Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What’s the Common Application?

It’s an application for undergraduate admissions that is accepted by almost 500 colleges. Some colleges may only use the Common Application or the Common Application and its own institutional application.

What can I do to prepare for the ACT?

Consider enrolling in an ACT prep course, understand the exam structure and take plenty of the free practice tests. Additionally, creating an ACT study group is also helpful.

What can I do to prepare for the SAT?

Improve your test taking skills, by taking the preliminary test at your school, and answering practice test questions.

What is the TOEFL test?

A test used to measure your ability to understand and use the English language at a high level.

Will my IEP continue while I’m in college?

You will have accommodations but not in the form of an IEP. The Rehabilitation Act of the 1970s and the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act of the 1990s ensures that your learning will be accommodated while attending post-secondary education.

What is college decision day?

It’s the deadline for high school seniors to pick the college they plan on attending, which is May1.

What does rolling admission mean?

Rolling admissions give students a larger application window which can be 6 months or even longer. Colleges respond to applications as they arrive rather than waiting for a specific deadline.

What is an ideal GPA to enter college?

A 3.5 – 4.0 which is an A- or A average is needed to be accepted to a top college. Acceptance is possible to a less selective school with a GPA as low as 2.0 or a C average.

With so many schools in the U.S. How do I decide which schools to apply to?

Do research on your options and make a list of your priorities. Next contact the Education USA advising center in your area and browse college search engines online. Be sure to see if schools you’re considering are accredited.

Is there a difference between a college and a university?

A college only offers undergraduate degrees while universities offer a graduate degree as well, although often times the terms are used interchangeably.

Is there an age limit to attend a U.S. university?

Generally, you must have completed high school and must be at least 17 years of age.

Is there an academic calendar for universities in the United States?

Academic years usually run from August through May and break for holidays. Universities use either the semester system which is (2 terms), the quarter system where (students attend three out of four total terms), or the trimester system which is (3 terms).

What are the differences between "Undergraduate" and "Graduate" degrees?

An Undergraduate program follows high school and leads to an associate (2year) degree or a bachelor (4year) degree. A Graduate program follows a bachelor’s degree and leads to a master’s or a doctoral degree.

Are there different types of undergraduate degrees?

Associates: is a 2 year program that either leads to a specific vocation or can transition to a bachelor program. Bachelors: is a 4 or 5 year program in which students earn credits in a wide variety of courses.

What are the differences in graduate degrees?

Masters: is a 2 year degree providing additional specialization. Doctorate: is a 5 to 8 year program that certifies the student as a trained research scholar and/or professor.

Can you take a professional degree program without first obtaining a bachelor's degree?

This is possible but they are highly selective and requires a heavy course load across a total of 6 years of study.

Can you obtain a bachelor's and a master's degree at the same time?

Students in a joint-degree program, begin a graduate program in their fourth year of college, and will earn both degrees upon graduation.

How long does it take to earn an MBA in the U.S.?

Typically an MBA lasts 1 to 2 years.

Will I be allowed to work while studying in the United States?

After obtaining permission from the International Student Office, international students can work on campus up to 20 hours/week their first year and can apply to work off-campus in subsequent years.

Are there differences between online and distance studies?

Basically there is no difference.

What is distance learning?

Distance learning is when an instructor and a student are in different places. Learning is done by mail, telephone, internet, or other means.

Can distance learning be done at the graduate level?

It can be done. Search the Distance Education Accrediting Commission website to find online accredited distance learning programs.

Can I transfer from a university outside of the United States to a university within the U.S?

You can transfer, but you may lose some credits and require extra time to complete your degree.

What’s the process to transfer an application?

You have to meet the requirements of a freshman applicant, as well as any additional information required by the transfer institution.

What’s a community college?

A community college is typically state-supported and provides the first 2 years of a 4 year undergraduate degree.

Should I attend a community college?

A community college can offer lower costs, simpler admission policies, close ties to state schools, and several of the required courses connected to a degree.

What’s the process to transfer from a community college to a 4 year university?

The transfer process varies between schools. It’s best to target the 4 year institution early and determine what is needed to transfer.

How do I know if an institution is accredited?

Search the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Post-secondary Education website to find out if an institution is accredited.

How will I know if a specialized program of study is accredited?

