International Student

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by lucky518, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. lucky518 macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2009
    Well, I know that this is not the right forum for this thread but i have see many educational threads here and since the responses have been quite good so i thought taking a little advice here.
    Right now I am 17 years old or basically in 12th grade, planning my bachelors degree in Computer Science in USA. I have SAT score of 2149 while i will be giving two SAT Subject tests on the 1st of October an i think i will get early full marks(since i am good in physics and maths). So the point i need help in choosing a college which offers good financial aid. I am even interested in working part time. Please do also tell me the application process.
    Any help would be highly appreciated.
  2. Daffodil macrumors 6502


    Jun 7, 2011
    In a sunny state of mind
    I was an international student, and while it was a great experience, and I'd totally recommend it, you need to be aware that there are a lot of extra hurdles to overcome as an international.

    The biggest one might be getting financial aid, since this often is very limited for internationals. Before being allowed to enter the country, you generally need to show proof that you're covered financially during your whole stay, which might be tricky. Moreover, the American system assumes that your parents will support you, so need-based financial aid looks at what your parents earn, almost regardless of whether they'll actually be contributing (in my culture I was expected to be financially independent after finishing high school).

    The public/private school cost gap isn't as great for internationals (they're both super expensive! :eek:), and some of the top privates do offer financial aid to internationals too, but definitely not all. There are scholarships if you put in the effort to look and apply for them, and you might look to see if there's one targeted specifically for people of your origin. Also bear in mind that if you're there on a student visa, there are also restrictions to how much/where you can work, so don't expect to be making a lot of money alongside classes necessarily. Hate to make it so much about cost, but honestly that's probably going to have to figure into your decision in a pretty big way.

    Next, since the US is huge, you should try to see if you can narrow down a little what sort of location you're interested in, since there definitely are trade-offs. Do you want to be in a big city? Are you okay with cold winters? How diverse of a student body are you interested in? How large a school do you want to go to? How far from home are you okay with being? Ask yourself these sorts of questions, and it'll gradually narrow down. Also, if you're so lucky to be able to visit some schools or talk to people that go there, that helps give an idea of what it's like.

    The application process is pretty straightforward (compared to professional school, at least :p) - you turn in your application with deadlines ranging from October to January-ish, which generally includes some essays, recommendations from a variety of teachers, and perhaps a personal statement of sorts. This might vary a little from school to school, and in other cases you can apply to multiple through the same application (e.g. all the UCs have the same app). They'll get back to you and may or may not interview you. Since you're abroad, these will be waived unless there are alumni in your area, or done by phone.

    When you apply, you can choose to declare your major, but you can also go in undeclared. Many schools let you switch majors pretty easily should you change your mind, but some majors at some schools are so popular that they become "impacted," that is, you have to go in declaring it in order to get it. So double-check these sorts of things, and once you get there, give yourself time to see that CS really is what you want by taking at least some general education requirements pretty early on.

    You'll generally have to commit to a school by ~May 1st, and pay some sort of deposit, which you lose if you withdraw. Perhaps not a problem for you, but Americans expect everything to be paid by cheque, which is a pain if your country doesn't regularly use them, so be well in advance with everything money-wise or you could lose your spot. The visa application is another hassle, but your school generally gives pretty good support with every step of the process.

    Some schools have early decision programs, by which you "promise" to go to their school if they accept you, and they let you know sooner. Sounds like this might not work for you since you're taking a late-ish SAT II, and won't know your scores yet. Unless you totally have your heart set on a specific school, this is generally not worth it.

    Finally, good luck, and please keep asking if you have more specific questions!

    TL;DR - money is going to be a big deal, ask yourself the tough questions, be realistic about where to aim, and research all the details since the bureaucracy can really suck.
  3. lucky518 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2009

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