Your international education has tremendous value, but there may still be advantages to furthering your education in the U.S. Some advantages include gaining new skills and knowledge to advance or start your career. In this section, we describe the U.S. higher education system and offer advice to help you navigate the process of getting into school.
Note that on this site we use "school" and "college" interchangeably. In both cases we are referring to the range of post-secondary academic institutions in the U.S.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR OPTIONS
The U.S. higher education system is extremely diverse. It includes two-year community colleges, four-year universities, graduate and professional schools, continuing education and certificate programs, as well as vocational training schools. Because of this diversity, it is important that you understand what differentiates each type of academic institution before you commit to one.
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APPLYING TO AN ACADEMIC PROGRAM
Admission to college is determined by an admissions committee that assesses whether you are a good match for the academic program to which you applied. Your college application is therefore an opportunity to showcase your qualifications and interests. Each college has its own application requirements. Applicants with an international education are usually asked to fulfill additional requirements, which include submitting credential evaluations of foreign degrees or education, as well as English translations of foreign academic transcripts and TOEFL or IELTS scores that show English Language proficiency.
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Evaluating Your Credentials
A credential evaluation report compares your international academic credentials to those issued in the U.S. and helps admissions counselors understand your academic achievements. You should consult the Office of Admissions or International Students Office of the school you wish to attend to find out whether or not a credential evaluation service is required and which services are accepted.
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PAYING FOR YOUR EDUCATION
Pursing higher education requires a substantial financial investment. The cost of attendance can range from a few thousand dollars to over $40,000 per year depending on the type of school you attend. Financial aid – federal loans, grants, and work study – can help you pay for your education. The majority of Americans view tertiary education as an investment, so it reasonable and common to take out loans for school. It is important, however, to understand the terms of your loans and your obligations to pay them back.
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The transfer of international credits is the process by which a U.S. school grants credit for courses taken at a non-U.S. school. Transfer credits can reduce the cost and duration of your studies. The decision to accept credit – whether it was earned overseas or from a U.S. school – varies from school to school. Consult the Office of Admissions of the school you wish to attend about its transfer credit policies and procedures before you apply.
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