College admissions
Here are some of the common college admissions mistakes to avoid. Source: Shutterstock

Are you thinking about attending college in the US? The country is among the top in the world for international students, with reports noting that they have some one million non-native students enrolled.

This is hardly surprising as the US has many appeals, some of which include how their universities offer a wide range of programme options, quality undergraduate and graduate courses across numerous universities, the chance to study within a diverse community in addition to being home to some of the world’s top institutions. 

For instance, four of the top five universities in the recent QS World University Rankings 2020 are dominated by American universities.

So, if you’re thinking about embarking on your next step in life, what are some of the common college admissions mistakes to avoid to ensure things are smooth sailing?  

US News and World Report notes that international students often make three mistakes, which include:

Applying exclusively to renowned institutions

College admissions

Cast your net out wide when applying to university. Source: Shutterstock

While it’s natural to want to strive for the best schools, international students will want to avoid merely applying exclusively to renowned American institutions during their college admissions. Instead, do some research and cast your net out to a wider range of schools who have strengths in different areas.

Back in 2016, Lloyd Nimetz, founder and CEO of The Spike Lab, wrote on Forbes: “If you’re like everybody else and want to go to the ‘best’ college, official rankings might be useful to a certain extent to give you a sense of tiers, but otherwise they are not helpful.

“You’re much better off creating your own tiers, keeping your needs in mind. Try categorizing colleges into reach, match and safety groupings, and then picking the ones that will be your focus based on criteria like educational fit, campus culture fit, etc.”

Waiting too long to begin test prep

Standardised tests can be the bane of international students looking to gain admission into American colleges, but it helps to start your preparation early rather than waiting until your final year of secondary or high school to prepare.

These include exams such as the SAT, ACT and English-language proficiency exams such as TOEFL and IELTS, depending on your school’s requirements.

The sooner you start preparing for these tests, the sooner you can spot your areas of weakness and work on improving your scores. 

Not researching college scholarships or grants for international students

College admissions

Don’t wait until the last minute to look and apply for scholarships. Source: Shutterstock

As an international student, you’re likely subjected to significantly higher tuition fees than domestic students. This makes it essential that you start your scholarship search early rather than waiting until your final year of high school.

Some institutions offer merit scholarships for international students, so it’s worth taking the time to scour each institution’s website and taking note of the respective deadlines.

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