All students need to understand the nuts and bolts of university applications. For students from outside of the U.S., this is a bit more complicated. The U.S. has a more holistic approach to the college application process, as opposed to the test outcome approach that many universities in other countries use.
What this means is that students must include grades and test scores, as well as other aspects of their lives: school clubs or positions, jobs, and perhaps other extracurriculars or responsibilities.
Understanding the application forms and choices can be intimidating, but knowing that there may be three application choices will be helpful:
What you will need as part of an application:
This is a good question. Admissions officers determine if a student is a good fit for the school. This means that not only do the nuts and bolts of your resume, grades, essays, scores, and recommendations have to be aligned, but the interview must have gone well, and the student should appear to the admissions team as a student who will be successful at their university. What leads to successful fit at a university?
The U.S. system often discusses ‘fit’ which is the nature of the ‘holistic’ system. There is quite a bit of subjectivity in this system. It is not only about the test scores. In a sense, the test scores and grades are just one piece of the student. It may be the first two piece the admissions team looks at. But they also look at and consider the other pieces listed above.
Even if you are not living in the U.S. or have not had a chance to visit, you should demonstrate interest by emailing or calling the admissions office. Find the international admissions representative and inquire about the university and why the university might be appealing to you.
A note: each university will give detailed and specific instructions on this process. This is meant to be a brief overview to get you started.
No U.S. financial aid is available, though Merit Aid may be available on a case-by-case basis. Each university must be investigated individually. College Board has financial forms on its website for international applicants. Check each school for their process.
If you’ve asked yourself the questions outlined in Part One, you have likely chosen to apply to schools that are good fits for, your academic goals and personality. As long as you can find a way to demonstrate this interest to college admissions counselors, you’re to studying in the U.S.