Seeing the Campus From Afar
It is often difficult for students from Iran to travel to the United States to tour different universities before deciding which to attend. It is also hard to choose a place to live, (including your future university home) without actually seeing it. Fortunately, more opportunities exist to explore campuses through websites with generous pictorial overviews and online video tours.
Videos usually come in two forms: student productions and official institutional portraits. Student videos can be a lot of fun. Do remember, however, that such videos will provide a single student’s perspective, may not focus on academics, and are typically more designed to entertain or even shock than to inform. Official institutional videos, on the other hand, generally give an idealized but broad perspective, offering a more comprehensive idea of all that the particular university can offer.
Finding the right institution for you is inevitably going to involve a lot of plain text reading: videos won’t give you details on the academic requirements for your degree or the background of individual faculty members. But videos can give your eyes a break from all that reading and introduce new possible settings for your life.
Here are some sites that can help illustrate your university search:
College View. Links to campus audiovisual resources as well as facts and opportunities to compare campuses. www.collegeview.com
EducationUSA TV on YouTube, shows both official and student productions as well as other campus-themed video clips.
Taking the October SAT will ensure that you receive results in time to meet various U.S. college and university deadlines. Taking the test later than the November date means that you may not have scores in time to meet some admissions deadlines.
The SAT is required by many U.S. colleges and universities for admission to undergraduate study. It tests critical reasoning skills related to reading, writing, and mathematics. Some institutions also ask for SAT Subject Tests, which can be taken during the same testing session as the SAT and will test knowledge of particular academic areas. SAT tests are not currently offered in Iran, but Iranians can register for testing in other countries.
Missed deadlines or can’t travel? Contact the admissions offices of the institutions you are interested in attending to inquire about waiving SAT requirements.
One list of over 800 colleges and universities that do not require SAT can be found at http://www.fairtest.org/university/optional
Some colleges and universities may be willing to accept a score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which is administered in Iran, instead of the SAT, or can make exceptions to their requirements for special cases in which taking the SAT is very difficult.
In addition to checking whether the undergraduate programs to which you would like to apply will waive SAT requirements, check whether you need SAT to be considered for scholarships there. Some institutions use SAT as part of the selection process for their merit scholarships even though they may not require SAT for admissions.
Use a professional e-mail address such as your name@email. E-mail addresses that are too personal can make a bad first impression.
Be neat. Again, first impressions are important. Check grammar and spelling and do not rely on spell-check programs to find everything. It might be helpful to have a friend with strong English language skills review your application for you. If you are submitting a paper application form, keep it clean and unwrinkled!
Don’t duplicate the same information on your application form and your essay/personal statement, for example including a long list of activities and academic awards in your essay or personal statement that should instead be listed elsewhere in your application. Use your personal statement to explain more in depth experiences, challenges, or achievements.
Spell your name the same way every time that it is requested. Use the same spelling on your passport or other government identification. Consistency is very important. Also be sure to use the same date of birth throughout—a common mistake is to carelessly put in the current year instead of the year in which you were born.
Don’t send extra materials that are not requested (for example copies of diplomas, academic papers, certificates of achievement).