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Getting Into an American College: The Application Process

Admissions directors advise students to apply to at least three schools -- and give plenty of time. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

This week, we talk about the application process for American colleges and universities. This is part eight in our Foreign Student Series.

Earlier, we explained how to begin a search for schools by going to one of the American educational advising centers around the world. We also discussed the rules for entering in the United States. And we talked about programs that can be completed online.

But if your goal is to come to the United States to study, then it is time to make a list of colleges or universities that interest you. Be sure to choose more than one. Directors of foreign student admissions say students should apply to at least three schools.

Some students want to attend a small college. Others want to go to a big university. If a really big university appeals to you, then there are ones like Ohio State. That university in Columbus, Ohio, in the Midwest, has almost fifty-two thousand students. There are students this year from around one hundred fifty countries.

Ohio State provides international students with an application on its Web site. You can pay the application charge online with a credit card. Or you can print the forms and mail them with the payment.

Many colleges and universities have their applications and also their catalogs online. A catalog is the publication in which a school tells about its programs.

You should start on your applications at least two years before you want to begin studies.

Completing a college application can take some time. But answering all the questions is not enough. Another important step is taking admissions tests. The SAT is the college entry test that American high school students most commonly take. Another one is the ACT.

Colleges and universities may also require international students to take the TOEFL -- the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

We will begin discussing these tests next week.

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. If you have a general question for our Foreign Student Series, write to

You can find our earlier reports, and download MP3 files, at Another site you might want to visit is educationusa dot state dot g-o-v. This is a State Department Web site for international students. Again, the address is educationusa dot state dot gov. I’m _______________.