Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January Checklist for International Students

Timeline Series: Are You on Track?

Happy New Year everyone! With the start of 2014 WES Student Advisor is proud to introduce a new blog series where we will be publishing timelines that will help international students stay on track for the U.S. admissions process.

If you are currently applying for 2014:

Keep on course and finish well

  • Keep in mind common deadlines approaching on January 15 and February 1. 
  • Many U.S. colleges also have rolling admissions so mark your calendars for these varying deadlines.
  • Create a schedule of all your to-do’s and work backwards from the deadline. 
  • Don’t despair if some of your classmates received early acceptance letters. Everyone’s timeline and process is different. 

Look over your college list

  • Make sure that the colleges on your list are a good fit for you. 
  • Don’t over extend yourself by applying to too many colleges. Many students aim for about 6-9 schools: 3 Dream schools, 3 Fit schools, and 3 Safety schools. 

If you received early decision acceptance…

  • Prepare to pay for your deposit. The amount will vary with each school. 
  • Contact the admissions office where you were expected on next steps for housing, financial aid, visa, and etc. 
  • Notify any other schools you applied to that you are withdrawing your application.

Study hard at school

  • Just because you got accepted or submitted your application confidently doesn’t mean that you can now let go of you studies in school. Final grades do matter so don’t slack off. 

If you are planning to apply for 2015:

Your grades in core classes do matter for admissions

  • There’s always room for improvement so creating a schedule for the next semester is not too late.
  • Extracurricular activities are also important but don’t let them affect your grades negatively..

Keep in contact with those you want recommendation letters from

  • If it’s a teacher, be engaged in class and show them your initiative to learn.
  • For others, start reaching out to them and keep in contact so that it doesn’t seem like you are abruptly contacting them for a favor.

Build your portfolio

  • For many art majors, schools may ask for portfolios that showcase your work so create a folder and start saving your best pieces. 
  • For others, some schools may ask for essay samples or various schoolwork. Start saving some examples that show good results but also rigor. 
  • These examples can come in handy when asking for letters of recommendations from teachers. 

Register for standardized tests

  • Plan ahead and determine when you want to take any standardized tests. 
  • Make sure to leave enough time in the case that you want to take it again if you don’t do well. 
  • Create a realistic study schedule working backwards from your timeline. Don’t cram!

Start thinking about your college priorities

  • Will you thrive in an urban or rural campus?
  • Do you do well in large class sizes or is smaller better?
  • Answering questions like above can help narrow down the colleges you will apply to. 
  • Check various college websites for quizzes and surveys that can help you answer these questions and determine your initial college interest list.


WES Student Advisor provides international students with free tips and advice from university admissions experts to expand your educational opportunities in the United States. On this website, you will find tools and resources to help you prepare for the university admissions process. Learn more about WES Student Advisor.

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