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Depending on your situation, entering the United States can be a dream in and of itself. However, your dream doesn’t end there – it’s just beginning! If you were forced to put your education on hold until after you immigrated to America, take comfort in knowing that you can pick up right where you left off as soon as you settle in the US. But remember, the more you plan ahead regarding continuing your education in the United States, the easier it will be!
Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to continue your education in the United States.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Before leaving your home country, keep in mind that the U.S. destination you choose will determine your educational options. Some questions to ask yourself when researching destinations: Do I prefer a big city or a small town? What kind of college experience do I want – living on the campus of a well-known university or commuting to a small state school? What do I want to study? Is my preferred degree program available at the schools in my destination of choice? America has its own distinct educational system with different types of higher education institutions that have their own prerequisites, processes, and rules (be sure to check out our explainer video on it!) But overall, you’ll want to choose the university that is the best in terms of your desired degree program and your personal needs. To determine the best fit, check out the website The Best Value Schools where you can find the best programs depending on your focus and desired field. Here is their list of the top 30 colleges for international students.
Since this whole process can be very confusing and overwhelming, we advise that you make a list of tasks to do and deadlines to meet before making your big move to the U.S. It is recommended that you start researching schools at least 12 to 18 months before the academic year begins.
Prepare Proof of Education
When immigrants start searching for schools or jobs in the United States, many find that their degrees and/or credits from their home country’s educational institution don’t transfer over or hold the same validity in America. This can be especially true for professional degrees, such as those for medicine and law. Because of this, newcomers often struggle to find jobs, end up working in an unrelated field or industry, or have to go back to school to earn the required degree or credits. To help combat this problem and make this transition easy on you, it is essential that you prepare a transcript, or a report listing all of the courses you have taken at your previous university. Depending on your degree plan, you may be able to apply the credits from classes you previously took or you might have to take more in order to satisfy your degree requirements.
So how can you check if your college credits carry over in the U.S.? An academic advisor at your college or university should be able to help you with this. But you can also consult organizations like World Education Services that provide transcript evaluations. An evaluation, which can range anywhere from $150 to $200, will comb through each of your past classes to determine if credit can be transferred to your new school. Obtaining your transcript and understanding how it relates to colleges and universities in America can help you make a smooth transition to studying at a U.S. college or university.
Prepare Financial Aid
Another important consideration when planning your education in the U.S. is whether or not you have the financial means to do so. Education in the U.S. can be very expensive. At one of America’s most costly universities, tuition plus room and board (a phrase used to describe a student’s housing and meals), totaled $77,696 for the 2020-2021 school year. Despite this school’s tuition, average tuition prices have gone down over the past year due to the pandemic. However, even with this drop, tuition at colleges and universities around the country still totals in the thousands of dollars.
But don’t worry – you have a variety of options to help you pay, including federal financial aid. However, if your immigration status disqualifies you from receiving financial aid, you may qualify for in-state tuition, depending on the state in which you will be living. In-state tuition means that residents of the state in which the school is located pay tuition at a drastically lower price than those from a different state who attend the school. Need more options? Here is a list of various scholarships, fellowships, and more to help you pay for your education. Remember, the earlier you apply for grants or scholarships the better. In addition to application deadlines, be sure to check the deadlines for financial aid and scholarships as these can differ from deadlines for school applications. To find the assistance that works for you, contact the financial aid office of your chosen university to go over your options.
Continuing your education, especially in a new country, isn’t easy. Need help searching for a school or specific degree program? Buy a Resource Referrals package today and we will take care of those tasks for you. Golden Beacon USA’s products and services are here to make your transition to your new country as easy as possible! Questions? Contact me today at email@example.com or call or text (866) 403-7173. Remember, you are not alone!