Applying as an International Student
CollegeAdvisor.com (formerly Bullseye Admissions) presents its webinar on Applying as an International Student in a 60-minute presentation and Q&A with a Bullseye Advisor. Our presenter will provide information about assessing a school community, researching resources for international students, standing out as an international student, and more. Our advisor will share their experiences as an international applicant to help you with your own application process.
2020-08-09 Applying as an International Student Webinar
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to the both side missions webinar on applying as an international student. My name is Saria and I’ll be your presenter today. This is our sixth session of our August slip in our series. So orients everyone with the webinar, timing and different chat tabs. I’ll start off with a presentation then not answer some of your questions.
You, so you could put your questions in the Q and a section whenever you want. You could also download our slides in the handouts tab so that you could refer to them any time after the webinar. Lily is also here for tech support. So feel free to reach out to her directly. If you have any tech issues.
So I’m just going to start off by introducing myself. As I said, my name is Saria. I work as a paralegal at an immigration law firm in Boston. That means that I’m an assistant to the attorneys. And I am hoping to go to law school sometime in the next two years. I went to Boston college, which is a[00:01:00] Catholic school in the Boston area.
I studied Islamic civilization and societies, and I was there on a merit scholarship as a Gabelli presidential scholar. Before college I was raised in the U S until I was 11, so I’m an American citizen. And my parents are from Lebanon. My mom is an American citizen though. At 11 we left the country and we moved around a lot in high school.
I was studying in Spain, in Madrid. So that’s where I applied to college from. And even in, in the U S throughout my whole education, I was educated in French public schools. So I had never gone to an American school before going to Boston college. So just to touch a little bit on my personal application experience I applied to 11 schools.
I got into eight and I chose Boston college because I got a merit based scholarship there. And because I felt like it fit all my criteria. In particular, I was looking for a school on the east coast because most of my family lives in [00:02:00] Europe or in the middle east. I want it to be in our near a big city.
I want it to be also near an airport. That for me was really important so that my family could come visit me easily. However, I didn’t want a school with a campus. So a lot of the city schools like NYU or B, you there’ll be very much scattered throughout the city. And I was very much looking for that campus experience.
I didn’t want a school that was too smaller, too big. So between 4,000 and 10,000 students, and I wanted a school that had a strong focus on the social sciences, because that was my area of interest. So political science, international relations, and middle Eastern. That’s why I tended to shy away from schools that were overly sciency or techie.
So I like everyone. I had, my strengths and my weaknesses and my application. I would say my strengths were my academics. I had really good grades in school. So that obviously helped me a lot in my application. I felt like I had a unique background having moved around a lot and having leveraged my experiences in my professional and academic interests.
And I was also a pretty good [00:03:00] writer. So I was able to write stronger assays based on that. I did, however, have a few weaknesses in particular, my standardized testing scores weren’t that strong. They were definitely under the average for the school that I was applying to. In addition, my extracurriculars also warrant, I would say, as robust as that of American students, just because in the environment I was in, they didn’t really offer many extracurriculars.
So those were my weaknesses and I’ll explain how I overcame those hurdles throughout the college application. So we put together a step-by-step guide for you. There are eight different steps that I think as an international student, you should be looking out for. But just before we get started, I’m going to send you guys a quick poll.
So start polling. The question is, does your high school offer support for applying to American colleges?[00:04:00]
Okay. Great. Thanks so much for answering that. So it was really half and half, which is interesting. Whether you go to a school that offers support for international students is pretty important and will determine whether you’ll need, extra support outside of your school, if you want to go to an American college, just because the process is very complicated and competitive.
So that would be beneficial. So the first thing you should focus on, and obviously this is the most important thing. It often gets overshadowed by all the other stuff you need to do to go to American colleges like essays and extracurriculars is your academic performance. So obviously academics should be your top, top priority.
You shouldn’t let the other things get in the way of that. I understand that maybe a lot of you do not go to an American or international school that offers, [00:05:00] the IB or APS. So just try your best to thrive within the system that you’re in. American colleges, aren’t expecting you to go to American or international school.
So do not worry about that. However, when it does come to converting your grades every school works differently. So I would recommend reaching out to the embassy or consulate in the United States to see if they have an official great conversion system. So what I did is that I reached out to the French embassy in the United States and they gave me an official conversion system that I then gave to the administrators at my school.
And that’s how they converted me. Your school will have to send your grades directly. And many sense if you’re the first person applying to American colleges, they might not know how to do that. So you could help the administrators. With that process, I know that, I had to be in contact with the administration a lot when they were sending in my grades because they just weren’t, they just didn’t know how to do it.
The second thing that you should start preparing a standardized testing, and I know this is changing a lot due to the spread of COVID-19.[00:06:00] A lot of schools have gone test optional or test flexible. So if you’re applying into 20, 20, 20, 21 application cycle, you should first and foremost decide whether you want to take the test or not.
You should look into the schools that you’re applying to and see whether the test is optional or not. And whether they have different policies for international students versus American studies. I know for me, another thing that you have to take into consideration is that the test might not be offered in the city where you’re living.
