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  • Debra M. Shively

Study in the USA Information Evening

Last evening I attended the Study in the USA Information Evening at Redlands in Cremorne jointly delivered by Linden Educational Services and EducationUSA. Redlands Hall was filled with students, parents and career advisers from all over Sydney and beyond as both the organisers and representing colleges gave their insights into US student life and opportunities.

“If you study abroad you will have a life changing experience” said Rob Force, Vice-Consul, US Consulate General Sydney prior to the introduction of the eight university representatives in attendance which included: Central Penn College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Uni, Fairleigh Dickinson Uni, Uni of Buffalo - New York, Uni of Colorado Boulder, Uni of Hawaii at Monoa, Uni of South Carolina, and Whitworth University. Each spoke about their institution for a few minutes, and took moderator and audience questions. University of Colorado Boulder detailed their outstanding space program – they’ve graduated 22 astronauts since the space program started in the 60’s. Those looking for VERY broad horizons take note! University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business has had the number one ranked undergraduate international business program for 18 years. (An aside - Queensland is the sister state to South Carolina which has generously extended in-state tuition pricing for Queensland students. The difference between in-state and international tuition fees can be up to 50%!)

A panel discussion followed with the institutional representatives. Discussions covered IB vs HSC, standardised entry testing, good vs. great candidates and how can you find the ‘right fit’ when you don’t have the opportunity to visit all the institutions on offer. Particularly for Australians the last is a very relevant question but remember that with over 4,000 degree granting institutions across a country larger than Australia, many Americans won’t necessarily be able to visit all of their preferred colleges themselves. To address this, there are many useful information sources available remotely including staff and alumni of colleges.

Many asked important introductory questions and the following may also be relevant in this context:

  • Undergraduate degrees in the USA are four years in duration.

  • Students do not necessarily need to nominate their major at time of application.

  • The holistic admission review process assesses multiple application components to determine the suitability of a candidate. These application components include: the university application, essays and personal statements, teacher and counsellor recommendations, academic transcripts - usually from year nine, extracurricular activities and leadership roles, and standardised test scores. The extensive review of these documents provides a thorough assessment of the candidate - but there are no rules that will guarantee anyone a place, particularly at the most competitive institutions.

Following the panel discussion university representatives and Sydney based alumni representing their alma mater attended a University Education Fair where students and their families had the opportunity to gather information and ask representatives specific questions.

Thank you to Redlands, Linden Educational Services, and EducationUSA for a successful evening.

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