Author Topic: USA college admission process *further background in first posting*  (Read 1976 times)

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dawnfire

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hope I'm in the right section (mods feel free to move it if it isn't)

I'm curious how the USA college admission process works and how far back do they into your school records do they go? does the application process differ for foreign students?

*background*
I'm currently in Australia but the family will be immigrating to the USA next year. My eldest is currently in year 11 here. By the time he has to start applying to colleges in the USA (he's look at colleges in Texas and California), he will only have 6-12 (maybe 18 depending on what year level places him in) worth of records from the USA schools. Will this be enough?  (I can provide all school records all the way back to primary school)

« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 07:51:38 PM by dawnfire »

Curious Cat

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Re: USA college admission process
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 07:55:23 AM »
I graduated HS in the late 90s- as far as I recall colleges wanted my SAT (standardized test) scores, my high school records/grades a personal essay and a "resume" of my extracurricular activities. I imagine it would have been similar for a foreign student possibly with the essay focusing on why they wanted to go to school overseas/copies of their version of the SAT

PastryGoddess

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Re: USA college admission process
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 08:28:41 AM »
They take your high school transcript only.  You have to take a standardized test, either the SAT or the ACT.  Most schools have minimum scores that they will accept.  You can also take SAT Subject tests which will allow you to test out of the intro level core curriculum classes like math, english, or a foreign language.  Students can also take Advanced Placement classes and/or Advanced Placement tests which do the same thing as the SAT subject tests.  However, not all school districts offer advanced placement classes.  There is also an application to fill out and an essay as well.  Some schools give writing prompts for the essays, others give the students free reign.

Those are the basics, there are also things like extracurricular activities, volunteer work, etc that schools take into consideration.

Slartibartfast

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Re: USA college admission process
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 08:53:00 AM »
Each school has a complicated formula to determine how much to weight various aspects of the application, and they're all very secretive about what that formula is  ::)  They'll announce each year what the average GPA and test scores were for that year's freshman class, but not a whole lot else.  Things that get considered (in varying amounts depending on the school):

- grades
- test scores (SAT or ACT)
- extra-curricular activities such as sports, student clubs, volunteering, religious activities, music, etc.
- race and/or ethnic origin
- city/state the student is from
- 1-5 required essays on a variety of topics (proves the student can write & present an argument)

In addition, at least at the school I worked in the admissions office for, there were other considerations that sometimes came into play:

- sometimes an athletic coach would strongly encourage the admissions office to accept a student they wanted to recruit for their team (it still wasn't automatic, but those athletes got a bit more leeway about things like test scores)
- foreign students from non-English-speaking countries had to submit a TOEFL score (test of English as a foreign language)
- foreign students also had to demonstrate they were able to pay, since US financial aid mostly didn't apply for them (although my school did offer scholarships and financial aid to foreign students, which is very unusual)
- if the student had something truly outstanding on their resume (competed in the Olympics, made their first million by age 16, invented a new portable water filter that's now being rolled out in Africa, etc.)
- if the student's family was really, really rich and likely to have any buildings on campus named after them in the near future
- if two students are twins (or triplets), my school tried to lean toward not splitting them.  So if one was great and one was kind of on the fence, they'd both get in - but if one was average and one wasn't that great, they'd both get rejected.

So they throw all that together, stick it in a formula, and come up with a freshman class list.  This is entirely separate from whether the student's family could actually pay for college (at least for US students); the accepted list went on to the financial aid office and students applied separately for that.

ladyknight1

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Re: USA college admission process
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2013, 09:29:24 AM »
I work in transfer admissions. The following information is specific to my school, a public state university.

If you are applying to a US university as a incoming freshman (so no or very little college credit) from an international high school, you will need to have your high school transcript sent to one of the foreign transcript translating services. It will cost around $300 US to have the translation done and sent to the school you are applying to. You will need to take the SAT or ACT and have those test scores sent.

In many cases, with international students, you will need to apply one year in advance and supply all relevant documentation before your application will be processed.

katycoo

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Re: USA college admission process
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2013, 08:32:25 PM »
I work in transfer admissions. The following information is specific to my school, a public state university.

If you are applying to a US university as a incoming freshman (so no or very little college credit) from an international high school, you will need to have your high school transcript sent to one of the foreign transcript translating services. It will cost around $300 US to have the translation done and sent to the school you are applying to. You will need to take the SAT or ACT and have those test scores sent.

In many cases, with international students, you will need to apply one year in advance and supply all relevant documentation before your application will be processed.

I assume translation is only required when the transcript is in a language other than English though..
OP's sons Australian school records will already be in English.

PastryGoddess

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Re: USA college admission process *further background in first posting*
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2013, 09:08:18 PM »
I think that the OP will need international transcript evaluation and authentication.  OP maybe you should look into that now.  How many years do kids in Australia go to school before they head off to college?  Here in the US year 11 is a Junior in high school and a year away from college.

dawnfire

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Re: USA college admission process *further background in first posting*
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2013, 09:35:33 PM »
I think that the OP will need  and authentication.  OP maybe you should look into that now.  How many years do kids in Australia go to school before they head off to college?  Here in the US year 11 is a Junior in high school and a year away from college.

op here:they do 13 years ( prep, 1-12). so that would make him a junior.