For example, I had to take the act and travel to a different city to do that might limit you do, especially during the spread of of COVID-19. So you should just, do research on whether the test is offered in your area and whether your schools require it and decide based off of that.
If you do decide to take the test the first thing you’ll have to do is decide whether you want to take the act or the sat. When you start preparing, I would just look at, practice tests from both and see which ones do you better. I did the big mistake of [00:07:00] just focusing on the sat from the beginning, because I guess that’s the one that’s the most well known and I wasn’t doing well on that at all.
So I, I had the switch last minute to the act, cause that was a test that student you mentioned better. So it would be good from the beginning to look at both tests and see which one is better for you. In addition, If you want to take the sat subject tests as international students, you could very much leverage the language tests.
Those, some of those little tend to be very easy for you. You could also look into the math history science ones and see if the content is similar to what is taught in your school. So that might be an option for you too. And in general, you shouldn’t worry if your scores aren’t as high as that of an American student, or, as the average has put down in your school, mine were definitely below average.
And I still got into most of the schools that I applied to. American colleges are very much aware that for students, especially that don’t go to an American school abroad, there are certain hurdles in getting a good score on these standardized tests. So do not worry about that, but at the same time, you should [00:08:00] know, try your best to get a good grade.
And, I would recommend also taking a class or getting a tutor to help you out with that. If that’s accessible as I said, many schools are going test optional for domestic students. And also for international students you could look this up online and you could check the schools. You could keep on checking these schools throughout the year because these things might change.
there you go, and we put together a quick list for you all to for all the schools that we compiled that are currently going test optional for for international students. So you should check on the web, but you should also check on their website. Cause because this might change. For example, at Boston college was just the school I went to.
They have become test optional for the sat and act for both international and domestic students. However, they’re still requiring English language tests for international students which we will get to in just a second. [00:09:00] So I’m going to send you. A link so that you could take a look at they’re like you should have gotten a link just now, so that you can take a look at the list that we compiled for you.
So I’m just going to do our next poll, which is how many of you go to an English language school? Because this will determine whether you’ll have to take the English language test. So you’re going to get a pool and just a few seconds.
Okay. Great. So I see that most of you go to a school that at least has some level of English instruction. I personally went to a school that had [00:10:00] zero English instruction. So for the few of us here that went to those types of schools, not to worry you’ll just have to take an English language test for enrollments.
Every school has different policies as to whether you need to take the English test. Even students who go to schools where another language is taught, you might still have to take this test. It very much depends on the school. If you go to a school that has no English instruction, but you are an American citizen and you can make an argument that you grew up speaking English, you might not have to take the test either.
I just took it out of convenience. If you decide to take the test, these are they accept a variety of English language tests. We listed the three that are the most popular, how much you need to study, obviously depends on your English level, but even if you are a very good English speaker, I would very much recommend just studying a little bit beforehand and familiarizing yourself with the test.
It would be a shame to have to take it again because you just weren’t prepared. Each test measures pretty similar things, but they do have different grading systems. So these are you have outlined here, the different grading systems [00:11:00] and schools have different requirements for what is unaccepted double test score.
So these are the BC requirements and then put together a chart for you to see what your score means for the different tests. I assume that most of these schools would at least want you to have a quote unquote, good school. To be able to enroll and to be able to keep up with the classes they, some schools might offer additional English support when you arrive, if your score was on the lower level because they, wouldn’t want to stop you from going to American university, if your English isn’t as good.
So the fourth thing that you should keep in mind when applying to American universities is extracurriculars. And I know that this the presence of extracurriculars at schools is a very cultural American phenomenon at other I’d most schools in the world. There isn’t such a strong focus on extracurriculars.
So I know at my school, for example, the only extracurriculars were soccer, [00:12:00] basketball. And theater. And if you weren’t involved in those three things and you weren’t involved in extracurriculars. So I had to get creative in what I was doing outside of school, just to, show the, for first of all, for my own intellectual stimulation.
But also just to show the often the admissions officers that I was involved outside of class. So some things that you could do, if you don’t go to a school that offers a lot of extracurriculars is volunteering outside of school. That’s always a great option, look into causes or organizations that inspire you in your area.
And you could become involved in those. You could join a sports club or a sports team. Outside of your school, you could start a community initiative. That’s probably the best option. And just to show your level of engagement in the community you could also get involved in student government. My school had very limited student government, but I suppose I still managed to get involved.
So I was personally involved in model UN, which I’m very lucky that my school had I, I volunteered at an orphanage and I taught English [00:13:00] there. So that was one thing I was involved in. I was involved in the very limited student government that existed, and I also did various summer activities. So if it’s difficult for you to get involved outside of class during the school year, taking advantage of the summer is a great way to show universities that you are involved outside of class.
So the fifth thing you should do when you have all of that down is start to research colleges. You could look up, we put a link here for international student friendly colleges. This means, schools that have a larger international populations, schools that have more resources for international students stuff like that schools that are need-blind for international students in terms of financial aid.
