Sources of Info to Help You Choose
Sources of Info to Help You Choose

There are many places for you to find information.
EducationUSA Information and Advising Centers

EducationUSA information and advising centers can be found in almost every country around the world, and they are the ideal starting point for your research. Centers usually have a library with directories, university catalogs, introductory guides such as this one, handouts, and reference books to assist you in applying to study in the United States. Many centers have developed guides, videos, and websites specifically tailored to students applying from your country. Many also have computer-based college search packages to help you choose the best colleges for you. Most important of all, they have trained staff who can answer your questions in person or by mail, by telephone, and, in most cases, by e-mail.

College Web Sites and E-mail

"E-mail students of your nationality who are at a particular school and find out about their experiences."
— Computer science student from Ghana

The United States leads the world in using the World Wide Web. Almost every U.S. university and college has a Web site that offers a wealth of information about degree programs, application procedures, academic departments, facilities on campus, and other topics. In many cases you will also find a copy of the college catalog, which you can study on-line or download to read later. Don't forget that many sites also give e-mail addresses for current students, including international students, who are often more than happy to answer your questions about applying to the school and about life on campus. Once you have narrowed down the colleges and universities you are interested in, you may wish to e-mail professors and admissions personnel to have specific questions answered before you finally decide where to apply.

College Searches on the Web

Some Web sites are independent of colleges and universities and allow you to search for institutions by the subject you are interested in studying, by geographic preference, or by a range of other criteria that you specify. This website provides links to a number of different college search engines such as Peterson's, The College Board, U.S. News, The Princeton Review, and many others found in our Related Links page.

U.S. College Fairs and Visits

If you cannot visit the United States, colleges may come to visit you. Your nearest U.S. educational information or advising center can tell you about any upcoming U.S. college fairs or other types of visits where you can have the opportunity to talk to admissions officers face-to-face. Many of these take place in the spring or fall of the year before you intend to start your studies, so it is important to start your research early.

Visiting Campuses

"A visit to the school you are considering helps a lot — whether during an exchange year, a vacation trip, or a sports contest."
— Theater performance student from Finland

If you are able to take a vacation to the United States before you go to college, this could be a great opportunity to visit the campuses you are considering. Many schools organize college tours that are led by current students; check with the undergraduate admissions office for further information. Visit the academic and housing facilities, the student union, and the library to get a good sense of the campus. Americans are famous for being friendly, so talk to the students to find out what college life is really like. Some private organizations offer tours of U.S. colleges to help prospective students see firsthand if these schools are right for them. Ask your information or advising center if they have further information about such organizations.

Educational Consultants and Recruiting Agents

In many parts of the world, private agents or agencies work to recruit international students into U.S. colleges. There are also private educational consultants who charge a fee for assisting you with the process of choosing U.S. colleges and putting together your applications. Often these educational consultants and private agents are graduates of U.S. colleges or people who are dedicated to promoting the benefits and advantages of the U.S. education system. However, sometimes they are not, and so it is important to check the credentials and past performance of educational consultants or agents before using their services.

If you have found a recruiting agent or consultant who is helpful, well informed, and dependable, she or he may be very useful in helping you to select and apply to a college in the United States. Be careful, however, to look for verifiable signs of the agent's or consultant's past success stories with students from your country. Ask for a list of names and addresses of students presently studying in the United States who are there because of the agent's or consultant's help. Write, e-mail, or telephone some of these students to get their firsthand opinion of the college where they study and the services they received from the agent or consultant. Such precautions are especially important if the agent or consultant is asking for expensive fees for his or her services. Lastly, always check with an unbiased source (such as a U.S. educational information or advising center) to ensure the legitimacy and accreditation status of the college being represented to you.