Am I considered an International applicant? It depends who you ask! Typically, international students are defined as “non-immigrant” visitors who come to the U.S. temporarily to take classes. A non-immigrant is someone who:
- Intends to stay in the U.S. temporarily
- Does not have U.S citizenship or legal Permanent Resident status (a “green card”)
- Applies for a visa to be allowed entry into the U.S.
- Has an F-1 or J-1 student visa (most Northwood international students have an F-I visa
- US citizens or Permanent Residents, who have been educated outside of the US for most of their lives, will likely have their application read by the international admission expert at a college.
I have more than one passport. Under which citizenship should I apply?
- There are no admission advantages inherent in your passport. Colleges will ask you to report all citizenships, and will ask you which passport you plan to use when you enter the US (into which passport your student visa will be stamped). If you are a US/Dual National, you will not need a visa and will not be considered an international student by most colleges.
Will I be compared to other people from my country or to other Northwood students?
- Both and neither! Colleges do not have specific quotas on students from certain countries or schools but they DO want to create and bring together a balanced and diverse group of students. A university with 5,000 students will not admit 2,000 students from China, even if all of them have exemplary qualifications because the university will want more geographic diversity.
I see references to Certification of Finances on college websites. What is this and when does it have to be done?
- The Certification of Finances is an important document that all international students are required to complete.
- The Certification of Finances can serve several purposes. Its primary purpose is to certify that students can meet the cost of attendance at a particular university and thereby be eligible to receive a student visa. It may also be required as part of a request for financial aid.
- The form requests a BANK SIGNATURE which banks rarely agree to do. Most people write “see attached” on the form in that section and submit a letter or account statement from a bank proving the amount of funds available.
- The cost of attendance is different for each institution. It may be easier to prove that you can afford the most expensive institution on your list and make multiple original signed copies of that form and the accompanying bank documents.
- Around half of the colleges on your list will make this form DUE WITH YOUR APPLICATION, and around half will ask for it to be done ONCE YOU ARE ADMITTED. You need to check each college website for this important bit of information!
- Most colleges/universities accept the universal Certification of Finances (see below). You should confirm with the colleges/universities you apply to and confirm that they will accept it. Otherwise, you will need to fill out the college/university form.
- International Student Certification of Finances (2017-18)
I am not a native speaker of English. Do I need a test?
- If a student does not speak English at home and has not been educated in an English medium school for 4 or more years, she or he is typically required to take the iBT TOEFL. Colleges list their policy on their websites.
- Students who have not been in a school where English is the main language of instruction for all four years of high school often benefit in the admission process by taking a TOEFL or IELTS.
- Highly competitive colleges are typically looking for an iBT TOEFL score of 100 (with even achievement in each sub-section).
- Taking the TOEFL as a Northwood student:
- Can be taken mostly conveniently in Potsdam, NY
- Is offered 30-40 times per year (August to April)
- Speak with Ms. Paul BEFORE you register
- You must register online ON YOUR OWN
- Register for a SATURDAY test
- Northwood provides transportation to several test sittings per year. On other occasions you must provide for your own transportation
What is the student visa process like?
- Typically Northwood students will only need to ‘transfer their F-1 visa sponsored by Northwood to one sponsored by their new college. At all times, students need to meet the criteria for the visa including ability to pay.
Is it an advantage in the admission process to be an international student?
- It is not ‘special’ anymore to be an international applicant to highly selective colleges unless you come from a remote area of a country that sends few students to the US. Do not count on your status as an international student to differentiate you from other applicants, and certainly don’t count on attending Northwood to differentiate you—you need to SUCCEED, THRIVE, and STAND OUT at Northwood to be competitive in the highly selective college admission process.
What about financial aid for non-US citizens or Permanent Residents?
- NEED-BASED financial aid is different than MERIT BASED scholarship
- Some colleges require the CSS/PROFILE from international students, while some require the International Student Financial Aid Application, while others require college-specific forms. Always check and double check to see what colleges require and when they are due.
- Check with EACH school or college on their admission and/or financial aid web page for required documents and deadlines
- Example-Wesleyan: http://www.wesleyan.edu/finaid/
- Example Univ. of Rochester: https://enrollment.rochester.edu/financial-aid/international/
- Example-Yale: http://admissions.yale.edu/applying-yale-international-student#financialaid
- Example-Tufts: http://admissions.tufts.edu/tuition-and-aid/applying-for-aid/international-student-aid/
- You can also click on the “Financial Aid” tab on any college/university profile in your Family Connection account to see if that college offers merit- or need-based financial aid.
- What does a school mean when they say they are need-blind (or need-aware)?
- Very few colleges/universities are ‘need blind’ for all candidates
- “Need-blind” means that a college admits students on the basis of academic and personal promise, without regard to their ability to pay. Many need-blind colleges also offer to meet 100% of your demonstrated need. But need-blind for admission does not automatically mean that a college will meet your need after you are admitted!
- Demonstrated NEED is not the same as WANT! Need is determined by institutional formulae and is different at each college. There may be several different forms and documents to be submitted to a college to determine your family need. The family does not determine its own need.
Other documents typically requested by colleges
- Copies of: your passport biographical info page and photo; your current I-94; your current F-1 visa page
Acknowledgements: Many people helped put this document together, including John Spear, Laura Paul, Ren Yao and Kathie Moore at Northwood, and especially Tara A. Dowling at Rocky Hill School in RI (formerly at Choate Rosemary Hall).