So we put down some schools here. These are, very competitive schools, but they are need blind for international students. So they would be good to look into. And here’s the list of colleges with large international student cohorts. This is obviously, this could be more or less important for some people.
Boston [00:14:00] college is unfortunately known for having a very small international student population. That’s not something that bothered me too much. But I know that could be a deterrent for some people. I know that it was a deterrent for my sister, for example, also got into BC and she wanted to go to another school with a more robust international student population.
So we also put together some links for you in the slides where you could look up a more extensive list of schools with big international student populations. So we’re going to go to our last poll before continuing the question is, do you know are you close to any family members or friends who went to American colleges?
okay, great. So I see we have a mix of responses. If you have friends or family members who go to these American colleges, they could offer various types of support when you’re applying. If you don’t, again, not to worry at all you could look at different sources to support you during this application process.
So the reason why I was asking this question is because it’d be important for your essays to get people to. Help you out with them and, take a second look at them. So there are two types of essays that you’ll have to complete in the college application process. The first is the main common app essay that was actually a webinar on this topic around a month ago.
So you can take a look at that recording. This is a 650 word essay basically on any [00:16:00] topic that you want to talk about, they provide a few prompts for you, but you also have the option to write about whatever you want to write about. And this is really an essay in which you show colleges who you are and you show them your passion.
So it’s actually a really fun essay to write. You should say if you’re applying for. To enroll in 2021, you should be preparing that essay around now. The second type of essay are the secondary school specific essays. So each school will have a few extra essays for you to complete. Some schools will have no extra essays, but most of them have at least one or two.
A common one is why do you want to go to this school in particular? Another common one is, to expand on your personality or an extracurricular you did outside of class or one of your passions. American schools put a lot of value on personal narrative, which I was personally at first uncomfortable with, because I went to a French school and they don’t really put a value on that.
Also I had to learn how to, be comfortable with that. So that’s why I was saying that it would be great to get your family members, friends to take a look at those essays, just to make sure that [00:17:00] your voice is really coming out as genuinely as possible. It would also be important to get strangers or mentors to look at your essay.
Just to take another look in terms of structure and grammar and all of that. So the seventh point that I want to address is financial aid and scholarships. As we all know, American schools or American colleges are extremely expensive, so a lot of us will need to look for a need based or merit based financial aid.
Unfortunately if you’re not an American citizen, it is quite difficult to get financial aid. Very few non-citizens qualify for FAFSA or federal assistance. However, a lot of schools have specific grants that are both need-based and merit-based that international students qualify for. So it would be really great to look into that.
I, for example, went on a merit based scholarship to Boston college which international students are eligible to apply for. So you could ask me more questions about that specific scholarship. If you’re interested in that. And I put together a list of other schools that offer merit based or [00:18:00] need based assistance for international students or that international students are eligible.
So here is a list of the relevant ones and you’ll have the slides after. So you can take a look at that. The eighth part, this is probably the funnest part or the interviews. Back in the day when I was applying, they were all in-person interviews. So whether you would have an interview with depends on what their I’m an alum who was conducting interviews as present in your city.
Now due to COVID-19, I’m imagining that those introduced will be virtual. I may be wrong, but I assume that they will all be virtual. So I guess it won’t really depend on whether an alumnus present in your city. These interviews are not mandatory, but they are really great way to get to learn more about the school and to get to show your personality to the school.
And they’re usually very fun and informal. They’re not serious interviews. They’re very, it’s just very much like an hour long conversation with an alum. I recommend doing them if they’re available to you. I think it’s probably a good thing to show that you’re willing to do an [00:19:00] interview. So I would recommend that if it’s available to you.
So in conclusion, my biggest advice would be to get started early on the process. As you may imagine, or as you may already know, the college application process in the United States is a lot more complicated, competitive, and time-consuming than that of other countries schools have different standards for international students though.
So do not worry if you know your grades aren’t American grades, or if you’re not performing as well on standardized testing, or if there are no clubs available at your school they very much take that into consideration when you’re applying. However, you do want the strongest college application possible.
And especially for those of us that don’t go to American or international school, is that it offers support for people want to go to American colleges. I would very much recommend getting a mentor to help you through the process. I personally had someone helping me through the process and that’s a service that bull’s eye offers that I would very much [00:20:00] recommend not only for everyone, but especially for students that don’t go to schools that offer support for applying to American colleges.
So now we’re just going to have a quick Q and a session. I know some of you started submitting some questions, so I’m just gonna look through these real quick
and feel free to submit questions whenever you want.
So the first question is this one I’m an international student and I got a merit based scholarships. So sometimes for these schools, you need to really look into the website to see whether they offer scholarships. Sometimes it’s not on their main college application sorry, not on their main financial aid website.
You’ll have to look dig into a little bit deeper into the school’s websites of Boston college. Like most merit based scholarships I think are available to international students, including two yes, so [00:21:00] most schools that have merit based scholarships are available to international students because it doesn’t really rely on federal aid.
