The Study Overseas Information Evening held at Ascham School last week drew crowds of keen students and parents interested in learning more about post-secondary school options. Eleven US universities were represented by admission staff from the institutions and/or local alumni.
Universities represented at the expo on the night included: American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Boston University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Rider University, Southern Utah University, Transylvania University, University of California Berkeley, University of Michigan, and Yale University.
The event was set up in an expo-style setting which allowed parents and students to speak to the respective university representatives. Both Southern Utah University and Ryder University in New Jersey were first time attendees of the event and drew students interested in learning more about their institutions.
Southern Utah University (SUU) is a public university located in Cedar City, Utah (30 minutes from ski fields) and has just over 10,000 undergraduate students. They offer over 150 academic programs of study with an emphasis on business and the sciences and SUU competes in NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports. International students are eligible for merit/academic based scholarships AND the SAT or ACT is not required for admission purposes, which is quite unique. As a Div I school, SUU also offers sports scholarships (Div I and II schools offer this).
Southern Utah’s competitive tuition and room and board fees will leave some families paying less than they did for a year of secondary school in Sydney.
Utah may not have historically been a destination of choice for Australian students, however the advantages are now compelling – “located in the world’s best backyard, SUU is the University of the Parks thanks to its close proximity to several outdoor recreational areas and its educational partnerships with the National Park Service”. SUU is definitely worth considering.
Rider University is located between New York City and Philadelphia. Students live and study in a quiet residential community yet have very easy access two larger cities and all their offerings. Rider is a private university offering the 4,100 undergraduate students over 70 academic areas of study. Merit/academic based scholarships are available for qualified candidates and Rider competes in NCAA Division I intercollegiate sport which also places them to offer athletic-based scholarships.
Towards the end of the program Alice Schaaf, Assistant Director for International Admissions at Transylvania University in Kentucky presented an overview of the US admission process. Ms Schaaf spoke of “the complexities of applying for admission to US universities as there is no centralised application system. Rather, each university is able to determine their own application deadline and required material which will be included as part of the application review process. The lack of a centralised system means students need to be organised and stay on top of deadlines and admission requirements.” (This complexity is a key reason for the establishment of Internationally Educated’s service offering – to assist students and their families through this process. - Ed)
Ms Schaaf continued “campuses are looking for strong but capable students who are undertaking challenging courses. The US admission process is holistic in nature requiring candidates to submit their course marks from year nine which provides a comprehensive academic overview of each applicant.”
“Extra- and Co-curricular activities may also be considered as part of a holistic admission process to US universities. It is important that students take a genuine interest in the activities in which they involve themselves rather than participating in activities as a way to fill their CV or impress admission staff; too may activities on a surface level may suggest this.”
As Ms Schaaf relayed, “students should ‘be themselves’ and participate in activities that make them happy and best reflect their interests.”
“Additional admission requirements include the submission of a personal statement or essay. This piece is particularly important and should be written in the students own voice (rather than an academic piece). It is the one piece in the application process where the student can decide what information they want admission staff to learn about them. The personal essay is limited to a concise word count usually around 650 words and in most cases should be tailored to answer an essay prompt.”
The SAT and ACT tests were also discussed in Ms Schaaf’s presentation, most notably that students should plan ahead in nominating their testing dates. For a comprehensive breakdown of the two tests and their designated testing dates, click here.
The night was a great success and students and parents left with an abundance of knowledge about US study options and the countless opportunities available. With over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the US there is a best fit institution for everyone with an array of price points and academic entry requirements.
If you’d like to attend next year, please take a moment to join our email list by filling in the contact us form – we provide advice on upcoming events well in advance as well as tips and insights for prospective students, families and teachers.
Internationally Educated works with students and their families to identify best fit institutions and to guide students through the US admission process. Contact us to learn more about how we can assist.