curriculum from the office of your international school, and then hire a professional to provide a certified translation before you include it with your application materials.
You will need to do the same for any supporting documentation for your application to a US college. For example, if you have your counselor at school write any letters on your behalf, such as a letter of recommendation, leave extra time for certified translation by a professional.
Using these tips to explain the curriculum at your international school can help the admissions team understand just how much you’ve achieved and how much you have to offer your potential new school!