So I would just look into the school. So websites a little bit deeper to see if they offer that. Another question that we got is can I take my sat in the senior year? You absolutely can. If you’re trying to apply in the first round, I would try to get those scores in as soon as possible, so I guess in Lily, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think if you’re trying to apply in November, you should get them in September, October at the latest. But it is possible to take your sat at your senior year. If you’re just doing the general rounds, you could also do that in November and December.
So here we have a question I’m in the class of 20, 20 any tips or what should I start with? So it’s great that you’re getting started early. I think that’s really important. The first thing that I was doing is getting ready for the [00:22:00] standardized testing. I personally took a really an embarrassingly long time to study because, and thank God I started early because I was having a lot of trouble with the standardized testing.
Right now a lot of them are test optional, but I assume that. One COVID comes to an end. I assume that many of them will revert back to requiring these scores. So I would recommend starting to study for the standardized testing. Funnily enough, I am hoping to enroll in the class of 2022 for law school.
So I’m starting right now to study for the LSI, which is the test required for law school. So I think now would be a good time to study for that now would also be a good time if you’re not too involved in extracurriculars to take a look at that. I think those are the two main things that I would let’s see.
What’s the one more question.[00:23:00]
So here’s an interesting one on scholarships. Can merit based scholarships cover full tuition? Yes. My merit based scholarship covered all of my tuition. However, it will depend on the scholarship. A lot of scholarships only offer, half of tuition or a portion of tuition. I’m imagining that anyhow.
Is welcome for, scholarships, but you will have to do a little bit more research on the specific scholarships to see how much of the tuition they cover. We’re just going to take a little break right now, and I wanted to tell you a little bit more about the services that bulls-eye offers.
So Bullseye has two advising plans. They have the starter plan and the scholar plan. They’re both monthly subscriptions where you get matched with an advisor of your choice and you get one or two hour of one-on-one advice in each month. I would really recommend this for those who don’t go to schools that have support for the American application process.
The advisors help you with college lists, your college [00:24:00] essays, your scholarship apps, basically anything you need help with no matter where you are in the college process. So whether you are enrolling in 2022 or 2021 they could help you out with that. For example, I would know a lot about the international student application process.
I could help you out with that. Other advisors are specialized in other areas. So last year, our students who worked with both sides, advisors had a lot of success. They got into every Ivy league school, they got into every top 25 school in the country. We have really great reviews. So I think this is a really great and affordable option.
If you’re looking to have some one on one mentorship through this process.
So I’m just going to go back to some of these questions that you submitted. This is a good question. So where do I see the essay prompts? So for the common app, the essay. Don’t change much from year to year. So you could actually look up common app essay [00:25:00] prompts right now, and you could see the essay prompts available.
One essay prompt is actually just write about whatever you want. So you can really just, it’s a really free 650 words in which she could express your personality. Whichever prompt you choose. I would just recommend thinking about what you want. The colleges relates to know the most about yourself and what’s important to you.
What inspires you, and that should be your main driver for the common app essay. Once you start your common app account and you select schools to go on your list, they’ll show ’em the prompts available. I’m only, I’m not sure if those are available yet, I could be wrong, but you could also look on the school’s website and they might put down the prompts for the 2021 application cycle.
Yeah. And sorry, while you’re finding the next question. I think they are all available on like the common equity coalition app. They usually come out like in July or so. And both is actually going to have essay guides on a bunch of schools, BFS. You guys can have every single day. So we’re going to [00:26:00] have some guys who will cover how to answer those supplemental questions.
This is an interesting question. So I’m currently a rising senior and a half a million in the U S for the past three years, since freshman year. So would you have info on whether I have to take the English proficiency test? I imagine that no, if you go to an American high school, you won’t have to take that test.
So this also applies to international students who go to American schools abroad. I don’t think you have to take the test, but obviously this depends on the school you’re applying to. So I would just do research on the schools that you’re interested in going to, but if you went to an American high school, I highly doubt that you’ll have to take that test.
But again, every school has different policies. So it just do research on that. I have so many questions.
This is an interesting question that I think is on everyone’s mind. Do you think not submitting the act or [00:27:00] the sat will affect the final decision of whether or not to accept an international student? Unfortunately I’m having a lot of trouble answering this question. I know it’s really the question everyone’s minds for both domestic and international students, whether or not submitting to score will affect the final decision and whether they’ll look, more poorly upon an application where the scores are not submitted.
I don’t know if Lily you’ll have more insight on this. To be honest, I, if I were a college admissions officer, I wouldn’t be a lot more lenient with international students in particular, just because a lot of these tests just aren’t offered in your area. For the act I had to travel five hours to take that test because it just wasn’t available in my city.
And so during a pandemic, I highly doubt that they’ll want you to do that. I don’t know if Lily, you have more insight on it. On that question. I’m just having, it’s really the question that I’m once mine. And it’s the hardest question to answer, unfortunately. Yeah. So I guess while you’re looking for the next question, I can speak about that a little bit.
