Student Spotlight: Applying to US Colleges from Abroad

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Empowerly Team
Empowerly Team

Our collaborative team of content writers and researchers stay up-to-date on the latest news to help you ace your applications. We hope you enjoy the blog.

Are you curious about the process of applying to US colleges from abroad? Read this first hand perspective from one of our own community members!

“As an international student from Kenya, the college application process was a new and different experience for me. I came to learn about the college application process, and my shot at an education in a top global university in the United States after completing high school. I was interning at a local bank, Equity Bank; which had a Leadership and College Counseling Program that gave insight to pre-collegiate interns on studying abroad. This was when I learnt of my prospect to be a student at a top college in the US.”

The First Sparks

“In the month of July 2013, I embarked a new journey of applying to colleges abroad. With advice from the program’s counselor, I understood the expectations of applying to a US college as an international student. Moreover, I got to know of the requirements to apply to a US college. I learnt of the SAT and SAT II exams, the ACT exam, as well as the TOEFL exam required for international applicants. I was also introduced to the Common Application, which engaged my intellectual and co-curricular accomplishments. That was to shape my entire application package.”

Keys to Success

“Research was my best resource during my application process. I did an expansive research on the schools I was hoping to apply to (the Ivy Leagues and Stanford). I utilized the colleges’ websites in addition to online review platforms of the admission process. Doing so, I learnt of the schools’ peculiar requirements and what was expected of me. I was thus ready to proceed with my application.”

Biggest Challenges

“In the challenges of applying as an international student, the main drawback to my application process was my lack of preparation. I had always aspired to study abroad, but it only became plausible after graduating from high school. The application process was relatively new to me despite the extensive research and assistance from the bank’s program. I didn’t know the value of the standardized tests to my application.

Moreover, I had a hard time composing my college essays and supplements. Logical, since I didn’t have a clear understanding of what was deemed an effective college application essay. I received help in editing my essays from my college counselor, and friends who were already studying abroad. I knew I would have done a better job in my essays if I had enough time to prepare, and if I had been exposed to the application process early enough. In addition, more exposure to the application process would have offered me insight into what makes a good international application.”

My Advice to You – on Applying to US Colleges

“In spite of my scanty preparation, I managed to get acceptance to Stanford in the Class of 2018. The most important advice I give to friends at home and any other international looking to study in the US is: to start the application process early enough. This entails information about the requirements, and the nitty-gritty of the application. In my time at Stanford, and my process of getting here, I have learnt a lot. I hope to use that to help in college counseling for international students. Discovering the intentions to study abroad, and starting an early preparation significantly equips one to produce an astounding college application that would definitely land an acceptance. Similarly, an early application can be a deciding factor on whether you get an early acceptance.”


Final Thoughts

“I thus joined the Empowerly team to help in offering international college counseling to friends, and other applicants in need of help. At Empowerly, we provide counseling on how to apply to college as an international student, and what makes a good international college application. We offer advice on applying to a top US college to native citizens, as well as to international students applying to college. You could learn more about Empowerly, and about getting into college, by clicking below.”

Questions? Let us know!