Preparing to Study in the US: 5 Reasons to Start Early

Preparing to Study in the US: 5 Reasons to Start Early

manuela florea

Updated February 21, 2023 Updated February 21

When you are getting closer and closer to the day you will finish your high school studies, everyone is flooding you with advice and suggestions regarding your future education. It may feel like it is too much at the moment and that feeling is probably right. That is why I am revealing the secret for a successful and stress-free application to study in the US.

Actually, it is not a secret, but a smart strategy. The key is to start early. Why do that? Because preparation is what differentiates excellence from mediocrity. If you initiate your efforts early, time-consuming issues like financial planning, updating your CV, applying for scholarships and convincing your parents that you are doing the right thing for your education will not feel so scary anymore.

So, why exactly will you benefit from starting early?

1. Because you need time to research the best US colleges for you 
Choose a university

The United States has one of the world’s finest university systems and is home to over 4,000 colleges and universities. With so many alternatives, you need to be certain that you choose the best US college for you. It is recommended that you search for, identify, learn more about and apply to schools that are the best fits for your profile and future plans.

But even the simplest step of identifying relevant US colleges can get complicated if you postpone it for too long. Name recognition and reputation are important when selecting universities, but there are other aspects you should also consider.

For instance, you might want to check the diversity of the programs on offer, the courses you are going to study, the professors’ style of teaching, the campus facilities, and the local culture and environment. These things take time and I am sure you want to get them right.

Discover the top universities in the US by state >

2. Because you want to demonstrate your passion for your subject 
Passion for subject

All that I have mentioned to this point may look like technicalities to you, but it is important to remember that universities will want to see more than just your good grades. They are looking for ambitious and passionate young people, who are willing to give their best in order to become an expert in the field they are interested in.

You might wonder how you could prove that. Well, here is where starting early makes even more sense. Admissions committees love to see students involved in clubs and activities that meet their interests. Do not hesitate to participate in school elections, join student organizations, and seek additional opportunities to pursue your interests. You will not only attain valuable experience and skills, but you will also help universities see that you are putting an effort into learning more about the field you want to study.

3. Because you need to understand the admission process 
Admissions process

After you have identified the US colleges that best suit your educational expectations, you will need to start researching the admission process. This is where it usually gets confusing for most future students. But it doesn’t need to be like that for you.

You will have to submit an application to each of the institutions you are interested in; they will usually ask you to write personal essays and to provide them with letters of recommendation. In order to complete all the requirements to a high standard and meet the deadlines, you need to start planning ahead. I suggest that you make a calendar of deadlines to track what you need to do.

Typically, US undergraduate applications are due between November and January, and I strongly recommend that you initiate your efforts at least a year in advance. You also need to be informed about the fees you will need to pay during the process. Usually, the fee for each application is between $35 and $100. Write all these details in the calendar aforementioned.

4. Because you need time to prepare the application and visa documents 
US student visa

During the admission period, you will surely need to gather many personal documents, to show how you are going to support yourself financially and get your visa. All these things won’t be a burden if you plan ahead.

To be eligible for study in the US, you will need to make an appointment for a visa interview at the US Embassy in your country and pay some required fees. Make sure that your college has sent you a form confirming that you have been accepted at a US authorized institution, because you will need to bring this to the interview.

Although you won’t be able to apply for the visa until you have actually been accepted by a US college, it’s still best to get informed and well-prepared as early as possible, to avoid any last-minute panics.

5. Because you will want to know what your student life will be like 
US student life

We have talked about admission, exams and getting your visa, but now it’s time to get to the fun part. Studying in the US will not only provide amazing educational and professional opportunities, but it will also offer you the chance to have a great cultural experience.

Usually, students will live in the apartment buildings situated within the campus. As you can imagine, the environment can be a great place to meet new friends quickly. You can participate in the academic, cultural or athletic activities that are often organized and immerse yourself in US college culture.

Even though we’re ending on a fun note, you must remember that it is never too soon to start planning your incredible future. And now you are able to access all the tools and information that you need very easily. You can take the first step by registering for the QS World University Tour #StudyinUSA Virtual Fair, an online event that will help you prepare to study in the US from the comfort of your home.

This article was originally published in December 2015 . It was last updated in January 2020

Written by

Manuela is passionate about education and evolution and wishes to collect enough information in order to help students from all corners of the world take the big step towards their incredible future.

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