Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February Checklist for International Students

Timeline Series: Are You on Track?

Some of you may have already been admitted to schools and others may still be waiting. This is an anxious time but try not to stress out! Here are a couple things in mind as you head into this month.

If you are currently applying for 2014:

Start getting those financial documents ready

Get a folder going for all our visa paperwork

  • Depending on where you live, visa processing times at U.S. embassies may vary. You can check the appointment wait time at the U.S. State Department website.
  • F-1 and M-1 student visas can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date so once you are admitted you want to get that I-20 form as soon as possible and start the visa process.
  • There is no guarantee that you will receive the visa on your first visit so have a buffer period if things don’t go as planned.

Keep in touch with the admissions officers

  • Send an email wishing them a happy new year and that you look forward to their response soon. It’s important to be engaged and let them know that you are interested.
  • Don’t email the admissions officers every day asking for updates and whether you are admitted or not.

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.
  • You will still be asked to provide final transcripts at the end of the year and if you decided to let your grades slip, universities have the right to rescind your admittance. 

If you are planning to apply for 2015:

Start researching into prospective schools

  • Make a list of factors that you think are very important to you. Divide the factors into non-negotiable and negotiable.
  • Look further into colleges than just rankings for reviews.

Plan some campus visits over the next few months

  • It’s never too early to start visiting so start reaching out to some schools you are interested in and let the experience soak in before moving on.

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.

Register for standardized tests

  • If you haven’t around taken your standardized tests once then make sure to take them in March or April.
  • Create a realistic study schedule and work backwards from your test date. Don’t cram!


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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