The United States is one of the best places to college in, Boston and Cambridge are specifically acclaimed for this. It’s a fact, they’re college cities—with students galore bringing young, inspiring, energetic, intelligent vibes, resulting in constant activities created by and for students themselves.
So, it’s only logical that people from other countries would want to come here to make the best of their college years. Having been born and raised in Mexico City, I can share a few of my experiences and tips for anyone hoping to apply to colleges and universities not only in New England, but also all throughout the U.S.
Applying to College from Abroad: Where to Start
First of all—use the Internet! We live in such a technological age that it would be foolish not to take advantage of it. Obviously the first step is finding the right school for you; so if you haven’t done so already, search away. There are probably just as many college matching and rating websites, as there are actual universities in the country. A few good places to start are colleges.niche.com (previously collegeprowler.com), cappex.com, and needless to say, collegeboard.com and commonapp.com.
Once you’ve found a couple of universities you’re interested in, it’s time to apply. As a student applying from abroad, you may be wondering how exactly to do that. There’s not always a lot of support from outside countries for students to go to school in the U.S., so it can be hard to find resources, but don’t be discouraged. Like I said before, take advantage of the Internet. Collegeboard and the Common App will become you’re best friends so don’t be afraid to become well acquainted with them.
Collegeboard offers a number of resources for studying for the SAT and ACT, standardized tests that most colleges accept as part of your application. With practice tests and referrals to local colleagues and affiliates, you’ll be ready to send in satisfactory applications.
Overcoming the Hardships of Applying to College from Abroad
Most if not all applications can be filled out and submitted online. However, being a future international student isn’t without its downsides. Many universities are still unfortunately disregarding of our differences and needs. From disparities in currency systems, to language barriers, to travel limitations, it’s hard for us to always be on top of all the document requirements and deadlines that American schools demand.
This is why we have to be even bolder, more fearless, smarter and sharper than any American students. Don’t be afraid to stick up for what you know is right, and what you know you deserve; call the admissions offices as many times as you feel the need to, ask as many questions as you want, and demand to speak to people who can give you the answers you need.
Don’t let anyone dismiss your application just because it will inevitably take a little bit longer for physical documents to arrive, or for you to translate legal records and/or currencies for financial aid files.
Most importantly though, believe in yourself. Applying to schools in the U.S. can be stressful and time-consuming, but in the end it will be worth it. As an international student, you will have so much to offer to your university, your professors and peers and you deserve the opportunity to follow your dreams. With hard work and dedication, you’ll get to the top!
–Ariela Rudy Zaltzman, Content Editor