The U.S. higher education system is unique in its historical emphasis on teaching that encourages the student to think and reach new conclusions rather than simply memorizing information. Programs also usually work to connect academics with reality, teaching students how to apply what they have been taught through internships, “capstone” projects, and other hands-on experiences that make knowledge more than theoretical and ready students for careers. While some bigger institutions and introductory classes may have high class sizes (this is something applicants can research), the typical U.S. student has frequent chances to interact directly with professors; classroom discussion is emphasized. Especially at the graduate level, students become research collaborators. The U.S. is a leader in many academic and professional areas—campuses are typically well-funded and provide students with all tools and services needed for success. Studying abroad not only improves English and cross-cultural skills but broadens the horizons of those studying abroad and the institutions they visit. It gives you an unmatched opportunity to improve understanding between countries. The U.S. has more choices for your study experience than any other nation….
Number and diversity of U.S. educational institutions. Approximately 4,000 accredited institutions. You might give examples of some types: University and college—not as different as you might think. Can’t tell just from name—often colleges offer primarily undergraduate programs but some have strong graduate programs and some universities may have mainly undergraduate programs with just one or two graduate degrees. Two-year colleges. “Community college”—transfer and/or vocational programs. Can be less expensive option for starting four-year degree but need to plan carefully, be sure credits will transfer. Public and private. Public institutions receive some financial support from U.S. state where they are located. Private institutions depend more on tuition for support, so may be more expensive. However, public institutions often have different fees for in-state and out-of-state students; may give preference to in-state students in admissions. Small or large Difficulty in gaining admission. For some well-known schools even the best students can’t count on admission. Other schools have very basic requirements—but you still have to be prepared or you may fail once you’re in the school. Specialized institutions (women only, focused on particular fields, etc.) The U.S. “liberal arts” tradition means that undergraduates are asked to explore and build a strong foundation in different fields before specializing in a particular major. U.S. undergraduate programs also offer rich opportunities beyond the classroom—students pursue extracurricular athletics, clubs, and organized learning/social activities. Start early to find programs that match your interests and needs—ideally a year to 18 months ahead of program start.
Depending on field, you may have over 1,700 accredited U.S. graduate programs to choose from—almost certainly there are hundreds. You’ll also want to look at the many specializations and concentrations available within particular program options. Keeping up with field—associations, periodicals, conferences--also help you identify what faculty are active in your areas of interest. Two basic type of master’s programs—those that emphasize academic research (and may lead directly into a doctoral Ph.D. program) and those that build professional skills and are typically “terminal” degrees earned, such as the M.B.A. or M.F.A. Be sure the program you choose matches your career goals. Master’s programs typically last two academic years though some designed for experienced professionals can be completed in as little as one academic or (more commonly) calendar year. The doctoral program focuses on independent research leading to the dissertation and typically is designed to provide preparation for university teaching or academic research careers. You can sometimes go into a doctoral program directly from your undergraduate degree though admission is typically very competitive. Professionally oriented doctoral programs exist in some fields and may be designated by a different degree title than the Ph.D. (Ed.D., D.B.A., etc.) Start early to find programs that match your interests and needs—ideally a year to 18 months ahead of program start.
Accreditation. Ensures that basic quality standards are met. Postsecondary institutions, and sometimes individual programs in particular academic fields, are accredited. Institutional accreditation is essential; importance of program accreditation varies. [Describe accreditation’s importance in United States and home country. Also describe any special government or other “approved” lists or limits that may exist.] Suggest that individuals check CHEA online guide if uncertain—some unaccredited institutions have very impressive Web sites and may make misleading claims. Levels and fields of study offered. Describe U.S. degrees (associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral). No institution offers every field of study; not all offer all levels. Faculty and facilities/services. Examine faculty academic and professional backgrounds, match with your interests. Look at how available faculty are to students and quality measures such as number of students in class, level of library and computer resources. Be aware that published “best” lists are subjective and some use flawed methods—you have to do your own research, on the points most important to you. Availability of needed services such as housing, English language instruction, programs and staff specifically to support international students. D. Costs and financial aid 1. Variation depending on location and type of institution 2. Standard and &quot;unseen&quot; costs. In addition to tuition and related fees, students should budget for room and board, books and supplies, transportation, health insurance, personal expenses, and possibly summer tuition and housing 3. Scholarships limited but more available in U.S. than most countries. Look at costs in combination with likelihood of aid from particular institution. Location and type of institution. Can effect cost; also consider climate, closeness to family/friends, availability of particular types of research/internship opportunities. Type of institution. Can make big difference in experience of college life. What kind of student body does the institution attract? What types of activities do the institution’s publications and Web site emphasize? Admission requirements. Even if an institution is perfect for you in every other way, you have to look at how you compare with other applicants—will they let you in? Conditional admission….
