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Applying to American Universities and Colleges

By Peterson's Staff updated on Sunday, January 27, 2013

The way you complete your U.S. college application and present yourself is very important and will play a big part in determining the outcome of your efforts to gain admission. In a way, you can think of a college application as a tool that matches the right students with the right schools. To a large degree, the more care you take in preparing it, the more options you will have to choose from.

What colleges in the U.S. want

After carefully reviewing the application materials you receive, you will know what a specific U.S. college values and emphasizes. Take into consideration its mission, philosophy, and educational goals. Try to get a broad sense of the college and see whether it would suit your particular needs.

Most U.S. colleges are looking for a varied student population that comes from many backgrounds and represents many different academic interests and personal qualities. Don't forget to stress the unique experience you will bring to the school by being an international student!

Some American colleges require preliminary applications
Some colleges require international students to complete a preliminary application. If this application is required, it will be included in the materials they send you. This is an attempt to find out whether your goals, abilities, and general background are compatible with that particular U.S.A. university. Such a preliminary application will request basic information about you and may also ask for a brief statement of your goals.

Your statement should indicate the reasons why you feel the particular U.S. college would be a good place for you and what contributions you can make to life on campus. If the admission officer feels that your goals, abilities, and background are compatible with those of the college, you will be sent the final application to complete. On the other hand, if the admission officer feels that you may not be an appropriate candidate, you will be notified of this decision, and you can concentrate your efforts on the other schools you have selected. You should expedite this process by returning the preliminary application as soon as possible.

Be early with final applications to U.S. colleges

It is important to complete the final application and provide all the required information and documents the college has requested as quickly as possible. The sooner the college receives your application and all the required supporting documents, the sooner those materials will be reviewed and evaluated. Submitting your applications early can only help your chance of being offered admission to American universities. Applying early will give you extra time to supply additional information if it is requested. In addition, early application will give you the time to apply to additional schools, if necessary.

About the Author

Peterson's has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, and the expert staff members here are all ready to leverage their considerable knowledge and experience to help you succeed on your educational journey. We have the information, the know-how, and the tools -- now all we need is you!

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