Plan your path to the US
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.