STEP 1: Find the Right Universities

A short selection, below, of the many U.S. campuses that we know and love. For you to discover, appreciate and get focused. The inspirational videos below will take you on short, colorful, insightful jorneys to sample U.S. colleges and universities. Each campus excells in multiple ways and most of them currently have or have had amazing Romanian students we have worked closely with. Learn to love the complex and yet exciting opportunities available at U.S. universities, in class and outside, make the most of the EDMERICA resources and you might be the next to follow in their footsteps.

There is something about Grinnell, or 1:24 minutes of informative, sheer joy on a campus that loves Romanian students and is able to support them, financially too, in their search for excellence. A top liberal arts college that prepares you to excell, as Corina’s experience fully proves it.

2:24 minutes on a superb women’s college that loves to help Romanian students achieve their full potential. Can you imagine another small liberal arts college able to admit and fully fund 6 wonderful applicants from Romania in one year?

2:29 minutes on a fine school in Philadelphia that is creative in multiple ways, including financial aid for the Romanian students they love. A good case in point is Alina.

A year in the Life of a Boston University student, or 3:59 minutes that capture – in powerful non-verbal communication – the full excitement of education on a premiere campus. Boston University may not offer very generous financial aid to undergraduate students , but you’ll certainly get a lot out of their awesone video.

Rhodes College and a student who brings her daily activities on this Atlanta campus to life for us in a little more than 4 minutes.

UPenn’s overview in 2:34 minutes of the 2013-2014 academic year. Does it look magical? Romanian students on campus confirm the vibrant, challenging, enriching environment. Don’t give up watching it even if you may find the brass music not exactly to your taste. Watch it through and you’ll see that the festive music truly matches the content the video is sharing.

… takes you in 15 minutes or so to the Yale campus in a musical that tends to look exciting to most of the world and definitely dull to rival Harvard students.

And finally:

Oberlin College and its 5 minutes of musical winter joy. For a most rewarding experience you should watch this around Christmas time. Don’t get misled though: Oberlin College is an excellent liberal arts college with a wide range of academic interests.

In addition to what you’ve gleaned from these videos, you need to remember that any U.S. campus will pride itself on the range of student services they offer.

So how can you find the right universities for you? The ones where you’ll be thrilled to wake up in the morning, look around at the beauty around you, and head happily to your exciting classes? And where you can attract significant financial aid, too. Dealing with so many amazing universities will certainly be a challenge. But EDMERICA will certainly help: through free info sessions, workshops and individual advising for a fee.

Until then start by identifying your priorities. An excellent source of information on this topic is the dedicated EducationUSA section you can visit here.

Or you can enjoy our adapted, condensed version below which we have also enriched with the Romanian students’ experience that we have distilled over 17 years of productive advising activity.

Once you are clear about your priorities, you can certainly find the right undergraduate program in the USA. The clearer you are about your aspirations, preferences, dreams, goals, strengths, expectations and the like, the better your chances to find a school in the USA where you fit, therefore you bloom.

You can start your voyage of self-discovery by answering some key questions:

Which subjects are you planning to pursue in the USA?

Are you planning to begin your undergraduate program in the USA in August-September, like most Romanian students?

You can also start in January or May/June, but will this work for you if you need financial aid?

How will you pay for your studies in the United States?

Over 860,000 international students are currently enrolled in the USA. And over 650 Romanian high school students are currently able to pursue their undergraduate study (and optional practical training) in the USA. With EDMERICA you can learn all about the financial aid offered by U.S. insititutions to international students.

Although many Romanian students get massive financial support from their U.S. university, take a minute and consider what amount, in U.S. Dollars, your family can contribute to your U.S. education each year? Select as appropriate: __under $5,000; __ $5,000–$10,000; __ $10,000–15,000; __ $15,000–$25,000; __more than $25,000.

Financial aid comes in many forms and U.S. universities offer it on a competitive basis.

