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Anyone have a child at uni in the US?

(22 Posts)
BettySuarez Mon 28-Jan-13 17:46:49

DD (currently year 12) is keen to explore applying for American Universities (as well as UK based ones)

We have been doing some research with the Fullbright Commission and planning to attend their open days but really keen to hear from anyone whose child has been through the same process.

We have so many questions relating to application process, entrance exams, finances, practical considerations etc. smile

Even if your child wasn't successful or decided it was no longer what they wanted, very happy to hear your experiences.

IslaValargeone Mon 28-Jan-13 17:48:43

Blimey, I would imagine that to be hugely expensive!

HotOffTheTropics Mon 28-Jan-13 18:00:32

It was back in the day but I was once a child at uni in the US smile and a wonderful experience it was too!

As far as I know application process is fairly simple - but may vary from university to university. Your DD should think about the unis she's interested in and write to them (online forms should allow her to do this) to send across their application packets for international students. These are pretty comprehensive and will cover course details, application guidelines, boarding information etc. (though I expect all this will be available online as well - it's just nice to have it all spread out in front of you to consider!)

Unlike UCAS, she'll have to fill in each uni's app. forms separately.

I expect they still have to sit for SAT examinations - standardised test covering math and verbal.

Undergraduate scholarships are hard to come by but one can apply for need based financial aid (different universities have different requirements/awards)- and fees will be significant for an international student, but she'll probably be allowed to hold on-campus jobs (minimum pay usually) while she's there to help with that (I had three!).

Hopefully someone with more current info will be along shortly - good luck.

Copthallresident Tue 29-Jan-13 15:57:42

We didn't go for it but lots of expat friends did. Be warned, it is a huge burden on top of A level preparation, to prepare for SATS, and the individual requirements of different unis, who often want essays submitted etc. in addition. It is also strategic, there are early acceptance schemes, you get favoured if you say you will accept a uni early ahead of knowing whether you are in elsewhere etc. You need to narrow down your choice of uni and then understand the admissions requirement. They seem to want to test the quality of your thinking and writing much more than the UK system.

boomting Tue 29-Jan-13 19:49:18

I'd suggest having a look at The Student Room (UK based but with a section for those looking to study in the US) and College Confidential (US based site centred on colleges).

mathanxiety Tue 29-Jan-13 20:55:45

Everything is online and fairly straightforward.

I have one student in the US right now, one who is applying, and one who has gone through and is now graduated and working.

The process is a bit different for my DCs as they are American citizens but I have found dealing with financial aid etc quite straightforward and Fin Aid offices are helpful in the extreme with queries.

mathanxiety Tue 29-Jan-13 22:19:56

This is a good article

Timing is important:
You need to have most of the legwork done before the application process starts - that means, take the SAT or the ACT or both during the year before application, take the SAT II tests (individual subject tests) and then start researching universities. Identify no more than 10 you are interested in and figure out if the are common application universities or individual application universities. There is an application fee to each university.

Then you can start the process of applying per se.
(The process of applying for financial aid is separate.)

Applying involves essays and personal statements no matter whether the chosen universities use common app or individual application forms. A lot of common app places ask for a supplemental writing sample. DD2 wrote an essay entitled 'So where is Waldo anyway?' late one night right after Christmas.

Acceptance is need blind to a lot of good universities. That means you don't have to prove you can afford it before you are accepted. on financial aid That list is not exhaustive. If your student is interested in a particular university, look at its website and if you're not sure what the state of play is wrt international student financial aid, call during business hours for that university. Nobody will be able to say what will happen in your individual case but you will get general questions answered.

The FAFSA and CSS Profile both need to be filled out but public universities [= state universities] may not need the CSS Profile. Both guide you to the next steps after that and both will send your info to the individual universities, who will also contact you.

mathanxiety Tue 29-Jan-13 22:22:57

Some universities will ask for a supplemental financial statement and all will require documentation in the form of tax statements from you (and from the prospective student if he or she paid tax) covering at least the last tax year and sometimes up to the last three tax years.

mathanxiety Tue 29-Jan-13 22:27:29

It is a huge burden for US students too, who are mostly doing first semester finals at the time the applications are due (generally end December, early January for regular admission. Since class rank is generally calculated on the results of the first 7 out of 8 semesters of high school, the outcome of the first semester finals from senior year is very important but the application process can't be ignored at the same time.

BettySuarez Wed 30-Jan-13 10:14:48

Thanks so much everyone, this is really useful info and will check out some of these links. It does look daunting but we shall investigate further.

