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Applying to College in the US

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A guide for our high school students interested in applying to U.S. colleges and universities.

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Applying to College in the US

  1. 1. Tips for Applying to College in The United States
  2. 2. A Note from the Editor The following slideshow is intended to help applicants and parents better navigate the college application process. It is intended as a rough guide and not as a comprehensive source. Please check the websites provided under “Additional Resources” (amongst others) for more accurate, up-to-date, and in-depth information. Best of luck in the application process! Heidi E. Sahmel CCuracao AAmerican PPreparatory SSchool
  3. 3. Table of Contents (1 of 4) Slide Title 7 Different Educational Options 8 Different Educational Options: Pros and Cons – Technical School 9 Different Educational Options: Pros and Cons – Community College 10 Different Educational Options: Pros and Cons – University/College 11-12 College vs. University 13 Public vs. Private Universities – Public Universities 14 Public vs. Private Universities – Private Universities 15 The Application Process: The Common Application
  4. 4. Table of Contents (2 of 4) Slide Title 16 The Application Process: Required Exams 17 The Application Process: Required Exams – SAT 18 The Application Process: Required Exams – ACT 19 The Application Process: Required Exams – TOEFL 20 The Application Process: Authenticated Transcripts 21 The Application Process: Letters of Recommendation 22 The Application Process: Essays 23 Application Deadlines: Early Decision
  5. 5. Table of Contents (3 of 4) Slide Title 24 Application Deadlines: Early Action 25 Application Deadlines: Regular Admissions 26 Application Deadlines: Rolling Admissions 27 Application Deadlines: Possible Outcomes 28 Financial Aid: Scholarships vs. Loans 29-30 Financial Aid: Resources 31 Financial Aid: Other Financial Obligations 32 Visa Requirements: General Information
  6. 6. Table of Contents (4 of 4) Slide Title 33 Visa Requirements: Types of Visas 34 Visa Requirements: Visas for Studying in the U.S.A. 35-36 Visa Requirements: Visa Application Process 37 Visa Requirements: Required Documents 38 Visa Requirements: DS-160 Form 39-41 Additional Resources
  7. 7. Different Educational Options High School Technical School 2-Year Community College 4-Year College or University Specific Profession Profession requiring an Associate’s Degree Profession requiring Bachelor’s Degree Graduate program such as Medical School, Law School, Business School, etc.
  8. 8. Different Educational Options: Pros and Cons – Technical School  Pros: Technical schools save students time and money if they are certain they want to pursue a career in a technical profession (i.e. electrician, engineer, mechanic, computer programmer, etc.)  Cons: Students do not receive a well-rounded education at a technical school because they only take courses related to their chosen career.
  9. 9. Different Educational Options: Pros and Cons – Community College  Pros: Community colleges offer students 2-year programs. Community colleges are much cheaper than traditional universities or colleges, so students can save money by attending a community college for the first two years of their undergraduate studies. Students not interested in continuing their education will graduate from community college with an Associate’s Degree.  Cons: Community colleges are geared towards students who are from the area and so housing arrangements are not provided. Additionally, while community college can make it easier for a student to transfer into a traditional university, community colleges themselves do not carry prestigious reputations.
  10. 10. Different Educational Options: Pros and Cons – University/College  Pros: Traditional universities and colleges provide students with a 4-year program, at the end of which they receive either a Bachelor’s of Arts or a Bachelor’s of Science (for science majors) degree. These students also have the typical “college experience” because they can live in dorms on campus.  Cons: Universities and colleges generally have very high tuitions, which can be cost prohibitive for some.
  11. 11. College vs. University (1 of 2)  Colleges are schools that offer a group of majors in a certain field, whereas universities are a group of colleges. This means that if you attend a university, you will be graduating from a college within that university (for example, University of Maryland’s College of Sciences).  Consequently, universities are larger, usually more well- known, and offer students more options, but colleges can provide students with a more intimate educational atmosphere.
  12. 12. College vs. University (2 of 2)  Despite these technical differences, the terms “college” and “university” are used interchangeably in the United States. Therefore, this slideshow may use one term instead of the other, but the information applies to both.*  * Please note that “college” does not mean “community college” unless specifically stated
  13. 13. Public vs. Private Universities: Public Universities  Public universities are run by the state, which is where they receive the majority of their funding. This translates into substantially lower tuitions for students. Additionally, students from the state where the school is located receive an even cheaper (“in-state”) tuition.  Public universities are generally larger than private universities and therefore can offer students more varied opportunities in terms of extracurricular activities and majors.  Even though public universities tend to have more diverse student bodies than private schools, many public schools attract the majority of their students from the surrounding state(s).