And we do have a session by the CEO of method test prep, and he talks [00:28:00] about being test-optional a little bit. I think the main thing to note is that being test-optional is not the same as being test blind. When a school has test mine, they don’t look at your test scores at all. So that way it doesn’t really matter whether or not you submit your scores, but when a school is test optional, I guess they’ll look at the scores if you decide to send them in.
But I think it’s up to you to gauge whether or not you and your score is within material that you want to send it for. Otherwise you might want to consider just not sending it. But I think also, I’m sorry. You’re right. In terms of like their COVID 19 situation, schools are gonna be a lot more lenient this year, especially.
If you don’t have scores ready, that’s going to be totally okay. So the, here was another interesting question, which I addressed earlier. Is there an alternative if my school does not offer IB or AP classes, what could strengthen my college application? So I went to a school that did not offer any of those classes.
I went to a French public school abroad. I would just so did AB or sorry, IB or AP classes really just shows that you are thriving within the system that you’re in and that you’re taking the most challenging options. So what I would do, [00:29:00] whatever school you go to is to try to take those more, more challenging classes and the college admissions officer, that’s going to be looking at your application.
They should be aware of, what the school system is like in your area. I tried to take the most, I tried to take, extra classes. I tried to take the most challenging routes. I just tried to get the best grades I could within my rounds. So again, not to worry if you don’t have AB or as IB or AP classes, I’m going to confuse.
But just try to do the best within the system that you’re in and try to be like a quote unquote above average student, because the admissions officers that are looking at your application, they should be aware of that. I see, so having a lot of questions about the BC scholarships, which I love to see but this is applies to a lot of scholarships. So this is the BC scholarship have a special application. No, it does not. You just need to apply early, so early action and you will be eligible for the process.
You might need to click a box that says I am interested in being considered for the scholarship, [00:30:00] but a lot of scholarships do have separate applications. So I would look into all the scholarships available to you and just make sure that you are. Just make sure that you’re doing the right things to be considered for the scholarship.
A lot of them will just give merit based aid because of like your application. A lot of them, you need to answer extra essay questions or apply early in order to be considered. So just make sure that you’re looking into the application processes for all these merit based scholarships as thoroughly as possible to make sure that you don’t.
Yes. Anything so we could answer probably one more question. Oh, this is an interesting question. Okay. If you don’t mind, would you be able to share the topic you wrote about for your common app, personal essay? So the comment I, personal essay should really be about the thing or the thing that you did in high school that you’re the most proud of or writing a personal narrative about your[00:31:00] personality.
I personally chose to write about something that I was proud of that I did in high school. So the summer before I want to my senior year I participated in a peace-building camp with students from the middle east and south Asia. So I wrote about my experience there because it was a very formative experience that also informed my, my passion for international relations and middle Eastern studies and I eventually majored in Islamic civilization and society.
So it all rounded up to a nice narrative. You could also write, so you could write about a club that you participated in, you could write about your family history. You could write about your identity. You could really write about whatever you want which is agree, but you do want to write you do want the colleges to get a sense of your personality, and you do want to show colleges that you have some sense of urgency to to do better in your community or some sense of urgency to be proactive.
So I think having a balance between those two things is really great. [00:32:00] So again, you could work with me or with any other advisor there’s a list of all the advisors available. If you want an advisor that is more specialized in a certain topic, you could filter them out that way. And that’s how you could, do a little bit more research on our advisors.
Sorry. Yeah, the session is actually supposed to go until 11:00 AM. Just a heads up. So I could keep on answering a few more questions.
So let’s see here. So if I go to an American school, but got a good score on the TOEFL, should I still submit it? Yeah. Why not? You should. I am an American citizen. I probably could’ve gotten away with not submitting a score. But I still submitted my score. So if you got a good score, if you’re proud of it might as well submit it.
If you already took the test, let’s see.[00:33:00]
So this is an interesting question.
So how do I choose the right fit college? So you should, first of all, filter it out. What colleges are the right. So first of all, make a list of what you are looking for in a college. If you went back to my slide, where I talked about my college application process I filtered out the size of the school, where I wanted the school to be located what I wanted the school to have a strong reputation.
And for example, BC is really strong in the humanities and the social sciences, but not very strong when it comes to the sciences. And for the other schools, it will be the opposite. So that for me was important. Maybe trying to, so a lot of our advisors went to different colleges. And so you could, organize an advising session during which you could talk with them about their experience there.
Getting personal narratives on certain [00:34:00] colleges is really, could be really effective in choosing what your favorite college is. Let’s see another question.
Here we go. So what books do you recommend for the sat? I would, so the sat has an official book, so I’d recommend getting that, that book might also be online. You may have to buy it, but they’ll have, official practice tests that you could take a look at. So buying the official book, I would say is the best way to get started.
Afterwards you could you could, look at specific guides online or like private guides that may be helpful, but starting out with the official book is the best way to go about it. I would say.