Which type of financial support do you think you could qualify for?

__ Financial Need, commonly available for low income, economic hardship, etc.;

__ Academic Merit, available for academic achievements, as demonstrated through good grades, top test scores, awards;

__ Sports: available if you can document any special talents in a sport through participation in competitions and other events;

__ Musical Talent: available if you have any musical talents that you have displayed during musical performances or other event;

__ Leadership Skills: available if you have any leadership skills that you have displayed during participation in organizations, club or other events;

__ Other: financial aid is also available if you have any other personal attributes, skills, and/or talents that can enhance the U.S. campus. Your involvement in community service, volunteerism, or other types of activities would qualify here;

__ On-Campus Employment: international students can work max. 20 hours per week on campus during school, and max. 40 hours per week during school vacations or breaks. Romanian  students earn about US$2,700-$3,000 per year for personal expenses;

__ Student Loan: Although a rare occurrence, you might still be able to find a loan to pay for part of your educational costs from a bank or lender in Romania. Some U.S. loans may be available, but they commonly require a U.S. co-signer;

__ Sources in Romania: some limited funding may be available from local sources.

Which type of U.S. institution is best for you?

With over 4,900 accredited colleges and universities in the United States, you may like to consider the benefits of each type, as outlined below:

  • 2-year institutions, also known as community colleges, are for undergraduate students who may like to earn academic credit towards a bachelor’s degree. Although the general perception is that earning academic credit at a community college is usually less expensive and can help lower the cost of a U.S. bachelor’s degree, this type of institution is not able to offer significant financial aid to international students;
  • 4-year institutions, that is four-year colleges and universities, where Romanian students may pursue their Bachelor’s degree as well as Graduate programs after completing their undergraduate education;

How competitive are you in academic terms?

Given the huge diversity of academic institutions in the USA, little surprise that some highly selective institutions admit less than 10% of the applicants while other institutions admit more than 80% of applicants. In order learn where you have better chances of admission and financial aid, you need to consider your high school performance and answer the questions below. Your grades in high school, academic awards, and test scores will help you make an informed decision.

What does the GPA tell about your performance in high school?

The GPA is the combined average of a student’s grades for all academic coursework completed. In U.S. high schools grades are based on a 4.0 GPA scale and are assigned in letters. GPA A or 4.0 is excellent, B 3.0 is good, C 2.0 is satisfactory, D 1.0 needs improvement, F 0.0 is fail.

You rate your performance as: __ excellent; __ good; __ satisfactory; __ needs improvement.

In case you are familiar with the standardized U.S. college or university admission tests below, which have you taken? What was your score?

  • SAT Reasoning Test: a multiple-choice test of mathematics and English, plus some essay writing, used for admission to undergraduate programs in the USA;
  • SAT Subject Tests: a multiple-choice test that assesses your specific knowledge in a number of  subject areas;
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): a USA-developed English language proficiency examination for students who are not native speakers of English;
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): a British-developed English language proficiency examination for students whose native language is not English.

Imagine yourself on a campus in the USA. Which of the following campus sizes would be best for you?

__ Small (under 2,000 students); __ Medium (2,000–15,000 students); __ Large (over 15,000 students); __ No Preference.

Do you see yourself studying at a public institution or at a private institution?

Private schools have higher tuition and fees, but more financial assistance.

Would you be better off on an urban campus or a rural one?

Every U.S. state includes a range of settings, with urban areas, suburban residential areas, or a rural countryside, with U.S. colleges and universities located in any of these settings. A quick survey of the options is available below.

  • Urban: cities with larger populations provide convenient access to banking, stores, the arts, entertainment, public transportation, and international airports. Urban areas may have higher average living costs;
  • Suburban: residential areas, usually less crowded,  close or farther from cities, with more spread-out  shopping areas. Suburban areas tend to have more moderate average living costs;
  • Rural: countryside areas with smaller towns and lower average living costs.