STEP 2: Build a Strong Application
Remember the 886.000+ international students in the USA? What do you think it took for them to apply and be admitted? Let’s review some key points on planning, developing and submitting your application.
It is never too early to start your application. In between high school, exams, extracurriculars, test prep, university selection, EDMERICA workshops, essay drafting and obtaining the perfect recommendations, you’ll have your work cut out for you, whether you’re an energetic do-er or a meticulous planner. It is wise to allow 12-18 months between starting the application process and starting university (for example, if you want to apply during 12th grade, start planning the application at the latest during March-August of/after 11th grade). However, one application calendar doesn’t fit all. Contact us to plan your own application calendar!
You may apply to U.S. universities using early admission plans or regular ones. Deadlines for early plans are usually in November so that you receive the university’s response by mid-December. To apply regular decision, you usually have to get the application in during December-February (depending on each university you chose) so that the response arrives by April.
The Application Package
The U.S. higher education system is decentralized, meaning there is no national authority that regulates universities and their regulations. As long as it meets the high quality standards set by regional and national accrediting bodies, each U.S. university may decide on the specific ways it organizes the admissions process and administers its resources. Although admissions procedures and requirements for admission of international students vary, applications usually include the following items:
- Application form (university-specific or a versatile form like the Common Application, Universal Application, etc.);
- Official transcripts/educational records (“foaia matricolă/situația academică”), original and translation (don’t rush to the translator’s office before talking to us) – for academic years 9-11 if you are applying in the fall of your 12th grade;
- Standardized test scores (SATs/ACT, TOEFL/IELTS);
- Admissions essays: usually, one general and one/several that are university-specific;
- 1-4 letters of recommendation;
- Financial information, with a separate application for financial aid, if requested;
- Non-refundable application fee of $30-150/fee waiver request.
The holistic application includes quantitative and qualitative elements. This way, the universities you are targeting can get both objective and subjective insights into your preparation level, personality, and potential for future success. U.S. universities encourage academic performance, but they are also very interested in what you do with your spare time. Do you spend it in school preparing for competitions, academic or athletic? Do you write for a student publication? Write on your blog? Do an internship? Go to band practice? For the U.S. application, everything about you – especially if presented in the appropriate strategic manner – is relevant, whether you have decided on a prospective major or not. Herein lies one of the unique features of U.S. admissions: given proper timing, strategic planning and dedicated work, together we can craft an application that maximizes your chances at admission and funding!
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