Plan your path to the US

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - HIGHER EDUCATION - For more de­tails, call 03-7960 9700, e-mail tprkl.my@ sarabeat­tie.com or walk in for reg­is­tra­tion at The Prince­ton Re­view, at B-11-02, Level 11 Block B East, PJ8, 23 Jalan Barat, Sec­tion 8, Petaling Jaya, Se­lan­gor.

nAV­I­GAT­ING the path to a col­lege or univer­sity in the United States is not easy, con­sid­er­ing there are over 3,000 col­leges, com­mu­nity col­leges, ca­reer schools and uni­ver­si­ties.

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 ap­pli­ca­tion process can be daunt­ing and down­right mind-bog­gling. The Prince­ton Re­view (TPR), Amer­ica’s largest test prepa­ra­tion com­pany, of­fers cour­ses in over 500 lo­ca­tions in 21 coun­tries world­wide.

TPR of­fers Ad­mis­sions Coun­selling and pre­pares stu­dents for the SAT, SAT Sub­ject Tests, TOEFL (Test of English as a For­eign Lan­guage), GMAT (Grad­u­ate Man­age­ment Ad­mis­sion Test) and GRE (Grad­u­ate Record Ex­am­i­na­tions).

TPR re­cently or­gan­ised an­other exclusive event for stu­dents and their par­ents to in­ter­act with an Ivy League univer­sity stu­dent ti­tled “My Amer­i­can Ex­pe­ri­ence”.

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 and who to go to for help were all cov­ered.

The key to ad­dress­ing this chal­lenge may be counter-in­tu­itive to Malaysians who just can­not help do­ing things at the last minute – be­gin re­search early and con­sider your long-term goals.

The pearls of wis­dom shared? Plan, plan and plan.

> 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 with test prep guide­books and classes.

> Plan when to get letters of rec­om­men­da­tion: Es­tab­lish re­la­tion­ships with teach­ers and ad­vis­ers who can write strong letters of rec­om­men­da­tion, not just ask for them when ev­ery­one else is do­ing the same.

> Plan when to get tran­scripts and do trans­la­tions: Do not wait un­til the SPM or O-Level ex­ams are over. Fore­cast re­sults or tran­scripts of ac­tual re­sults in Ba­hasa Malaysia also need to be trans­lated ac­cu­rately.

> Plan when to pre­pare and edit ap­pli­ca­tion pack­ages and the es­says that go with them: Im­prove your writ­ing skills to make a dif­fer­ence in show­cas­ing the stu­dent. 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 to show your val­ues, tal­ents and skills: It will be too stress­ful to try to ac­com­plish too many ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties while study­ing for ma­jor ex­ams, 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 and should be used pro­duc­tively.

The SAT is an im­por­tant test that is part of the un­der­grad­u­ate ap­pli­ca­tion re­quire­ment for many top uni­ver­si­ties, not just in the United States, but also Sin­ga­pore and In­dia. 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.

Join the test prep classes com­menc­ing March 8 (SAT and TOEFL Weekend group class) and March 22 (GMAT & GRE Weekend group class).

Study­ing in the US will no doubt open up new per­spec­tives in your life.

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