Plan well to study in the United States
NAVIGATING the path to a college or university in the United States is not easy, considering there are more than 3,000 colleges, community colleges, career schools and universities providing tertiary education. While the choices are varied, there is no doubt that the US offers some of the best universities in the world.
The Times’ Higher Education World University Ranking 2012-2013 listed seven American universities out of the top 10 world-class universities.
The process of applying to a top US university can be even more daunting and mind-boggling. The Princeton Review (TPR) is America’s largest test preparation company, offering courses in more than 500 locations in 21 countries worldwide.
TPR offers Admissions Counselling, and prepares students for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), SAT Subject Tests, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).
In line with preparing students to study in the United States, TPR recently organised yet another exclusive event for students and their parents to interact with an Ivy League university student.
Titled “My American Experience”, the eager applicants-to-be got up close and personal with one who has “been there, done that”, listening to the sharing of the challenging yet exhilarating journey to a top university in the United States.
Perspectives on why study in the US, when to start preparations, how to choose the university that is best for you (and the family budget), what steps are needed in the process, who to go to for help, were all covered as part of the roadmap to applying to an American university.
While the process is jokingly termed as “soul-sucking” by some, the key to addressing this challenge may be counter-intuitive to Malaysians who just cannot help doing things at the last minute: begin the research early – and consider your long-term goals.
Pearls of wisdom shared
Plan for the tests. When to prepare for and take the needed standardised tests such as TOEFL, SAT, SAT Subject tests, ACT, GMAT or GRE must be planned ahead of time. Spend sufficient time preparing for the tests with test prep guidebooks and classes.
Plan when to get letters of recommendation. Students need to establish relationships with teachers and advisors who can write strong letters of recommendation for them, not just ask for them at the time when everyone is doing the same.
Plan when to get transcripts and do translations. Do not wait until SPM or O-Level exams are over before getting forecast results. Forecast results or transcripts of actual results in Bahasa Malaysia also need to be properly and accurately translated.
Plan when to prepare and edit application packages and the essays that go with them. Proper writing skills will make a difference in showcasing the student’s ability rather than highlighting poor writing. Getting others to peruse the writing also lends an objective perspective, and they too need time to do this.
Get involved in some activities, community service or work experiences that will enable the students to show their values, talents and skills. It will be too stressful for students trying to accomplish too many extra-curricular activities while studying for major exams as well, so start early and spend the school holidays wisely.
The Gap Year is becoming popular for students who want to thoroughly explore their options post-high school. This time should be used productively rather than spent bumming around at home or just vacationing.
The SAT is an important test that is part of the undergraduate application requirement for many top universities not just in the US, but also Singapore and India.
The next SAT prep class by TPR will start on Jan 4. For students applying for graduate programmes, GMAT and GRE classes will commence on Dec 28.
Besides test prep, TPR also provides an overview of studying in the US and specific guidance on the US admissions process.
Last year, TPR helped 3.5 million students worldwide realise their college dreams with outstanding results.
For more information, call 03-7960 9700, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or walk in for registration at The Princeton Review, at B11-02, Level 11 Block B East, PJ8, No.23 Jalan Barat, Seksyen 8, Petaling Jaya.