Timeously applying to USA Universities is very important. South African students know one deadline: Matric. You apply with your Grade 11 marks and by October you should know your preliminary status. However, if your dream is to study in the USA, then you should know that most universities follow 4 application deadlines. Each has different rules and it is important to understand the difference to know which is best for you.
By Grade 11, you should have mapped out your University strategy knowing exactly which university and application deadline you want to target. If a student is adamant to apply for an early application round, they should ensure that all their necessary application documents are ready for submission. (You can find a list of the necessary Application Documents here.)
The four different types of application deadlines are:
If accepted, you do not have to attend this university but you must notify the university by May 1st of your attendance decision.
2. Early Decision Applications:
Early Decision applications are excellent for students who have identified one university that is their top choice. These students are 100% prepared and can submit all documents, report cards, test scores, essays and letters of recommendation before they have finished their Grade 12 year.
Deadline Date: November 1 or 15.
Notification Date: End of December.
3. Early Action Applications:
Early Action Applications are an excellent way to show demonstrated interest. Unlike Early Decision, you may continue to apply to other universities simultaneously as it is non-binding.
Deadline Date: November 1 to 15.
Notified Date: End of December.
If you apply in the Early Decision or Action rounds and you are not accepted, your application will be deferred and assessed again with the regular decision applicant pools.
Therefore, it is best to send applications in as soon as possible.
Studying in the United States is a life-changing experience. However, it is critically important to research your desired universities application deadlines and ensure that you have all the documents required long before these dates. By following the application instructions carefully, this will ensure that you start off your university journey on the best foot. If the website is ambiguous or you have any questions about the application process, feel free to email the university admissions officers directly- they will gladly help you. Alternatively, contact one of our friendly staff members for more info.
Applying to USA Universities is a complicated process for internationals. Applications are more detailed than applying to a standard South African University. Here are a few points, documents and information you should have ready when starting your application.
• Report Cards
• Standardized Tests Scores
• Letters of Recommendation
• Detailed Parent Information
• Detailed Financial Information
• Extracurricular Activities
It is imperative to ensure that these report cards are sent to the university directly from your school; if it is sent from you, it will be seen as ‘unofficial’.
If you go to a school where English is not the first language, the report cards and subjects should be translated into English. The original untranslated copies should also be sent to the universities.
Letters of Recommendation
Universities would like to gain insight into the type of person you are and see if you will be a good fit for their student body. Letters of recommendation from teachers or places that you have worked will give the university an indication of who you truly are.
Therefore, ask someone who has worked with you in a professional environment, to write you an appealing letter of recommendation for your application.
This funding can be in the form of scholarships, financial aid or merit scholarships.
Therefore it is important to stand out on your application and include extracurricular activities that you have taken part in. USA colleges love students who have a deep passion for something and give back to their school and community. So, think of joining a sports team, the school choir and doing community service.
Applications for international students will take longer than it does for American students, and most schools have an earlier international application deadline. Therefore, it is in your benefit to start the process early, in your grade 10 or 11 years, and ensure all the documents and materials are sent well before the deadline. Studying in America can be an exciting and rewarding experience, so be sure to carefully follow the instructions of each school that you are considering. If you have any questions about the application process per university, be sure to ask the admissions officer for assistance - they’re always happy to help!
America is known as the land of opportunities, and with many of their universities topping the world rankings, it is clear why so many international students are flocking to apply there.
With over 4000 institutions to apply too, narrowing down your list can be overwhelming. Below, we have outlined several steps to help international students narrow down their college lists.
Step 1: Research and Build a University List
Students should start building a list of universities they like and begin learning everything they can about them. Armed with your list of thoroughly researched colleges, start weeding out the ones that do not meet your personal, academic, and financial needs. Regardless of the universities name and reputation.
Step 2: Narrow Down Your List
Next, begin eliminating institutions even further by comparing your GPA and SAT scores to the college's requirements as well as looking at potential scholarships and additional costs. Students should not just apply to a college that has their degree. Make sure it has extracurricular activities you like, the sport you want to play, and is based in a location that is bearable. If you prefer warm weather and a close-knit community do not apply to a college with 50,000 students located on the border of Canada.
Step 3: Being Realistic
It is essential for students to be realistic when deciding on the institutions to apply for. Many top USA universities have single-digit admission rates, meaning they only take a small percentage of the best students in the world. If you do not come close to the academic admission requirements, don't waste your time applying there. Furthermore; If you apply at too many top universities, you will diminish the quality of each application. Decreasing the likelihood of acceptance, even if your academics match. Keep your list short and focused.
