For international students
Wishing to study
Levels of education
schools / high schools
colleges, English language programs, vocational schools
What is best
How to apply
aid and employment
The I-20 form
the United States after studies
of academic terms
to the United States
go for more help
It is important to make your request
for materials and your application early - several months
beforeyou plan to begin your studies. Mail tends to take
a long time, and time is needed for processing your application,
and to get a response back to you. Find out the deadline
for all applications in a college guide or from the application
materials. Try to have all the information and documents
at the institution at least a month before this deadline.
Always send documents by air mail. A useful tip is to enclose
a few mailing labels with your name and address clearly
Going to school in the United States
or Canada is an excellent investment in your future. The
schools available are of good quality and many are easily
affordable. You will have an opportunity to perfect your
English language skills and to get to know the North American
people. Americans are warm and friendly people. The greatness
of the American nation is a result of its ability to bind
in one purpose peoples from all parts of the world. Therefore,
Americans recognize the importance of cultural and educational
exchanges. This is why the doors of American schools, colleges
and universities are open to you and other students from
other countries. We hope that your stay will be educational
and enjoyable; and that you will enrich both yourself and
your host country through your efforts. Good luck.
Education in the United States and
Canada is divided into the following levels at the indicated
ages 2 - 6
Elementary School ages
6 - 12
Junior High School ages
12 - 14
ages 14 - 18
ages 18 - 20
4 Year College
ages 18 - 22
ages (MA) 22 - 24
ages (PH.D.) 22 - 26/8
Schools / High Schools
This Chapter describes Secondary Education
or the years of study generally between the ages of 12 and
Secondary schools or high schools
as they are often called are divided into two types:
2. Private - Day, Boarding, Parochial,
Public high schools are government
supported institutions which serve the majority of all students.
These schools were designed to serve students from the surrounding
community. This may still be the case in rural areas and
smaller towns. In America's large cities, bussing of students
from other communities is common. In some large cities,
more than 70 per cent of students are bussed in from other
neighborhoods. While every effort is made to maintain a
high quality of education in the public high school system,
inner city schools often suffer from a lack of proper funding.
As a result, the physical and academic environment suffers
Private high schools offer education
to the same age group in every part of the country, but
they are funded by private sources, mostly tuition and private
contributions. In general, because of the more direct financial
control of the institution by parents, private schools respond
more directly to the desires of student's parents. Because
private schools are better financed, they have more flexible
hiring practices and are able to secure a better teaching
staff. Because of individual ownership, private high schools
are also able to design their own curriculum.
of Private schools
In the United States and Canada private
high schools are often called "Academies" and
sometimes "Colleges". These names are given to
the schools by the owners of the schools and are restricted
by state rules governing the use of these terms.
Day Schools allow students to come
to school and remain in school until the middle of the afternoon.
They provide special programs as do most private schools.
However, students are picked up by their parents at the
end of the school day, or a special bus delivers children
to their home.
Boarding Schools (or Academies) are
private schools which also have residential facilities for
their students. There are many different kinds of boarding
schools ranging from those offering a very general program
to ones offering very specialized curricula. In most cases,
students are able to enjoy not only a special curriculum,
but also a variety of extracurricular activities which are
arranged for them by the school's administration.
Parochial Schools are institutions
which offer general education and religious education as
well. They are designed to teach a student the values of
a particular religious sect. Different parochial schools
have different regulations as to the type of student they
will accept. In most cases there are requirements which
will ask that students participate in religious activities.
Schools offering specialized instruction
are institutions that concentrate on a special area of learning,
or a certain kind of discipline. For example military academies
focus on developing a traditional martial discipline in
their students. Some schools will instruct their students
in a particular sport such as tennis or horsemanship.
Finding the appropriate high school
can be a difficult task. This booklet contains advertisements
of some of these schools. Detailed descriptions of their
programs can be found in the Foreign Student's Guide to
American Schools Colleges and Universities on the pages
indicated. Should you need more general information you
may request it free of charge from this institution.
Universities, Colleges, English Language Programs, Vocational schools
North American schools welcome and
value students from all parts of the world. Foreign students
are seen as providers of diversity and international representation.
In any particular year, there are nearly half a million
foreign students enrolled in several thousand colleges,
universities, technical and vocational schools, and English
language programs in the U. S. At some schools, foreign
students constitute 20% to 40% of total enrollment. Foreign
students come to study a wide range of subjects, including
business, computer science, engineering, health sciences,
and the liberal or fine arts.
There are more than 3,500 colleges
and universities in the United States and American colleges
and universities abroad. In addition there are several hundred
vocational technical and private English language schools.
There is a difference between all of these schools. A college,
for example, is usually for undergraduates, whereas a university
is a collection of one or more colleges, plus a graduate
school and various professional schools. Colleges mainly
teach but universities, with their large numbers of graduate
students, also place emphasis on research. This chapter
will help you understand the differences between the many
types of schools in the United States.
Types of Schools
The American post secondary educational
system can be divided into the following categories of schools:
1. Publicly supported:
• 2-year community college
4-year state college
Some vocational schools
• 2-year college / 4-year
3. Technical and Vocational schools
4. English Language Schools:
5. Part of a College or Privately Owned
Publicly supported schools are generally
state or city schools, or community colleges. These colleges
are funded by the state and the local government of the
area in which they are located. Students who live in these
cities may attend these schools at lesser costs than those
for students coming from another state or from outside the
Community colleges (sometimes called
junior colleges) grant associate degrees after two years
of study. Public community colleges are part of, or closely
affiliated with, the great state universities, depending
upon the state in which they are located. These colleges
offer two kinds of degree programs: career programs (Associate
of Applied Science-A.A.S.) and transfer programs (Associate
of Art-A.A. or Associate of Science-A.S.). Career programs
prepare students to enter the work force directly from a
two-year school in fields such as computer technology, nursing,
medical technology, travel and tourism, or basic accounting.
Students who plan to earn bachelor's degrees can attend
certain A.A.S. programs which are designed to parallel the
first two years of study in a four-year institution. When
transferring from a community college in the same field
of study, students with A. A. or A. S. degrees can expect
to be accepted by state colleges and universities as third
year students. Many career (A.A.S.) program courses are
considered non-academic and will not be applied toward a
Community colleges offer an education
widely recognized as excellent by public and private universities
and four-year colleges and, due to their community based
financing, allow many students to work toward bachelor's
degree programs at an already-reduced cost. After completion
of the bachelor's degree, many students choose to continue
for a master's, Ph.D., or other doctoral program. Often,
the graduate program is offered at the same school from
which the bachelor's degree was earned, though many students
decide to pursue graduate study at a different school or
university because the four-year school does not offer graduate
study, does not offer a graduate degree in the field the
student wants, or because another school is less expensive,
more prestigious, or offers a larger program with more choices
of courses. Look for the phrases "state-supported,"
"state university, "public," or "community
college" to identify publicly-supported schools.
