How International Students are Read in Admissions

By IvyWise on Thursday, December 10, 2020

Applying to US unis as international studentsWhat International Students Can Expect in the US Admissions Process

The US is still a popular destination for international students pursuing a university education, and US universities welcome international students with open arms. However, the admissions process for international students to US universities can be especially rigorous, as there are a number of requirements for international applicants and international students are read slightly differently than their US counterparts.

If you are considering applying to American universities from abroad, it’s important to do your research and ensure that you understand the application process. Unlike colleges in many other nations, American universities utilize a holistic review process in which admissions officers review a multitude of factors before making their decisions. Application components of importance often include test scores, grades, course rigor, a personal statement and additional essays, as well as letters of recommendation.

To stand amongst a sea of international applicants, students need to understand how the application process works and what steps they can take to set themselves apart. Below, we explain how international applicants are read during the American admissions process as well as tips for students who are preparing to hit submit.

Colleges Prioritize Diversity on Campus

Every college campus strives to create a diverse environment comprised of students from an array of backgrounds. Bringing multiple viewpoints and perspectives to campus creates an optimal educational experience, as students will be able to grow and learn from peers with very different vantage points. Students who hail from countries outside of the United States can add to this diversity and offer peers the opportunity to learn about different cultures. Consequently, international students shouldn’t worry that they are at a disadvantage because they aren’t American; instead, each applicant should focus on articulating exactly what they can bring to campus and the role they will play within the community upon admittance.

Don’t Count Yourself Out By Missing Key Steps

The college admissions process can feel overwhelming, particularly for international applicants who may not have as much familiarity with the process. Students from abroad should make every effort to ensure they have a firm grasp on what is expected of them. This includes preparing for standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT, which generally require months if not years of studying and ample practice. International applicants may also need to take the TOEFL and/or IELTS, both of which are designed to measure English proficiency. Additionally, students will need to complete an application such as the Common App or the Coalition App. Be sure you understand exactly what materials you will need to submit and when these components are due, as students who fail to meet application requirements will put themselves at a tremendous disadvantage.

Our free US Admissions Guide for International Students can help you navigate all of the complexities of the US admissions process.

Gain an Edge By Going the Extra Mile

Every admissions officer is looking to admit applicants who are passionate about the school they are applying to. International students should go the extra mile to highlight their demonstrated interest, or the likelihood they would enroll in a specific college upon admittance. There are a multitude of strategies students can take advantage of to highlight their passion for an institution, including applying Early Decision or Early Action, scheduling a virtual information session and tour of campus, and participating in an alumni interview. Many colleges ask students to write a supplemental essay about their interest in attending their campus; be sure to write about specific courses that interest you, professors you wish to study with, and opportunities that you would take advantage of to highlight your demonstrated interest.

Factor in Financial Aid

International students will not have access to financial aid from the federal government, so it’s important to consider the costs associated with attending American universities and budget accordingly. Most universities have a net price calculator on their website, which can help break down the cost of tuition as well as room and board. If you are looking for additional clarification, don’t be afraid to call the admissions office to get more in-depth information. While federal aid may be out of reach, international students who are looking for assistance should consider applying for scholarships. Each scholarship comes with its own application process and set of requirements, so do your research and pinpoint opportunities that align with your circumstances.

At IvyWise, we have helped students from over 40 different countries gain admission to American universities. For more information on our counseling services, contact us today.

Related Topics
College Application Tips, International Students
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