Tag Archives: admissions

Which college is #1? What’s the best school in the United States for you?

The #1 US College for You

The #1 US College for You

Those two questions in almost every situation result in very different answers for most international students. What does #1 mean? Is it the be all and end all if you do not get admitted to the “best” college? In the United States, one thing that is very different from most other countries is that there is no official ranking of institutions. Continue reading

Should I really be bragging in my essay?

To brag or not to brag?

To brag or not to brag?

One of the hardest things for international students struggle with in compiling their applications to U.S. colleges and universities is the essay/personal statement. In many cultures, it is not appropriate to write about yourself in extremely positive terms. What does it really mean to brag or boast? Typically, to boast is to “speak with exaggeration and excessive pride, especially about oneself.” Continue reading

Standardized tests: What’s required & what’s not



Unlike most countries there is not a specific test or set of tests that are universally required for admission to U.S. colleges and universities. Traditionally, U.S. students have had to take one of two primary standardized tests: ACT or SAT (and SAT Subject tests at more selective institutions). Continue reading

So many choices, so little time: Tips to research your choices

How do you get from 4500 to 10 to 1? That answer for mosecret of lifest international students is the ultimate goal. Finding that one college, the best fit for you (what does that mean?) can be a long journey. How much time do you have or should you plan for to achieve this goal? In last week’s blog on Beginning the College Search, the recommendation of 12-18 months in advance of when you wish to begin your studies remains the most practical timeline to use.

On the issue of what the “best fit” is for you, ultimately the answer will be different for everyone. In the movie, City Slickers, a grizzled old cowboy asks, do know  what the secret of life is? The city slicker has no idea, so the cowboy tells him: “One thing, just one thing” and the rest doesn’t matter. What’s that one thing? “That’s what YOU got to find out.” Continue reading

Beginning the college search

What's important to you?

What’s important to you?

Probably the hardest decisions we make in life are the ones where we don’t have all the information we need, or, worse yet, don’t know which questions to ask.  Researching possible college choices in the U.S., if you don’t have a significant knowledge base of the higher education system in the States, can be like making a decision in a vacuum. Deciding on what schools to apply to simply because you have heard of them is not exactly an informed decision and can actually be quite counterproductive. What really matters to you as you choose a U.S. college? Is it reputation, academic majors, location, size, or other factors? Continue reading

Before you begin: Define your terms

Define your termsWhen looking for answers to questions, depending on who you ask you might get several different responses. Many times we may not realize the questions we ask may contain terms that are not universally understood by the people you ask. For example, many international students come from countries where “colleges” are actually secondary schools. In the United States a “college” typically refers either to an undergraduate post-secondary institution, or a division of a university, e.g. the College of Engineering at “x” university. So, before you begin your “college” search, let’s spend some timing defining the important terms you will be hearing.

Our partners at EducationUSA, the U.S. Department of State’s network of over 400 advising centers in 170 countries, have compiled an outstanding glossary of terms that helps you get a firm foundation for your journey ahead. Also check out US News & World Report’s Education section for international students that contains a useful glossary as well. Continue reading

Where in the world do you want to study?

Though it might seem odd to start a blog series about studying in the U.S. with this question, but the reality is many countries around the world have (or hope to) become popular destinations for international students. The decision to study outside your home country is one you may have been thinking about for years, or it may be a recent development as you see the world around you become increasingly more connected and open to students like yourself. Whether it is a family member, a friend, or your own initiative, there is literally a world of opportunities for academically motivated students to explore.

Where in the world will you study?

Where in the world will you study?

Data from the Project Atlas Initiative shows that in 2012, over 4.3 million students were studying outside their home country. World rankings of universities, like the Shanghai list, all show U.S. colleges and universities dominating the top spots, but rankings only tell a part of the story. While the U.S. has remained the #1 study destination for international students (followed by the UK at #2), other countries have been doing much to attract students like yourself. Take for example, China. A little more than ten years ago, China was not even in the top 10 countries receiving international students. In 2012, it was in 3rd! Continue reading