Steven Gist (USA)

August 2014 Applicants, It’s Time to Prepare!

by Steven Gist | October 15, 2012 | Steven Gist (USA) 0 Comments

It doesn’t matter if you are doing A-levels, O-levels, homeschooling, AUSMAT, a U.S. high school curriculum, IB or any number of other secondary school curricula offered the world over. If you are planning to enroll in a U.S. university in August 2014, now is the time to prepare!

It’s helpful to break down the time between now and August 2014 into three six-month phases, and know what you need to be doing during each of those phases.

January to June 2013 (Testing and University Search)

  • Register and prepare for the SAT – I suggest doing taking the SAT in May or June of 2013, at the latest. The next available date is October, which is getting close to many universities’ application deadlines or deadlines for applying for prestigious scholarships.
  • Register and prepare for TOEFL or IELTS – Check with the universities you are interested in to see if they require this of students from your country.
  • Be fully engaged in the university search process – go to education fares, visit websites, talk with college counselors, meet with your school’s college counselor, seek the advice of admissions consultants.
  • Have a goal of having identified 5 to 8 schools to which you would like to apply by May.
  • Continue to be involved in extra-curricular activities
  • Keep your grades up! GPA and class rank really do matter to U.S. universities.

July to December 2013 (Applications and Further Testing)

  • Understand application deadlines as well as application deadlines for prestigious scholarships
  • The summer is a good time to work on personal statements or essays you may be required to submit
  • Begin to identify teachers and community members who know you well and can write a strong recommendation for you.
  • Submit applications – September 2013 is the earliest I would recommend submitting applications. Most priority deadlines for prestigious scholarship deadlines will fall somewhere in November or December. Even for schools that don’t have deadlines, some of their merit-based scholarship for which they have limited dollars will have been awarded by January.  A good goal is to have your application in no later than December 15.
  • If you want to try to improve your SAT score, you will have opportunities to do this in October, November and December. Remember that universities will use your highest SAT score when determining admission and financial aid.

January to August 2014 (Evaluating Offers, University Choice, Preparing to Travel)

  • Sometime between January and April, you’ll receive final offers from universities and it will be time to decide
  • Once you’ve decided on a university, you’ll need to get your visa
  • You’ll need to fill out a lot of forms (housing form, health form and financial finalization forms)
  • Confirm your arrival date with the university, purchase an airplane ticket and prepare for travel

Of course, there is a lot more that could be said about each one of these bullet points. The goal of this blog, however, is to raise awareness of the need to start the process early and to provide a point of reference for knowing if you are on schedule in the university selection and admissions process.

As you prepare for university in the U.S., I highly recommend reading my blog post on the cost of higher education in the U.S., if you’ve not done so already.

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