The fact that this process is challenging and, at times, frustrating, should not discourage you from applying to an American school, especially if it is your top-choice institution. Instead, consider the following tips before compiling your application:
1. Aim for strong standardized test scores
Your standardized test scores are an important component of your college application. The ACT and the SAT, for example, can play a central role in whether or not you are accepted to a given college or university. Similarly, you should also plan to devote a significant period of time to studying for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (or TOEFL). Earning a competitive score on this exam demonstrates that you have attained proficiency in the English language, which can increase your viability as an applicant.
2. Emphasize fit
When you hear the term “American school,” do you automatically think of Harvard University? How about Yale University? These are indeed elite (and well known) schools, but that does not necessarily mean that they are right for you. Instead of simply applying to the “best” colleges and universities in the United States, conduct research to determine which school is ideal for you. Consider your potential major, the resources or assistance that you might require, location, and so on. You will likely be surprised to find that there are many colleges outside the Ivy League that suit your goals and needs.
3. Capitalize on the admissions essay
As previously mentioned, a great TOEFL score can show an admissions committee that you are proficient in English, but it will not tell them what actions you took to reach that point. So, when writing your admissions essay, be sure to mention how you learned English.
For instance, if you took private lessons or studied abroad, include these details in your essay. They can demonstrate your commitment to your academic and career goals, an admirable quality in any applicant. Moreover, your admissions essay will give you the opportunity to illustrate your command of the language by virtue of its being written in English. Take the time to choose your words and phrases carefully. You may even want to have a native speaker proofread your essay before you submit it.
4. Familiarize yourself with the American educational system
Educational systems vary from country to country, which can make the process of applying to college—and succeeding once accepted—confusing or downright overwhelming. This can be an intimidating thought, but know that there will be people on your campus who can help you succeed. Nevertheless, investigate what will be expected of you, and explain how you are equipped to handle these challenges in your admissions essay.
5. Highlight your extracurricular involvement
All schools like to see proof that you are active in your community. For example, if you have volunteer experience, discuss what motivated you to volunteer and what you have learned as a result. Occasionally, your level of familiarity with the wider world can be just as important as your grades and test scores, so make room for it in your application.
David White is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world's largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.