By Monika Setia
We continue our discussion from last week on undergraduate transfers in today’s column, which is a part of our special topic series on US higher education. Last week, we explored the application process and eligibility criteria to transfer to undergraduate (bachelor’s) programmes at US institutions.
Since the general education requirements are similar at many US higher education institutions, students who transfer across US institutions will usually find that several of their courses are recognised and transferred easily. However, it is important that students check the transferability of specific courses with the institution where they are transferring.
International students transferring from their home country to a US college/university should note that it is possible that the US institution to which they are transferring does not accept all coursework from the two years of undergraduate study that they have completed so far. The US institution may also require international students to get a transcript evaluation through an academic credential evaluation agency, like World Education Services (WES) or another similar body.
Transferring courses that a student has taken as requirements for a particular major may be more complicated. Sometimes the courses taken for a certain major may not meet the requirements for the same major at the transfer institution. When students are discussing with a college how many transfer credits they will receive, it is important to check and understand the distinction between “general acceptance of credit” for transfer purposes, and “acceptance of credits to meet the requirements for graduation” with a degree in a certain discipline. A few US institutions also accept Advanced Placement (AP) exams credits, so the students should be prepared to take these exams, if needed.
Overall, if a student is considering transferring to a US institution during an undergraduate/bachelor’s degree programme, they should carefully check the eligibility criteria, the policy on transfer of credits, and the application process with the institution where they want to transfer. Transferring between US universities should be done after serious consideration and not used as an easy way into the more selective institutions. It is generally advisable to avoid the transfer process and choose the right university in the first step. It can also be a difficult and expensive process and not one to be taken lightly. There are many elements to keep in mind for an international student, including ensuring the validity of visa status and updating SEVIS information.
Students should take note that the best place to collect information about transfer procedures is with the institutions directly!
Monika Setia (Regional Officer and EducationUSA Adviser at the United States-India Educational Foundation based at the U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad. Please visit https://educationusa.state.gov/centers/educationusa-usief-hyderabad for more information)
Q. What financial documents are required by US universities for undergraduate applications? We are planning to send our daughter to the US after her 12th standard.
– PSV Sastry
A. Students need to provide a few documents as proof of finances for admission to a U.S. college or university. Most colleges and universities include a form called a Declaration and Certification of Finances or Affidavit of Financial Support in their application packets. This must be signed by student’s parents or whoever is meeting their college expenses and must be certified by a bank or lawyer. Keep a copy of this form since it is also needed to apply for a student visa. Schools usually need to know that the student has at least the first year’s expenses covered, although many may also ask you to indicate the source of income for the entire period of study. Please note that the university will issue the relevant certificate of eligibility for a student visa only if a student is able to document fully the source(s) of income to pay for expenses.
Q. I am applying for master’s programmes in Fall 2022. I came across different English proficiency tests and I am confused which one should I take for US university applications.
A. If English is not a student’s native language, U.S. universities and colleges may ask them to take an English language proficiency test before admitting them to a degree program. Along with other factors, a high English proficiency score also counts towards a strong application. Almost all higher education institutions in the United States require either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Pearson Test of English (PTE) score, or Duolingo English test.
The choice of an English proficiency tests depends on what kinds of tests a student is good at and where they plan to apply. We suggest that you make sure to check the university website to find what English proficiency tests they accept. Also, read all the information posted about the tests, take the sample tests available, and make your own choice.
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