Becoming an international student in the US can be a daunting process.
So, you’ll probably be relieved to hear that many US colleges are thrilled when international applicants express an interest in attending their school.
US colleges usually like creating classes with a wide range of student interests and backgrounds. Bringing in international students who can share whole other cultures is a great way of building a diverse student body.
Plenty of US colleges are looking forward to your application, so you can stop feeling overwhelmed and start getting excited to apply.
Just take these tips into account before you start the college admissions process as an international student.
Research Your Options
Prior to deciding where to apply, you need to decide which US college would be right for you.
If you have a few dream schools in mind, make sure you visit each college’s website and take a virtual tour so you’re updated on the important facts. (If possible, making an in-person trip and experiencing a college campus tour is even better.)
You can start with the location and the associated weather. After all, many students find it important to know if they’ll be hot or cold – and located on the coast, in the mountains, or in the desert – during school. You should also think about whether you want to attend a large public school or a small private college.
Once you narrow down these basics, you can start looking at the other important details of US schools.
For instance, you need to know if your intended major is offered at the school you want to go to. You should also find out if the school offers any sports teams or clubs you will want to join – unless you’re up for starting your own extracurricular group!
Get Advice from College Admissions Experts
Some of the most helpful international student resources are the counselors who specialize in assisting students from other countries who want to study in the US. Before you start the college admissions process, you should contact the international student counselor at your school of choice so you can ask any questions you might have.
In some cases, a current student would be the right resource to go to for answers. If you’re more interested in learning a bit about student life than getting statistics about the college or learning which tests you need to take for admission, find out if the school’s website gives the option to chat with a student.
If not, consider contacting the school’s international students club to find the answers you are looking for. Current students are often happy to help others decide whether the college in question is really right for them. Current students can tell you the real deal on the dining hall food, social life options and the quality of available extracurricular activities.
The college admissions timeline varies depending on the school. But even if you apply to a school with a rather quick admissions process, you have to make sure there is time to get the documents you need to enter the country as an international student.
The student visa processing times for different countries range from a few weeks to more than four months. In the US, student visas can take up to two months to process.
You may also need to give yourself time to obtain professional transcript translation, and any other requirements your chosen school may have.
We’re sure current international students in the US have plenty of tips about the college admissions process — feel free to comment below!