How to Plan Your US Education

international-student-usa-insuranceGetting an American education is not easy. You have to plan ahead especially if you want to study at the right school. It takes a year or more to plot your course and we’ve listed some advice you will need in making your dream a reality.

* A year in advance, it is recommended that you’ve researched the school you would like to attend. You should have requested for an application form and have a list of other school requirements. You should also prepare your F1 visa. This cannot be processed if you don’t have an I-20. What is an I-20? This is issued by the school that has accepted you to take their program. Once you have this, you can apply for your F1 visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

* In terms of school requirements, do note that universities have different admissions processes. You may need to take additional entrance exams such as SAT, IELTS or GRE. You have to prepare for these exams approximately a year before you submit them to the school. If the college has a prerequisite or preferred SAT score for example, then you may have to take the exam again to obtain higher scores. This will take months ahead of preparation.

* Other document requirements include school transcriptions, essays and letters of endorsement. Make sure you have allocated enough time to complete the school requirements. Contact your school and have them ready weeks in advance.
Remember to submit your application to the American school on time. Do take note of the deadlines since missing it would be a waste of time. Your application may be considered for the next semester.

* After you have been accepted by a school, prepare for your F1 visa. This allows you to enter the US and stay sixty days after you’ve completed your course. Do expect an interview from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You have to bring all your documents to prove that you are studying in the United States. This may include financial papers to illustrate how you will be paying for your American education. Prepare ahead of time the possible questions and practice.

* Remember it is not guaranteed that you will be given an F1 visa. If you are denied, do not be discouraged. You can apply again but be sure to know the reason of you denial. You may have not presented a particular document or poorly answered a question. Do not forget you are applying to study in the US and not migrate.  Your answers should reflect a sincere desire to obtain an American education.

* Once your F1 visa is approved, you should start preparing for your housing and travel plans. Colleges usually have an international student office which you can contact for housing information. You may also want to be picked up at the airport. The international student office should be able to give you accommodations and provide you with the data you need. It is also recommended that you obtain a health insurance for your stay in the US. Prior to your trip, there may also be immunization requirements that you need.

Marian Moore – Social Media Manager

Learn more about Greenhandshake