Graduating high school with plans to be independent and go away to a college or university is an exciting time. It can also be stressful when deciding which school to attend in addition to waiting on whether or not you have been accepted. Yet, before any of that can happen, there are some things to consider if one is going to study in the United States, especially when studying abroad.
- Prepare for the application process
This is top priority. If the desire is to attend a college or university in the US, there is a process that international students must undergo in order to be considered for acceptance. An applicant should plan accordingly, taking into consideration what forms and documents are needed and how long it will take to complete them so that they can meet the deadline. Sometimes, one may have to wait an entire year in order to submit his/her application but that does not mean one should wait that long.
Many things are required in order to apply to a university. For international students, even more. Making sure one has educated themselves about the enrollment process is important. It is recommended to contact every college and university that one is interested in applying to and obtain an application and list of requirements.
- Prepare for the TOEFL test.
It is imperative that all aspiring international students speak and understand the English language before they can even be considered a US college student. According to Florida National University, students must typically demonstrate English proficiency when enrolling in a career program. Taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a requirement for international students in order to gauge whether or not the aspiring student is prepared to participate in English-speaking courses.
There are many resources for preparing to take the TOEFL test. Schools and universities in one’s native country may have the tools to help prepare their students for studying abroad. Additionally, there are online resources that offer sample questions to the test. Creating a study group and taking practice exams are always helpful.
- Financial Aid
There’s no doubt about it. College is expensive but that doesn’t mean that it is not affordable. Finding the right type of funding for one’s college education is just as important as steps one and two. After all, what is the point of applying and passing the TOEFL test if one does not have the proper funds to attend the college or university of his/her choice?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, for the academic year of 2013-14, the average cost for tuition, including room and board was $15,640 for public institutions and $40,614 for private institutions.
From loans to grants and even scholarships, there are several types of financial aid available to students, especially international students. It is the applicant’s responsibility to find the right type of financial aid that applies to them.
- S. Citizenship
If one desires to pursue a higher degree of education in the US, it is absolutely imperative that this person applies for a student visa. According to the US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, “a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence.” Depending on what type of school one chooses to attend, an international student will qualify for an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa.
- Research the Schools that Specialize in Your Area of Interest
In the US, there are thousands of colleges and universities that offer diverse academic programs but may have received accolades for a particular curriculum within their university. For example, some schools are popular for their school of law. Others may be well known for their athletic programs.
Some of the features mentioned above may not appeal to everyone. Whether they are an international student or not, one may want to attend a university where there is beautiful weather all year around and is known for having an excellent academic and athletic programs in addition to understanding the need of foreign students. It is up to the aspiring college student to do his/her due diligence and research the schools that will best fit his/her academic needs.
- Find a school with the highest enrollment of international students.
Foreign or US citizen, going to college for the first time can be intimidating. For international students, experiencing culture shock is almost certain. Choosing a school that has a high enrollment of foreign exchange students might be most helpful when selecting the perfect university to attend. Enrolling in a school where there are classmates who are obtaining an American education from a different country can be comforting.
- Multi-Cultural Experience
America is known for being the melting pot, with a census of different races and ethnic backgrounds, but not every city in the US is diverse! FNU is located in Miami, Florida, a city that is well known for its multi-cultural diversity. Miami has also been called the “Gateway of the Americas” offering a rich fusion of Latin culture exhibiting art displays throughout the city in its airports and museums.
According to the US Census Bureau, 58% of Miami’s populations was foreign-born, 1/3 are of Cuban decent in addition to US citizens who have uprooted from other states only to re-establish themselves there, adding to the population’s growth.
Enrolling in a university located in a multi-ethnic area is also something to consider when attending school in the US. However, it is up to that student to determine which school offers the best location in addition to academia.
There is much to consider when studying in the US. FNU’s intent is to offer a quality education to a student body of diverse cultures. We encourage international applicants to apply. If you are looking for a university that will make your college experience feel like a home away from home, apply to FNU and contact one of our admissions advisors today.