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International Student College Application Mistakes

The college application process is complicated for every student. Unfortunately, there are even more steps for international students to do.

If you’re applying to schools from overseas, don’t make these common international student college application mistakes.

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international student college application

Applying To Famous US College And Universities

Don’t look at only the biggest name schools.

When looking at schools, don’t worry about the name. It’s true that saying you’re a Harvard graduate will impress people. But the competition at Ivy League schools and other high-profile ones is tough.

Not only are they expensive, but their acceptance rates are incredibly low versus the number of applicants. What you should do instead is research schools using more reasons than name alone. Factors to think about include:

  • Class and Faculty Quality
  • Admission Rate
  • Campus Culture
  • Campus Location
  • Variety of Academic Programs

If you’re not sure what major to study, then consider applying to liberal arts colleges. You will be exposed to a wide variety of different academic subjects. Plus, many smaller schools offer academic programs and resources that easily rival more famous ones.

Not Doing Enough Test Prep

Get ready for your entrance exams as early as possible.

International students normally have to take more entrance exams than U.S. students. Why? Because there’s more than just the ACT or SAT to take.

International students often have to take English-language proficiency exams like the TOEFL or IELTS too. That means if you’re coming from overseas, you have at least twice as much test-taking to do like everyone else.

The best thing to do then is to start studying for those exams as early as possible. Getting a high SAT or ACT score is very important if you’re an international student. The reason is that college admissions boards likely won’t know how strong your high school education is naturally.

Also, because there are sometimes fewer test dates for students internationally, those spots fill up early and fast. The sooner you can start studying, the better chance you’ll have to not miss test dates.

Not Doing Enough Scholarship Or Grant Research

Look early for money to pay for school.

If you’re an international, undergraduate student, then you’ll receive virtually no U.S. government-funded financial aid. This doesn’t mean that there are zero financial aid opportunities out there.

There are definitely scholarships and grants available for international students, but you have to find and apply to them. That means not only time but also research on your part. You need to focus on:

  • Filling Out Application Forms
  • Getting Recommendation Letters
  • Writing Essays

Also, there are schools out there that offer ‘need-blind admission’, meaning that you are admitted regardless of your ability to pay. To cover those bills, these schools offer need-based aid.

Many other colleges and universities also offer some financial aid but it won’t cover 100% of your tuition and expenses. However, there are always private scholarships and grants out there that will provide money too.

The best thing to do first is to check college admission pages for international student aid opportunities.

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Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Written by Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Prep Expert Founder & CEO

Shark Tank Winner, Perfect SAT Scorer, Dermatologist, & #1 Bestselling Author
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