Private (or independent) schools,
colleges and universities are organized in the same manner
as other colleges, but generally have fees much higher than
those of the state schools. These schools are owned by private
non-governmental individuals and boards of directors. Their
funding is primarily from the tuition they charge and private
contributions. Because of this their tuition is relatively
high compared to the state or community schools. Some of
these private institutions are "prestigious schools"
having an excellent reputation. They have a very selective
admission policy. Both the student body and the faculty
are of high caliber. Graduates of these institutions are
often favored in the job market. In this category are such
well known universities as Columbia, Yale, Harvard, Princeton,
Stanford and others.
Religiously affiliated colleges and
universities are all privately owned and operated (though
they may receive some state support for certain programs).
They are predominantly Christian (Roman Catholic and Protestant),
although there are some Jewish, Islamic and other faiths
related institutions as well. These institutions offer general
coursework, but they also offer and sometimes require participation
in religion courses. Through their sponsoring churches they
offer a strong religious life on campus. In general, one
need not be a member of a particular church or religious
group to attend a religiously affiliated colleges in the
U.S., and enrollment in such an institution will not impinge
on one's own religious practices. However, some colleges
organized along fundamentalist or evangelical lines may
require bible study or compulsory church attendance.
Proprietary institutions are usually
operated by an individual or a corporate owner. These schools
generally concentrate on specific academic programs such
as computer programming, or specialized fields such as aviation,
fashion design and so on. These private schools offer short
term "certificate programs" or longer programs
which award Certificates of Completion. Some proprietary
schools are licensed to issue associate degrees and may
be accredited as well.
New technologies are creating a demand
for a highly skilled work force. As a result there is a
high value put on specialized skills. In general proprietary
schools are not institutions which offer an academic education.
Their interest is to provide training in a specific area
in the shortest possible time. Students who need to acquire
an expertise in a certain vocation may find these schools
more appropriate than larger colleges or universities. In
other cases proprietary schools offer subjects which are
simply not available in a general college or university
It is important to obtain specific
information on the cost of the tuition and that of housing
and other expenses since proprietary schools most often
do not have their own dormitory space. There are accrediting
agencies for proprietary schools. See the "Accreditation"
section for further information.
There are hundreds or perhaps thousands
of English as a Second Language (ESL) programs offered by
colleges in both U.S.A. and Canada. At the same time a large
number of private English language schools operate to offer
one-to-one lessons, intensive programs and TOEFL preparation
Generally, a student on a student
visa will have to attend an intensive English program of
20 – 25 hours a week.
Whether you choose a college ESL program
or a private one depends upon your particular needs. For
example, if you have been accepted to a college or a university,
but you must or want to study English before starting your
regular classes, it is usually better to attend the ESL
program at the college that has already accepted you. College
or university ESL programs will most often provide housing,
counseling and other services. Some institutions will require
you to attend their ESL program if they feel that your English
is not good enough. If these institutions do not have an
ESL program on their campus, they will direct you to the
nearest available program.
If you wish to prepare yourself to
enter an American college and you need to improve your TOEFL
score, you may wish to enter a private ESL school. This
will give you an opportunity to choose an appropriate college
after you have studied English for some time, and after
you have been to the United States for some time. If you
wish to attend a college that requires you to have good
English skills, but the school does not offer an ESL program,
you may wish to attend a public or private ESL school within
the same area and later apply for admission to your desired
Remember that attending an ESL program
before you enter your regular classes will give you not
only the opportunity to improve your English, but also the
chance to get better used to your new home before you start
your full-time general classes.
Studying ESL or meeting a school's
minimum English proficiency requirements does not necessarily
mean that your English studies have ended. Nearly all toward
two and four-year colleges will test you in English reading
and writing, and often in oral English as well. Regardless
of your TOEFL score or previous ESL studies, the college
will place you in further basic English courses depending
upon your test scores. During this kind of English study,
you will be extremely limited in the regular college courses
you will be permitted to take, and will be barred by some
schools from studying anything but--English until you can
pass the college test. College level English courses are
not intensive and actually obligate you to spend more time
to reach the required level of proficiency than you would
if you had remained longer in your intensive ESL program.
This can be very frustrating and disappointing to students
who expect to leave an ESL program and begin immediately
to take full-credit college level courses in science, mathematics,
or the liberal arts. You can avoid this frustration and
disappointment by remaining in your intensive English program
after you are ready to pass TOEFL or gain admission to college,
until your English ability is better than the minimum requirement
for college admission.
What is best for you...
Decide what kind of education is best
for you. This is best done by analyzing your career goals.
Find out which of the academic degrees are better recognized
and/or demanded by your own government. Do some research
to find out which fields of study will most likely lead
to a good job after you graduate.
If you have visited the U.S.A. and
seen the campus of the school you want to attend, making
a decision will be easier for you. But if you have not been
to the U.S.A., you must spend time writing to schools and
universities to find out how best they can help you. Your
local educational advisor can assist you in this task. You
will find a large number of schools in the U.S. and abroad.
For detailed descriptions of schools please ask your advisor
for detailed information that can be got through the Internet.
Location of the institution you will
choose is an important factor, but is not as important as
knowing the kind of programs and the kind of faculty you
will have at this institution. You must decide just how
specific you want your field of study to be. If you choose
a business administration school, for example, it should
be one that specializes only in business, or would you prefer
an institution that teaches a wider variety of subjects,
so that you can learn other subjects at the same time?
Your Field of Study
In the U.S. and Canada system, a term
used to describe the subject you wish to study is "major".
You may also study another subject of less importance to
you and this will be known as your "minor". It
is important that you decide on your "major" or
your general area of study before you begin selecting schools.
For example, if you wish to study some aspect of business
administration, then you can narrow your search to schools
that offer courses and degree programs in business administration.
Do not worry if after thorough research
you are still undecided on which course of study to follow.
Many colleges and universities (usually Liberal Arts schools)
encourage students to take general education studies in
different subjects for a year or two and later decide on
a major. The American education system is flexible and supports
the idea of an all-encompassing, well-rounded education.
If you are looking for a vocational
or technical certificate, you may wish to learn more about
the many accredited technical and career schools in the
U.S. These schools may be able to train you in a particular
field in the shortest period of time since they specialize
in the subject you have chosen. Remember that vocational
schools generally do not offer more than a certificate.
They are non degree granting institutions.
There are several types of awards
for the completion of technical or academic studies. These
Certificates - requires
varied length of time
Associate Degrees - usually
Bachelor's Degrees - usually
Master's Degrees - usually
2 years after Bachelor
Doctoral Degrees - up to
5 years after Master
If you are looking for an academic degree, decide which degree you will
pursue in the U.S.A. Remember that 2-year community colleges
grant an Associate degree (Associate of Science - A.S.;
Associate of Arts - A.A. etc.) as their highest undergraduate
NOTE: There are a relatively small
number of institutions that are "Upper Division"
2-year colleges. These institutions offer the last two years
of study required to complete the B.A. degree.
