Getting into a good college can be a daunting task, after all attending the right college can determine your future earning potential, your career, social mobility, and even happiness and life satisfaction. And while the rest of the world is growing by leaps in bounds in the education sphere, the United States of America is still king when it comes to institutions of higher learning. According to the USNews, the US has 15 of the top 20 universities in the world. If you want the best education, it can be found in the USA. Here are several important steps to take if you want to distinguish yourself among your peers and get into an American College.
1. Do your research
There are more than 4,000 colleges in the United States. They range anywhere from gigantic universities with tens of thousands of students in the middle of major metropolises, to quaint liberal arts colleges in the middle of the countryside. Not to mention, the cost for each ranges just as much as the location. While the expense of college is worth it, you’d hate to go into thousands of dollars worth of debt just to go to a school that you hate. When researching a school make sure to take the various pros and cons of the school into consideration. You’ll want to check on several factors:
- How well is your future degree represented?
- What’s the student-faculty ratio?
- What kind of extracurriculars does the school provide?
- What is the school’s proclivity to drugs or alcohol?
- Where is it located?
- How widespread is the alumni network?
- Is there a vibrant greek life (frats and sororities)?
These can make a huge difference when picking out a college to attend.
2. Have a strategy/Be Realistic
As the great Mick Jagger once said, “You can’t always get what you want”. While going to a prestigious university sounds great, they are very exclusive. Let’s say you want to study finance in the USA. The two best schools for that are Penn, which had over 40,000 applicants, and NYU which had over 100,000 applicants. Both of these schools had an under 5% acceptance rate. Most prestigious universities are also the most exclusive, which means that sometimes you have to realize that you might not get into the Princetons or Harvards of the world. Most college counselors advise that you apply to 6-8 schools total; 2-3 with low acceptance rates, 2-3 target universities, and 2 with high acceptance rates. It’s better to get accepted to more than one university than none at all.
3. Make a connection/ Network
In this age of social media, people are more connected than ever.. That means you have no excuse not to reach out to alums of some of the schools you have picked and talk to them. Maybe there is one in your area? Offer to buy them coffee and who knows, maybe they can put in a good word for you. If you can’t find someone who is an alum, there are educational advisors and companies whose entire job is to help you get into college.
Unfortunately, there is no getting around the fact that even if you put in all of the leg work, you still need the skills to get in. Make sure that you know your english. Additionally, most schools require either the SAT or ACT tests to get in as well. If you are applying to graduate school, additional tests will be required. Make sure you are well prepared by practicing online. There is no shame in taking some time to study to get the score you want.
College is something that everyone should be able to experience, and The United States of America has some of the finest colleges in the world. If you have your heart set on going to one of them, then these simple tips can help move you in the right step. It will take hard work, but the payoff in the end will be worth it. Good Luck!