As an international student, you may have heard that American colleges and universities apply a holistic approach to the application process. But, what exactly does that mean? Colleges look at everything you accomplish in your high school years by assessing the rigor of your curriculum, your grades, standardized exams, essays, recommendations, and activities. How do you contribute to your school and your community? How do you balance your education with participation outside of school? How are you active outside of the classroom?
As an international student living overseas, applying to colleges in the United States can feel like a daunting experience. From large public universities in quaint college towns, to small liberal arts colleges to private urban institutions, the variety of American post-secondary options is dizzying. A campus visit is highly encouraged for students to assess fit and explore the many types of colleges and universities out there. On these visits, students can take tours and talk to admissions officers, meet current students, and ask questions about majors, special programs, and extracurricular activities. For American students, visiting colleges can already be an expensive experience with travel and accommodation costs. For international students, the expenses are even more extreme given the significant amount of travel time. So, what can international students do when campus visits aren’t an option?
If you will be applying to college next year, you will very shortly be in the market for teacher recommendations, and you may be wondering what teachers you should ask for these recommendations. Should you always ask the teacher who gave you the best grade?