Five Tips for International Students Studying in the USA

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Contributed by Maya Richard, content writer, primarily writing about comcast deals

The university system is the United States provides an extensive research network that allows international students to work with world-renowned scholars. While these opportunities are great, so are the guidelines and restrictions that apply to students coming from abroad to study in America. We consulted with some leading international education experts to gain insight into the top tips to help students seeking to study in the USA:

 • Select Your College Institution Carefully During the Admissions Process Although you may be tempted to apply to the most highly rated academic programs overall, there are a number of important factors that will determine the success of your international study program. In particular, inquire into the specific international student cultural and academic programs to help you get acquainted on a new campus. Once you feel comfortable with the accommodations, then look into the specific courses of study and the academic resources (including professors), especially if you're considering graduate study.

• Look into All of Your Financial Options Today's student loan market is much more competitive than it was a few years ago, so tuition and living costs should be a primary factor to consider before deciding upon a college. Inquire with the prospective college's financial aid department to determine the merit scholarships or work-study programs that might help you to finance your education.

 • Find Options to Continue to Develop Language and Cultural Skills For many students, coming to the US for studies can be an extensive transition from their home country. Even if you speak fluent English, there are a number of colloquialisms and regional dialects that will take some time getting adjusted to – check if the college offers programs for students who speak English as a second language, along with cultural groups, to help you get acquainted to American culture.

• Make Sure You Apply Early for your Student Visa Often times, you can work with the University you intend to enroll with to get all of your student visa paperwork figured out. (see Student Visas.) Take the lead on the process by ensuring that you have a passport from your out-bound country, as well as an visa, along with demonstration that you have the necessary funds to pay for your course of study. If you're coming into the country with a domestic sponsor, fill out your I-134 affidavit form in advance. For students who intend to remain in the US for the long-run, begin to look into the citizenship acquisition process.

• Once You Decide Upon a College, Make Contact with the University Early After you go through the decision process, take extra care to cover all the bases in the enrollment process as well as reaching out to University representatives early on to facilitate the transition process.

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About Dr. Gupta

Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the Founder and President of STEM.SMART, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the pipeline of U.S students interested in STEM careers. In addition, she is the CEO of PlanetGPA, an international student recruitment services that serves as an extension to the recruitment offices of U.S. universities.

2 responses »

  1. Thank you for the thorough post informing international students with a well rounded description of what needs to be considered prior to deciding that studying in the US is the right choice for them. One point I would like to add would be on the funding. As mentioned loans are becoming increasingly competitive for students to secure, however, their are alternatives to these loans. The best part about these alternatives is that they do not leave the student with a mountain of debt post graduation as well. There are a number of universities that incorporate paid internships as part of the curriculum. The result is that the student is gaining experience with a US company and also earning a wage that will offset the high cost of tuition. More information on this alternative financial model can be found at http://www.htir.com.

  2. Great tips. So many students — and not just international students! — want to apply only to the Ivy League schools or colleges that seem to have the best reputations. The key to a successful college experience, however, is finding the college that is right not only for your career prospects, but also for your personality.

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