5 Fast Facts 4 Foreign Apps

By Beau Benson
New York University

    It’s that time of the year again.
For a large portion of universities, applications will be due within the next month and a half. Around the world, students are placing the finishing touches on documents that will be shipped to admissions offices around the world. And in the weeks that follow their arrival, these documents will come to define and represent the applicant as universities begin the difficult task and building a unique and diverse Class of 2019!

While countless college admissions blogs have reiterated the standard tips for all applicants, regardless of citizenship, below just a few that should be highlighted specifically for the international community.

Enjoy, good luck, and from those of use on the college side of the desk: best wishes to those on the high school side!

Five Application Tips for International Students

1. Emphasize your diversity. In the last few years, the number of students who cross national borders to pursue higher education has steadily increased and will likely increase in the next decade to heights never reached before. So, how do you stand out among a highly competitive, global applicant pool? While your background may seem “the norm” for you, you will actually bring a multicultural or multinational backgrounds to the classroom. Highlight what makes you different from other students at your school and explain why you have a desire to study in America.

2. Be more than just a number. At most selective universities, we conduct a holistic review for every application – this means that we consider a student's academic performance in conjunction with recommendation letters, extracurricular activities, and writing. All of these areas will impact our final admission decision. We're looking for dynamic applicants with high academic achievement, who are good fits for our university. Always remember, most schools with a holistic review will not have minimum grade requirements, but students are expected to demonstrate a high level of achievement within their education system.

3. Communication is required. Non-native English speakers to most universities in the United States and Canada are required to submit proof of English language proficiency, as we need to be certain of your ability to participate in class and keep up with the work. As stated above, universities with a holistic review will not utilize numerical cut-offs when we evaluated applications for admission. Excellent English language skills, however, are critical to success at university, which means that many universities may impose a cut-off for results on examinations such as the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic.

4. Need-based aid? Well, financial aid for international students is likely to vary from university to university. It may be need-based or merit-based. It may require the CSS Profile or a university’s own financial aid application. Regardless of where you are applying, remember, the deadline for financial aid is just as important as the deadline for admission! Make sure you have spent time researching the financial aid websites for the universities that you are applying to, to guarantee that you have submitted all necessary documentation for each and every school.

5. Concerned? Just contact us! For some reason, many international students seem at times to be afraid of contacting admissions offices for fear that their questions may negatively affect their admissions decision. Trust me when I say that this is simply not true! In fact, if a university tracks interests, it may be beneficial for you to contact your admissions representative. Just remember: applying to a university in the United States may be a very different process than the one that you would go through if you were applying to university in your home country. It’s better to contact us now rather than to suffer the consequences later by submitting incorrect or insufficient materials.

Advice for Fall 2016: Start Early! Applying to universities is a time-consuming process. Allow plenty of time to complete testing, and to thoroughly review your application materials before they are submitting. 

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