With over 4,000 institutions, deciding which U.S. university to attend is difficult in general. If you are an international student, the decision can seem even more challenging if you are unable to visit campuses in-person. Have no fear though – here are 5 tips to help you find your dream school!
1. Think beyond California and New York
Don’t get me wrong – California and New York are great! That said, there are 48 other unique states with impressive universities. Take a leap of faith and go somewhere wildly different from Norway. Be adventurous – experience Southern culture in Louisiana or live in the deserts of Arizona.
2. Know your needs
Consider the specifics of what you want in a university. Public or private? Big city or small town? Religious affiliation? Majors? Reputation? Research opportunities? Costs? Don’t worry about finding a 100% match, but be informed.
3. Examine the extracurriculars
So much learning takes place outside the classroom. U.S. universities offer huge amounts of clubs, societies, and activities outside of class – my university has over 900 student organizations! Read through the university’s list of extracurriculars and see how they align with your interests and hobbies.
4. Keep your options open
Sort your universities into three categories based upon their acceptance rate and your qualifications: reach (more difficult to get admitted), target (on par with your qualifications), and safety (easier to get admitted). If possible, apply to several schools across the three categories to give yourself more options.
5. Check out the meme page
Okay, I know it sounds weird, but hear me out. If you can’t visit the college in-person, checking out its meme groups (like UW Teens for Boundless Memes) on Facebook can offer a little insight into the student life vibe. They are purely student-run and definitely not endorsed by the university, so don’t make the memes your deciding factor.
But most importantly – wherever you end up – keep an open mind. Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in American culture and actively engage in the campus community. No matter which university you attend, it will be a rewarding experience!