The final year of high school is known as the 12th grade in North America and is popularly referred to as class 12 in most of the rest of the world. Students often want to study abroad for financial reasons or for a higher quality of education. So how can high school graduates in a country such as India or China study abroad for college? Or how can a highschooler in the US study abroad for college?
There are a few different ways to go about studying abroad. Firstly, students can choose to study in Germany or other European countries for free or for very low tuition expenses. Secondly, some US students also choose to study in Europe to reduce their college expenses. And third, students from Asia, the Middle East or Africa often aspire to study in the US at one of the esteemed American universities. There are also specific admission and visa requirements that students need to satisfy to make the study abroad possible.
Recently, there is also the issue of Covid and the travel restrictions because of which travel abroad is completely frozen in most countries, at least for the next several months or perhaps even longer. So in such a case, studying at an American college or university is still possible online or by distance, or by a combination of online, distance and other methods.
STUDY ABROAD REQUIREMENTS
For most on-campus study-abroad programs, there are some admission requirements for most international colleges.
TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. Since the most common language of instruction is English, for all non-native English speaking students, a good TOEFL score is considered important in most countries. Most international students also prefer English language for the mode of study rather than other native languages as it is recognized globally.
Here are our recommended sources for TOEFL preparation:
(2) Udemy’s TOEFL iBT (26+) Complete Preparation Course
The SAT test is used to measure the student’s aptitude for college success. It measures critical reading ability, writing ability, and math skills. SAT scores are used widely for college admissions and a good-to-great SAT score is highly valued by many colleges.
Note: In 2020 the SAT tests for March and May have been postponed due to the pandemic and therefore, many colleges have relaxed the SAT requirement. College Admissions are also expected to be less stringent this year.
Unlike the SAT and ACT which are important for college admissions, the AP test is not required for admissions but is instead used to earn college-level credits while still in high school. The AP tests have been moved fully online and the tests will be for a much shorter duration of about 45 mins.
All of the SAT, ACT and AP tests are administered both in the United States and internationally. Here is the updated international schedule for the AP tests.
Students are expected to validate their financial ability to pay the college tuition fees and other related expenses. This is even more important for international students as they would not have their family in the country for support. Therefore, international students need to show the college and the consulate (for the student visa) that they have the financial means to pay the college tuition and living expenses in the country for the entire duration of their college studies.
CURRENCY/ FOREIGN EXCHANGE
For international students, the foreign currencies such as dollars, pounds or euros can be obtained by contacting a local bank where you live. Show the bank your college acceptance letter and then you should be able to exchange local currency for the foreign currency to pay the college fees.
HIGH SCHOOL GRADES
Good marks or grades are also considered important as it proves to the college that the student has the aptitude and skills to study well in college and to complete the college degree.
Your high school teachers and counselors are good sources for reference letters. Any other mentors or tutors can also provide good reference letters. Clearly explain to them why you need the reference letters so that they can write it out perfectly for you.
ON-CAMPUS STUDY ABROAD
For students from Europe or the United States, tuition is generally free for college studies in Germany, Finland, Iceland or Slovenia. A very low tuition fee is applicable for France, Norway, Sweden or the Czech Republic, though the living expenses in Norway can quite high.
In fact, all international students (and not just those from Europe or USA) can study for nearly free in Germany, Finland, Iceland or Luxembourg. New Zealand also offers free to low tuition for international students.
Health insurance is required for an international student in most European countries or in New Zealand. In case the student is planning on taking any courses that will be taught in the native language, a language proficiency certificate might also be required.
There is also an entrance exam for students intending to study in German universities.
ONLINE/ DISTANCE STUDY-ABROAD PROGRAMS
The admission requirements for studying on-campus at a European or US university are much more strict than for studying online or by distance. The visa requirements also pay much more attention to the student’s finances for on-campus college degree abroad.
But if you intend to stay in your native country and study at an international or US university either online or by distance, the admission requirements are much more relaxed. Firstly, the financial requirements are minimal as you will not be living abroad and so there will be no change in your current living expenses in your native country.
There is also no SAT or ACT requirements for most online and distance colleges. But TOEFL is often considered mandatory before admission is granted to an international student into any degree program at an accredited and flexible US college.
In my opinion, this is a great way to study at a US college or university while still keeping your living expenses low and without the burden of having to apply for a student visa. For more information on the list of these online and mixed mode colleges, take a look at one of these articles:
FLEXIBLE/ MIXED-MODE COLLEGES
Let me once again clarify the differences between an online or distance college from a flexible/ mixed-mode college. In an online college, the college provides all the online college courses via its own instructors and teaching curriculum. A distance college provides its own courses and curriculum but by shipping you the textbooks and course materials.
Whereas, a flexible or mixed-mode college has the following advantages:
1) There is an overall set of course and degree requirements for your chosen Bachelor’s (or Master’s in some cases) degree.
2) You can choose any of the college’s own online courses for satisfying any of the course requirements.
3) If you previously completed any similar college-level courses in some other college or institution, you can transfer in those courses into your current degree program. If you completed those courses outside the US, you can still have them evaluated (by foreign credential evaluation) and then transfer them into your current US degree program.
4) You can choose to write any of the CLEP, DSST or other standardized exams to prove your knowledge in a subject and thereby satisfy any of the course requirements.
5) You can choose from any list of external online courses that are ACE accredited, such as Saylor, StraighterLine etc for satisfying any of the degree’s course requirements.
6) In the above ways, a flexible or mixed-mode degree program is much less expensive from an on-campus study-abroad program. The program itself might appear a little more complicated since each student will have a very different path and courses they will use to complete the exact same degree in a similar major. But this complexity can be easily managed by constantly seeking guidance from your flexible college’s student advisor.
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