In this day and age, there is no getting around the importance of college. If you’d like to go to school in the United States to experience some of the best institutions in the world, here are some things that you should keep in mind when studying abroad.

1.   English is a must

To get accepted into any American university, you need to make sure that you are fluent in the English language. Schools in the U.S. require a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Make sure that your language knowledge is up to par. Not only can you improve your skills with various apps online, but you can also practice with English speakers. There are plenty of English tutors online and even programs that provide services for international students to help them be as fluent as possible.

2.   The U.S. is large

The U.S. has over 4,000 colleges, so finding the right one for you can be a challenge. Think about what you want in a school and then find one that matches your criteria. Some things to look for in a school are:

  • Quality of the program – America has some of the best schools in the world, but also some of the worst. Make sure you do your research and pick a school that meets the standards of education you are looking for. Look not only at the overall quality but also at the programs they offer. Some schools specialize in certain majors over others.
  • Exclusivity – How hard is it to get into the school you want to go to? Are you willing to put in the hard work to get into Harvard or Yale? If not, are you willing to settle?
  • Diversity – Not all schools are diverse in the U.S., and as an international student, this factor might be more important than you think. If you want more people on campus that looks like yourself, you should consider checking how diverse your school is.
  • Location – Where is your ideal school located? Is it in a big city? A small town? In the mountains, beachfront, or rural area? There are schools everywhere in any kind of setting you can think of.
  • Cost – How much are you willing to pay? As an international student, schools in the U.S. are going to be very pricey. A four-year degree could cost you upwards of $50,000 a year. If you want to go to an expensive school, but can’t afford it, look into scholarships or educational loans.
  • Reputation – The reputation of the school you want to go to is an important factor to look into. Some schools are known to be research colleges, liberal nexuses of thought, or party schools. Pick which will fit your personality.
  • Alumni network – How widespread is your alumni network? A robust alumni network will help in your post-graduate life as a good connection can make all the difference when applying for jobs.
  • Student to faculty ratio – The student to faculty ratio is a good barometer to judge how big or small the school is. A smaller ratio usually means smaller class sizes and more one-on-one time.

3.   America is different

When travelling to the U.S. be prepared to experience culture shock. The U.S. is different from any other place on the planet. Americans are generally described as a little more friendly and talkative, but they also tend to eat bigger portions than you might be used to in your home country. The country is extremely diverse because people from every culture live in the States.

It’s tough to go into all the ways you can prepare for studying abroad especially in the United States, but if you can approach your situation with an open mind, you will be ready to take on this new chapter of your life and studying abroad.

Alycia is blessed with four beautiful girls and enjoys DIY crafting with them in her free time. After receiving a Master’s in education from the University of Colorado, Alycia pursued a career as an educational consultant in order to help students and their parents plan for a better future. She’s a staunch advocate of continuing education, and believes that an insatiable hunger for knowledge is the key to better finances, a warm family, and an overall fulfilling life. Alycia finds it important to write about what she’s learned and express her opinions before a larger audience online. She leads by example, and teaches her readers that despite juggling four kids and a full time job as a single mom, it is possible to go back to school and achieve success. She enjoys finding new ways to work around tight budgets and offering tips for how to readjust and settle in a new situation—whether it’s collegiate life or a recent divorcée status. Her platform shares her wealth of information with the hope of empowering parents and students everywhere.