Is the US study abroad application different from study abroad applications to other destinations? Yes, in many ways it is! So how can you improve your study abroad application for a US university, What are the important distinguishing features of a US Application? These are the questions I am going to address in this blog. I am excited about writing this blog because as an academic I have lived and researched in the US for multiple years. I have been faculty at Georgetown and American Universities, Washington DC (2009—2017) For the past 10 years, I have helped students to apply for grad programs including MBA, and other Masters’ programs.
US University Applications Important Facts
Let’s begin with some important facts:
- Most US universities have a clear timeline for accepting students in Fall intake (classes begin in early September) or Spring intake (classes begin in January). This flexibility may not be available in other Study Abroad destinations.Unlike study abroad applications for eg. In UK, where undergraduate admissions are through a centralized UCAS, every US university or college has its separate process and criteria for acceptance.
Tip: You need to focus carefully on the specific requirements of each university you apply to.
- US universities give considerable importance to the overall personality of the candidate.
- Grades and GPA are important but a student with above-average grades who can also display how he/she is exceptional in other activities can secure admission alongside someone with outstanding grades.
- US universities are wide-ranging: there are private universities and there are State Universities. The latter has lower fees. The names will help you to distinguish. Here is an example: “New York University” (private) vs “State University of New York”.
- Many US universities require a Personal Statement; a Personal Essay or a Statement of Purpose. All of this art is about your unique journey of growth. They are supposed to demonstrate your qualities as a learner – whether from success or setbacks.
Thus, For Acceptance to any US university Application, your Profile matters!
How Can you Improve your US University Applications?
Here are some helpful steps to accomplish this. These tips will help in the process of undergraduate as well as, graduate school applications to US universities.
- Do extensive research and choose the study program you wish to pursue. Take the help of a mentor or counsellor to brainstorm if you are confused.
- After you are sure about the study program you wish to pursue, create a shortlist of the institutions you wish to target in the US.
- Do extensive research on each US university. Pay special attention to the university’s Mission Statement. Do they care about diversity? International students? Innovation or a growth mindset? What is important for them? etc.
- Note down the qualities each university is looking for.
- Now refer to this list of keywords when you are building your profile.
- Build your story by weaving your accomplishments and showing how they reflect the qualities that the university cares about. Select the experiences which reflect growth, resilience and optimism in your personality
- Use these stories (of personal experiences) to craft your profile.
Your Story will have different aspects depending on the experiences you have had at different stages of your life. The experiences you talk about can be about social relationships ( with peers, and colleagues), and your academic life at school/ college. Or your internship/ workplace experiences which may have posed challenges, helped you to grow or learn from unexpected setbacks
TIP: From the notes, you have taken from the university website, choose to focus on two or three university priorities and relate those to your own story. This is how your application will demonstrate that there is a good ‘fit’ between yourself and what the university desires in an ideal candidate.
Is LORs Important for US University Applications?
YES! Your LOR (Letter of Reference) is very important because it tells the admission committee about you from the perspective of someone who is your referee.
Tip: Make sure that your referee understands that the LOR should include specific references about your achievements and your personality as a learner.
US universities lay a lot of emphasis on the holistic profile of the student. This is why your ‘Story’ needs to be strong. This will power your ‘Statement of Purpose’ or ‘Personal Statement’.Good Luck with your US University Applications! We will be back next Friday with another amazing blog from Dr.Maina Chawla Singh. Till then, if you have any questions or suggestions, just drop us a comment and we will get back to you. Want to study abroad? Our Leverage Edu experts are ready to assist you in narrowing down the best course and university options according to your interests and preferences.