Begin your college/university search early –at least a year or more before you plan to begin your education program. There are lots of great resources to help you, such as ThinkEducationUSA.com. But your most important resource in deciding on a college or university is... you! Think first about what you want and need from your education, and in what kind of an educational setting you will be most comfortable. When you have a clear idea of your own needs and expectations, you will be able to decide whether a particular school’s size, location within the U.S., institutional focus, degree offerings, clubs and organizations, reputation, and student diversity are right for you. Among thousands of options, there will be many schools -- not just one or two -- where you will excel and enjoy your educational experience..
Consider the Possibilities
Each state in the U.S. has both state-supported universities and private colleges, community colleges, technical schools, and English language schools and institutes. You are probably familiar with some well known U.S. institutions, but the college or university that is right for you – where you will succeed and enjoy a great college experience – may be one that you have never heard of before doing your research. Call or e-mail the schools you are most interested in, which will begin a dialogue with the admissions office. Also, let each college or university know which academic subject you wish to study because there may be different requirements for admission for that major. Make sure to ask each institution what the total cost per year will be for an international student, so you and your family can plan accordingly.
Register to Take the Test
No matter where you apply for admission, you will almost certainly need to submit the results from tests such as the ACT, SAT, TOEFL, IELTS or GRE. Use the calendar on the next page to learn about when to register and take the tests required by each of your school choices.
Select Your Top 10
There is no limit to the number of schools you can apply to, but your research is likely to lead you to about 10 schools or fewer. Make your choices as diverse as your interests – include small and large schools; well known and not; urban, suburban, and rural; schools in different parts of the U.S..
Submit a Great Application
Whether you apply using the Common Application or with a school’s own application form, submit the best, most complete application you can, including – if it is required –a thoughtful essay or writing sample. Whenever possible, customize your application.
Apply for a Visa
Most students enter the U.S. with an F-1, or student visa, but a J-1 or M-1 visa may be what you need, based on the course of study you have chosen. You will also need to register with SEVIS. You can apply for a visa at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. You can find all you need to know about visas online at EducationUSA.state.gov or by meeting with an EducationUSA advisor in your country.