[00:35:00] Very interesting question. So did you apply for early action? Are there advantages of applying early? But with present context is not possible because we can’t fulfill all requirements. That college requires. So I ended apply early. I applied both the Boston college and Georgetown early action. Georgetown folly.
Funnily enough was actually my top choice. But I ended up getting the scholarship at BC. So that’s what I ended up going for. Are there advantages to applying early if you’re really set? So there’s a difference between early action and early decision. If you apply early decision, you want. Legally obligated to go to that school.
I don’t know how strictly that’s enforced, but I know that it’s, it’d be a really bad idea to not go to that school if you apply ed. So if you’re really set on that school on a specific school and you apply early, you do have a slightly higher chance of getting in. I don’t know how statistically how much more you’re likely to get in, but it is easier to get in if you apply ed.
And you’ll have that out of the way. You could have a fun, holiday [00:36:00] vacation, knowing that you already got into school. So that’s a great feeling. Early action usually doesn’t make a big difference statistically, but it’s just nice to get started early on the process if if you have everything ready.
So to get that done you were saying that with the present context, it’s not possible because you can’t fulfill all the requirements. So if you’re talking about standardized testing that’s not, as we were saying for a lot of schools, it’s not required so you don’t have to worry about that.
If you’re talking about. The English language tests. I don’t, I personally am unsure about, whether they’re conducting those tests, I guess it depends on the country and how prevalent COVID is. If it’s impossible to get everything ready by November, that you could just submit it at the end of December, it’s not gonna make, many students just don’t apply early and that’s fine.
And they still get into a bunch of great schools. If you’re really set on going to specific schools, I would really recommend looking into the early decision option because you will have a higher chance of getting in. And and yeah, you’ll just have it out of the way if you get in, which is awesome.
And if you get into school early decision, it doesn’t mean [00:37:00] that you can’t apply to other schools later on if you don’t get in. So I think that would be a really good option.
This is an interesting question. As an international student, we have all sorts of other exams going on and the process of applying to university in our home country that we need to prepare for. So what did you do to better handle them both? Do you have any tips? So it was challenging, I guess the first half of my senior year, it was pretty challenging because I had to juggle doing well in my classes and also doing all this extra stuff for American universities.
I would just recommend getting organized and not putting too much pressure on yourself, but also doing your best to Excel in both. It is challenging, especially since schools do look at your grades even after you got in. So just because you are applying for American schools, doesn’t mean that you should especially for the first half of senior year, they will receive those grades.
So it’s still important for you to try to do well. It is a challenge, but just, getting started [00:38:00] early on the American college application process so that you’re not overwhelmed, I think is the best way of doing that. Taking advantage of the summer to get started on your essays would be a really good option so that you’re not stuck having to write all these essays in November, December.
Cause that could be very useful.
Okay. So we can talk about more my college application process. What schools did you apply to? As I said, I applied early to Georgetown in DC. I could list the schools that I got into in the schools I did and I got into Columbia. You can brown. Georgetown BC Barnard, Northwestern, Middlebury. So those are the schools that I got into they’re all schools on the east coast.
Pretty much all fit my criteria. The schools I didn’t get into, or I got wait-listed at Tufts and at duke and at wash U I guess actually I applied to 12 schools, not 11, and then I got rejected at Swarthmore. So I got [00:39:00] rejected from one school. Wait-listed at three and I got into eight schools. They all fit my criteria.
I would have been happy going to any one of those schools. Yes, you could see, I got into more competitive schools in Boston college, but I got into their scholarship program which not only was a huge help financially, but they also offered you a bunch of different resources that other students wouldn’t have.
So for me, I think it was the best option.
So for the international students apply to public schools that do not give scholarships or financial aid. Yes. You should, many international students go to public schools. Even if you won’t be eligible for financial aid, they’ll still look at your application. Just like any other students.
So you won’t be put at a disadvantage in that regard. Even if they might not offer financial aid and public schools may have specific grants available for international students. So you should definitely not shy away from applying to a public school. The only thing that seeks to [00:40:00] keep into account is that the experience will be different.
These universities are generally, generally have a very large population. They could go up to 40,000 students. So that’s obviously very different from going to a school with under 10,000 students. So just keep that in mind. Some people love have loved going to massive schools.
Some people would much rather go to schools with live less than 4,000 students. So just very much depends on what you’re looking for, but you shouldn’t shy away from applying to public school.
How much of the expense is financial aid weight off? So need-based financial aid. They usually look at your financial situation and see what you could afford to pay. So I guess it very much, if you’re going for need based, it very much depends on how much, what your family income is. Unfortunately they, not all schools are able to meet that.
So it very much depends some school. If you’re going for scholarships some schools will waive off the whole scholarship regardless of your need. So for the scholarship that I went [00:41:00] to everyone had the tuition waved off. Some schools, some students had extra financial needs scholarships for, their housing and their food.