Application forms can be found online today for almost all U.S. institutions—just check that you are using the correct version as there is often a special international form that includes international student information and removes or explains U.S.-specific information. The university may require you to use that form and certainly it will be easier for you to use. See if institutions you are applying to accept the “Common Application,” which allows you to provide the basic information to a number of institutions at the same time. Universities will not begin reviewing your application until they have received your application fee, which covers their processing costs. Your academic records should be sent directly from the institution you attended if this is possible in your country. They should send transcripts; a diploma is not necessary. If it is not possible for your school to send transcripts be sure to explain the problem to the university and send notarized “true copies”. If you were required to take a school-leaving exam, submit results of this exam as well. Tests are discussed in the slides that follow. Test scores need to be sent directly from the testing agency; copies are not generally accepted. Recommendations are required by many but not all institutions. Typically they will be from teachers or others aware of your academic abilities and, again, should be sent directly by the person providing the recommendation. Essay. Required by some but not all institutions. Provides you with a chance to show your personality, what is special about you and what you will add to the institution. Also should show your good English. Extracurricular activities. U.S. undergraduate programs are often interested in activities you may have taken part in beyond your school work that show your interests, community involvement, leadership abilities and the like.not typically terribly high. A plus if you have them. Proof of financial capacity. The university needs information on your ability to afford to attend. If you need a scholarship and even if you want to get funding from the school, still provide information as accurate as you can on the resources your family has and other resources you may be able to access. They have a limited pool of funding available, only some institutions can afford to be “need blind” in considering who they can admit, and you will need to show similar proof (together with information on the aid you do receive) to qualify for a visa
These are the pieces that you will typically need in applying to a U.S. institution: Application forms. Often you will need to fill out one form with basic information and one for the specific department to which you are applying. Check which addresse(s) the form(s) should be sent to and whether there is a special form designed for international applicants. Universities will not begin reviewing your application until they have received your application fee, which covers their processing costs. Your academic records should be sent directly from the institution you attended if this is possible in your country. They should send transcripts; a diploma is not necessary. Undergraduate records will definitely be required; some programs may ask for secondary school information as well. If it is not possible for your school to send transcripts be sure to explain the problem to the university and send notarized “true copies”. Tests are discussed in the slides that follow. Test scores need to be sent directly from the testing agency; copies are not accepted. Recommendations. Typically these will be from professors, employers or others well aware of your interests and capabilities and, again, should be sent directly by the person providing the recommendation. Personal statement. This generally needs to focus on demonstrating your knowledge of the specific program to which you are applying, your specific academic interests, and how the program matches with those interests. Also should show your good English. Work experience. How important this is depends on the program; it will be a very important factor for programs intended for individuals with professional experience. Proof of financial capacity. The university needs information on your ability to afford to attend. If you need a scholarship and even if you want to get funding from the school, still provide information as accurate as you can on the resources your family has and other resources you may be able to access. They have a limited pool of funding available, only some institutions can afford to be “need blind” in considering who they can admit, and you will need to show similar proof (together with information on the aid you do receive) to qualify for a visa
The Test of English as a Foreign Language looks at your speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in English and is the usual English proficiency test required by U.S. universities. If English is not your native language, you can expect to be asked to submit a TOEFL score. TOEFL has been offered in three different versions and there are different scoring scales for each version: Internet-based (iBT), computer-based, and paper-based. The “computer-based” test is no longer offered though you may see the scale on some university materials that have not been updated. Most commonly TOEFL is available in the “Internet-based” or “iBT” format though the paper-based version is available in some countries on a less frequent basis. Generally a score of 79 to 90 on the Internet-based TOEFL (500 to 600 on the paper-based version) is required for admission to undergraduate or graduate programs in the United States, with graduate schools typically expecting the higher scores. A few schools may not require the TOEFL if you completed high school or college in the United States or if you graduated from a four-year, degree-granting institution where English is the language of instruction. [ Provide current information on TOEFL registration procedures and costs for your country.]
