Students who are citizens of another country are considered international students in the college application process. Students with U.S. citizenship, or those who have Lawful Permanent Residence (green card), are not classified as international applicants, even if their permanent home is outside the U.S. One website that provides international students with a good overview of the many aspects of studying in the U.S. is called EduPass: http://www.edupass.org/. This site offers guidelines and advice regarding passports and visas, standardized testing, scholarships, and financing your education.
Typically, colleges require that students whose first language is not English take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL.) Arrangements to take this test can be made with Northwood’s International Student Coordinator. Many students take the test twice, and find that their scores improve on the second test. Northwood recommends that students allow plenty of time to take the test twice: once during junior year, and again the summer before or during senior year. Students must send official results of their TOEFL directly to colleges. Once a student knows where he is applying, he can send the scores via the TOEFL website: www.ETS.org/toefl
Demonstrating Interest in Colleges
When making an admission decision, many colleges consider how interested a student is in their institution. How can students demonstrate interest? By signing up online to receive admission materials, meeting with the admission representative when he or she visits Northwood in the fall, attending local college fairs and information sessions, and visiting campus.
We recognize that visiting colleges may present a particular challenge to international students. It is, however, important to do so for several reasons. As mentioned above, it shows colleges that you are sincerely interested in attending their institutions. More importantly, it allows you, the student, to see for yourself what a college and the people who go there are like.
Students can make arrangements to visit colleges on their own; they are also able to ask the college counseling office for advice and suggestions. Some companies offer college tour programs for high school students and will arrange everything for you – accommodations, transportation, and the details of the college visits. There is typically an itinerary which may allow a student to choose between visiting two colleges, but the list of colleges is pre-determined. One such company is www.college-visits.com.
Visiting even a couple of colleges will help you determine what kind of college or university is best for you. On school breaks, perhaps you can spend time in Boston or NYC, or go home with a friend & explore the local colleges. Even if you don’t want to attend college in New York City, visiting a women’s college such as Barnard will give you a sense of what that experience would be like at another college. Taking a tour at Boston University would give you a sense of what it might feel like to attend a large, urban research university.
Plan ahead and use the school vacations to visit colleges, or return to the U.S. early in the fall or stay later in the spring. Visiting colleges is an invaluable experience as you consider your educational future. Rather than relying on someone else’s opinion, form your own and decide which college offers YOU the best educational and personal opportunities.
Applying Using Your Legal Name
You must use your legal name, the one on your passport, when applying to college, and verify that this same exact name appears on all of your credentials – standardized tests, transcripts, financial certification, and any other correspondence with the college. A misplaced hyphen or spacing will affect how your credentials are processed. Confirm with the Academic Dean that the name on your passport is the name on your Northwood’s transcript.
U.S. colleges typically require international students to provide proof of financial support for their education. The College Board produces a form that many colleges use.
Other colleges have their own form. Some require that this certification is provided with the application; others ask for it later in the spring. If you are applying early decision or action, plan to work with your financial institution at home early in the fall to provide the necessary documentation; return to Northwood with multiple official copies with the appropriate signatures and seals. If you are applying regular decision, plan to return from winter break with the completed paperwork. Check with each individual college to determine requirements and deadlines.
Scholarships and Financial Assistance
Colleges determine whether or not they will consider international students for financial aid and merit-based scholarships. For the 2009-2010 academic year, some colleges that were offering need-based financial assistance to international students included Lehigh University, Columbia University, College of Notre Dame, and Washington University in St. Louis. Often, admission is more competitive for international students who seek admission to these universities that grant need-based aid. Some colleges that considered international students for merit-based funding for the 2009-2010 academic year included Boston College, Boston University, and Cornell University.
Requirements, deadlines and eligibility vary from one college to the next, and may change; be sure to check each individual college or university’s website for updated and accurate information.