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How to navigate American university websites when applying to study abroad

As a prospective international student, if you have started your online search for universities, you may have spent hours lost on various American university websites. You might find it hard to understand all the subtle connotations and wording.  A virtual tour guide could be beneficial in finding the best information and to assist you in interpreting the complex websites. To help you start, here are our best tips to help you explore your future university website.

Where do I start?
Fortunately, the majority of the American university websites are built similarly: First, an entrance to the university’s main campus, its vision, values and a personal word from the dean/president of the university. You will also have the chance to view a great deal of information, which can help you get a better grasp on the atmosphere of the campus. Then you should search for the specific schools and colleges within the university that you are interested in applying to: Business School (finance, accounting, tax, marketing, management), Law School, School of Engineering (may be in conjunction with the School of Arts and Sciences), School of Computer Sciences, School of Communication (journalism, writing, public relations).
In the United States, universities are well-known for their esteemed research departments, which therefore have a strong impact on their ranking. You will surely see this on the first page and though it may be interesting, it won’t help you to get the information you need for your application.  

The location of the page for prospective international students all depends on each university’s specific website. In most cases it can be found upon entrance to the website or in the student or admissions sections. We strongly advise you to start getting in touch with the university when starting your application online. The office for international students can help you with scholarships and the immigration process required to study in the United States. In fact, the school you are applying to will ask to work with them during and after your application process.

Should I apply directly to the school or to the general admission center?
This is a significant question when exploring the websites. Usually you will have to apply to the school of your choice: School of Law, Engineering, Business, etc. Each School has its own programs, dean, faculty, process of admissions and campus. You will have to choose a field of study within the school at the beginning of your admission process. Each school has several programs for graduate students and although this may be confusing, it is crucial for you to read all the provided information. Be sure you choose wisely to which program you want to apply. Our different Admissions predictors can be of great help to you. If you have any questions or concerns you should get in touch with administration faculty. Everything should be clear before you start your online application process for graduate programs in the United States in order to avoid any mistakes.

Some keywords you need to know:
Application, registration, admission or enrollment?
Don’t worry- all of these words have the same meaning! In one university you may find an enrollment office and in other a board of admissions or even a registration office. They will be your first contact when working on your online application.
Each university has their own online application system where you can submit all the required documents, letters of recommendations, GMAT score and more.

Undergraduate or graduate?
As an international students, you will need to navigate to the undergraduate (Bachelor’s) or graduate program (Master’s or PhD level) section of the site - these programs require a bachelor degree first. Undergraduate programs are for younger students who are just out of high school. When selecting a graduate program you can find the full description on the website and all the requirements before starting the application. Before applying to a Law School, you must check if your bachelor degree can be accepted in order to apply to a Master of Law (or LLM). The LLM degree is an advanced law certification that has global credibility. International students can usually apply for it and pass the bar exam in America if they intend to work there.

How can I get to know faculty & staff members?
If you’re curious and want to know who your professors will be, take a look at the faculty section of the website. There you will find their contact information and their publications. They are generally not the ones you should contact for your admission, unless you are applying to a graduate program that requires an academic supervisor when applying. Staff and administration members are your point of contact. Many universities have an excellent application service help desk with admissions/enrollment counselors who can help guide you through the numerous steps.  

Useful pages you shouldn’t miss!
Campus life:
This page will become your favorite when you’re admitted! All of the useful information about daily life on campus can be found here: food, housing, sports, students clubs, etc. It is also a great way to get information about the student life and ambience on campus, which can help you determine if this university is right for you.
Calendars:
A daily calendar of university events and a full school year calendar with every important deadline you do not want to miss, all in one place.
Financial aid:
This page may be found in the admissions sections or in its own section, depending on each website. It is a great source of information to assist you in figuring out if specific funds are available for international students, and for you spevifically.

Need more help with getting accepted, planning your studies, and the steps following graduation?

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