SAT. The SAT, which examines critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills, is commonly but not always required of undergraduate applicants. No standard score is required; results are weighed with secondary school grades and other elements of the undergraduate application. Typically U.S. programs look more closely at the TOEFL scores of international students than at their SAT verbal scores, but the SAT may be required for some merit-based scholarships; for scholarships like this there typically is also a minimum score. SAT Subject. Each SAT Subject examination tests knowledge in a specific academic area. One or more may be required of some undergraduate applicants, especially by more selective colleges. Exams are currently offered in English Literature, U.S. History, World History, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and numerous languages (including French but not Arabic—these tests are intended for non-native language speakers). Be sure to register for SAT testing well ahead of time as it is given on limited dates. [Go over registration procedures and costs for your country]
GRE General. Most graduate applicants are required to submit results on the Graduate Record Examination general test, which assesses skills in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking/analytical writing. Some graduate programs require specific minimum verbal or quantitative scores on the GRE general test.; others require it but give it only limited importance in the admissions process and look more closely at TOEFL for international applicants. The GRE general may be given in computer-based or in paper-based formats in different countries. GRE Subject. Some graduate programs require results on a particular GRE subject test as well as the general test. Subject tests are currently available in eight subject areas: Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology (one test); Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science, Literature in English; Mathematics; Physics; and Psychology. This is a paper-based test. Especially if you are taking a subject test or the GRE General test is given in a paper-based format in your country, be sure to register early as the test is available only for limited dates. [Go over registration procedures and costs for your country]
Graduate applicants in business- and accountancy-related areas often must take the Graduate Management Admission Test instead of the GRE general test. The GMAT tests similar skill sets but with a focus on areas that predict success specifically in management-focused graduate programs. GMAT has sections on verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. It is offered by the Graduate Management Admissions Council through Pearson VUE computer-based testing centers. GMAT is not currently available in all countries; especially if it is not available in your country you may want to ask universities if you can substitute the GRE general test though not all will accept it. [Provide details on current GMAT registration procedures and costs in your country.]
The Web sites mentioned in this presentation all provide basic information on test format and content along with sample questions and candidate bulletins with details on test registration, administration procedures, and how to request score reports. Additional practice with questions similar to what you will encounter on the test is also likely to be helpful—such practice tests are available through books, online, or as part of test preparation courses. [Discuss resources and training available from your AMIDEAST office, including ITP if you offer that to individuals.]
Start early. If possible, begin at least one to two years before you plan to start your program. The U.S. academic year begins around the end of August and ends in May. Midyear admission (to begin classes in January or February) may also be possible, but not in all departments or at all levels of study. Application deadlines may fall as early as the end of November at some schools and some financial aid deadlines are even earlier. You also need time to prepare for and take standardized entrance examinations, not to mention finding the best options for you among the many U.S. programs available. Have you gotten a late start? Some schools offer more flexible “rolling” admissions and will accept applications at any time. In the United States, you also aren’t required to begin an undergraduate program immediately after secondary school graduation—if you need to wait a year because the deadline of the school in which you’re interested in has passed, you can. At graduate schools, older students are even more common and some universities even offer programs specifically intended for “mid-career” individuals with substantial work experience. Still, starting early allows you the broadest range of choices and the best chances at financial aid without having to rush or wait. Apply to more than one institution—three to seven typically recommended though some applicants apply to more. Include different levels of selectivity—“reach schools” that are highly competitive (but where you at least meet minimum requirements); schools where you match the class profile; and “safe” schools that are not as competitive and where you would expect to get in (choose schools you would actually have some interest in attending, of course). Using different spellings or versions of your name can create a lot of confusion during the application process. For example different pieces of your application can wind up in different files so that your application is incomplete. When you enter the country, you want your I-20 to match the name on your passport , so use that name (or the name you intend to use on your passport if you do not yet have a passport) on all your application documents, including during registration for tests. If your transcripts have a different spelling and this seems likely to cause confusion, see if your school can provide a letter of explanation or let the U.S. admissions office know in advance. Be sure you understand all application instructions; don’t hesitate to ask the admissions office or an AMIDEAST adviser if you have questions.