Four-year colleges award the bachelor's
degree (B.S., B.A., etc.). Academic programs leading to
the graduate degree, either the Master's alone (M.A., M.S..,
M.B.A., etc.) or the Master's and doctorate (PH.D., M.D.,
etc.), may be available at these four-year schools, or you
may have to transfer to another college or university to
complete this level of higher education.
Make a list of those technical schools,
colleges, university "departments" or special
"graduate schools" that offer the program you
want. Evaluate the research facilities and the faculty teaching
there. Some schools or departments are known for their innovative
methods of teaching. You may not have to evaluate the reputation
of the entire university, just the department or school
where you intend to study.
Finally, take into consideration the
duration of each program along with the total cost of obtaining
a particular degree. Don't forget to be realistic about
the relatively high cost of living in the United States
of America and Canada.
Your Previous Education
With few exceptions, post secondary
education in your own country will be applied toward your
U. S. or Canadian degree program. It is very important for
you to supply the school you choose with a complete record
of your education and to write a special letter asking if
courses from your home country will be counted toward your
American degree. You may discover that only a few of your
courses will be accepted, but credit for them can be very
important in helping you complete your American program
more quickly. Many students are pleasantly surprised when
virtually all of their previous courses are accepted by
an American school.
Because of the general studies requirements,
in American higher education, even students who are making
a great change in field of study (such as from medicine
to computer science, or economics to engineering) will find
that courses from home will satisfy many general studies
requirements and can save as much as a year of time.
Foreign students often make serious
errors when proceeding from one level, such as a bachelor's
degree at home, to another level, such as a master's degree
in the U.S. particularly when there is an important change
in major. Graduate schools in the U. S. have two basic requirements
for graduate admission: (1) You must have a bachelor's degree
and (2) You must have an adequate undergraduate background
in your major. A student with a bachelor's degree in economics
from home does not need a bachelor's degree in computer
science to enter a graduate computer science program in
North America. Instead, the North American college will
require completion of certain undergraduate courses prior
to acceptance into a master's or Ph.D. program (but not
a second bachelor's degree). Students who understand this
and who ask many questions about academic rules, may save
as much as two or three years of study in completing a graduate
Not all bachelor's degrees from abroad
are recognized in the U. S. and Canada. This leads many
students to the false conclusion that the American institution
is rejecting the entire bachelor's degree program. One of
many examples is the student from India with a three-year
Bachelor of Commerce who will usually find that American
schools will not grant admission to a master's degree program
in business. American undergraduate schools, however, will
accept the Bachelor of Commerce courses toward a bachelor's
degree in business and will often grant nearly three years
of credit toward a four-year degree program.
Occasionally, you will find that American
colleges will reject all technical courses when you are
accepted into an academic program. For example, an engineering
school will accept a physics course in mechanics but will
reject an applied mechanics course covering manufacturing
machinery. On occasion, students may find that higher education
from home is not recognized at all by a U. S. institution,
though this is not common. It is very important to ask about
"transfer credits". Each North American school
sets its own standards for granting credit for study at
other schools, American or foreign. If one school will accept
only half of your credits, apply to another school to see
if they will accept more.
Always apply at the appropriate level
of education. If you have completed two years of post-secondary
education in your home country, you probably should not
apply to a community or junior college and you certainly
should ask the school's advice before applying. If you have
completed a bachelor's degree program, write to graduate
schools to see if you meet their requirements for admission
before writing to undergraduate schools. Graduate and undergraduate
admissions are often handled in separate offices. Always
address your inquiries to the Director of Graduate Admissions
when you have a bachelor's degree. If you need additional
undergraduate study, the Director of Graduate Admissions
will explain the requirements.
Evaluate your own academic standards
and those of the institution you might want to attend. If
the standards are too high for you, chances are you will
not be accepted for study; if too low, chances are you will
be bored and not challenged as a student.
Keep in mind that most American colleges
and universities base their admission decision on academic
performance. Scores on standardized admissions tests are
Ask your guidance counselor or teachers
if they think you have a chance of being accepted at your
first schools of choice.
Study the Foreign Student's Guide
to American Schools Colleges and Universities and other
school directories and catalogues to determine the type
of programs they offer. Find out as many details about an
institution as possible. You should try to obtain a catalogue
or a brochure from an institution that interests you. You
can request it directly from the school, or you may want
to ask the International Education Service to obtain several
catalogues for you at the same time. This service is free
The U. S. and Canada are very large
countries. Canada, in fact, is the second largest country
in the world, after Russia. The U. S. is about the same
size as the continent of Australia. Climate, topography,
and population density are extremely varied. There are high
mountains and vast, flat plains, deserts and rain forests,
sparsely populated areas and huge cities. Both countries
stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean and feature
several of the world's largest lakes and major rivers.
The population of most of the two
countries lives in temperate regions with four distinct
seasons. Parts of the southern and southwestern U. S., and
Hawaii, are warm year round. A few areas of the northern
U. S. and Canada have long, cold winters. Though a few students
find it difficult to adjust to extremely cold or extremely
hot climates, most schools are located in areas with weather
between the two extremes. You should ask questions about
climate at schools you are considering, if climate is important
to you, and be sure to bring appropriate clothing. Looking
at a map will not explain much. Southern Alaska, the Pacific
Coast of Canada, and Seattle, in the extreme northwestern
corner of the U. S., are all warmer in winter and cooler
in summer than Denver or Northern Texas. Parts of California
have harsh, snowy winters and parts have no cold weather
For most students, other factors are
more important than weather in choosing a school location.
Do you prefer to be near mountains or the ocean, a large
city, small community, or rural area? For students from
many countries, it is important to know if there are settlements
of people from their home country and whether or not it
will be possible to find foods from home. Students may want
to ask if there are other people of their religion near
the school so they can find a mosque, a temple, or clergy
of their faith.
Discuss your problems with your educational
adviser working at an educational advising center in your
city. Many advising centers are located at the U.S. consulate
and are operated by the United States Information Service
(USIS). Some advising centers are sponsored by your own
government, often in conjunction with the U.S. government.
Others are sponsored by such organizations as AMIDEAST (in
Middle-Eastern countries) or the Institute of International
Education (IIE). The International Education Service located
in Los Angeles, (Santa Monica) California can also assist
you free of charge. Do not hesitate to request assistance
from this agency if you need help which can be given from
the United States as opposed to your local advising centers.
Many advising centers sponsor meetings
at which videotapes, which advise about studying in the
U.S.A., are shown. Question and answer sessions follow.
Some advising centers will offer individual
sessions at which a counselor will help you make up your
mind where and what to study. The advising centers that
the U.S. (and Canadian) government or your government operate
do not customarily charge students for their advice. Some
charge only for expenses such as postage or photocopying
work. However, many private educational advisers do charge
a fee for their services. Be careful which private agency
helps you with your application process, and remember the
I-20 form which a school issues you for admissions purposes
and to obtain your student visa is never for sale.