To find specialized program accreditations, see “Accredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education,” available from American Council on Education.

Where do I find which universities are rated best for a specific academic major?

This information can be found in college and university guides and will state which institutions are known for excellence in different fields of study.

Are there English language proficiency requirements?

Yes, U.S. universities require English language proficiency testing before admission to ensure you can read, write, and speak fluently.

What if I want to study in the United States, but my English proficiency isn’t good. What can I do?

There are several programs for English language study in the United States and online, as well as local options.

Do you have to study a fixed set of subjects or can you individually form your major?

 It’s possible but some degree programs are highly structured. Bachelors’ degrees programs are very flexible and sometimes allow you to create your own program.

At what point do I declare a major?

Majors aren’t declared until the end of you second year of school.

What is offered at a liberal arts college?

Liberal arts colleges offer courses in humanities, languages, math, social and natural sciences, and students take 25-50% of their courses in their major.

What are the advantages to a liberal arts education?

Liberal arts colleges offers a smaller setting and teaches critical thinking and communication skills necessary in an ever-changing job market.

What is a credit in U.S. universities?

A credit is a value given to each course that reflects the number of hours the class will meet with the professor each week.

Define GPA?

Grade Point Average (GPA) is a number that indicates a student’s academic performance, calculated on a 4.0 scale.

What is the grading system in the U.S.?

A letter grade indicates a student’s academic performance. Each letter grade has a numeric value which is used to calculate a GPA, on a 4.0 scale.

What determines grades in U.S. universities?

Typically grades are determined from quizzes, midterms, final exams, papers, projects, class attendance, and class participation.

Is there a difference between state and private universities?

State universities are funded by the state and are usually larger and less expensive than a private university.

Can I participate in a university exchange program?

You must contact the office responsible for international programs at your institution to find out if your school has exchange agreements with U.S. universities.

How does an international student learn what academic subjects from their country are acceptable for a U.S. university?

Every U.S. University will review an international student’s subjects and may ask the student to contact a credential evaluation agency.

Can I apply for vocational training in the United States?

A U.S. institution cannot issue I-20 forms for non-degree study, including vocational training. Community colleges offer technical/vocational study for an associate’s degree.

What’s good general advice for an incoming student?

Find the closest Education USA advising center and attend the pre departure orientation. Once you arrive on campus, attend all orientation meetings scheduled at your college or university.

Is there a certain number of colleges you should apply to?

It’s recommended that students apply to six colleges with some going as high as ten.

Is it necessary to do college campus visits?

No, it’s not necessary to visit a college in order to be admitted.

Is it a good idea to visit a college before applying or deciding to attend?

Yes, to be able to see yourself attending the college.

Can I attend college with less than a 3.0 high school GPA?

You can attend a four-year college with less than a 3.0 GPA. There are several colleges that are open admissions, which means they will admit anyone who meets their minimum standards. Which can mean just having passed specific classes in high school or met minimum scores on selected placement tests.

Are extracurricular activities important in college admissions?

Extracurricular activities are considered secondary in the college admissions process. Based on a survey by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, Tests Scores, Strength of Curriculum, Grades in College Prep Courses, and Grades in all Sources are more important in admissions decisions than extracurricular activities.

Will it hurt me in admissions if my high school doesn’t offer AP classes?

No, it will not hurt you in admissions. AP courses only help in college admissions when high schools actually offer them. Colleges know what classes were available based on the schools profile that’s sent with a counselor letter or transcripts.

What’s considered a flagship university?

In general a flagship universities are referred to as the most prominent public university of their state. Usually the first public university that was established in the state and receives the most state support. This doesn’t mean it’s the “best” public university in the state although many assume so.

What’s a likely letter?

It’s a letter from the college admissions office saying you are likely to be admitted as long as no changes occur before the official admissions deadline.

What’s considered a stealth applicant?

You’re considered a stealth applicant when the first time the university has any record of interacting with you is when you submitted your application.

Are grades important in admissions?

Based on a survey conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), grades are the most important factor in college admissions.

What’s a weighted GPA?

It’s a grading system that provides extra grade points for tougher classes.

What is an academic college resume?

It’s simply an academic resume summarizing your high school career.

Is the United States a safe country?

The United States is considered a safe country and is ranked 51 in world’s safest countries. This puts it in the top-third of the ranking.