  14. 14. Public vs. Private Universities: Private Universities  Unlike public universities, private universities do not receive state funding and therefore their tuitions are substantially higher.  Because of their smaller overall size, private universities can offer students smaller class sizes and more individualized attention from professors.  Some of the most prestigious universities in the U.S. are private (i.e. Harvard and Yale), but private universities are not necessarily better than public universities.
  15. 15. The Application Process: The Common Application  The Common Application is an online undergraduate admissions application. The Common Application (“Common App”) allows students to complete one application and then send it to any of the 456 member universities.  Common App saves applicants time and hassle, but students should still confirm with each individual university to find out specific deadlines and test requirements.  Common App can be found at: https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/default.aspx
  16. 16. The Application Process: Required Exams  Most universities in the United States require one or more of the following exams.  SAT  ACT  TOEFL  Students are encouraged to take the tests in their junior year of high school so as to ensure that they can retake the exams if they are unhappy with their scores. Please also keep in mind that test availability is limited in Curacao and thus students should plan to take tests well in advance.  The specific test requirements for each university can be found on that school’s website.
  17. 17. The Application Process: Required Exams - SAT  The SAT is a globally recognized college admissions test that consists of reading, writing, and math sections.  Each section is scored between 200-800, making 2400 a perfect score.  The SAT is designed to assess how well a student will perform in their first year of college.  More information regarding the SAT can be found at: http://sat.collegeboard.org/home
  18. 18. The Application Process: Required Exams - ACT  The ACT is a national college admissions exam that consists of English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and an optional 30-minute writing test.  The ACT is created to assess the student’s current knowledge.  More information about the ACT can be found at: http://www.actstudent.org/
  19. 19. The Application Process: Required Exams - TOEFL  TOEFL is an international exam that tests applicants ability to understand and use the English language.  The test is comprised of listening, speaking, reading, and writing components  Applicants who have not completed their entire educational career in English, or who do not come from a country that speaks English as its first language, are generally required to take the test.  More information regarding TOEFL can be found at: http://www.ets.org/toefl
  20. 20. The Application Process: Authenticated Transcripts  In addition to the TOEFL exam, students who did not receive an education in the United States must have their transcripts authenticated.  Professional authenticators are responsible for translating the transcripts, authenticating them, and finding out the closest U.S. equivalent to the degrees earned abroad.  There are many professional authenticators available online, such as Education Credential Evaluators (ECE). More information regarding ECE can be found at: https://www.ece.org/
  21. 21. The Application Process: Letters of Recommendation  Universities will often ask applicants for 2-3 letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should be written by teachers, advisors, bosses, or people in the community who know the applicant’s character and work ethic well.  Students are encouraged to ask for letters of recommendation before they leave for summer break after their 11th grade year so that the references have time to prepare the documents before application deadlines pass.
  22. 22. The Application Process: Essays  Applicants will often have to write essays as part of the application process. Applicants should look at the required essays well in advance of application deadlines so that they can write several drafts. This will ensure clarity and limit grammar and spelling mistakes.
  23. 23. Application Deadlines: Early Decision  Students who are certain of the university they would like to attend should apply in the early admissions period. Early decision is a type of early admissions that allows students to apply ahead of time and find out the university’s decision earlier than normal.  Students may only apply to one university early decision, and if accepted, they must attend that university and withdraw all other outstanding applications.  Generally speaking, the dates for early decision are as follows:  Application Deadline: November 1  University’s Decision: Mid-December
  24. 24. Application Deadlines: Early Action  Early action is similar to early decision except that students often can apply to more than one university for early admission, and they do not have to accept the university’s offer. Whether a student may apply early decision or early action depends on the university to which they are applying.  Generally speaking, the dates for early action are as follows:  Application Deadline: November 1  University’s Decision: Mid-December
  25. 25. Application Deadlines: Regular Admissions  Regular admissions is the standard application process. Students are encouraged to apply to as many universities as possible, and should ultimately accept the offer from the university that is best for them.  Generally speaking, the dates for regular admissions are as follows:  Application Deadline: January 1  University’s Decision: April 1
  26. 26. Application Deadlines: Rolling Admissions  Unlike other application deadlines, students may apply to universities with rolling admissions at any time, and applications are viewed in the order they are received until all spaces are filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, however, in order to increase chances of acceptance.  Generally speaking, the dates for rolling admissions are as follows:  Application Deadline: May 1  University’s Decision: As received
  27. 27. Application Deadlines: Possible Outcomes  Accepted  Student is invited to attend the university for the following school year, and may accept or reject invitation (unless application was Early Decision).  Rejected  Student is not invited to attend the university for the following school year, but can always transfer or reapply at a later date.  Waitlisted  There is currently no room for the student for the following school year, but space may become available depending on whether other accepted applicants choose to attend.
