As part of our microscholarship program we asked current international students what advice would they give to others who are interested in studying in the United States.
Danielle Goh from New Zealand, who will soon study at the University of Pennsylvania, is the latest winner of our microscholarship this spring. We award $100 microscholarships to students who write short essays answering questions we ask.
For this microscholarship, the topic was What advice would you give to other students who are interested in studying in the United States?
We still have more microscholarships to award!Click here to apply!
Read Danielle’s winning essay below:
The travel bug bit me at a young age. I was only 2 years old when I boarded my first plane, a hearty thirteen hour flight to China in the arms of my grandparents. Since then, I have continually longed to immerse myself in new surroundings and cultures.
Therefore, I have always toiled with the idea of travelling abroad for college. And arguably, there is no better place for the college experience than the USA. The college process is usually daunting for domestic students, let alone international students, so hopefully any prospective internationals will find the tips below helpful!
1. Ask for help
Many questions will arise, often, about things you have never even heard of. Thankfully, there are many resources to help you find the answers. Typically, the first port of call is the internet. Although scrolling through a plethora of web pages generally yields a helpful answer, sometimes you may need to seek beyond the world wide web. In that case, reach out to people. Use the contact details provided on websites, ask organisations which support international students intending to study in the US (such as EducationUSA), and definitely talk to other students who are in the same situation, or have gone through the process before.
2. Prepare early
It took me a long time to shift my mindset from idealizing about studying in the US to actually making tangible progress towards realizing this wish. Unlike domestic students, international students are not typically guided through the process of applying for college in the US. This means that we need to take initiative for our own admissions process. The majority of US colleges will ask for some sort of standardized testing (e.g SAT, ACT) as well as your high school transcripts. Therefore, make sure that you will fulfill all of the educational requirements before application time! As application deadlines draw close, create an account on the Common Application website or some other school specific platform, and check that you have submitted all of the required information by the deadline. Even when you are finally clutching an acceptance letter in your hands (congratulations!), there will be still more tasks and deadlines to meet e.g obtaining a visa, submitting a financial aid form. The takeaway is that it will be an arduous process, but if you manage your time well, you can minimize stress and other issues. It will be challenging at times; however, in the end it is worth it as it will enable you to pursue a tremendous opportunity.
3. Finding the best fit
When I began the search for colleges, I was constantly bombarded with this maxim. As someone who grew up in a country which offered approximately five colleges, I was overwhelmed by the wide array of institutions available to me. As an international student, it is easy to become fixated on the prestige of a college subjectively derived by various ranking sites. Prestige should only play a small part in your decision as it is so much more important to find a college which will empower and challenge you as an individual. Your college will literally be your home for the next 4 years. And just like any prospective home owner, it is imperative to ensure that the place is comfortable and fits your need. Do your research and make a list of colleges which you would be proud to call home.
4. Make the most of where you are now
You will be separated from friends and family by both time zones and oceans. You may not return for months at a time. Therefore, make it your goal to enjoy and explore your home country whilst you still can. Spend time with and appreciate friends and family. Celebrate your culture. Cherish the little things which make your home town so unique.
See you all in the US soon!