IvySelect excels in assisting American expat students living abroad in gaining admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective U.S. colleges and universities.
Functionally, the process of applying for admission to an elite American school is the same for expats as it is for domestic students, thanks mainly to the availability of the Internet as the medium for communications, document submission, and face-to-face interviews via Skype. However, there are several aspects of the process that are more burdensome and risky for expats. For example, the college selection process needs to begin earlier in high school for expats and more careful planning for exams is warranted.
Here are a few recommendations that may be useful for expat students:
- Be sure to visit colleges that appeal to you during each visit back to the U.S. beginning freshman year. Eventually, you will have a target list of 12-13 schools and ideally you will have visited most if not all of them before you submit applications.
- As a freshman, you should learn the schedules for the PSAT and, later, the SAT and ACT exams. There will be opportunities to take them in most countries, but the schedule will be more limited than it is in the U.S. If no prep courses or tutors are available, your IvySelect college admissions consultant can guide you to firms that tutor students internationally that our clients have worked with for standardized test preparation Although many U.S. institutions no longer require the submission of SAT or ACT scores, chances are that most of the schools on your target list will continue to do so.
- Initiate a relationship with your high school guidance counselor early in high school to determine their familiarity with the U.S. admissions process and the amount of time that they will have available to assist you on college admissions issues.
- If you are attending an international high school, your school may offer an International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum, or a hybrid of the two. The IB program serves the same purpose as AP classes in demonstrating to U.S. admissions officials that you have succeeded in an extraordinarily challenging curriculum. An admissions evaluator at a top-tier American institution will be well informed about many international high schools and will take notice if you have also done well in rigorous courses that are neither AP nor IB but are renowned at your school.
- Expats should work closely with headmasters and faculty from whom they plan to solicit Letters of Recommendation, an important factor in your U.S. application package. In other countries, such letters may be unnecessary and are often misunderstood. They may serve a different purpose than they do in the U.S., in which even mild criticism of the subject student is the kiss of death.
At most colleges in the U.S., including some highly selective schools, admissions officers value the singular points of view that expats can bring to their campuses. They also understand the high quality of education that students receive at many international schools. These two factors may provide an advantage to applicants from international schools.
However, this admissions advantage does not hold true for the most highly selective U.S. schools – those that often admit only about 1 out of 10 applicants. These institutions receive applications from highly qualified students all over the world. Unfortunately, you won’t stand out in this applicant pool because you have lived and studied in another country. This is why, if you are bound for a top-tier school, you should engage the services of a college admissions consultant who has international experience. He or she will have the expertise to determine the best way for you to present yourself to admissions officials at elite institutions.
Proceed carefully to be sure that you engage a consultant who is right for your situation and plans. He or she should be an active member of major professional associations in the field. Among those professional affiliations that your private college counselor may have that should instill you with confidence include the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA). These groups offer professional development opportunities, conferences on relevant topics, and college tours. Their members are bound by high standards of ethics and good practice.
Your consultant should also have relevant experience counseling students in the international arena. The Founder and Director of IvySelect has significant experience with students who have attended schools outside of the United States. He has been vetted by the IECA as a specialist in this arena, having earned the International Specialty Designation from this leading and highly respected educational organization.
In addition, at IvySelect, we have a track record that reflects a thorough understanding of the special needs of expats. This accounts for our success in assisting expats in gaining admission to the best of the best American colleges and universities.