A common mistake international students may make is automatically thinking they should apply only to the top United States universities or the 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.
If you want to know which schools might be a great fit for you, or you’re unsure of what schools you’d have the great chance of getting into, you can do a profile evaluation.
A profile evaluation is when you create a profile of yourself, based on a number of factors, and then it is evaluated and analyzed by an admissions expert or current student. The person who evaluates your profile then gives you a list of schools, based on your chances of admission.
What Factors do I Include in My Profile?
In order for an expert to properly evaluate your profile, an international student should include as much relevant information as possible. The typical profile includes factors such as:
- Grade point average (specify the country);
- GRE score or expected score;
- Any past degrees received and the degree you wish to study for;
- Any past or current internships relevant to the degree you wish to pursue;
- Any papers you have written that are published;
- A statement of purpose;
- A letter of recommendation;
- TOEFL/IELTS scores.
Please note that these factors are included as examples to give you an idea of what makes up a typical profile. The actual factors of your profile may vary, or the factors that an expert asks to analyze may vary.
Profiles are then evaluated, typically based on three levels – ambitious, moderate, and safety. These levels categorize your likelihood of being able to get into a school or program. Please note that you can either give your evaluator a list of schools, or you can leave it open-ended.
Usually, if a school gets ranked as ambitious, that means that based on the information in your profile, it may not be a great fit for you. It does not mean that you will not gain admission into this program, but it will be extremely difficult. Either your standardized test scores may be too low, or the program/school does not match up with your career goals.
A moderate ranking means that an international student likely has a better chance of admission than a difficult ranking. Based on your standardized test scores and the rest of your profile, there is a chance that you may receive admission to these universities. However, a moderate ranking does not guarantee admission. Most of the time, it likely means that your profile meets the minimum to middle requirements of these particular universities and programs.
The schools and programs grouped under safety typically mean that you will have a high chance to be granted admission to these schools and programs. Your scores and other profile factors likely go beyond the requirements needed to gain admission.
Please keep in mind that admission officers more often than not look at your entire admission package. This goes well beyond standardized test scores. If you believe that your standardized test scores are not good enough to get you into a particular school, remember that other factors, such as your experience or personal statement, can help pick up those sub-par scores. That is why profile evaluations for international students can be such useful tools. They analyze the whole package, not just a bunch of test scores.