Tips for Chinese Students Applying to US Universities
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Chinese teens start university here stateside. However, the American system is bewildering to most applicants. See below for general points of advice when planning your applications. Schedule a free consultation if you would like to elevate your own application.
Take time to build a dynamic profile
Unlike the Chinese system, your admission is not based on one score. It is "holistic." You will hear this term thrown around a lot by admissions folk. What does it mean and how can I succeed in a holistic process? It means that your application is looked as having many components, all of which are important. You should be involved in extracurricular activities, have a strong personal statement, and high scores. Building your profile with activities takes time, so get involved now if you have not already. Consider sports, volunteering, and clubs.
Practice your English or seek alternatives
Unless you attend an American or International school abroad, you likely need to take a test to prove your proficiency in English. You probably did not string together your first grammatical sentence in your native language until you were three years old. So, you cannot expect to have perfect English overnight. Watch American movies, sing British songs, find a language tutor, or whatever it takes. You will need to take either the TOEFL or IELTS in order to attend school in the US. If you foresee these tests being a challange consider attending a school that allows you to have an immersion year. You can also attend a community college or language program and transfer later to your intended program.
Research beyond rankings
Many international students start building their school list without any knowledge of what schools even exist. They gravitate towards rankings. Remember that US News uses a methodology that does not take into account the most important part of any school list- you. Reflect on what you would like in a school. In which environment do you thrive? What school has resources to pursue your interests? What schools are your reaches, targets, and safeties? It's important to have balance to ensure you are challenging yourself while also protecting yourself. Be realistic in terms of what schools could foreseeably accept you.