If their family income was lower. So it very much depends on the school you’re applying to and the scholarship you’re applying to of how much of the expenses are waived.
so this is also a VC specific question. I’m glad summer. I’m glad so many of you are interested in VC. The C is based on a Jesuit education curriculum. Could you please explain what this is and what differences this makes in the major you graduate with? So many schools in the U S are religiously based.
There are Catholic schools, Christian, other Christian schools, Jewish schools, Muslim schools. Usually, the degree you end up with is the same. They won’t, just because it’s a religious school doesn’t mean that the degree has a different weights. It just means that your your [00:42:00] experience there may be different.
So that is something that you should take into consideration, whether you want to go to religious school or not. When you’re applying to college going to, I’m not a religious person. So going to a Jesuit school for me had a lot of advantages and disadvantage. In particular, I was the biggest advantage was that I was very interested in theology, actually minored in theology and their theology department was amazing.
And it just I had various opportunities to take advantage of, my spiritual experience there. Some disadvantages is that the administration tends to be more conservative, especially in terms of LGBTQ students, in terms of sexual health. They tend to be a little more conservative than other schools.
So that’s something that you should take into consideration when you’re looking at various schools, a lot of the top schools like Georgetown, Boston college, Notre Dame think Swarthmore is also a religious school. So just keep that. I don’t know if really you could think of other schools that are religious, but there are a lot of them, for sure.[00:43:00]
Yeah. Some others that I can think of, I think Loyola in Chicago is Jesuit. And then also like Notre Dame, But those are the big name ones. If you just Google Jesuit schools or Catholic schools, you probably find a bunch of them. Yeah.
So is there an application for you in applying to American colleges also, when is the best time to work on or submit my college application? So yes, there is an application feeds around a hundred dollars for every school, which adds up to very big sum. If you’re applying to around 10 to 15 schools with which students do I am unsure whether internet or non-American citizens apply are eligible for financial aid when applying to schools.
I know a lot of American students have fee waivers when submitting the applications for international students, we could we’ll have to look into that because I’m not sure if that’s federal based financial aid or not really. Do you have any more insight on it? Yeah. For a few waivers, it, I looked this up earlier.
I’m actually depends up like from the [00:44:00] school. So you have to check with each school and see if you can, if you’re eligible for a few waiver. So I guess I would look at your family’s income and then try to determine whether or not you will be eligible. And then if you think you are just contact all of the schools that you’re applying to, but I know it’s more of a tedious process.
It’s not as streamlined, but I guess that’s just the process for getting a fee waiver for applying. Yeah. So you’ll have, yeah. I don’t know if it depends on the school in particular or if it or if it’s federal based or not, but yeah, it would just have to do, a little bit of research on how much your family makes.
And then from that determine whether you’re eligible for financial aid.
So another VC question, which I was getting what advantages do we have as international students in VC? As I was mentioning, Boston college does not have. The most international student body it’s around five or 6%, which is pretty low. So that this advantages I would say is, feeling that you’re a minority which is never fun.
I also, I can’t really speak to the full international [00:45:00] experience at Boston college because I am an American citizen and I lived in the U S until I was 11. I know for a lot of international students, the experience can be a little I guess that depends on your personality of whether you want.
Want to stay with international students are not many international students loved it. Many international students wish that they, went to schools with larger international populations. I guess the advantage is that you stand out more, which, you could see as an advantage or as a disadvantage, whether you’re a minority or whether you like standing out more.
So I guess it really much depends on your personality. Whether going to BC as an international student is a positive thing or not. I completely understand international students who would rather go to a school like BU that has a very big international student population. And I know a lot of international students at VCU would have rather gone to those schools, but many international students at BC also really loved it there and are happy that they went to a school like BC with a more quote unquote like American experience.
I would say.[00:46:00]
So another question how much harder is it for international students to get accepted to competitive college rather than a us student? As I say, I think the whole college application process for international students is separate. So I don’t think they released the exempt, quote unquote admissions numbers for international versus American students.
But I wouldn’t say it’s harder or easier because they do take into consideration your personal background when you’re applying to schools. And so they don’t really put you in the same pot as American students. However it is harder and the fact that you have to jump through all these extra loopholes as an international student and do more preparing on the side if you’re prepared and if start on the sat early, start on your college essays early in all of that it shouldn’t be.
Much harder than that of American student. I would just say that the process is very different and is a little bit unfair in the fact that it’s harder to get financial aid. You need to take the [00:47:00] standardized tests when you’re schools don’t prepare you for that. Yeah,
This is an interesting question. I don’t have sat subject because in my country, what can I do? The last thing I want to tell you is to travel internationally. It’s another country to take these subject tests before the pandemic that might have been necessary. But I think now, especially with COVID-19, should just not take those tests.
I imagine. If they’re not even available in your country, I don’t, I couldn’t possibly imagine the admission. Officer’s looking at you poorly for not taking those subject tests. I don’t know if the sat or act the general test is available in your country. Yeah don’t worry about having to travel internationally during a pandemic to take those tests.
There definitely being a lot more lenient. So this is an interesting question. [00:48:00] So as an international student, there is no support for applying to an American university. Is there any advice on how to write essays? So I also went to school with no support for international students. I went to a school where I didn’t have to write in English.