American colleges and universities
have formed associations that set the educational standards
for themselves. The Department of Education maintains a
list of recognized accrediting agencies, but there exist
many others with an international or sectorial scope. The
associations, called "accrediting agencies," evaluate
each U.S. college and university. If the institution has
achieved an acceptable rating, it is "accredited."
Colleges and universities must meet minimum standards to
It is important to attend a school
that is accredited, unless you are attending specializing
institutions for which no accrediting agency exists. If
you do not attend an accredited school, your own country
may not recognize your degree, and you may not be able to
transfer your credits to another American college or university.
Possibly, your government may insist
that you earn a degree from a school with two types of accreditation.
One type is regional. Regional accrediting agencies are
identified geographically; for example, the "Southwest
Association of Schools and Colleges." The other type
is by professional accreditation: "Accrediting Commission
of Career Schools/Colleges of Technology". Check the
latest edition of a book published by The American Council
on Education, called "Accredited Institutions of Post-secondary
Education." It is available at your local school or
educational advising center library.
Accreditation is not required for
schools or programs which do not grant degrees, such as
English language institutes. These are often legitimate
and good schools.
If you have a question about the accreditation
of a particular institution, ask your educational adviser,
or you may write to the International Education Service.
Keep in mind that the cost of an American
college education includes more than just tuition. Attention
must be given to housing, food, books, supplies, health
insurance, travel, and of course personal living expenses
(vacation trips, entertainment, clothing, etc.) Find out
how much it costs to live in the city or town where the
university is located. Prices can differ greatly between
living in a small town in the Mid-west or a large city on
the east or west coast, for example.
The school catalogue or brochure should
state the cost of studying there. The Foreign Student's
Guide to American Schools Colleges and Universities lists
the total cost of living per year or a designated period
Costs vary, as you will see in the
above mentioned Guide. Private colleges and universities
usually have higher tuitions than State supported schools.
It is important to remember that even State schools most
often charge a higher rate to non-resident or foreign students.
At some institutions the tuition for foreign students is
two or more times the resident tuition. Room and board,
books, supplies and lab fees, health insurance, expenses
such as laundry, transportation, telephone, personal items,
entertainment, all must be taken into consideration. A rough
estimate of average span of costs would be:
State Schools from $9,000 - $20,000,
including tuition. Private Schools from $12,000 - $30,000
and more, including tuition.
Rates are for average undergraduate tuition. Certain
institutions, such as medical schools for example, will
cost much more. Technical, Vocational and English language
schools may charge anything from $400.00 per month or more
for tuition only. Since these smaller schools may not have
dormitory space for you, you must add to this your own cost
of renting an apartment, buying your own food, and sometimes
providing your own transportation. Some of these schools
do not offer complete packages including tuition, room and
Larger colleges and universities will
most often provide you with a residence and a meal plan
for a set amount of money per quarter or semester or a year.
Programs for Spouses
Is your spouse and/or family joining
you? If so you might want to know what kind of programs
or services are available for them. Many colleges offer
special married student housing for couples. English language
programs, or special courses may also be offered for spouses
of children of students.
You should know how large the student
population is at a possible choice of school. Do you like
lots of people around you? Or do you prefer to study with
fewer students and have less distractions? Smaller schools
may be able to pay more individual attention to their students.
Take into consideration whether the
school is all-men, all-women, or co-educational (mixed).
Ask about the number of undergraduate and post-graduate
students. How many other international students attend the
school? Do most of the students belong to a particular religious
or ethnic group?
If you are interested in certain sports,
make sure the college offers you the chance to participate
in these. What about choir singing, the theater, local politics?
If you want to attend concerts or theatrical events, find
out if this will be possible where you are studying.
It is worth taking the time to find
out the availability of any of your hobbies or pastimes
at either the school of your choice or the environs. Many
of these questions are answered in the Foreign Student's
Guide to American Schools Colleges and Universities. Check
all sections including the "Remarks to Foreign Students"
section. Your educational adviser will direct you to other
sources of information.
When you have narrowed your list of
colleges or universities, to five or ten, write to these
schools for more information. You may also use the request
for Application/Information form provided by the International
Education Service to request information and/or application
materials. These forms are also available in the American
Education Magazine and in the back of the Foreign Students
The schools will mail you brochures
with descriptions of their academic programs and activities.
If you need further information, visit your school or educational
advising center's library to see if they have any catalogues
on file. If not, you might want to order one from the school
of your choice (there may be a charge for airmail postage
and the catalogue).
If you have no specific choice of
school, but you need to find an appropriate school, you
can fill out the short Application/Information forms provided
by IES on which you answer questions regarding preference
in major, geographical location, limit on school fees, etc.
You can e-mail this form to IES and the IES Placement Service
computer will come up with suitable choices for you.
International students, apart from
the usual academic standards, must meet certain financial
and legal requirements. Each university has its own particular
policies, but as a general rule, the information they will
want from you will relate to one of the following items:
Personal Application Form
Other Tests: SAT/AT, GRE,
Proof of Financial Ability
Personal Application Form
Apart from your name, address and
citizenship, the Admission Officer will want to know something
about your background, your character, your goals and academic
ambitions. Their Application for Admission forms are designed
to gain this information from you. After you have read the
literature in guides or in catalogues sent to you by the
institution, you will understand in some way, their philosophy
on life and education and what kind of students they are
looking for. While obviously you should never give any incorrect
or false information, you will now have a good idea of what
aspects of yourself you should emphasize in your application.
Present yourself in a clearly-written (typewritten is best)
manner, stating your background, awards, achievements, interests
(academic as well as general), sports trophies, hobbies,
and life objectives.
It is important to complete all the
parts of the Application for Admission form. If you leave
out certain answers, your application may be set aside or
not considered at all. Most applications will ask you to
enter your "social security number". If you do
not have a nine digit social security number assigned to
you by the U.S. or Canadian government, just write "none"
in the blank space after this question.
All U. S. colleges and universities
require official records of your previous study. Even English
language programs often require proof of completion of secondary
school. Each school has its own rules about the records
you must send and most are very strict and allow few, or
no, exceptions to their rules. It is very important to read
the requirements sent to you with the school's application
for admission and to supply exactly the documents required
and in the form required.
The North American term "transcript"
refers to the official record of courses and marks from
your school. Virtually all colleges will require post secondary
school transcripts when you have completed any study past
high school. If you are a first year student, you will be
required to supply your secondary school transcript and
sometimes, your diploma as well. Many schools will require
your secondary school records or diploma even if you have
completed post secondary study. Also, many schools will
require course descriptions, in English, for your post secondary
Most North American colleges and universities
will accept post-secondary school transcripts only when
they are sent directly from university-to-university without
passing through student hands.
Read the school's instructions carefully to see if
there is such a requirement. Do not expect that any exceptions
will be permitted. Work diligently to get your home university
to send the transcripts promptly. Other schools will accept
student copies of transcripts, or copies that have been
certified by a school or notary public.