Step 4: Balancing your University List
At this point, students should focus on only 15 universities, any more than that and you are unlikely to have the capacity to produce high-quality application essays. To ensure your list is balanced, break your list into 3 categories: 1) Likely, Target and Reach Universities, with 5 universities in each.
Likely Universities are institutions where a student's academic profile is significantly stronger than the average students who are admitted. You are likely to be accepted at these schools.
Target Universities are institutions where the student's academic profile is similar to the average students who are admitted. Your application to these schools will be competitive, but admission is not guaranteed.
Reach Universities are institutions where your academic profile is not as strong as the average admitted student. These are dream universities and are the ones you would love to attend but realistically you are taking a chance by applying.
Building and refining your college list is a decision which should not be taken lightly. The university you attend sets the premise for important decisions which will impact the rest of your professional and personal life. By making sure you attend the right college, and not the one that only has a good name, will ensure an enjoyable 4-year journey.
Ronen, the 2018 deputy head boy at Bergsig Academy, has committed his Track and Field future to Rice University.
He finished High School with an overall 90% average while excelling in middle distance Track events and Cross Country. He also made national headlines in July 2017 when he helped a fellow Cross Country runner over the finish line. Mpho Mitchell collapsed during the SA Championships, as numerous runners passed by, Ronen stopped, picked him up and helped him with the final 150 meters, allowing Mpho to finish his race.
Ronen will be studying Mechanical Engineering and will compete in the 800m, 1500m and on the cross country team for the Rice Owls. Rice is based in Houston Texas and is currently ranked the 16th best university in the USA.
What is the NCAA
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the largest university sports’ governing body in the United States. There are two other collegiate sports governing bodies, namely the NAIA and the NJCAA. The NCAA is the biggest with over 500,000 student-athletes who compete in 24 sports across 3 divisions. The NCAA allows it's member universities to award over $3.3 billion in athletic scholarships every year.
What Is Their Purpose?
The NCAA prioritizes student academics, student well-being and competitive fairness so athletes can succeed on the field, in the classroom and in life. They have two main focuses: 1) To ensure that all students put their studies before their sports (hence the name student-athlete and not an athletic student), and 2) They guarantee the fairness of competition by making sure that no student has played sports on a professional level at any time before attending college.
NCAA Student Requirements
The NCAA upholds their purpose by ensuring all Student-Athlete's comply with 3 eligibility requirements before being allowed to participate in college sports. Student's may be athletically suited to a university or college team; however before coaches are allowed to accept you, students are required to meet specific academic and non-professional standards. These requirements are listed below:
1) Subject Requirements:
In order to be academically prepared for the demands of college life, the NCAA requires students to have an excellent educational foundation throughout high school and states that they must take the following 16 core courses (Grade 8, is not Included):
Four Years of English
Four Years of a 2nd Language
Three Years of Math (Completed before grade 12)
One Additional Year of Math or Natural Science
Two Years of Natural Science (Life Science and Physical Science)
Two Years of Social Science (History and Geography)
2) SAT & GPA Requirements:
Athletes who are recruited to USA sports teams will have to maintain good academic standing in order for their scholarships to be renewed. If they do not, they run the risk of being Redshirted (benched for a year) or worse, having their scholarship revoked. Therefore, athletes must have a minimum GPA of 2.3 and an SAT score of 980 to meet the academic requirements. Higher GPA's and SAT scores will make your chances of acceptance a lot higher.
Professionalism will come up when going through the NCAA registration process, and you need to know that student-athletes cannot be professionals before playing in college. In the eyes of the NCAA, merely winning tournament prize money or having a company sponsor your golf balls is considered a breach of their professionalism rules, so you need to be vigilant with the small things. If going professional after college is your goal, you need to understand that once you turn pro, you cannot go back and compete at the NCAA collegiate level.
What are the 3 NCAA Divisions?
NCAA consists of three divisions: Division one, two and three. Division 1 and 2 award scholarships for sport while Division 3 does not. The Divisions are based on the size and investment in sports and have nothing to do with academics or the quality of the degree you will be receiving after graduation. For example, Harvard University is Division 1, while MIT University is Division 3. These are both brilliant universities; one chooses to invest in sports while the other does not.
The NCAA is a big league with many opportunities for student-athletes, with many South African students finding success at Division 1 and 2 universities. Head to the Aspire Atlantic website to see the list of successful scholarship candidates who are enjoying life in the USA!
Are you an elite athlete? Do you want to know what your chances are of competing in the NCAA on a Sports Scholarship?
All blogs are written by former student-athletes. If you would like to learn more, please leave a comment below and the author will respond to your questions.