Education is a major investment, one that will benefit you your whole life but that will require effort to achieve. Smart planning is the key—research to identify U.S. funding possibilities that match your own needs and strengths. Begin researching the costs of your planned program well in advance. U.S. universities and colleges can all provide an estimate of tuition and living costs at their particular institution. Both tuition and living costs vary widely from institution to institution. Aid availability also varies and can make a big difference—don’t assume an institution is too expensive without checking how much aid is available to international students there. While most international students fund the bulk of their education through personal family fund, according to IIE statistics about 11 percent of undergraduates and over 45 percent of graduate students receive their main funding from the university they attend. Universities don’t necessarily publicize aid opportunities widely—they are looking for the right match—but will let you know what kind of aid opportunities they have available. (If they say they can’t provide the level of funding you need, take them seriously and don’t waste your time—they cannot generally make exceptions, however desirable you may be as a candidate). Look into taking examinations for credit before you enroll, such as the DSST and CLEP tests offered at all AMIDEAST offices. These examinations, offered in a variety of fields, are accepted for credit at over 2,000 U.S. universities, allowing you to earn undergraduate credit or fulfill prerequisites for a graduate program at a fraction of the cost of taking the equivalent class. [Describe office special sessions offering more information on funding strategies—all AMIDEAST offices should offer such sessions and a template is available.]
AMIDEAST has been proving information on U.S. study since the organization was founded in 1951. [You may wish to add information on AMIDEAST’s history in your particular country.] AMIDEAST is part of a network of over 450 advising centers worldwide [mention affiliated with U.S. Department of State as appropriate for your audience]. The EducationUSA code of ethics requires that we represent all accredited U.S. institutions without showing preference to any particular institutions (unlike some agencies which accept pay paid to represent only specific university). Our concern is providing you with objective, unbiased information so that you choose the best institutions for your specific needs. [Describe other programs useful to someone considering U.S. study that your office provides, including English language training and testing)
[Describe the resources and services available at your particular office. Be sure to include English language training and any relevant professional training if your office offers such programs. Note that templates for many presentation topics are available from HQ on the AMIDEAST advising Intranet]
In this U.S., the whole process is completed by the student – it is a completely self-motivated process. Let’s face it, if you are unwilling to put in the effort to go through the admissions process, then maybe you would not survive at a US university. However, we do offer the following for a fee: Individual consultations can be helpful at a variety of points during the U.S. study application process—for instance they can be used for: Assessment of your qualifications and needs Research and consultation in selection of appropriate institutions based on your individual career goals, desired area of study, preferences, and academic qualifications, Advice on required U.S. standardized tests Guidance in preparing personal statements or application essays Support through the entire process if desired. Help after you are accepted to universities in understanding paperwork and preparing for your visa interview. Individual consultations are 20 OMR per hour.
[Describe relevant office programs, individual advising help that might be provided, as well as value of U.S. students and graduates in supporting advising events, mentoring etc.]
Why & How to Study in the US
Studying in the United States: How and Why?
