Studying overseas requires careful preparation. In this article, you will learn what to expect, what to prepare for, and what you need to anticipate when going to study in the United States.
1. 9-12 months before your studies begin
Plan your finances
Education in the United States is more expensive for
foreigners than for citizens. For example, the tuition and fees for one
semester at the University
of Michigan for international students is US $41,327,
while state residents only have to pay US $14,522, not including living
expenses, required textbook purchases, and other fees.
Think about the possible sources of financing for
your education: personal funds, scholarships and grants, part-time work on
campus, and freelancing. You can also contact the admissions office of your
university or college regarding different sources of financial assistance
available to you.
Gifted students can apply for both federal and
university scholarships as well as grants from private companies and
foundations. Of course, not all scholarship programs will be able to fully
cover your expenses. However, even a small amount of financial aid will reduce
the pressure on your budget.
Prepare the documents
Almost all American colleges and universities
require applicants to provide academic transcripts, letters of recommendation
from teachers, language test results, etc.
Make sure you have all these documents.
Check out your employment options
As we mentioned above, one of your sources of income
can be part-time employment. You can work both on and off campus, but you
should know that F-1
visa students are not allowed to work off-campus during their
first year of studies. Starting from the second year, you will be able to take
paid internships off campus:
– Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
– Optional Practical Training (OPT)
– Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical
Training Extension (OPT)
Before you start any internship, you should contact
your academic advisor at your university. According to visa regulations, all
training must be directly related to the curriculum.
2. 4-9 months before your studies begin
Pass the medical examination
Before you leave, you will have to get medical
insurance and provide proof of immunization. Make sure that you have all the
necessary vaccinations and have filled all prescribed. If you’ve missed any
required vaccinations, be sure to get them. Remember that the interval between
vaccinations should be at least one month.
In addition, American universities will only be able
to provide minimal medical care. If you have to take any medication, you should
see a doctor to get a prescription.
It is likely to be cheaper to buy prescriptions in
your home country than in America. Make sure that the expiry dates of your
medications are as far away as possible and that your name is clearly indicated
Apply for a visa
After getting your enrolment letter, ask your
university about the process of issuing your I-20
form. This document reflects information about your enrolment and
terms of study in your US university or college. This form should contain the
Your name as written on your passport
Your date and country of birth, program of study, graduation
date, date of departure, and financial information
A signature, in ink, from the university or college’s official
Carefully check your I-20 for any mistakes. Note
that this form can be replaced in case you need to leave the country, your date
of study completion has changed, or the form has been lost or destroyed.
After receiving your I-20, you can apply for a visa
at the American embassy in your country. If you plan to study in a vocational
training program, you will need to apply for an M-1 visa. Academic and language
program students will need to apply for an F-1 visa.
You cannot apply for a student visa more than 120
days before the start of your training.
Buy plane tickets
You can often save a lot by
buying tickets in advance.
Send letters to the universities and colleges that you didn’t choose
You may receive several
letters of admission from US institutions. Do not forget or be too lazy to send
letters of regret to these institutions, notifying them that you do not plan to
3. 3 months before your
To study abroad, you will
need to have health insurance. You can contact an insurance company directly or
ask your agent for help. Many colleges and universities have specific rules regarding
insurance coverage, so make sure you check with the international student
office for all relevant information.
Plan your stay
Some colleges and
universities in the United States require first-year students to live on
campus. You should research in advance how to reserve your spot in a dormitory.
Depending on the size and style of room, the estimated cost of living on campus
is US $10,000 – $15,000 per 9 months.
4. 1-2 months before your
Pay your tuition and fees
Ask your university’s
admission officer or international student office for bank transfer details.
Sign up for an orientation session
The sooner you sign up
for an orientation session, the more choice you’ll have of the classes and
subjects that you would like to include in your curriculum.
Buy prescribed medications
Please note that all medicines you carry should have
your name on them.
Pack your luggage and make copies of all necessary documents
Organize your airport pick-up and receive confirmation of your
Exchange some local currency
Obtain an international driver’s license or an English
translation of your driver’s license
Other useful links about studying in the United