  28. 28. Financial Aid: Scholarships vs. Loans  Higher education in the United States can be very costly. Therefore, it is important that applicants explore all outlets of financial aid. Financial aid can come in the form of a scholarship or a loan.  Scholarships are awarded by universities or private organizations. Scholarships do not need to be repaid, and are awarded based on:  Need: student has proven that they and their parents are financially unable to pay for school  Merit: student is awarded money based on outstanding performance in high school  Loans are given by banks or private organizations and must be repaid, plus interest.
  29. 29. Financial Aid: Resources (1 of 2)  Unlike American students, international students are not eligible for financial aid from the U.S. government. Nevertheless, international students should check with their own government for available funding.  Applicants should also research international organizations that often grant students money. These include the United Nations, the Fulbright Commission, AMIDEAST, World Health Organization, etc.
  30. 30. Financial Aid: Resources (2 of 2)  Students can also search for funding based on where they are from, where they wish to study, what they wish to study, and their qualifications at the following websites:  International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search: www.iefa.org  International Scholarships: www.internationalscholarships.com
  31. 31. Financial Aid: Other Financial Obligations  In addition to tuition, universities often require applicants to prove that they have a certain amount of money in their bank accounts. Applicants should check with the individual university for more specific information and prepare themselves to meet this requirement.
  32. 32. Visa Requirements: General Information  The website of the Consulate General of the United States in Curacao provides information for travelers who wish to study, travel, or work in the United States. The following information has been provided by the U.S. Consulate’s website, but checking with the official website for up-to- date information is strongly advised. For more information regarding visas, please visit: http://curacao.usconsulate.gov/non-immigrant_visas_niv2.html
  33. 33. Visa Requirements: Types of Visas  The type of visa you apply for depends on your purpose for travel.  Some relevant types of visas are:  B Visa: Business, tourism, medical treatment  F Visa: Student, academic  J Visa: Exchange visitors  M Visa: Students, vocational
  34. 34. Visa Requirements: Visas for Studying in the U.S.A.  Students planning to attend a university or other academic institution require an F-1 visa.  Individuals planning to attend a vocational (i.e. technical college) or non-academic institution require an M-1 visa.  Generally, prospective students should apply for a visa after receiving an acceptance letter from a university in the U.S.
  35. 35. Visa Requirements: Visa Application Process (1 of 2)  For F-1 visas, applicants who hold Dutch passports or are renewing a multiple entry U.S. visa valid for at least one year should apply to the U.S. General to the Dutch Caribbean in Curacao.  All other passport holders must apply to the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela.
  36. 36. Visa Requirements: Visa Application Process (2 of 2)  Visa applicants must complete an interview with the appropriate U.S. Consulate or Embassy. In order to schedule an appointment, you can call 001-602-567-9833 or you may schedule an appointment online at: https://www.usvisa-info.com/en/selfservice  Please keep in mind that service fees apply and can be paid on the phone or online using Visa or Mastercard.  Each phone call costs $19 USD  The online service costs $10 USD
  37. 37. Visa Application Process: Required Documents  You must bring the following documents to your interview:  Non-refundable application fee of $160 USD cash, which is to be paid at the time of the interview  Signed passport, valid for at least 6 months from the date of intended departure from the United States  Completed DS-160 (a nonimmigrant visa application form, which can be found at: https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/)
  38. 38. Visa Application Process: DS-160 Form  In order to complete this form, you will need the following documents (which you should bring to your interview as well):  Passport  Travel Itinerary (if you have already booked your reservations)  Dates of your last five visits to the United States (if applicable)  Resume/Curriculum Vitae/Transcript (for an F-1 visa, your educational background is very relevant)  SEVIS ID, which is found on the I-20A, I-20B, I-20MN, or DS-2019 form that the accepting university provides  Address of the school or program you plan on attending, which can also be found on the I-20 or DS-2019
  39. 39. Additional Resources (1 of 3) The following websites were used in the making of this presentation. Please visit each for more up-to-date and in-depth information.  Application Information:  International Student: http://www.internationalstudent.com/study_usa/application- process/  Peterson’s The Real Guide to Colleges and Universities: http://www.petersons.com/  Step Up Hawaii: http://www.stepuphawaii.org/apply  The Common Application: https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/default.aspx
  40. 40. Additional Resources (2 of 3)  Standardized Tests:  ACT: http://www.actstudent.org/  SAT: http://sat.collegeboard.org/home  Princeton Review: http://www.princetonreview.com/college-education.aspx  TOEFL: http://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/about? WT.ac=toeflhome_ibtabout2_121127
  41. 41. Additional Resources (3 of 3)  Scholarship Information:  International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search: http://www.iefa.org/  International Scholarships: www.internationalscholarships.com  Transcript Authentication:  Educational Credential Evaluators: https://www.ece.org/  Visa Information:  Consulate General of the United States in Curacao: http://curacao.usconsulate.gov/

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