PastryGoddess

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Re: USA college admission process *further background in first posting*
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2013, 10:17:48 PM »
Oh yeah, so maybe you should contact one of the transcript evaluation services before you come over to the states.  They'll let you know which records they need

ladyknight1

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Re: USA college admission process
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2013, 08:47:53 AM »
I work in transfer admissions. The following information is specific to my school, a public state university.

If you are applying to a US university as a incoming freshman (so no or very little college credit) from an international high school, you will need to have your high school transcript sent to one of the foreign transcript translating services. It will cost around $300 US to have the translation done and sent to the school you are applying to. You will need to take the SAT or ACT and have those test scores sent.

In many cases, with international students, you will need to apply one year in advance and supply all relevant documentation before your application will be processed.

I assume translation is only required when the transcript is in a language other than English though..
OP's sons Australian school records will already be in English.

Translation is required even for Canadian schools. Any non-USA school, unless it is on a US military base.

ladyknight1

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Re: USA college admission process
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2013, 08:49:57 AM »
I work in transfer admissions. The following information is specific to my school, a public state university.

If you are applying to a US university as a incoming freshman (so no or very little college credit) from an international high school, you will need to have your high school transcript sent to one of the foreign transcript translating services. It will cost around $300 US to have the translation done and sent to the school you are applying to. You will need to take the SAT or ACT and have those test scores sent.

In many cases, with international students, you will need to apply one year in advance and supply all relevant documentation before your application will be processed.

I assume translation is only required when the transcript is in a language other than English though..
OP's sons Australian school records will already be in English.

Translation or evaluation is required even for Canadian schools. Any non-USA school, unless it is on a US military base.

lady_disdain

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Re: USA college admission process *further background in first posting*
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2013, 09:18:35 AM »
The service is not translations (that is a lot cheaper and simpler) but rather converting a foreign school record so that it can be compared to American records. They take in consideration how the school system and grading work in the original country, what subjects are comparable to what in the American system, what is considered an "average" grade, etc. It is quite complex!

For example, we have grammar and literature as one subject but writing classes are separate, we often have more than one math subject (for example, geometry and algebra) each grade but our schools have fixed curricula (no electives and equal weights).

Slartibartfast

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Re: USA college admission process *further background in first posting*
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2013, 01:35:29 PM »
*background*
I'm currently in Australia but the family will be immigrating to the USA next year. My eldest is currently in year 11 here. By the time he has to start applying to colleges in the USA (he's look at colleges in Texas and California), he will only have 6-12 (maybe 18 depending on what year level places him in) worth of records from the USA schools. Will this be enough?  (I can provide all school records all the way back to primary school)

In this circumstance, I think the best thing for him to do would be to call the specific schools he's interested in and find out what they'd need.  It sounds like he'd be a domestic applicant (possibly in-state, depending on where you're moving - in-state tuition is almost always cheaper at public schools) but he'd still have a chunk of his transcript need to be translated, which might go through the international admissions officer as well.  Different schools may want different things from him.

The good news is that most US schools now use the "common app," which means he can fill out one basic sheet of information and send it everywhere instead of having to do individual forms for each school  :)

dawnfire

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Re: USA college admission process *further background in first posting*
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2013, 07:20:14 PM »
*background*
I'm currently in Australia but the family will be immigrating to the USA next year. My eldest is currently in year 11 here. By the time he has to start applying to colleges in the USA (he's look at colleges in Texas and California), he will only have 6-12 (maybe 18 depending on what year level places him in) worth of records from the USA schools. Will this be enough?  (I can provide all school records all the way back to primary school)

In this circumstance, I think the best thing for him to do would be to call the specific schools he's interested in and find out what they'd need.  It sounds like he'd be a domestic applicant (possibly in-state, depending on where you're moving - in-state tuition is almost always cheaper at public schools) but he'd still have a chunk of his transcript need to be translated, which might go through the international admissions officer as well.  Different schools may want different things from him.

The good news is that most US schools now use the "common app," which means he can fill out one basic sheet of information and send it everywhere instead of having to do individual forms for each school  :)

It would be out of state for both his choices as we're planning on going to Arizona

camlan

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Re: USA college admission process *further background in first posting*
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2013, 06:56:15 PM »
I think some of this is going to depend on what your son's residency status will be at the time he applies. Are you just moving here but keeping your Australian citizenship? Then he may have to apply as an international student. On the other hand, if your family is moving here and starting the process to become US citizens, then colleges might treat him as they would any US student who applies.



 By the time he has to start applying to colleges in the USA (he's look at colleges in Texas and California), he will only have 6-12 (maybe 18 depending on what year level places him in) worth of records from the USA schools.

I'm not sure what you mean here. Six to 12 what? classes? or something else?

The colleges will want to see all his high school courses and grades.

I think Slartibartfast has it right--probably best to contact the colleges he is most interested in now, and find out what they would want.
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