After your applications have been sent to each school you would like to attend, all you can do is sit and wait. Avoid the stress of the unknown by making some simple preparations in the meantime.
Make your Final Decision
Keep an eye on your mail, email or application submission platform for notifications from the colleges in which you applied. You should receive admissions decisions by March or April, and notifications of financial aid awards by the end of April.
Waitlist: If you are put on a waitlist, remember that this is not a rejection. Keep watching your mail; you should receive a final decision by May. In the meantime, keep your options open and check out schools that have late or rolling application dates as a back-up.
Financial Aid: After you receive information about the financial aid offered by each of the schools to which you have been accepted, consider each package carefully. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to contact the financial aid office of the college for more information. Financial aid is a key factor in deciding where you will attend.
The Next Step: Once you’ve decided where you’ll be attending, make sure you notify all schools of your intent by May 1. Remember to send your deposit to your chosen school and ask your guidance counselor to send your final transcript to the college in June.
After you accept an offer, you should receive information from the college about course scheduling, orientation sessions, housing and dining arrangements, and other necessary forms. Make sure you complete all required paperwork by the required deadlines.
Apply for your Student Visa
Once you have been admitted to a US college or university, that school will send you an I-20, and you can use that to begin the process of applying for your visa. The first step is to complete the online application. When you apply for a visa, the consular officer may want to see the following:
- An I-20 or IAP-66 form from an accredited college or university
- Original documents showing your educational credentials for the previous four years
- Your test scores from the standard entrance exams that you have taken, such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE or GMAT
- Financial documents which show that you have sufficient funds in a bank to pay for the first year of your studies in the United States. In addition, you should be able to prove the sources of your academic funding for subsequent years of study. It is not sufficient to show assets. You must be able to prove income generated by assets, family business or property.
Please visit our Student Visa pages to find out all the information about what to do and how to get your visa.
Research Health Insurance Options for your Time Abroad
With only three months to go before your departure to the U.S., you should be investigating and purchasing health insurance. Keep in mind that many schools inside the United States will have requirements around your health insurance coverage including what benefits it should include, how long you need coverage, and perhaps even a specific plan you must purchase. When searching for coverage a good place to start is our health insurance section. There you can find comprehensive health insurance information on insurance products in the United States.
Housing Options Once you Arrive
After you’ve made your final decision on which college to attend, it’s time to start thinking about where you want to live. Many students choose to live in college dorms, or an apartment with roommates. This is a great way to meet fellow students and enjoy your time with people from different courses and interests in a shared-college experience. Check out your institution website for their housing options and if they have specific housing requirements for international students.
Alternatively, if you want somewhere to stay where you’ll be introduced to local culture while having the security net of going home to a family each day, consider a homestay. A homestay is a network of host families who invite international students into their homes while they’re studying at a local institution. Homestay houses are vetted through the website and 24/7 support is available for increased safety and security. One reliable and safe homestay program that international students will want to explore is The American Homestay Network .
Make Travel Arrangements for When you Arrive in the U.S.
You need to make all the arrangements to fly to the U.S., schedule your transfer from the airport to your accommodation and arrange temporary accommodation for your first night in the USA. Try to arrive at least 10 to 15 days before your school’s orientation begins, as this will give you time to get familiar with your new surroundings and acclimated to life in a new country.
Our Travel Section contains all the tools you will need to book flights, make connections, purchase a student discount card, reserve a hotel room, and more.
Your 3 Month Checklist:
- Decide which college you want to attend
- If you are on a waitlist, then find alternative options as a backup
- Apply for your student visa
- Research and purchase health insurance
- Research and organize housing in your college town
- Make travel arrangements for the U.S.
Check out our application timeline for 1 Month Before you study in the US to learn what your next steps should be, or download our Complete College Application Checklist.