International Student Blog

What do US Schools Look for in International Students?

What do US Schools Look for in International Students?

Every year, countless international students study abroad in the United States to receive a higher education. Many international students, as a result, must face the complex, and oftentimes stressful, admission process into United States institutions. Each admission process and application requirements are different, and it may be difficult for international students to fully understand what exactly is required of them. This blog will explain what United States schools generally look for in international students, and hopefully it will help you get a better understanding of the United States admissions process!

How do US Schools View the Application?

With some exceptions, United States schools generally view the application/admission package as a whole. That means that they do not solely look at test scores or grade point averages. They look at everything together, including essays, personal statements, and letters of recommendation. Also, United States college admissions committees strongly value diversity in every area – which includes, race, culture, background, and experience. Make sure to include in your application all of the experience you have, including volunteer experience. That may be the factor that sets you apart from the other applicants.

What are Qualities that Admissions Committees Look for?

There are many qualities that United States admission committees look for in international students. One quality that many admissions committees very likely want to see from international student applicants is a high degree of passion for your chosen area of study. International students can show a high degree of passion through the written elements of the application package, such as the essays and personal statements. United States university’s want to see a high degree passion because that shows that an international student is extremely interested in the subject.

Another quality that United States institutions look for is a high degree of English proficiency, especially in writing. This can be shown through your essays and personal statement, but mainly, it is shown through your TOEFL and IELTS scores. Admissions committees look for a high level of English proficiency since almost all programs are offered in English, and as a result, all of the assignments, tests, and quizzes you will have as an international student in the United States will be in English.

One final quality that admissions committees look for is the ability to think and work independently, or on your own. This shows to the admissions committee that you have a level of responsibility and accountability, but also that you have the potential to be a leader. It also shows that you can make important decisions for yourself. These qualities are key, especially for international students, in living abroad.

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What are Some Mistakes I Should Avoid?

A common mistake international students make is automatically preferring the top United States universities or most popular ones (for example, Harvard). As a result, many international students limit themselves to only those schools. The United States has countless universities and programs for international students and limiting your applications to a small number of these programs could prevent you from finding the best fit. Do plenty of research, and find the right university for your academic, personal, and professional needs.

Another common mistake international students make is not making it clear what their passion is. As stated above, United States admissions committees want to see a high degree of passion for the area of study you are applying for. On the other hand, if you have no clear passion or do not make that passion clear on your application, it may set you back in the admissions process. Make sure to make your passion crystal clear in the appropriate space of the application process.

Finally, another mistake is thinking that tests like the GRE, TOEFL, or IELTS are optional. Almost every school requires a score from at least one of those tests. It is extremely important that you take these tests.

Let Nomad Credit Help You with Admissions

Applications to United States universities can be extremely stressful and difficult. Nomad Credit can evaluate your profile to help you determine a potential university fit and speed up the admissions process so that you can get an admission decision in as little as days to weeks – all at no additional cost to you. Please don’t hesitate to email us  if you have any questions.

Do you need help evaluating your profile? Fill out this form for help from Nomad Credit!



John Romanucci

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