University Applications: USA vs South Africa

August 20, 2020

There are many student who will be concerned about achieving the highest marks possible in order to maximize their chances of getting into the University of their choice, whether that’s UCT, Wits, Tuks, or Stellenbosch. But what about Universities and Colleges outside of South Africa? What are the differences between American and South African University applications? How does the process differ? What do American Universities value, and what do they deem less important?

Here are a couple of key differences that will set you on the right path when thinking about applications to Universities in the USA:

The Breadth of Opportunity

The US is home to over 4,000 institutions of tertiary education, whereas South Africa has a total of 26. With this mix of locations, focuses, specializations, and experiences, you are guaranteed to find a perfect fit for yourself .  In South Africa, you might find yourself feeling like you are following the crowd.  Aspire Atlantic believes that in America, there is a unique fit for every person. We want to give you the opportunity to study what you want, where you want!

A Holistic Application

In South Africa, Universities will generally only consider how well you’ve done in school when looking at your application. When it comes to US Universities, however, there are things that are more important than your marks. Yes, doing as well as you can on the SAT is important, but you also need to make sure you have a well-rounded application. Participating in extracurriculars and being able to reflect a positive impact at school through teacher and peer recommendations is also crucial!.

The Essay

A further difference in the process is the personal essay. This is a statement attached to your application that tells the Universities you are applying to about YOU. It helps them choose between otherwise equally promising candidates. It’s important to write about something that reflects well who you are, and allows your personality to shine through! You can write about an experience, a point of view, or even your favourite band or singer – as long as it properly reflects the kind of person you are to the University.

Emphasis on Diversity

It is true that South African Universities do sometimes have institutional systems in place to promote diversity on campus.  However, American Universities take this to a different level. Many Universities in the USA have large parts of their student body made up of local students. Tertiary education institutions in the US value diversity of thought, and therefore of experience, very highly. Universities work to attract international students, as having a more diverse student body is a sign of prestige. Universities in the USA value and desire Foreign students.

Remember: there is no better time to start planning for your future than RIGHT NOW. Sign up for an evaluation to see if Aspire Atlantic can help you achieve your academic and sporting dreams today!


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