A very few schools will accept transcripts,
in languages other than English, or in certain languages,
such as Spanish or French. Most schools will not, and will
require school records in the English language. If your
ministry of education does not provide official transcripts
in English, you will be required to provide official translations
in English. Some schools have very specific rules about
acceptable translations. Be sure to read school rules with
great care. Many schools will require that you submit both
an English translation and an original or certified copy
in your language.
Teacher recommendations are an important
part of your application folder. A good, strong recommendation
will go a long way to confirm the information you will be
supplying. It would be wise to get a recommendation from
a teacher who knows both you and your work well, and has
taught you in a subject related to your chosen major. Two
or more recommendations are useful.
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language
TOEFL scores are required by a large
number of institutions as part of your application package.
This test can taken in a number of countries. Please see
the following pages for details on the TOEFL and other Language
Not all institutions request the TOEFL
score. Some have their own institutional tests. In many
cases if your TOEFL score is not satisfactory, you will
be asked to attend an English language program until your
English improves. Many institutions, however, will reject
your application if your TOEFL score is not high enough.
TOEFL score requirements are listed in the Foreign Student's
Guide to American Schools Colleges and Universities.
Many colleges and universities require
students to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and
the Achievement Tests (AT). Usually graduate students are
asked to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and
the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Those students applying
for MBA and other graduate business programs may have to
take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Dates,
and more detailed information regarding test centers in
your home country, fees, result dates, etc. can be obtained
after July, 1995 at the individual addresses below.
(Note: the SAT and the AT cannot be
taken on the same date. You must register separately for
each test date.)
Admissions Testing Program of the
College Entrance Examination Board
P.O. Box 6200
Princeton, NJ 08541-6200, U.S.A.
P.O. Box 6000
Princeton, NJ 08541-6000, U.S.A.
Educational Testing Service
P.O. Box 6101
Princeton, NJ 08514-6101, U.S.A.
The Psychological Corporation
555 Academic Court
San Antonio, TX 78204, U.S.A.
For this test the student must arrange
for special testing overseas through an approved examiner.
This may be a teacher or educational adviser in your local
area. Contact the above address for information on procedures,
deadlines and test fees.
This is a fee, payable in U.S. dollars
to cover the cost of processing your application. In most
cases this fee is not refundable, but some institutions
will return part or all of the fee if the student withdraws
his or her application within a certain designated period
of Financial Ability
U.S. law requires schools to review
evidence of your financial ability to live and study in
the U. S. prior to issuing the Form I-20 or Form IAP-66
you will need to obtain a student visa and enter the U.
S. to study. If you do not supply adequate documentation
of financial ability, you may be denied the I-20 or IAP-66
even after meeting academic requirements and being granted
admission. However, U. S. law also prohibits the issuance
of the forms to students who have not been accepted for
study, so your first priority is always to meet academic
requirements and to send the required transcripts and diplomas.
You will be required to prove financial
ability either three or four times. Private schools and
many public schools will require you to prove that you can
afford the school's tuition as a standard for granting admission.
At the same time, or beginning shortly after you have been
admitted for study, you must meet a higher standard for
the school officer who is authorized to sign the I-20 or
IAP-66. At that time, you must prove not only that you have
money for tuition, but also that you can afford living space,
food, clothing, travel expenses, health insurance, and personal
necessities. Even when the school official accepts your
documentation and issues the form, your proof of financial
ability must be approved by the consular officer to whom
you apply for a visa and, again at the port of entry, by
the Immigration and Naturalization Service officer who decides
whether to admit you to the U. S.
School officers use different standards
for proof of financial ability. Some are very strict, because
they are concerned about suffering you might undergo if
you do not have enough money for food, books, or medical
care. Usually, you will be required to submit affidavits
(sworn statements) from sponsors stating that they will
provide you with money and/or a place to live with a family
member in the U. S. Sponsors will be required to show that
they can afford to give the amount of money promised by
providing proof of income (statements from employers or
income tax returns), banks statements, or both. Bank statements
showing your own money can be accepted, but only if you
show that it is your own money and that it was not given
to you by a relative who is your actual sponsor. Standards
of proof of financial ability, by law, are stricter for
your first year of study than for the remainder of your
program. You must show the availability of actual cash from
bank savings or sponsor income for the first year. Non-cash
assets such as real estate, bonds, and stocks can be accepted
as proof that you have money to support you and pay school
expenses after the first year.
A few schools require you to make
a cash deposit in a U. S. account to support yourself during
the first year before a Form I-20 or IAP-66 will be issued.
Many require that your first semester's or first year's
tuition be paid in advance and a few will require a cash
deposit with the school toward your living expenses.
Always read school instructions about
proving financial ability carefully and follow them as closely
as possible. Always keep exact copies of financial documents
you send to the school, because you must show precisely
the same documents to the consular officer and the immigration
inspector. Some schools will return your original documents
attached to your I-20 or AP-66, but many will not.
Aid and Employment
Financial aid of any kind is very
rarely available from North American colleges and universities
for undergraduates other than U. S. citizens and permanent
residents. Financial aid for graduate students is often
available, but in the form of fellowships and assistantships
requiring teaching or laboratory assistance. Even at the
graduate level, such help is often offered only to continuing
students and not to new students. Especially at the graduate
level, it is worthwhile to ask about financial aid if you
need it, but you often will not get encouraging responses.
When it is available and arranged
in advance, income from employment with the school can form
part of your proof of financial ability for issuance of
Form I-20 or IAP-66, but the income must be specified on
the form and supported by a letter from the school. Occasionally,
a graduate academic department will offer a fellowship or
assistantship directly to a student. Do not assume that
the department also provided this information to the foreign
student adviser or other school official authorized to sign
immigration forms. Always include information of this kind
with the documentation you provide to qualify for the form.
Unless it is arranged in advance in
the form of financial aid and described on your Form I-20
or IAP-66 employment in the U. S. cannot form any part of
your financial support for your first year of studies. You
should make no mention of plans to work when applying for
a visa. Though there are several off-campus work programs
available for F-1 and J-l students, they are never certain
and they are never approved before your arrival in the U.
Among the possible work programs after
you enter are:
employment. F-1 students may, work on the campus of the school they are attending
provided they are employed by the school itself or by an
outside agency or company providing services to students
on the campus. No permission is required. Students may not
work more than 20 hours per week except during vacation
periods. J-1 students also may work on campus but require
written permission from the responsible officer who is authorized
to sign Form IAP-66.
practical training. This is work that is part of your school's academic
program (often called "cooperative education").
