How to prepare for admission to an American college: a step-by-step plan for a future student - ForumDaily
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How to prepare for admission to an American college: a step-by-step plan for a future student

Before the fall and winter college application deadlines arrive, potential students can tackle a few key challenges to avoid future stress. How to prepare for admission to a US college for everyone, reports USNews.

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Prospective students should be aware that the college application process has several levels and some may require more coordination and planning than others. To that end, experts say, the sooner a person can start training, the better.

“When we work with people on their college application, our goal is to have most of the application materials ready before senior year begins,” said Angela Warfield, principal consultant and founder of consulting firm Compass Academics.

Here's how to prepare for college.

Shorten the list of colleges

A successful college choice requires thoughtful research. You should take the time to study colleges during the summer to determine which colleges are right for you. You should strive to have a well-balanced list of colleges that includes expensive institutions, targeted institutions, and colleges that are more likely to accept you. Some refer to this latter group as the security schools.

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“I always encourage people to apply as early as possible,” says Matt Woodworth, founder of college admissions consulting firm Woodworth Prep. “Find out which of these colleges you're going to apply to early decision because the (acceptance) rate is better if you apply early.”

Experts disagree on how many colleges applicants should apply to, with recommendations ranging from four to 15. “I always encourage them to apply to 10 to 12 colleges—the three or four that are most affordable to you, the five or six that are reasonable.” and three or four probable. says Woodworth. “But smart schools have to be really good schools for you to have a good chance of being accepted.”

The College Board encourages students to apply to five to eight colleges. The EAB 2022 report showed that the average number of applications per student increased from 5,8 in 2015 to 7 in 2021.

Diploma evaluation

Foreign students entering an American college and already having an education must evaluate their "native" diploma. Evaluation of a diploma is its assessment of compliance with the American education system. This procedure is carried out by special companies on the basis of information translated into English about education previously received outside the United States (name of subjects, course content, number of teaching hours for each of them, and so on).

An evaluated document is provided to the college, where a special commission determines which subjects from a foreign diploma can be transferred to the curriculum. Thus, several subjects can be counted, and the student will be able to significantly save both money and time.

By the way, there is an opportunity to increase the number of credited courses after the decision of the commission. To do this, you need to write an application indicating the subjects that need to be "additional credit" and apply with it to the senior lecturer (Academic Advisor) of the department to which these subjects belong. Having received his approval in the form of a signature on the application, you need to contact the university commission again.

Visit college campuses

Summer can be a good time to visit colleges. In-person visits give prospective students the opportunity to ask questions about tuition, financial aid, and anything else that interests them.

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While COVID-19 briefly suspended in-person U.S. college visits, "many colleges are once again offering campus visits," wrote Stephanie Klein Wassink, founder of Winning Applications and AdmissionsCheckup, a college admissions advisory company.

Some colleges have also retained virtual tour capabilities, which means that those who wish can still use these tools to explore more campuses or colleges that are far away.

Essay work

The Common Application, which many students use to apply to college, opens on August 1st each year, and the Common Application has already announced seven essay tips for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Applicants must submit only one essay to the Common App.

“Your essays should highlight unique traits or achievements that will help make your essay stand out from others,” says Christopher Rome, CEO of Command Education.

In addition, prospective students can check online if any college they are interested in requires one or more additional essays.

Prepare letters of recommendation

Some colleges and universities require applicants to obtain letters of recommendation, usually from teachers or school counselors.

This gives teachers and counselors time to prepare and write a thoughtful letter before they are bombarded with requests. Because of how long this can take, some teachers limit the number of letters of recommendation they will write each year.

Some universities also ask for letters from employers, colleagues or people with whom you worked together on a project (if any). This is especially true for applicants for MBA programs. It can be a thesis supervisor or a lecturer. Ideally, all letters should be from individuals directly related to your chosen subject. But if you have been working outside your specialty for several years, then a letter describing you as a responsible, attentive and interested employee will play into your hands. When it comes to academic recommendations, there is no room for wiggle room - a recommendation from a physics professor will not give you an advantage in applying to the arts department.

The number of references required varies by college, so check each college's website to see how many letters you'll need. Be careful who you ask to write letters to. Recommendations should come from club advisors, teachers or coaches who know you on a deeper level.

Research scholarships

While some scholarship application windows may not open until the fall, prospective college students can still explore available scholarship opportunities. There are websites that can help students in their search for scholarships.

“My advice is to apply for scholarships early and often,” said Will Geiger, co-founder and CEO of Scholarships360, which offers free services to help students find the right scholarships. -You can spend your summer planning which scholarships you want to apply for throughout the year. This will allow you to stay on top of deadlines while also focusing your attention on the scholarships that best suit your education, experience, and interests.”

There are many types of scholarships based on merit and need, and some students may find some related to their hobbies.

Standardized Tests

The COVID-19 pandemic has led many colleges to switch to an alternative approach to testing, where ACT and SAT scores are not required but are considered upon application. Other colleges have taken to blind testing, which means they won't take scores into account at all.

Although the weight of these tests on college applications has decreased, some institutions still require them. Although many take these tests in their junior year, some may choose to take them in their senior year as well. Also, anyone can submit them.

Find out about financial aid requirements

There are several types of financial aid available, including grants, scholarships, work and study, and federal or private student loans. You can review the financial aid application requirements and deadlines for colleges of interest to you.

For example, some schools request a form called the CSS Profile or College Scholarship Service Profile in addition to the FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Prospective students should put a reminder on their calendar for October 1 when FAFSA opens.

Start filling out applications

Some college applications only open at the end of the summer. The Common App opens on August 1, but those who wish can create an account at any time and transfer their information to the new app when it opens.

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Create a checklist

Experts say an important key to success in the college application process is organizing and creating a checklist to keep track of what's passed and what's not. This might be helpful.

“College applications have several moving parts,” says Warfield. “If a prospective student does not have a checklist and schedule, they are likely to miss something important, such as an application or scholarship deadline.”

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