1. Students must start early! Most students who are looking to study abroad after their school prepare for and take the SAT while in Grade 11. It is highly recommended that students & parents take expert guidance while in Grade 11 on profile development as this will help them to prepare stronger applications to their top choice colleges.
2. U.S. universities charge USD 13,000 to 25,000 per annum [p.a.]. Therefore a four year bachelor’s degree will set you back by USD 50,000 to 100,000. After finalizing your university short-list, you must contact the universities and/or look in the university website for specific data about cost of education
3. You must take the standardized tests (SAT & TOEFL). These scores will be required by most universities.
4. You must formulate your medium- and long-term goals. The subject you want to study is the foremost topic you must decide. Include plans, if any, of post-graduate study. If you are unsure about the course to follow take the advice of your parents, teachers, peers and seniors.
5. It is best to draw a comparative chart of the colleges/universities you short-list. The chart should reflect the strengths and weaknesses of each university. The factors you should consider are:
- Minimum score accepted in past years or average score of the class
- Suitability of the program in developing your skills to achieve your goals
- The rank of the program
- The credentials of the professors
- The percentage of applicants who were admitted in previous years
- Accreditation with local and international bodies
- Cost of study
- Accommodation available to students
- Facilities available to foreign students
- The location of the institute
- The admission procedure
6. You must ensure that the completed application reaches the university before the last date. Online applications can be submitted with the click of a mouse. Even if you courier paper applications it may take at least three working days to reach the destination.
7. Once you have applied, universities will revert with their decision. If they accept your application, you will get an I-20 form. This will enable you to obtain a visa from the nearest U.S. consulate. At this stage you must decide which university you would want to finally join.
8. Simultaneously consider your place of stay while at the university. Universities offer hostel stay to students. If you prefer to stay outside the campus, there are resources available on the Internet or you could ask students already studying there for leads.
9. Apply for a visa and make sure you have all supporting documents ready. The visa issuing officer will notify you in advance of the documents you need to carry during the interview.