Posts Tagged ‘college admissions process’

Common App Essay Tips

Friday, May 29th, 2015

App Essay Prompts

What does it mean to “share your story?” The pool of topics for common application essays is vast, but with this freedom comes the terrifying sense of getting the topic wrong or not communicating that urgent aspect of yourself that you meant to. College supplements often asks applicants to write about their strengths, their weaknesses, their suitability to college life and so forth. It all gets a bit hoop-jumpy, but that’s not to say you can’t write something meaningful or important to you, even when the prompts begin to blur and it feels like you’re having to write the same essay over and over.

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College Admissions for International Students

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

If I’m from outside of the United States, what do I need to know about applying to colleges within the U.S.?

The United States has some of the best colleges and universities in the world, and it’s not surprising that many international students want to apply to them.  If you’re one of those students, however, you may be feeling a little intimidated.  What’s the process of applying to colleges and universities in America, and how is it different for international students?

First, make sure not to put off your applications until the last minute.  This is important for anyone applying to college, but it’s especially important for international applicants.  Do your research early, and don’t be afraid to call or email the admissions office, if there are questions you have about applying that aren’t answered on the college website. There are many wonderful colleges in the U.S. you may not have heard of, and its worth consulting US News and World Report, or the Fiske Guide. If you’re from another country, even something as straightforward as a high school transcript is more likely to be in a format–or language–unfamiliar to college admissions officers in the United States.  Give yourself plenty of time to adjust for any confusion.

Speaking of foreign languages, if English is your second or third language, you’ll need to put in extra time to compensate and prepare yourself to take the TOEFL exam.  If possible, find a native English speaker to read your admissions essays, in order to make sure you sound completely fluent. Additonally, these college admissions essays need to be authentic, forthcoming, and reveal a side of  you that isn’t represented anywhere else in the application.

Learning SAT vocabulary is a challenge even for students who grew up speaking English, so you’ll definitely want to put in extra time to your vocabulary study.  Make sure to look into the format of the SAT essay as well.  What the College Board considers a first-rate essay may be different from what your teachers consider a first-rate essay.

Even the Math Section may present unexpected challenges.  Math is taught differently in different countries, and you may not have learned all the material covered on the SAT, or may have learned certain techniques that aren’t optimal for the SATSAT math questions are asked in a particular way, and you’ll want to make sure to familiarize yourself with both the content and format of the Math section of the SAT, as well as the other sections.

The international application process is more complicated than the domestic one and includes extra steps, like financial screening. The bottom line is: start early, do your research, prepare thoroughly.  That’s good advice for any student applying to college, and it’s especially important for international students applying to colleges in the United States.