In recent years, an increasing number of overseas students have chosen to study in the United States. However, many of these applicants make the same mistakes year after year while applying for university because the US admissions process is unfamiliar to most foreign students.

American colleges take a holistic approach to their admissions. In general, holistic admissions consider a student’s interests, passions, special talents, and personality. This type of admission process differs from other countries, where most are based on academic performance and entrance exams only. 

Unfortunately, international students often make mistakes that can affect their chances of getting accepted due to the unique nature of American university applications. It would be a shame to let this opportunity pass because choosing to study abroad can pave the way for your future careers as you show a broader understanding of the world.

So, here are five mistakes you should watch out for to not get your chances blown away.

Limiting Your Choices Between the Top Universities 

International students frequently only examine schools that are highly ranked by US News and World Report or other similar ranking systems. Limiting your list for only top-tier universities can be risky as they tend to be much more selective, leaving you with no backup plans if you aren’t accepted. Applying to a diverse group of schools that are a good fit for you and vary in selectivity will ensure that you have at least a few possibilities to choose from. Many universities might be a suitable experience for you and are fit for your goals.

Academic Performance isn’t Enough

International students often lack extracurricular activities (as common they are in the United States). However, international students can find methods to pursue their interests outside of the classroom.

The Common Application’s activities part might be one of the most difficult for international students to complete, but there are numerous ways to highlight your hobbies and passions in ways that can help round out your application. It’s difficult to get involved outside of school. That being said, take advantage of the summer months or long school breaks to gain expertise in the fields that interest you. The most compelling applications are those in which a student shows a desire to do something more than just academics and make a difference in their community.

Applying With a Vague Narrative 

When admissions officers read your application, they want to get a sense of who you are, how you’ve lived your life, and what motivates you. It’s not enough to be an excellent student; you also need to consider the entire tale of “you” that you’re telling admissions officers. What aspects of your academic, extracurricular, and personal lives serve to demonstrate how you have distinguished yourself in the pursuits of your desired field, and which specific area of your desired field interests you? Begin outlining and building your narrative at the start of high school, and continue to add to it for four years.

Be Genuine with your Essays

When it comes to essays, overseas students frequently fall into two traps. The first is to have someone write your essays for you. This practice is not advised as it comes with serious repercussions. When an essay is prepared by someone other than the applicant, admissions officers can typically tell, and your application will be rejected right away.

The second mistake is when students write essays in their original language and then use translation software or a thesaurus to add “more impressive” sounding wording. Because the word selections are close yet don’t exactly reflect the message you’re attempting to make, this stands out to admissions officers. Certain phrasings in one language do not translate well into another.

Essays should be something that reflects you and your whole story. You should stick to being authentic because when writing essays, it will be your moment where you can shine through.

Too Much Unnecessary Information

International students are often common offenders when it comes to submitting far too much material. While international students may be needed to provide more documents, you don’t need to send copies of every medal or diploma you received in high school – or earlier.

Consider carefully what you’re sending: will it make a significant difference in your candidacy? If you submit long email updates or new documents that the institution does not require, the school will question your organizing skills and foresight.

International students, after all, have a very diverse and distinct perspective to give, and that diversity as a student is exactly what admissions officers are looking for during the application process. When applying to universities in the United States, be yourself. Consider each component of the application carefully. Seek advice from persons who are familiar with the application procedure for US universities.

The US has a lot of study opportunities for international students. Learn more about these programs by browsing through our articles here at MSM Unify.