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Undergraduate Programs: Are You Planning to Study in U.S.?

More and more students from our country are eying undergraduate courses in the United States. The reasons are plenty but compelling at that. Be it the appealing scholarships US universities offer, or the cut throat cut offs in Indian colleges, niche courses abroad, or even the opportunity to mingle with people from various cultures across the globe. USA has definitely become the go-to destination for higher education. We need to see how to plan the applications and tests to ensure our chances are highest.

Undergraduate Programs - Studying in the U.S.

Step 1: Identify why you think studying in U.S. is for you There are many reasons Indian students apply for colleges in the U.S. Be clear about your reason. Why you want to go. Keep in mind the finances, the timeline and an idea for the future once you graduate. This will be one of the most important decisions of your life, hence be very sure of the reason for pursuing. Step2: Decide when and where you will apply Pick out top 5-7 colleges you are interested in. Talk to your seniors who have pursued such courses. Glance through the college and course profile. Additionally check the kind of opportunities graduates have got by pursuing courses from the colleges that interest you. You need to start preparing for applications at least 15-18 months before the date of admission mentioned by the University of your interest. Seek career guidance if you do not know many people who are studying abroad. These institutes help you identify the colleges of your interest and give guidance for applications. Do this at least 2 years before the admission timeline. This helps you target your studies and goals comfortably. Step3: Check for Eligibility To study in an U.S. university a student should have successfully completed class 12/pre-university board examination. The boards accepted are:
  • Indian School Certificate
  • Intermediate Certificate
  • Higher School Certificate
  • Higher Secondary Certificate
  • All India Senior School Certificate
The colleges will require all the transcripts indicating the performance of the students. If the grading system used in your school is different from that of the universities you are applying to, and then attach an attested copy of the converted grades as well. Do not forget to attach the school leaving certificate as well. Many international schools in India today help the students with such application procedures. Step4: What are the tests to be taken? There are two main test scores that the universities look at. One is for English proficiency as Indian students are international students in U.S. universities. Second is the entrance exam score. English Proficiency Test:
  • TOEFL is the most commonly accepted English proficiency test score.
Entrance Test:
  • Most colleges accept main SAT score. However if students have an area of expertise which is matching their subjects in undergraduate course, then it is recommended to take few SAT subject tests as well. The subject test score gives the universities an idea of your level of proficiency in the given subject.
  • Some colleges also accept ACT score.
Step5: What is a complete application? Apart from filling the form and getting the reports ready, an application for undergraduate courses has a couple of more requirements. You can obtain the application from the college website or request it via email or postal mail. Payment also can be made online or offline.
  • Letters of recommendation: Some colleges ask for this, some don t. In either case, it is advisable to attach letters of recommendation. These letters are usually provided by your teachers who can highlight your special achievements or expertise in a particular area. They can also throw light on your ability to learn and your strengths. It should provide a balanced view of your qualities -- both positive and negative. Some colleges have their own questionnaire or format for letters of recommendation. In which case, simply follow those.
  • Statement of Purpose:Colleges try to understand why you chose a particular field, subject, course or university through the statement of purpose. They also check if your education background, projects are suitable for the course you applied for. These also help in giving scholarships.
  • Financial Aid: This should be submitted if you need financial help to pursue the course. You will need to submit your bank statement and other asset statements to indicate your capacity to fund the education. Most colleges have their financial aid form. Fill it duly.
These take time and hence, should be planned in advance. Additionally, some colleges may take a one on one interview before accepting your admission. This may be a telephonic or a video conference call. This is done for the purpose of knowing you better and to cross verify few details you mentioned in your applications.

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