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Are you a Spanish student applying to study at a U.S. university or college? If so, be sure to devote at least two years to the application process and to keep these points in mind.
The Application for Spanish Students
U.S. universities attract many students from Europe and other continents. Competition among foreign students is fierce, as the average U.S. university admits only 15 percent of its student body from overseas locations. To make the application process go smoother and to potentially increase your chances, take the following points into consideration:
- Thoroughly research many schools – not just those you’ve heard of. The U.S. has around 2,000 four-year colleges and universities, so to increase your admissions chances, look beyond the most popular institutions.
- Get to know the international student experience, from the application process to life on campus, by contacting each university’s International Student Advisor.
- Present yourself as a well-rounded student through your transcripts, GPA, test scores, letters of recommendation, interviews, essays or personal statements, extracurricular activities, and community service. If you do not feel you are well rounded yet, consider a markedly different summer or vacation activity.
- Be sure to schedule, take, and send scores for your SAT, ACT, and English-language proficiency tests (TOEFL/IELTS). Graduate students may need to take the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT.
- Plan to use the Common Application. More than 450 U.S. universities accept this online entrance form.
- Research deadlines for Early Action or Early Decision and schedule yourself to complete these applications at least two weeks before the deadlines.
- Make sure your current school curriculum is officiated. A U.S. university may require an applying student to have his or her transcripts and credentials examined by a credential evaluator, who then translates them to U.S. standards.
- Apply for an F-1 student visa, required by all international students. The process goes through the U.S. Embassy in Spain and requires an admissions letter and a certificate of eligibility for non-immigrant students.
TOEFL/IELTS: U.S. colleges evaluate a student’s English-speaking skills for proficiency, which, in turn, acts as a factor for how well you’ll succeed in the classroom. Spanish students must complete an English-proficiency test like the TOEFL or the IELTS. Consider tutoring to score higher or if your initial results don’t exceed the required minimum.
The ACT: All U.S. universities allow students to submit ACT scores instead of SAT scores. The ACT is a test given several times a year internationally. Certain students may find it is better for their admission than the SAT. The ACT does not test vocabulary at a high level like the SAT, and the ACT does not include 100-year old reading passages like the SAT. The ACT has a “Science Reasoning” section that replaces some of the Math. This means a student who is good at science and not-so-strong at math is likely to have an advantage on the ACT. Students can view ACT guidelines and register.
The SAT Alternative: Along with the ACT, the SAT has significant weight for international applicants. The SAT requires a bit more “ingenuity”, but some students will excel with this more than the with the straightforward ACT. In Spain, students must register by mail, online, or telephone. First request and fill out The Paper Registration Guide for the SAT and the SAT Subject Tests, available through ETS Europe/SAT Services. After you’re registered, be prepared with identification when you arrive at the testing center.
The SAT Subject Tests: Most of the “top 50” universities demand two Subject Test scores. These are one-hour tests in a multitude of subjects, designed to evaluate your proficiency. Our suggestion is to take the test in any subject in which you are capable of a 700+ score.
Ivy Bound’s American tutors are available to Spaniards online at almost all times. Our tutors have helped students in Spain and those who spend some summer vacations in the U.S.
Few U.S. based colleges offer financial aid or scholarships to international students, and ability to pay is a deciding admissions factor. Aid and assistance are possible no matter what your family’s income and assets are. Consider the following options:
- The International Student Exchange & Study Abroad Resource
- International Financial Aid and Scholarship Search
- 18 Fulbright Study and Research Grants
- The Iberdrola Federation
- The EIUC EU/UN Fellowship Programme
Are you planning to apply to a competitive U.S. university? Let Ivy Bound’s tutors assist you with test preparation, essay writing, and other academic enrichment. To inquire about our international services, start by filling out our contact form.