Applying to College as an International Student

Applying to College as an International Student

November 3rd, 2021

By Victoria

When I was applying to college everyone was telling me I couldn’t do it, like it was a hydra (the multiple head monster from Hercules, you know?). I thought it was going to be super hard, that I would have to do the unimaginable. But I am here to tell you that it is not nearly as impossible as you might think it is.

Taking the tests

First and foremost, as an international student where English isn’t your first language, you will have to take an English proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, or DET). It is a simple exam if you have been studying English for a while. I took the TOEFL, which consisted of a reading section, an oral section, and a writing section. After that, depending on the school you want to apply to you will have to take the SAT or the ACT test, some schools have gone test-optional because of the coronavirus pandemic. This includes my school St. Joseph’s College (SJC) — admission is test-optional for fall 2022. I decided to take the SAT, which consisted of an English and math test. The results for both exams I took were out about 20 days after I took them.

Narrowing down my options

After I received my results I went to Google (LOL) and checked for one of the many websites that you can plug in your grades and I added the majors I have an interest in. Once I did that, the site showed me all the schools for which my grades were good for and had the major of my interest. With that, I started to do some research about the schools I was interested in, checking the location, the number of international students on campus, and the program. Then I picked about 6 or 7 schools, four I was really interested in, and some for back-up. With the schools already on my mind, I made an account on CommonApp, which is a website where you can apply for multiple schools at the same time, which is great because then you don’t have to fill out the same forms multiple times, and SJC was one of the schools that accepted the Common Application. I added all my information to the application, did some extra writing for the schools that required it, and all I had to do was wait.

Getting my results

A few weeks later, and I remember this day vividly, I was sitting at home with my best friend watching some reality show. It was 11 pm at night and I decided, just to be safe, to check my emails to see if any information was sent to me. Then I saw an email from SJC named DECISION LETTER, just like that all in caps; I opened it and there was a lot of information about scholarships, and at the bottom, there was “Congratulations on your acceptance at St. Joseph’s College!” I froze right there and I opened the attachment, and there it was my acceptance letter to my top school. All I mean by this is, yes the process is a little long, and it can be tiring, but it is not impossible, nor super hard, all you have to do is just organize yourself and trust your instincts and believe you can do this!

Victoria, from São Paulo, Brazil, is in her third year at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn. In her free time, she likes to cook and watch Gilmore Girls.

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