Not all schools offer such programs. Authorization is provided
by the school's foreign student adviser on the reverse of
Form I-20 for F-1 students or in the form of an authorizing
letter for J-l students. This work may be either part-time
or full-time, depending upon the school's program. If you
use a full 12 months of full-time F-1 curricular practical
training, you will not be eligible for any other practical
practical training. There are two kinds of F-1 optional practical training,
training during studies and training after studies. No more
than one year of such training is permitted during your
entire academic program. If you use your practical training
during or after a bachelor's degree program, there will
be none available during or after graduate study. The training
must be related to your studies and you must be a full-time
student for nine months (or one academic year) before beginning
the training. Training during studies is limited to 20 hours
weekly except during school vacations. There is no limit
to weekly hours
after graduation. There are similar programs for J-1 students,
who are limited to 18 months of work. Permission for optional
practical training for F-1 students is authorized by the
Immigration and Naturalization Service, but only upon recommendation
from the school's foreign student adviser.
economic hardship employment. This kind of employment is also authorized by the immigration
Service upon a foreign student adviser's written recommendation.
You are eligible after one academic year of study only if
you can show that your financial situation has changed for
reasons entirely beyond your control or ability to plan
(for example, death or illness of a sponsor, sudden currency
devaluation, or a disaster such as war, hurricane, flood,
or earthquake affecting your sponsor's ability to send money).
There are two additional work programs:
employment with a company that has certified to the U. S.
government that part-time U. S. workers are not available,
and work for an international organization. Both programs
are very small and available only in certain parts of the
U. S. F-2 and M-2 dependents are not permitted to work.
J-2 dependents may apply to the Immigration Service for
work permission, provided that the income will not be used
to support the J-l student, but such requests are not always
The U. S. government has created 61
different categories of temporary visitors to the U. S.
Most but not all, have corresponding visas. Only three of
these categories are legally reserved for study: F-1 (academic
or language student) J-1(exchange visitor), and M-1 (technical
or vocational student). There are F-2, J-2, and M-2 statuses
for the spouses and children of students. The J-1 status
includes several categories other than students, including
professors, researchers, camp counselors, and cultural visitors.
Some schools are authorized to accept
both F-1 and J-l students and a few may accept both F-1
and M-1 students. Though any academic or language student
may qualify for F-1 status, J-1 and M-1 statuses are reserved
for students in special circumstances. J-1 students must
be financed, at least in part, by the U. S. or home government
or be part of an exchange agreement or program. M-1 status
is for work-related programs such as refrigeration and air
conditioning technology, auto repair, hairdressing, or flight
training. The M-1 status has very restrictive rules. An
M-1 student may not change schools or even change majors
at the same school without permission from the Immigration
Service. An M-1 student may change to J-1 status, but not
to F-1 status. M-1 practical training and other work opportunities
are very limited. If your school of choice offers both F-1
and M-1 programs, you may want to give favorable consideration
to the F-1 program, rather than the M-1 program. F-1 students
can change majors or change schools with relative ease.
J-1 students may change majors or schools only with the
permission of the original school or sponsor. J-1 students
may also be required to return to the home country for at
least two years before continuing in the U. S. In any lawful
status, even if they marry a U. S. citizen.
In the experience of most students,
F-1 status is the most favorable unless special circumstances
or a special educational objective requires J-1 or M-1 status.
The concept of U. S. immigration status
is often misunderstood by students. It is not connected
to your visa. A U. S. visa does not provide permission to
enter the U. S. nor does it grant a permission to remain.
A visa must be valid only to the day you enter the U. S.
(unless you are exempt from visa requirements). There is
no effect on your legal status if your visa expires while
you are in the U. S. and F, J, and M visas cannot be renewed
in the U. S. The visa is only a travel document which allows
you to board an airplane or a ship destined for the U. S.
Permission to be in the U. S. comes
from your most important document, Form I-94, which is issued
to you at the port of entry when the Immigration and Naturalization
Service grants you admission to the U. S. F-1 and J-1 students
are admitted for "duration of status," which is
written as "D/S" on the Form I-94. D/S means that
there is no expiration date for your legal stay. You may
continue to study through high school, an associate degree,
a bachelor's, master's, Ph.D., and practical training, plus
60 days (30 days for J-1 students). However, your legal
status depends upon your following all of the rules pertaining
to your status. You must study full-time. You must not take
any vacations that are not authorized. You must not work
without authorization. You must obtain a new Form I-20 from
each new school you attend or for each academic level, even
at the same school (for example, changing from an English
language program to college studies, from the associate
to the bachelor's, bachelor's to master's or master's to
doctoral level). You must also apply to your school for
an extension of time if you have not completed your program
by the date entered on your I-20 or IAP-66. Any violation
of the rules ends your legal status and takes away your
rights to benefits. These include such opportunities as
practical training. Violations also make you technically
vulnerable to an attempt by the Immigration Service to deport
you, though you may be able to seek "forgiveness"
through reinstatement to status by the Service for any violations
(but not for unauthorized off-campus employment).
M-1 students, in contrast, are given
a definite date for departure on their I-94 form. Extensions
are sometimes possible.
The I-20 form is a certificate from
the school, addressed to the U. S. government, in which
the school attests to several facts, including a belief
that you are a bona fide student who intends to pursue the
academic program to the end and a statement that you have
been accepted by the school for a full course of study.
By itself, the form is nothing more than a piece of paper
on which facts are stated. An I-20 is a required part of
an F-1 visa application, but merely having one in your possession
has no legal meaning.
When you are outside the U. S., the
I-20 must be taken to a U. S. embassy or consulate, with
copies of your financial documentation, and submitted with
an application for a visa. If you are inside the U.S., the
I-20 is used to notify the Immigration Service when you
change schools or extend your program and may also be needed
if you apply for reinstatement to student status or some
There is a special I-20 for M-1 applicants
which serves the same purposes as the I-20 for F-1 students.
The IAP-66 is also a certificate and serves similar purposes
for J-1 applicants.
You must sign your Form I-20 or IAP-66
before it will be accepted by a consulate, embassy, or the
Immigration Service. The signature on Form I-20 constitutes
an agreement to abide by the rules and grants the school
permission to provide certain information about you to the
Immigration Service. When your I-20 is processed, either
by the school or the Immigration Service, the first sheet
(pages one and two) is removed and sent to an immigration
data base. You are given the second sheet, which is called
the Student ID Copy.
Take special note of the date entered
in item a of your I-20 or the beginning of studies date
on your IAP-66. You must arrive in the U. S. and appear
at the school by that date. If you cannot, you will need
written instructions from the school or may have to wait
until a later time to begin studies (with a new form).
Whenever you travel outside the U.
S. with plans to return, you must carry your I-20 or IAP-66
with you and you must have a new signature on the form from
your foreign student adviser each time you travel.
Some F-1, J-1, and M-1 applicants
are exempt from visa requirements, including Canadian citizens,
British citizens resident in Canada, and British, Dutch,
and French nationals who reside permanently in Caribbean
territories of those countries (though the latter must present
police certificates in order to enter without visas). Certain
Pacific islanders and American Indians residing in Canada
or Mexico may also enter without visas. Students who are
visa-exempt must present Form I-20 or Form IAP-66 at the
border, along with financial documentation, when entering
the U. S. If admitted, they will be issued Form I-94. Except
for Canadians, all applicants must have passports that are
valid for at least months past the date of entry. When entering
the U. S. from outside the Western Hemisphere, even Canadians
must present valid passports (but not visas).
