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Before you Attend a US College, Ask These Questions

Nov 18, 2015, 7:00:00 PM by Bryanna Davis

Choosing a US college or university is not an easy decision. However, having the answer to these 5 questions can help ensure you've made the right choice. Watch our hangout to find out what you need to ask before you apply!


Thank you for attending our Hangout today, I’m Bryanna Davis with International Student, you can find us on If you’re trying to sift through the numerous colleges and universities throughout the US to find the best option for you, then you’re in the right place. We’re going to cover a few questions that you need to find the answer to when narrowing down the list of your top schools.

If you have no idea where to find a list of US schools all in one place, you can of course find one at I’ve added a link in the showcase so you can easily find that list and start searching through the various US colleges and universities inside the US after this hangout. Also, as always, we will answer your questions at the end of this hangout so send in any questions you have through the Hangout Q&A feature and we will get to those in the end.

But let’s get started.

-The first item you’ll want to look at is, does it offer the correct degree level, degree and focus I need?

Not every college and university will offer the degree at the level you need. When starting your search it’s key to understand the difference between obtaining your Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral Degree- and know which one you’re trying to obtain. For example, if you’ve never received a higher education degree you will more than likely be in the pursuit of an associate’s degree, which is a 2 year degree, or a bachelor’s degree, which is typically a 4 year degree. If you’ve already obtained your bachelor’s degree the next step would be to obtain your Master’s Degree, after that is a doctoral degree. If you’re really confused on what type of degree you need to obtain, you can watch our hangout on “US College Degrees Explained.” The link to that hangout can be found in the showcase.

Also, just because a college or university offers the degree you’re after, keep in mind that that doesn’t mean it will offer that degree with the focus you want to pursue- this is especially important if you plan on continuing your education within a certain focus. For example, if you’re pursuing a degree in Anthropology and would like to focus on primatology, make sure that the college or university you choose not only offers a degree in anthropology, but that it offers a strong focus in primatology.

-When trying to eliminate schools from your list, another question that you should find the answer to early on in your search is, what are the exact admissions requirements you will need to meet?

Colleges will typically have specific Grade point averages, SAT or ACT score requirements and standardized language test scores that you will need to meet. Each college will have their own minimum requirements, so it’s important to check with each college that you wish to attend and see if your scores will meet. When you begin the process of becoming an international student in the US you will want to do it early. One very good reason to start sooner rather than later is perhaps you take the SAT or ACT and your score isn’t quite as high as it needs to be to get into the university of your choice. If you have enough time- take it again!

-Another question that you should know the answer to is what is the average class size at the college or university you’re considering?

Knowing the average class size will give you a good idea of how much one on one time you’ll be able to receive from your professors. When finding out the average class size you will want to ensure you find out the average class size when it comes to your general education courses, which will typically be larger, and the average size of your degree-focused classes. Smaller classes typically mean you’ll have more time to ask your questions in class or during office hours.

-If you’re like many other students, finding the funds to pursue your education might be a challenge. So make sure you find out what percentage of students receive financial aid at the college or university you’re considering.

A few other questions to ask about while you’re on the topic of funding includes:

How do you apply for aid, will it be a separate application from the general college admissions application?

Will financial aid still be available after the first year of attendance, if so, does it typically decrease?

-Last on our list, what events or groups are available for students to get involved in? Are there any programs in place to help international students specifically adjust to the new school?

Of course your time as an international student will be primarily about receiving your degree. However, your social life will also have a great effect on your time in the US. Because of this you’ll want to ensure that the colleges you’re considering offers plenty of ways for you to get involve, meet others and in general, keep happy! Find out what intramural sports, academic clubs, hobby focused clubs, Greek life, international student focused clubs and other various groups are available.

Also, along with social groups, make sure you find out what support is available for students on campus. Does the school you’re considering have a writing center, ESL assistance, a student health center, a counseling center, and other various resources at your disposal.

Now that you know a few questions that you should be asking the US colleges and universities you’re considering attending, hopefully it will help you narrow down your search when trying to find the perfect college for you.

Let’s now take a look at the questions that you’ve sent in through the Q&A feature.

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