Ways to Connect with U.S. Colleges
U.S. colleges may sometimes seem distant and inaccessible to the point that you might think it is not possible to reach out to them aside from sending emails. However, there are other means to facilitate communication between you and U.S. colleges which may also improve your chances of being admitted. Surprised? Let me provide you some examples.
You may have already heard that many U.S. colleges actively recruit international students and that their representatives travel a lot to meet the best candidates for their colleges. One of these candidates might be you. So, why not start by finding out if there are any U.S. college fairs planned close to where you live, learning when they are going to take place and what colleges will be represented. Fairs such as these are probably one of the best ways to interact with U.S. colleges outside of the U.S. and to learn more about them. In a college fair, you will have the chance to talk directly to college representatives, ask your questions and have them answered and even request further information. You may even discover that one or more of the colleges represented in the fair match your expectations just perfectly. That is what college fairs are for, they serve to extending the breadth of your options, enlarging your academic horizons and letting you make better-informed decisions. Many EducationUSA centers and other organizations around the world organize college fairs regularly with U.S. accredited institutions of higher education. Advisers from these centers are at the same time available to help you understand and interpret information that the U.S. representatives give to you. Advisers are approachable people who like to help, so do not miss the opportunity to ask them your questions as well.
In case you do not have the opportunity to attend one of these fairs or if just there isn’t one available close to you, there are other sophisticated and efficient ways to engage with college admissions such as internet based virtual fairs. In these virtual fairs you will have the chance to chat directly with the representatives of the colleges you select pretty much the same way you would if it were a physical college fair. One of the major U.S. college virtual fairs is the CollegeWeekLive that happens on a regular basis on a computer close to you. All you need to do is sign up, log in, search colleges according to your preferences and chat directly with the representatives of your desired colleges. You may also search a database with information on financial aid. Educational advisers are also available to give you any information you may need.
U.S. education is probably more present in your country than you actually might think. Every so often, U.S. colleges’ representatives travel to countries on their own and give group talks for arranged audiences at high schools, advising centers or other locations. A good way to know if there are any such events planned for the near future is to inquire at the nearest EducationUSA center. The EducationUSA network has over 400 advising centers spread in more than 170 countries and is supported by the U.S. Department of State. Chances are there is one of these centers near you. Besides organizing student advising for groups of students, EducationUSA centers also organize a number of diverse events at different times of the year. The International Education Week, a Department of State initiative to celebrate international education worldwide, is one of those times when many of the advising centers plan outreach activities aiming at promoting education in the U.S. During this week, there may be plenty of different activities for you to participate in such as group advising sessions, college representatives’ talks, gatherings of alumni associations, or webinars on specific topics such as undergraduate admissions or with specific colleges. All of these events will certainly make you feel closer to U.S. colleges.
Another way to move closer to U.S. education and greatly improve your chances of being admitted by a U.S. college is joining a Competitive College Club, aka CCC. More and more EducationUSA centers administer CCCs which aim at helping excellent students submit stronger applications to competitive U.S. colleges and universities. CCCs are open to junior year students in the top 10% of their classes and consist of reading assignments, lectures, and community service projects. Students sign a contract detailing their responsibilities, which include attending all meetings during the school year. Depending on the rules of each CCC, students may be required to attend physically or at distance. Participants of CCC are usually of great interest to U.S. colleges.
Finally, make sure to pay a visit to the nearest Information Resources centers which are located at U.S. embassies all over the world. Usually, these centers provide informational materials about U.S. culture and society and sometimes even on different U.S. education events in your country. Another valuable source of information on different educational events about the U.S. that may be of interest to you are the American Corners and the American Spaces, usually hosted in local universities, embassies, schools, libraries, and other partner institutions worldwide. These spaces were created to serve precisely as sources of information about the U.S. for local communities and regularly host speakers from the U.S. on different topics.
As you read, U.S. colleges may not be present at all times, but when they come close to where you live, don’t miss the opportunity to meet their representatives and to learn more about ways to make your academic dreams come true.