So I had actually had a lot of trouble writing in English when I started it. I would very much recommend working with a advisor to help you write those essays. They could guide you on how to write those essays more, most effectively, they could proofread your essays. And bulls-eye offers a lot of great advisors that are willing to help you out with that process.
To write your essays. If you’re a, if you’re wishing to enroll in 2021, I would start your common app now just to make sure that you’re not overwhelmed with your regular coursework throughout the first semester. So let’s start on that now. And I would try your best to find an advisor who could help you out with that, because it is, if, for example, I hadn’t met any friends who were applying to American colleges in high school who were very smart very bright students, but they didn’t get, they didn’t have an advisor and they had [00:49:00] no outside help because my school didn’t offer that.
And they had a lot of trouble getting into schools just because they weren’t able to leverage their application as well as they could have. So I would very much recommend if that’s accessible to you or getting an advice or just to help you personally through that process. This is an interesting question. So I’m living in the U S and on a dependent visa. Would I be considered international student if I apply out of state? So what’s interesting about that is that every school has a different definition for what is an international student at BC. I was not considered an international student because I was an American citizen, even though I lived outside of the us for a very long time.
And I never went to an American school. My sister who wants to Columbia was considered an international student just because she was applying from outside of the country. So every school has a different definition for what an international student is for. Not, I know at BC, I am pretty sure that non-citizens who lived in the U S were not considered [00:50:00] international students.
So many of them were eligible for financial aid. And, but they didn’t have the resources offered to international students that other students So if you apply out of, so I’m assuming you’re talking about a state school and you’re applying out of state for that. Is again, it would depend on the definition of an international student that the school has, whether you’d be considered an international student or not, I guess it would depends.
How long you were living in the country, how long your visa was valid for? I know I, BC I don’t think he would be considered an international student, but maybe at another school you would be.
So interesting. And how could I apply for a few waiver? I can’t get a waiver for the sat since I’m no longer. Sitting it due to COVID-19. So [00:51:00] for the fee waiver, if you’re talking about the fee waiver for applying to colleges I think it’s, it might be college specific on whether you’re eligible for a few waiver depending on your citizenship status and depending on your family income.
But I know that the sat and the act did offer fee waivers. If you’re not taking it anymore, then that’s moot. The college application process is unfortunately very expensive between all the standardized tests and all the different keys you have to pay for that. And then all the application fees, it does add up to very big some that is very unaccessible for a lot of families.
And it’s unfortunate that many schools don’t offer extra support. So it would just have to do research on the particular school. If there’s any question. I’m an 11th grader from South Africa when I applied for American university. So this is an interesting question for students who live in the Southern hemisphere.
I’m assuming that you were school year is from January to December or February to December. So there, so I’m pretty sure that you’ll need [00:52:00] to get, have your high school decree before applying, so you may need to have so if you graduate in December, you may need to wait until the next September to enroll.
You should, you really should start seriously preparing your college application the summer before you enroll. So if you’re enrolling in 2021, you should now be starting to prepare your essays and to get everything in order. So I would say a year is a pretty good timeline. It’s unfortunately, very long.
I remember for me, I was prepared. My college apps and all my friends who are just going to school in Spain or in France, were looking at me like I was like, why are you recruiting so early? Cause they’re also building their apps in April before enrolling, which I thought was very strange. Also, it’s just a very long time when unfortunately
this is an interesting question. What is the difference between college and university? So when you, so Boston college is a funny [00:53:00] name because it’s actually not a college. It’s a university is a school that has both, that also offers a graduate programs. And they tend to offer a lot more resources.
Some liberal, some colleges are just liberal arts colleges, which means that they’re only open to undergraduate students. So that’s also something that you should consider looking into is whether you want to go to liberal arts college. That’s only. Available for undergraduate students. They may not have the same resources as a university like Harvard, but at the same time, you’ll probably get more individualized attention at a small college.
So I’m going to answer one more question. So
classes in my local college, I’m a high school student. Can that help me with the applications? Yes. That’s a great example of how to leverage your how to strengthen your college applications. So getting creative like that, like taking extra classes at a local college is a great way of strengthening your application, especially if you don’t have many [00:54:00] extracurriculars available to you.
So it’s important to get creative, to see what is available to you outside of both of your high school. If they don’t have many resources available. So yeah that’s a great, that’s a great example of a good way to get involved. So finally, our next webinars, thank you so much all for coming. I hope that this was helpful for you.
I hope that we all learned something today. Our next webinar will be in two days on Tuesday, this will be another one of our ask and expert sessions. And for this session, we will cover navigating financial aid. So there are a lot of questions here about financial aid and scholarships. So I would highly recommend that you set up for that.
Normally our sessions are later in the evening, so please know that this session is at 5:00 PM Eastern time, which is earlier than normal. So thank you all so much for coming. It was great getting to know you today, and I hope you all have a great evening. Bye.[00:55:00]