The International Student Survival Kit – Part 1
My first sojourn as an international student was in 1997 and I did it again in 2007. I have a few tips that I can share that might make your journey a little easier.
If you intend to study abroad then it is wise to start early because these things take time. Many universities only accept international students in the fall (August – September) semester. The fall semester is also the time that most scholarships and funding are given out so that is the best time to begin your program. For many schools, application for the fall semester is due for international students by December to January. For example if you are preparing to enter for fall 2015 then the applications are due January 2014 to January 2015. A few schools will go as far as March of the same year but if you want to be considered for any type of financial assistance then it is best to submit as early as possible. Once you have decided on the schools that you would like to attend, just keep checking back for when the online application is up and running.
I would suggest that you start as early as high school if you intend to get funding for your studies. If you are in high school start by keeping your GPA at the highest level and practice taking the SAT http://sat.collegeboard.org/home. If you are a graduate student, then the same thing applies but you would replace the SAT exam for the dreaded GRE (http://www.ets.org/gre) or GMAT (http://www.mba.com/us/the-gmat-exam.aspx)
Standardized tests are very common in the USA but not so common in the Caribbean and other countries, so take some time to become familiar with these tests. Practice makes perfect and it will pay off in the end when you land a free ride to a great university. There are lots of practice tests online if you are not able to purchase the relevant texts to practice. A quick Google search will yield enough results to keep you occupied. Here are a few sites for the SAT, GRE and GMAT:
Your references are also very important so make connections in high school or College because those who are aware of your academic skills make better references. Many universities are concerned about you being a balanced person so be sure to get involved in some kind of volunteer activity. Make sure that few of your teachers or professors know you, not just know of you. You might even test the waters to see if they would be willing to write references for you on the next leg of your academic journey. For persons who have been out of school for a while, make a good impression at work with a few people who can speak on your behalf.
Each university has a website so take a few minutes each day to pour over the sites and see what they have available.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line: International Student
© 2015 Mardene Carr
Mardene R. Carr is a tech-savvy Librarian with over 15 years of experience in Jamaica, USA, Cayman Islands, Bahamas and Dominica. For more on her work please visit