Are your children going to apply to US universities?


Susie Cochin

Succesful applications to US universities are daunting; you need the help of an experienced US universities advisor to make sense of it all.
My recommended US universities advisor answers a few questions for you.

When is the best time to start preparing for US universities?
Whether you are just beginning to think about universities, or launching into Sixth Form studies, now is a good time to consider US University.
It may seem early, but with early decision applications due November 1 of Senior (A Level) year, it’s important to get a head start, especially if you want to visit universities in the US and prepare for the standardised tests (SAT/ACT). Both highly recommended.
If you have 2 years to 18 months to go, even better, the US university application process is very long and complex, and everyone benefits from an early start.

What does it mean to go to University in the United States?
American universities emphasize a “liberal arts” curriculum. It is much less technical and vocational than European universities.
This means students can explore a variety of courses while still completing their degree in a specific concentration.
Everyone is encouraged to pursue a varied curriculum before committing to a major area of focus.
This freedom to explore academically continues throughout the 4 years at university resulting in a flexible education that prepares the student to deal with complexity, diversity and change.
Individuals are taught to think independently, and to write and communicate clearly – the foundation for all professions.

 What are the Pluses and Minuses of US/UK university education?
The “liberal arts” philosophy is one of the most striking differences between UK and US universities.
The US degree is far more flexible and is a plus for those students who are unable to make up their minds as to what they want to study, or for those who know what they are interested in, but perhaps don’t want to narrow down their focus too quickly.
Students can expect a high level of undergraduate instruction, with at least 15 class hours per week and ongoing coursework.
By the same token, a UK degree is a plus for those students who know 100% what they want to study and who want to pursue one subject solely, or for those who want a higher degree of autonomy when studying

How does the process work?
There are over 4500 higher education US universities to choose from.
The application process is lengthy:
SAT/ACT tests, grades, rigorous essays, extra curricular activities, recommendations and deadlines are the basics.
Admission is highly competitive and I always say that applications need to have a “Wow” factor.

Is it advisable to work with a consultant?
Choosing among so many universities is difficult at best, and advice in selecting a list of universities to zero in on is indispensible.
The admission process is daunting and complex, even the most proactive, organized, prepared students need help with the application, including the essays and all the forms.
If you add the complexities of applying from another country, it is extremely challenging.

What is your particular focus when working with students?
I offer a very bespoke service, and take a small, select group of students.
My expertise is in packaging the student and the earlier I can start working with them, the better. Together we best present their unique “story” which highlights their achievements, passions and contributions.
In addition, I help arrange the university visits, and have insight into campus life and extra-curricular activities.
I am on top of dates and deadlines, and most importantly guide and advise on all aspects of the application, including essay optimization.
Finally, I approach my work with great flexibility, drive and awareness of each student’s individual needs, goals and abilities.