Loving the sound of the 'Where's Waldo' essay grin

mumsneedwine Wed 30-Jan-13 18:11:51

Have one at Harvard & it's free !! They have v generous bursaries based on parental income and so makes it affordable. He works on campus as well and works in the summer. Loves the course (they all do a sort of general degree but pick courses they are interested in). No good if want to do medicine but a great way to spend 4 years & he's met some amazing people. He wants to go to grad school there too but that is so ridiculously expensive - Harvard might fund him as he has had a pretty tough time in life and they are trying to find him a sponsor. I've been to see him for a week and its the most beautiful place.

BettySuarez Wed 30-Jan-13 20:51:08

I really don't think we would be eligible for funding because of DH's salary. Hoping that this isn't the only criteria for burseries though.

Harvard sounds wonderful, is your DS very academic? Do they look for top A Level grades?

mumsneedwine Wed 30-Jan-13 22:05:21

He did well in his A levels (AAB) but it was the CAT score I think that got him the interview (in London). He then was one of the lucky 2600 who was chosen.
Think you'd be surprised about the bursaries. It's anything less than $80,000 I think, so about £60,000 and there are no fees. Have to find living costs but would have to do that here. And they guarantee a job on campus of up to 21 hours a week so that really helps. He is having so much fun and enjoying everything it has to offer. We can't afford many flights home but he has worked every summer in a kids camp and earned money teaching sport (he has introduced rugby to South Carolina), so he has been busy. Skype is great !

BettySuarez Wed 30-Jan-13 22:24:04

You must be so proud grin

mathanxiety Thu 31-Jan-13 04:03:25

Funding is on a sliding scale.

And you live on campus so food and accommodation are included in the bill.

mathanxiety Thu 31-Jan-13 04:05:08

I think they try to give some sort of funding to people with as much as $150,000 income. They also take into account the number of people in the family the income is divided among. (The CSSProfile is very detailed)

TheCatInTheHairnet Thu 31-Jan-13 04:17:38

Mumsneedwine, do you live in the US or UK? Would love a pm as to how to get a free Harvard education!! Ds is currently a Sophomore.

mumsneedwine Thu 31-Jan-13 07:53:23

I live in the UK - Harvard applies the same funding rules to all candidates, regardless of nationality. There is a sliding scale of contribution up to a lot, but its free if under £60,000ish a year. And they do take into account number of kids, mortgage and other things such as healthcare costs (couldn't work out my contribution to the NHS). I am very proud of him smile. He's my sisters son who we adopted when she died and as the eldest of three he was amazing at helping us all integrate into one family. Love him to bits.

mathanxiety Thu 31-Jan-13 16:50:59

If you google 'international student financial aid' and '[name of university]' you will find links to those universities' international financial aid pages.

That is an amazing-sounding young man, Mumneedswine.

mumsneedwine Thu 31-Jan-13 18:23:53

He is a lovely man smile. If you email the Bursar office at Harvard they are very helpful with funding. We couldn't believe it when we found out it was possible and took a lot of convincing to let him try (it's quite expensive to sit the SATs), but it was the best decision for him. Harvard support you through the whole process and he had to travel no further than London to be accepted. I think Princeton and Yale operate similar schemes, but not quite as generous.

BettySuarez Fri 01-Feb-13 15:10:04

Will do, also planning to go along to Fullbright evening to get a bit more information re admissions and SATs

Would you recommend a particular book or study guide for SATs?

twojues Thu 21-Feb-13 18:58:40

My daughter started college in September in Michigan.

We are having to fund her tuition fees and accommodation although she got a presidential scholarship which helps a bit.

I would like to say she is having an amazing time and it is absolutely the best thing she has done for herself.

She was all set to take a gap year after taking her A levels and apply for Uni over here. She had thought about perhaps studying in the US and was going to look in to it during the gap year.

I asked her what was the point in taking a gap year if she wanted to study in the US, she might as well apply to go straight after taking her A levels. This was in October 2011. She looked in to taking SAT's and ACT's and decided the ACT's would suit her better. She studied for them alongside her A level's and took the test in December 2011!!! She did really well and was offered a place at her first choice college.

She is very shy and suffers from low self esteem and anxiety. I really worried about how she would cope being abroad and having to do things for herself. She couldn't even make a telephone call without practicing what she was going to say first.

She has now been out there for 6 months and I can see the change in her. She is so much more confident. She has got a part time job on campus and is meeting new people all the time.

One guy she met in her Biology lecture heard her talk and said "Oh, you must be C. You're pretty much like a celebrity round here". Being the only person from England.

She is coming home in May and will then return in August.
If you want to pm me, please do.

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