he U.S. has the largest
number of international
students enrolled in its
universities (more than
1,000,000). Over 5 per-
cent of the students
studying in the U.S. are foreign
students. Universities report that
the number of international stu-
dents keeps growing year after
Attending college in the U.S. is
a goal for many international
high school students. We are dispelling 10 myths about Studying
Abroad in the U.S. This goal can
be achieved, let us show you
1. I need to be rich to attend
college in the U.S.
Yes, American universities can
be expensive. However, sticker
price does not always equal net
There are merit-based scholarships available to international
Also, the cost of attendance
can vary greatly from private and
public universities. It is often less
expensive to attend a public university.
2. I do not qualify for financial
International students do not
qualify for federal aid.
However, they can often qualify for merit-based scholarships.
Each university decides how
they want to distribute their
funds. If they want to offer international students institutional
aid, they can.
3. I am fluent in English, therefore I do not need to take the
TOEFL or IELTS.
There is no standard application process for U.S. universities.
For this reason, students must
check each university’s criteria
for the TOEFL/IELTS exam.
Numerous universities require
international students, from a
country where English is not the
national language, to take a lan-
Each university also sets their
own passing score.
4. The TOEFL and IELTS are
essentially the same.
The TOEFL and IELTS exams
have numerous differences. The
TOEFL offers only academic
English. While the IELTS offers
an academic option in addition
to a general test.
Both the TOEFL and IELTS
have wide acceptance in U.S.
However, some colleges do
have their preferences. When
deciding which test to take,
make sure to check with the universities you are applying to see
if both tests are accepted.
5. Applying to college in the U.S.
Things would be much simpler if this were true.
The college application
process varies from college to
college. Each college sets their
own rules, criteria, and deadlines.
There is no one true
6. Since English is not my first
language, colleges will not
expect my essay to have perfect grammar.
Nowadays, colleges are more
competitive than ever.
In order to study at a top-tier
university, students must have a
strong grasp of the English lan-
guage and grammar.
7. The U.S. does not have very
many international students
enrolled in its universities.
For the 2015-2016 academic
year, the number of international
students at U.S. colleges exceeded 1 million, according to a
recent report from the Institute
of International Education, a
nonprofit that works to advance
8. The steps involved in applying
to U.S. colleges are completely
different for international and
The steps involved in applying
to U.S. colleges are largely the
same for international and
domestic students. But, interna-
tional students need to under-
take a few additional steps to
make up for the differences in
the school curriculum, grading
system, and language.
ï The majority of the colleges
in the U.S. require international
students to obtain a minimum
score on language tests, such as
ï As an international student,
you will also need to supply the
university with a certification of
finances. The university wants to
ensure you can afford the tuition
and living expenses before you
obtain a visa and move to the
ï International students apply-
ing to U.S. colleges may also be
required to have their transcripts
and/or other educational creden-
tials assessed by an official
organization. This is because the
grading system used by certain
schools is different from the typi-
cal 4.0 scale utilized in the U.S
ï International Students have
to determine the legal require-
ments associated with staying in
the U.S. and apply for a student
9. It is difficult to obtain a student visa.
Once a student is accepted to a
university, the steps are fairly
straightforward. The first step for
international students is to
ensure the university, they are
applying, is accredited by the
U.S. government’s Student and
Exchange Visitor Program
Only SEVP-approved institutions can enroll students in the
Student and Exchange Visitor
Information System (SEVIS).
After an international student
has been accepted, the university
will enroll them in the SEVIS sys-
tem. SEVIS will provide the stu-
dents with the necessary docu-
ments to apply for a U.S. student
10. As soon as I graduate, I must
leave the U.S.
Upon graduation, many international students hope to stay in
the U.S. These students can
apply for twelve months of
optional practical training (OPT).
This allows them to work in
fields related to their areas of
study while building their skill-set.
The difficulty is that not just
any job will do. The job must be
specific to their field of study.
An additional option is to pursue an advanced degree. This
will extend the student visa.
After the advanced degree is
obtained, the student can apply
for an additional twelve months
The process of finding long-term employment and receiving
company sponsorship is not
always easy. But, it is certainly
The more specific and in-demand your major is, the easier
the process becomes.
Studying abroad in the U.S. is
a lifelong dream for many. That
dream can be realized with proper planning and diligence.
Kristen Moon is an independent college
counselor and founder of
MoonPrep.com. She specializes in Ivy
League, Gap Year, BS/MD Programs,
and International Students.
the 10 Myths
By Kristen Moon
THE LEARNING CURVE
INDIA ABROAD June 23, 2017 41 CAMPUS AFFAIRS