Describe the area:
Most international students find the perspective of studying abroad actrative, in pa
rticular in the U.S. As American universities are described as the best of the world, the competition for the admission is more strict and selective. Beyond the high level of education provided there, studying in the U.S is for an international student an opportunity to discover another country, another culture and improve his ability to speak the universal language. However, the journey for accomplishing this step is strenuous. Generally,the first step for an international student is selecting an university that has a different system and a different language. Most of time, he cannot visit it and make his overview with the website.
Second, a student has to face the process of the admission in the university which can be revealed expensive, long and complicate.
Third, a student should prepare his entrance in the U.S territory which is a heavy and costly process and can be refused even if the student is admissible in his University. Such processes and measures could hold back the motivation of a student and make him losing patience but the game is worth the candle.
First, the international student should carefully choose the university he wants to study. He has to pay attention that the university proposes the degree he wants to achieve. Moreover, universities accept students based on every religion, race, etc… but some of them are very involved in a specific direction that could contrast with a student’s expectations. The process of the admission takes a long time and it has a cost. Every University requires an official translation of the diploma. The student should pay an official translator to make it. Moreover, most universities want to see the official diploma or expect that the translator send them directly. This fact increases the cost of the process. Most students do not feel like to send their original diploma thousand miles away and take this alternative solution, in particular if they apply in several universities. In addition, the university requires that the translation are sent to a special organization as well, which makes the evaluation and the recognition of the diploma. Montana State University Billings works with three associations: AACRAO, ECE and WES.
If the student has already a university background in his country and wants to have some credits transferred, these organizations will be useful as well. These processes take a lot of time, sometimes more than eight weeks depending on the demands.
Second, beyond the proof of the validity of the diploma, the university requires that the student takes a test to define his level and confirms his ability to study. The TOEFL is a mandatory test for non Americans citizens. It is divided in four parts: reading, writing, speaking and listening during four hours and an half. This test is very complete and can be taken in each country during several sessions. Generally, Universities require others test like the ACT, the SAT, the SATII and the GMAT for graduate students.
Third, the university requires an official letter from a credit institute that proves the student can afford the cost of the education.
As the student obtains his admission, the university sends him a form for obtaining the visa. Depending of the nature of the student, three types of forms are used: F1 for students, Ds 19 or 20 for exchanges students, and M1 for students enrolled in non academic studies. These forms are the crucial piece to obtain the visa. The visa is a long and expensive process as well, requiring several trips to the embassy and specific documents.
The student should be aware that the visa can be refused for several reasons. For instance the U.S legislation wants to avoid students staying in the US after graduating and the embassy has the role to identify them and refuses the getting of the visa.
For most students, the cost of the education is very high and contrasts with their own system. Beside the cost of the education, the price of the trip, the admission and the visa make the possibility to study in the U.S very elitist. Universities do not accept international students under seventeen years old.
The entrance in the American territory in very legislated. The deadline for the entrance is the U.S is specified as well and the student cannot overtake it.
Students should plan in average 18 months before the beginning of their first the semester to manage all processes on time.
The first year, if a student is not an exchanged student, he can have the possibility to work twenty hours per week, but only on campus. After the first year, he could have the authorization to work off campus. Work studies are not available for international students.
The visa could be refused if the U.S administration has doubts concerning the nature of the student and his plans for the future.
Escape or minimize:
Some students contact agencies that are specialized in the placement in American universities. This step simplifies considerably the process but the cost is very high.
Students should buy their book and be aware about the high cost of them. The possibility for buying used book exists and allows saving money.
The principle of exchanging students minimizes the common process. To be an exchange student, the person has to be already student in the university. In this way he can apply to spend one or more semesters in an university that has a partnership with his own.
To reduce the cost of the education, a student can apply to get a scholarship but it not very easy to obtain one. Athletics scholarships are available and represent the most common and important scholarships. They can cover sometimes the whole tuition and the cost of living. In return, a student should represent his university through his sport. But this process is complicate as well in particular for being eligible in the NCAA.