The education system in the USA is one of the most diverse in the world. It has public and private institutions, large and small organisations, secular and religiously associated institutions, urban, suburban, and even rural institutions. In a nutshell, it’s a terrific fit for a wide range of students. International students wishing to study in the USA will have a compelling reason to select the USA over other countries for their higher education.
In comparison to other education systems around the world, the US higher education system is relatively independent of the federal government.
The United States of America remains the first choice for most international students. With over 886,000 international students studying in the US for their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs, it is not a surprise that getting into a top university in USA has become all the more competitive. Without further ado, let us go over the basics of all you need to know about admissions in the best universities in the USA.
Each of the 50 states in the US runs at least one university or college for providing quality higher education to students at comparatively lower rates. These universities often offer a discounted fee to the residents of their states. These universities are funded by the respective state governments and offer top-notch facilities. Public schools run a whole range of specialised programs, encompassing small liberal arts colleges to large research institutions.
A few top public schools in the US are the University of California Los Angeles, University of California Berkeley, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, etc.
These institutions are by private parties and are costlier in comparison to the state schools. All Ivy League universities are private institutions. These universities are funded essentially through student fees. With this in perspective, private universities usually offer better staff-to-student ratios and increased income for resources. This precisely is one reason they rank higher than public universities.
A few famous ones include Massachusetts Institute of Technology (better known as MIT), Harvard University, Stanford, Yale, Duke, Princeton, etc.
Community colleges offer a two-year associate degree. Usually, Community college graduates transfer to universities or four-year colleges to complete their degree. Students are allowed to transfer their credits earned in the community college.
A few famous ones include the University of South Carolina Lancaster, New Mexico Military Institute, Lake Area Technical College, etc.
|1||Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)|
|4||California Institute of Technology (Caltech)|
|5||University of Chicago|
|6||University of Pennsylvania|
Now that we have covered the basics of the kinds of educational institutions the US offers, let us go over the strategy that you need to plan before applying to the University of your dreams.
To get an admit to one of the top US universities will take time and perseverance. Each university’s application process will be different, however, most of them involve collecting letters of recommendation from your teachers/professors, writing essays, and fulfilling requirements.
Entry requirements for different institutions are different, but most colleges require admissions test scores or essays as well as the standardised test scores along with the recommendations. In order to stay on top of your application preparation, you need to start planning way ahead of the deadlines and give the required documents/tests the time they deserve.
You should start working on creating a checklist of all the things you need to be ready with at least 12 months prior to the college/university application deadline (yes, it will take you almost a year!).
Pro-tip: Create a back-up plan for your applications. Apply to schools that you know you have a sure shot of getting into and gaining the same quality of education.
As mentioned above, you may come across a few essays during the process of your applications. In addition to this, you also may have to appear for an interview with the university – whatever may be the medium, you need to ensure that you are able to convey your love and genuine interest for the subject that you want to pursue. Remember, more than anything, US universities value students who are passionate about what they intend to learn. For this, writing style, subject knowledge, and the quality of essay works are extremely important. Your essays must also reflect on your intellectual and actual motivation for pursuing your intended program at the chosen US college, and why you find the particular subject area intellectually challenging.
Another thing that really matters to top US universities is how you pose to be an asset to the university. An all-round candidate is what the universities look for; this means that you don’t just need to ace your tests, you also should be involved in activities outside of your studies. Make sure you involve yourself in activities that contribute to your development as a person.
Pro-tip: The longer you keep yourself involved with an extracurricular activity, the university would likely believe that you have a genuine interest in the activity and that you will continue to contribute to the university’s community as well.
Many students tend to focus their efforts on trying to impress admission officers and end up trying to be someone they are not. The only way to make the admission officers believe that you truly belong in their university is by simply being YOU. Present yourself in a positive manner, don’t be afraid to talk about your flaws and how you overcame them (or are in the process to overcome them!). Do not try to imitate a different personality, your application readers WILL KNOW.
Another thing to keep away from is clichéd statements. While describing your motivations for pursuing your field of study, try your best to include details, examples and reasons. As much as possible, use personal experiences and avoid too much formal or business-like language. Colleges are impressed by individuals who have a strong sense of their own identity and ambitions and do not sound the same as every other applicant.
Starting preparations from almost a year prior to the actual deadlines for your chosen universities can leave you with a lot of things to juggle with. And all your efforts might just get wasted if you miss a single key date. Thus, planning ahead would be incomplete without making a checklist to ensure that you keep your process organised. You can create a calendar with all the relevant deadlines so that you are prepared well ahead of time to ensure that all aspects of your application are complete. An incomplete college application is the first step towards rejection. Unless you are focused and start early, you might feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to do during the admission period.
International English Language Testing System (or IELTS)
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Pearson Test of English (PTE)
These are all standardised language tests, which are required to be taken to get admission to colleges.
If you are aiming for the September intake, you should appear for these tests by the previous November so that you can apply before the first deadline.
GMAT or the Graduate Management Admission Test, measures the abilities of the potential MBA aspirants to undertake specialised education in the field of business or management.
GRE or the Graduate Record Examination is required to be taken by students applying to graduate schools for their Master’s program. However, there are certain colleges/universities that also accept GRE scores for granting admission for MBA.
LSAT or the Law School Admission Test is another standardised test and a crucial part of the law school admission process. It assesses the reading and verbal reasoning skills that law schools use in evaluating applicants.
SAT or the Scholastic Assessment Test are structured to analyse the literacy and writing skills of undergraduate aspirants. This test assesses the test takers’ ability to analyse and solve problems-skills they learned in school, which will be beneficial in college as well.
In case you wish to know more and seek extensive guidance, our admissions specialists at Manya – The Princeton Review are there to assist you!
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