Other Considerations
Other Considerations

A few more things for you to consider before choosing a college or university.
Beyond the Ivy League

Although the Ivy League was originally a sports league for several East Coast colleges, the term has become associated with an exclusive, elite education. However, there are many other excellent institutions in the United States. Do not dismiss a university or college just because you or your family have not heard of it before; you should consider your own needs first. Don't confine yourself to "Ivies." Investigate all options carefully to make sure you give yourself the best chances to find institutions that suit your needs and interests.


There is no official list of the top 10, 20, 50, or even 100 universities in the United States. The U.S. government does not rank universities. Rankings that you come across are usually produced by journalists and are likely to be subjective. They are generally based on a wide range of criteria that do not necessarily include academic standards or general reputation as a primary factor. Be particularly wary of rankings that do not explain the criteria on which the ranking is based. The more established rankings may give you a starting point for your decision; however, the "best" college is the one that is right for you based on factors such as those suggested in this chapter.

Student Services

U.S. universities offer students a variety of services such as international student advisers, campus orientation programs, counseling services, legal aid services, housing offices, varied meal plans, health centers, tutoring facilities, English as a Second Language programs, writing laboratories, career counseling, and more. Prospective undergraduates can compare facilities among universities to find services tailored to their specific needs.

Internship or Overseas Study Programs

Many U.S. universities have incorporated into their curriculum internship (voluntary or paid work placements) or overseas study ("study abroad") programs that may be of interest to you.

Students With Disabilities

If you have special needs, make sure that the university you choose can accommodate you. Allow plenty of time to correspond with colleges. It is advisable to begin your inquiries at least two years before you plan to leave for the United States. When you write for information from universities, give brief details of your disability and request information about assistance they offer to students like yourself. You may also want to contact the office on campus that deals with the special needs of students with disabilities to find out more about the services they provide. This may be a specific office such as the Office of Disabled Student Services or the Office of Disability Services, or it may be housed within a general student services office on campus.

Some colleges offer comprehensive programs for students with learning disabilities, while others make a number of special services available to such students. You and your family should look at the services offered and compare them to your needs. Find out which services are provided automatically and free of charge, and which services need to be pre-arranged and incur a charge. When you apply you will need to supply evidence to support the existence of your disability. A campus visit is recommended. If possible, try to contact a student at the college who has a similar disability to yours so you can gain a more personal perspective. Students with disabilities can, with proper documentation, request special facilities or extended time to take the SAT and ACT undergraduate admissions tests and course examinations during the academic year.