<ul><li>Focus on critical thinking, hands-on skills </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities to work closely with professors </li></ul><ul><li>Unmatched strengths; state-of-the-art resources </li></ul><ul><li>International experience, English language gains </li></ul><ul><li>Study choices to match what you want </li></ul>U.S. Study Advantages Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>Four-year or two-year </li></ul><ul><li>Public or private </li></ul><ul><li>Differing admissions difficulty </li></ul><ul><li>Varied environments </li></ul><ul><li>Explore before you specialize </li></ul>Over 4,000 Accredited Institutions Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
Thousands of Graduate Choices <ul><li>Over 1,700 programs to choose from in some fields </li></ul><ul><li>Specialized research options and facilities </li></ul><ul><li>Academic or professional masters? </li></ul><ul><li>The Ph.D. and other doctoral options </li></ul>Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>Accreditation </li></ul><ul><li>Fields of Study </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty, Facilities, Services </li></ul><ul><li>Costs, Financial Aid </li></ul><ul><li>Location </li></ul><ul><li>Admissions Requirements </li></ul>Factors to Examine Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>Application form and fee </li></ul><ul><li>Academic records </li></ul><ul><li>TOEFL and SAT scores </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendation letters </li></ul><ul><li>Essay/personal statement </li></ul><ul><li>Extracurricular activities </li></ul><ul><li>Proof of financial capability </li></ul>“ Admissions Package”: Undergraduate Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>Application form and fee </li></ul><ul><li>Academic records </li></ul><ul><li>TOEFL score </li></ul><ul><li>GRE/ GMAT test scores </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendation letters </li></ul><ul><li>Statement of purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Work experience </li></ul><ul><li>Proof of financial capability </li></ul>“ Admissions Package”: Graduate Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
The TOEFL <ul><li>Internet-based test </li></ul><ul><li>Covers listening, reading, writing, and speaking </li></ul><ul><li>Scheduled by appointment </li></ul><ul><li>www.toefl.org </li></ul><ul><li>Administered at AMIDEAST/Oman </li></ul>Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>SAT: critical reading, writing, math </li></ul><ul><li>SAT Subject: specific academic fields </li></ul><ul><li>Limited international dates; see www.sat.org </li></ul><ul><li>Administered by AMIDEAST </li></ul>The SAT Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>For graduate study only </li></ul><ul><li>GRE General: Analytical writing, verbal and quantitative reasoning, </li></ul><ul><li>GRE Subject: Available for eight academic fields </li></ul><ul><li>www.gre.org </li></ul><ul><li>Administered by MCBS </li></ul>The GRE Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>For management-related graduate programs </li></ul><ul><li>Computer-based, by appointment </li></ul><ul><li>Tests analytical writing, verbal, and mathematical skills </li></ul><ul><li>www.mba.com </li></ul><ul><li>Administered by New Horizons </li></ul>The GMAT Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>Websites, free registrant materials provide sample problems </li></ul><ul><li>Additional materials available for purchase at AMIDEAST & bookstores </li></ul><ul><li>Preparatory classes are offered by AMIDEAST (TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT) </li></ul>Preparing for Tests Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>Give yourself enough time: a year or more ideally </li></ul><ul><li>Apply to multiple universities, varying in selectivity </li></ul><ul><li>Use consistent version of name; match passport </li></ul><ul><li>Double-check deadlines and instructions </li></ul>Tips for Applying Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>Too expensive? Check financial aid availability </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. institution you attend most likely source of aid </li></ul><ul><li>Save on tuition by passing DSST/CLEP examinations </li></ul><ul><li>Attend AMIDEAST’s “Financing Your Education” presentation </li></ul>Tips on Financing Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>Almost 60 years experience advising on U.S. study </li></ul><ul><li>Part of worldwide EducationUSA network </li></ul><ul><li>Objective, unbiased information </li></ul><ul><li>One-stop source: resources and services to meet your U.S. study needs </li></ul>AMIDEAST: Uniquely Connected Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>Presentations on application steps, student visas, U.S. life, and more! </li></ul><ul><li>Specialized library collections </li></ul><ul><li>Visits by U.S. admissions officers </li></ul><ul><li>Test registration services </li></ul><ul><li>English courses and test prep available </li></ul><ul><li>Scholarship program information (Fulbright, Tomorrow’s Leaders) </li></ul><ul><li>Other U.S. study-related services </li></ul>How AMIDEAST Can Help Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>Individually focused services are for a fee </li></ul><ul><li>Meet one-on-one with a professional adviser. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on your specific needs, from program choice to application concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Personalized research and advice </li></ul>Individual Consultations Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST
<ul><li>After your U.S. study, come visit AMIDEAST. We can help with— </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Finding advanced study opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meeting other U.S. graduates </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You can help others too… </li></ul>When You Return Home Copyright 2010 AMIDEAST