The following questions are some of the questions most often asked by
international students who are inquiring about U.S. education.
Q. Is it difficult to be admitted into an
A. If you have average test scores and can pay the tuition, it is usually not
difficult to be admitted into an American universities. Your biggest difficulty
may be getting a high enough TOEFL score. Some universities will admit a student
without the TOEFL test.
Q. How and when should I apply to a university?
A. Contact the admission office where you wish to attend. Usually you must
send letters of recommendation, high school or university transcripts and
statements of financial support. Apply as soon as you have selected the
university. It is a good idea to begin doing your research on U.S. higher
education about 18 months before you plan to enter a U.S. program. You will
probably want to start corresponding with the schools at least one year in
Q. Can I beginning school only in September?
A. No. Most universities allow students to enter at the beginning of any of
the four semesters. You can enter in the fall (August-September), winter
(January), spring (March-April) or summer (May-June) term or semester. Fall is
when most students enter. Many international students elect to enter school in
the summer semester because there are less students on campus and there is more
one-to-one interaction with their professors. This helps them get used to
university before they are inundated with the entire student body's presence.
Q: How much do American universities cost?
A: You will encounter a wide variety of costs, from as low as $5,000 up to at
least $20,000 in tuition. In addition, expect to spend another $8,000 to $13,000
for living expenses including room and board.
Q: Can I get financial aid?
A: U.S. programs do not usually award financial aid to international
students, especially undergraduates. It is becoming increasingly difficult for
international students to receive aid as funding is constricted by budget cuts
in funding higher education and research. It is generally easier to find money
for graduate study but even aid for graduate study is becoming increasingly more
difficult to obtain. U.S. universities are also feeling pressure to find
American rather than foreign graduate assistants.
But don't let this discourage you from trying. There is a lot of U.S. aid out
there but you're going to have to work hard and get out there and look for it.
You may be able to qualify for assistance from your government or employer and I
would definitely check with your advising agency to see if they have a list of
U.S. schools that give financial aid awards to international students. Make sure
you begin your financial aid search early and don't give up. Remember that even
if you get your tuition paid for with scholarships you will still be responsible
for many personal expenses. Go to the international financial aid page for more
tips for finding international aid.
Q: What are the SAT, The SAT II, and the ACT?
Do I need to take these tests?
A: SAT I and SAT II (Scholastic Assessment Tests ) and the ACT (American
College Test) are standardized assessment tests that predict how well you will
do in your freshman year of college. The SAT and ACT both test you in the areas
of math and verbal skills. The ACT also tests aptitude in science. The SAT II is
a specialized subject test testing in you in many areas. You may need to take
these tests depending on which U.S. college or university you wish to enter.
Contact the school you're interested in to find out whether you need to take
either of these tests.
Q: What is the TOEFL? If I already speak
English, do I need to take it?
A: The TOEFL (Test of English as a Second Language) is another standardized
test that evaluates the English proficiency of people to whom English is a
second language. If the language spoken in your country of origin is not
English, you are usually required to take the TOEFL.
Q. If my TOEFL score is high enough to be
admitted into my University of choice, does that mean my English is good enough?
A. Not always. Consult an English teacher in your country to see if you are
ready. Ask them to be completely honest. If you feel you need more English, many
universities have language centers with programs to help foreign students before
they begin their university program. Sometimes you can enroll in a summer course
in English before the regular semester begins.
Q: Will the U.S. system recognize British
A: Students in the British education system who have completed A-levels may
sometimes receive credit towards their degrees. This way, you can shorten your
study program. Generally, the U.S. university will review your A-levels and then
decide whether to exempt you from specific course requirements by issuing you