In the list of the top ten universities in the world you will find that 6 to 8 universities (depending on the ranking you look for) are in located in the United States of America. There has been an increasing number of foreign students to coming to the U.S.A. seeking higher education. Statistics by Project Atlas declares that between 2015 and 2016 international students accounted for 1.04 million enrollments in universities across the country. In this tutorial You will learn the first steps that you should take if you are planning to come to study in the United States, these can be used as guidelines for you to follow when applying for a school or just a quick read to give you the feel of the process that you`ll have to go through when coming to study in America.
Step 1: Research
Research the schools and courses of your choices. Surf the web and search the website of the school of your interest. It is very important also to take in account the course you want to study and what type of education you are seeking. Postsecondary education in the United States includes six degree levels: associate, bachelor, first-professional, master, advanced intermediate, and research assistant. Postsecondary education is very different around the globe and is essential that you do some research beforehand on how to get a degree in your desired field in America. For example: in Brazil you can start medicine school as soon as you get out of high school (as long as you are accepted in a medical school) but in America, medical school is a graduate level course meaning you must get a bachelor level education before applying to medicine school.
Step 2: Finances
Prepare your financial statement. It is very important that you take school expenses in account and prepare a good financial plan. Many schools require evidence of financial ability for paying your education and a deposit upfront that is large enough to cover at least one semester worth of tuition for foreign students. The U.S. government do not give grants, loans or general scholarships for international students so it is important that proof that you have a sponsor willing to pay for your education. Sponsors can be family members, friends, companies or even yourself, you must be able to send a financial statement from your sponsor that shows enough funds to pay for your education. Your sponsor does not need to be from your home country, he can be from anywhere including America.
Step 3: Transcripts
Translate your school transcripts and academic records. Colleges in the U.S. take your academic past in account when viewing your application. It is important that you find a certified translator that can translate you records to English. Once your documents are translated, check your school requirements for how the transcripts should be sent to them, schools will usually require a report done by an international agency. Send your translated and original academic records to an agency that can evaluate your international school work. Two big agencies used are the International Education Research Foundation (IERF) and the World Education Services (WES). Always check with your school before using one of this agencies to make sure they accept their work.
Step 4: Standardized Exams
Study and prepare for the ACT or SAT if needed. Both these tests are standardized test that can be required for your bachelor level study. It is important to notice that some schools won’t require for you to take an ACT or SAT exam for a bachelor degree and they are rarely required if seeking an associate’s degree. If seeking a graduate school there are several standardized tests that are required for admission depending of the field, here are some of these specialized tests:
GRE - Standardized test of verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing that measures readiness for graduate-level study.
GMAT - Standardized test for MBA applicants that measures basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills that have been developed over time through education and work.
MCAT - Standardized, multiple-choice examination that assesses problem solving, critical thinking, writing skills, and knowledge of science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine.
LSAT - Standardized test that measures acquired reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools use as one assessment factor for admission.
DAT - Multiple-choice test to measure general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability, used for admission to Dental schools.
Step 5: English Proficiency Exam
Prepare for an English proficiency exam. Some schools might not require a Standardized Test but they will ask for an English proficiency exam. The Michigan and Cambridge exam are used by many universities, but lately the TOEFL has become pretty standard for all schools. Plan beforehand to take the test in one of the scheduled dates, the TOEFL is offered around the globe in specific dates and it you must pay a fee in dollars to take the test.
Step 6: Completing Application
Complete the application for the school of your choice. Universities will have an online application process which will need to be completed before a given deadline. Your application will require the scores for the required standard and English proficiency exams, the proof of financial ability, and requested transcripts. Applications might also require example essay, volunteer and leadership experiences.
Step 7: Visa
Apply for a student visa. You can get information on how to apply for a student visa through the government`s website. It would be ideal to have the acceptance letter from your school before applying for your visa as a proof of your intentions for entering the United States.
Step 8: Living
Research prices for rent near your campus and college expenses so you can be in top of your game. Universities will offer on-campus housing that will be close to campus but they are usually an expensive choice, also some universities have a housing department that will help you find a place for you to live near your campus. When preparing your finances the school might give you an idea of how much housing will cost for you. Be ready to give a upfront deposit and a the first month rent when signing a contract.
Step 9: Make Your Bags
Prepare for the trip! Now that you have been accepted in your school of choice and have received your student visa it may seem that your work is done but now is the time to plan your trip, make sure you buy your plane tickets ahead of time to get the best prices.
Step 10: Welcome to the U.S.A.!
It may seem like a long process but it is rewarding after completed. It may be hard to leave family and friends in your home country to study abroad, but it will be an enlarging experience that will be one of the most remarkable events in your life.