All others must obtain visas in order
to reach a U. S. port of entry. In most circumstances, you
will succeed in getting an F, M, or J visa only if you apply
in your home country and only if you apply at the visa post
(embassy or consulate) nearest your home. Exceptions are
made for students who actually reside in countries other
than their own, or who have permission to stay in another
country for an extended period of time; also students who
have no U. S. consular office in their home country.
You must complete a visa application
form and present both your Form I-20 or IAP-66 and the same
financial documentation you provided to your school. The
consul may ask you for other documents. Student visas are
issued, usually by the hundreds or thousands to students
from virtually every country in the world. Often, however,
students hear rumors from friends or family that it is "impossible"
to get an F-1 visa from certain consulates.
It is possible. What students do not
hear is that visas were denied because the visa application
was poorly made. Before applying for a visa, it is necessary
to know the rules and to prepare carefully. The following
information will help you to prepare carefully:
Under the rules the consul must follow,
you will be regarded as a person who intends to come permanently
to the U. S. . Unless you convince the consul that you intend
to return to your home country, you will be found legally
ineligible for an F-1, J-1, or M-1 visa. Since "intention"
is a state of mind, proving it can be difficult for a young
person with no career or property at home. In any way you
can, show ties to your home country. A written offer of
a job in your home country after your U. S. studies is very
helpful. If you have a brother or sister who studied in
the U. S. and returned home, take their passports to show
to the counsel. If your family owns property or a business
in your home country, take deeds or other records (do not
simply tell the consul about these facts). If you have family
members both in the U. S. and at home, emphasize those who
are at home. If your family has social prominence or positions
of leadership or honor in your home country, take evidence
of these facts. It helps if at least part of your financial
sponsorship comes from your home country, even if most of
it comes from the U. S. If you
or your immediate family, have money in a bank in
your home country, take your bank statement, even if this
money is not going to be used for your education and was
not used to provide financial ability to obtain Form I-20
or Form IAP-66.
Be very definite about your study
plans. Be prepared to say why you picked the school for
which you are destined.
Be ready to describe your academic
program and the kind of career or job it will help you get
in your home country. Explain, if asked, why it is better
to study in the U. S. than at home. Be prepared to offer
facts and evidence on paper rather than discussion of your
personal needs or desires.
Do not despair if your application
is denied. Some students apply several times before succeeding,
though you must have new facts or evidence with each application.
Take careful notes concerning the date, place, and the name
of the consul, if possible. Some schools will offer advice
and assistance when your visa is denied (some will not),
but the school cannot help if you do not provide detailed
information and a copy of any written visa denial you may
receive. You may not appeal a visa denial, but you may asked
that the consul's decision be reviewed.
you are accepted
The Admission Office will send you
a letter that you have been accepted. At this time, they
will ask you to comply with various requirements. They will
ask you to confirm that you accept the offer of admittance.
Depending on the school's policy,
you will be asked to send either a deposit towards full
payment of fees, or send a full year's fees in advance.
Often they will ask if you wish to apply for campus housing
and if so you will be asked to send a deposit. They will
also send instructions on how to prepare for your first
term. It is suggested that students respond to these questions
and requirements immediately, in order to secure your admission
without any last minute problems.
It is possible that the university
you prefer will offer to put you on their waiting list -
that is, you have the qualifications for acceptance at this
institution, and your name is put on a waiting list for
the first available opening. It is advisable to accept the
waiting list status, but go ahead and accept a place at
a university which is second or third choice. Should your
waiting list status change later on to a definite offer,
you can always cancel out of your second choice university.
(Be prepared, however, to lose your deposit.)
During your studies in the United
States you will be graded on all your examinations and you
will receive a final grade for the performance during the
entire semester, trimester or quarter. The most common method
of grading is by letter or number in the following way:
A = 4 = Superior
B = 3 = Good
C = 2 = Average
D = 1 = Poor
F = Loser
I = Incomplete
The student will receive a failing
grade if the work is not completed within a specified time.
Pass/Fail Some schools use only the
Pass/Fail method in which a student either passes (and receives
credit for the courses) or Fails (and does not receive credit).
Examinations in the United States
are almost all in writing. You will be tested either with
an essay test where you will have to write down your own
thoughts on a subject, or you may be tested with a "multiple-choice"
test where you will have to choose the correct answer from
a number of choices given. Oral examinations are used only
in the defense of a graduate thesis.
American undergraduate and master's
degree programs are completed by accumulating credits. Credits
are best understood if you think of them as building blocks.
Most associate degrees require 64 to 68 credits; bachelor's
degrees, 120 to 136 credits, and master's degrees, 24 to
60 credits, depending upon the major. Each successfully
completed course contributes credits to the total. A typical
lecture course will meet for one hour, three times each
week during a semester, trimester or quarter. By completing
and passing the course, you earn three credits. Students
usually enroll for between 12 and 16 credits each term as
undergraduates, but for fewer credits as graduate students.
You are expected to study at the school
indicated on your I-20 form. If you decide to switch schools
before leaving your country, you should see your local visa
officer. You may transfer schools upon arrival in the U.S.
but you will need the permission of the Immigration and
Naturalization Service (INS) and receive a new I-20 form
from the transferring school.
in the U.S. after studies
With an F type visa you may stay in
the U.S. up to one year for practical training after completing
your studies. With an M visa you may stay up to 6 months.
You would require a recommendation from your school that
such training would not be available in your home country.
An Exchange Student may remain for an additional 18 months
in the U.S. if your sponsor approves this training.
The international student advisers
on campus keep up with all the changes in the immigration
and visa laws and it is a good idea to check in with them,
and ask advice about any problems or questions you may have.
It is a firm legal requirement that
all J-l students and their J-2 dependents carry a specified
minimum amount of insurance to cover accident, illness,
medical evacuation, or return of remains in case of death.
Many schools require that F-1 students maintain the same
amount of insurance required of J-1 students.
Health care is very good in the United
States, but it is also very expensive and is not provided
by the government. Even if your school does not require
insurance, it is dangerous planning not to buy it. Your
college may have a special insurance plan for you to join.
If not, there are several special insurance programs for
foreign students. Your foreign student office will have
more information on these.
If you are free to choose among several
plans, you should be aware of "deductibles." The
deductible is the amount you pay from your own funds to
the doctor or hospital. It is the part which is not covered
by the insurance. The insurance company pays the remainder
of the bill.
