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.