Some students prefer to live on campus,
others prefer to live in their own apartments, or take a
room with a family. Again, each college has its own policy
regarding housing and many in fact require first year students
to live on campus. If you decide to stay on campus you will
be asked to send a deposit upon your acceptance. You will
be offered assistance in finding suitable accommodation
if you prefer to live off campus. It should be remembered
that if you find private accommodation, you will be asked
to sign a lease contract (usually for a year), and you will
most often be required to pay:
one month's rent in advance
one month's rent as "last month's rent"
•and the equivalent of one month's rent as a damage deposit
As we mentioned before, if you are attending a technical or vocational
school or a private English language program, you need to
make sure that housing is available in the vicinity of the
school. You may wish to find out if the school offers you
help in finding proper housing, or if the school has its
own housing. It is important to find out if you can be housed
within walking-distance from the school, or if you will
have to take public transportation. In some cases buses
are not available to transport you to the school. In this
case you will have to secure your own transportation. Used
or new cars or motorcycles can be purchased easily in the
U.S., but you must add their cost to your expenses, and
of course you will have to have a local or an international
of academic terms
Usually of 9 months duration. It will consist of either
two terms (semesters), three terms (tri-mesters) or quarters
(four terms). Schools on semester or trimester calendars
usually offer optional summer terms for students who want
to complete their programs more quickly.
ACT: An achievement test which
measures subject ability and required by some colleges and
universities for admission.
Credit: A unit of academic work
successfully completed. Depending on the particular course,
the time spent in class, or the difficulty of the subject,
a course might be worth 1, 2 or 3 credits. Usually equivalente
to the number of lessons pero week/per semester. (i.e. 3
credits = 3 lessons per week during one semester).
Deadline: The time by which something
must be submitted. If you submit something after the deadline,
it most probably will not be reviewed. Most institutions
have an application deadline and it is important that you
are aware of these dates.
Faculty: The professors or teachers
who are employed at the educational institution.
student: A student who has entered studies for his Master's or Doctoral degrees.
GRE: Graduate Records Examination,
a test required from students who wish to be considered
for acceptance into graduate school.
High School: Generally this term refers to an educational institution which offers
grades 9 to 12 and is attended by students from ages 14
to 18. It is the standard secondary school completed before
applying to college, or any post-secondary school.
Major: The subject in which
a student specializes and, usually, the area in which a
student plans a career.
Minor: The subject studied at
a less concentrated level and in order to round out an education.
Most schools give these tests to new students in order to
place them at a level of class most suited to their needs.
Prerequisite: A requirement that is
asked from a student before he or she can register or advance
to a higher level. For example, some courses cannot be taken
before the completion of a lower level course. For example:
Business 101 may be a prerequisite for taking Business 102.
Quarter: A division of the academic
year into four equal parts with brief vacations between
SAT: (Scholastic Aptitude
Test) An achievement test required by most colleges and
Semester: A division of the academic
year. This year is divided into two semesters, or terms,
in the academic year (9 months).
Term: See "Quarter"
and "Semester" and "Trimester".
TOEFL: (Test of English as a
Foreign Language). This test is required of students whose
native language is not English. Each school has its own
scoring level for admission.
Trimester: A division of the academic
year where the academic year of nine months is divided into
Undergraduate: An Associate or Bachelor's
degree. A student must have these degrees before continuing
in a graduate program for a master's or doctorate degrees.
Many schools divide their academic
year into two terms or semesters, but some have the trimester
system, that is, they divide the year into three terms.
Still others use the quarter system, or four terms. The
academic year begins in fall - end of August or beginning
of September - and continues through to the end of May or
beginning of June. Although it is possible to enter school
at the beginning of any term, it is strongly advised to
do so at the fall term, as many of the classes are designed
to be followed consecutively from the beginning. Also it
is easier to make friends when all students begin at the
Thanksgiving: The fourth Thursday in
November and the following Friday. This holiday commemorates
the Pilgrims' good harvest of 1621 and is celebrated with
prayers of thanks and feasting.
Two weeks in late December and early January. They include
time off for Christmas holidays.
One week in March or April.
Time: Some schools and colleges may also close their doors for a variety of
religious and national holidays. These holidays are short
one or two day breaks. You may not be able to plan any trips
for these mini-vacations, but many Americans do plan to
enjoy some days off work. Generally if the holiday is close
to a week-end, it will be tagged on to the week-end creating
what is called a "long week-end" of three days
Upon Arrival to the U.S.
Wherever your airplane lands in the
United States, or when you arrive at the border station
you reach when entering by land from Canada or Mexico, the
first thing you should be ready for is inspection by customs
and immigration officials. Customs will often ask many questions,
and may examine your luggage. The embassy or consulate will
have placed your Form I-20 or IAP-66 in a sealed envelope
for presentation to an immigration officer.
The immigration officer may or may
not ask a few simple questions. He or she will then place
inspection stamps on your I-20 or IAP-66 and on your Form
I-94. You will be given the student copy of your school
form and an I-94 departure record on which your immigration
status (F-1, J-1, or M-1) will be written, along with the
time you are required to leave the U. S. (D/S for F-1 and
J-1 students, and a definite date for M-1 students). Though
tiny, the I-94 is your most important document. It is your
permission to enter and remain in the U. S. Do not lose
it. Your I-20 is also important and should be kept in a
safe place. Your I-94 should be firmly stapled to your passport,
on the page opposite your visa.
If you are on medication, be sure
to bring a letter from your doctor describing the medication
and what it is for.
One of the items which should be sent
to you by the school should be a calendar of events. Many
schools will send several separate papers describing arrangements
to begin school, including placement testing, academic advisement,
registration, and the first day of classes. Among these
papers will be information on the orientation program or
programs. Most schools offer general orientation for all
students and a special separate program for foreign students.
Do not miss these programs (they may be required, but attend
even if they are not). Orientation sessions will explain
how the American education system works and will usually
include a segment on your rights and obligations under the
immigration regulations. You will be told about expected
behavior in the classroom, including oral participation,
which is given importance in American education. You will
be told how the grading and credit systems work, how to
choose a major and what courses you are expected to take
for general and major requirements.
Do not expect anything more than general
answers about term papers, assigned books, reports, or examinations.
In America, these matters are decided by individual professors,
not the school, and even two professors teaching the same
course may assign different books. They make different decisions
on papers and examinations and may use different standards
for awarding grades. Often, foreign student orientation
will include a tour of the campus or surrounding community
and guidance on special services and academic advisement.
to go for more help
In most countries of the world, the
United States government employs Educational advisers who
are trained and happy to help you with questions about your
plans to study in the United States. These advisers are
generally at the United States Information Service (USIS)
office which is often located at or near the United States
Embassy or Consulate. However, the Institute for International
Education (IIE) and the Fulbright Centers also offer counseling
services for foreign students.
In the United States, the International Education Service (IES) located
in Los Angeles (Santa Monica) California will assist you
with any additional questions about any American and Canadian
institution, and will request application forms for you.
You may use the IES Application/Information Request Forms
to request several application forms at the same time. You
may contact IES at the address and phone number provided
in the beginning of this publication, or FAX us at (310)
576 3479. All IES services are free of charge to all students.