College admissions counseling for international students can be an invaluable help in navigating the challenging admissions process. Thousands of students all over the world seek a new adventure by applying to colleges abroad, but most struggle to figure out all the nitty-gritty details of college requirements, such as college essays or prerequisite courses. This is why getting professional help is so important for your success as an international student. In this article, we discuss the benefits of admissions counseling for international students and go over the ways consultants can help you navigate the difficult admissions processes.


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9 min read

Why International Students Need Admissions Counseling How College Admissions Counseling Helps International Students How to Choose the Best College Admissions Consultant FAQs

Why International Students Need Admissions Consulting

Being an international applicant is not easy. Along with the potential language barrier and culture shock, you are competing with thousands of applicants to your chosen universities from all over the world. On top of this, you'll need to navigate an unfamiliar application processes and eligibility factors while juggling your preparations to move abroad.

If you're wondering how to study in the US as an international student or want to know how to apply to university in Canada as an international student, be prepared for a competitive admissions pool. Every school is different in terms of acceptance rates (it can range from 10- 40%) but the admissions process is challenging no matter which school you choose to apply to.

For all students, navigating systems like Common App, Coalition App, or the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC) can be challenging. But for international students, this process is even more challenging because they might be less familiar with the process and may have to tackle hurdles like standardized tests or language tests.

This is the reason local students in the US, Canada or the UK often reach out to college and university admissions consulting for help. The right advisor can truly move mountains for international applicants:

“This [BeMo] is very informative, and really helpful for a person like me who is international. [The advisor told me] what exactly I need to do, helped me to create a template myself, takes time to provide quality experience like where I can improve, what I can improve in a very professional way, I would love to work with her [advisor] again.” – Anonymous, Former BeMo Student

A trained advisor can help you plan your journey to college and set you up for success by advising you which prerequisites you should pick for your chosen disciplines or help you find colleges where you would be a competitive candidate. Furthermore, they can help you keep track of the application timelines and various components you have to submit throughout your journey.

Need to work on a common app essay? Take a look at this infographic:

How College Admissions Counseling Helps International Students

Now that you know what you can expect from the application process, let’s review the exact ways college admissions counseling for international students can help you navigate this journey.

#1: Pre-Application Phase

Different educational systems have different requirements and expectations, and while you may be familiar with the requirements in your country, a foreign system may be completely different. This makes the pre-application phase extremely important!

Almost all colleges in the US, Canada, the UK, or Australia expect students to complete certain prerequisite: high school courses. Most want to see 4 years of English, a few years of math, some physical and social science courses, and so on. Depending on your intended major, you may be required to have department-specific pre-requisites as well. And, you should ideally strive to achieve good grades, as each college has its own minimum GPA requirements. This is just the beginning – meeting minimum GPA requirements and successfully finishing high school is the bare minimum – you’ll want to have your application stand out. And experts will know what makes the college admissions board take notice of you! Check out what our admissions expert Dr. Christina Lapystkaia, PhD, suggests for our students to stand out in their applications:

“Research Assistant experience is an important part of the application [admissions officers] often consider. Having relevant RA experience is considered to be a strong asset as it demonstrates you have [notable] skills and experience.” – Christina Lapytskaia, PhD

Another example, some colleges in the US and Canada really value International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement courses, or IB and AP courses. However, these types of secondary classes are not available everywhere. If you dream of attending one of the Ivy League schools or UC schools, you might want to research the availability of these secondary options near you. If you want to learn how to study in the UK as an international student, be aware that there are different standardized tests you may need to take as well as an English Language Proficiency test.

A consultant can help you navigate which courses you should take. If you would like to attend a biochemistry program somewhere in Ontario, an international student advisor will know exactly the kind of courses you can take and what else you can do to make sure you stand out. For instance, they can help you find a summer program for high school students that would get you a quality experience in a biochemistry lab. Or they can help you find a conference where you can present a paper on your chosen speech topic. These are all the items you can start working on during the pre-application phase – they will help you bolster your CV and stand out. Take it from one of our own students:

“Helen really helped me to improve my CV. After she reviewed some versions of my draft, she asked me to meet during a video call to discuss her feedback further. I really appreciated her commitment to make my document perfect.” – Ludovica Daffini, Former BeMo Student 


 

#2: Standardized Tests

Standardized tests like SAT and ACT are intimidating for all students, whether they are international or local. The volume of information that is covered on these tests is overwhelming, and all students can benefit from assistance with their test prep and study strategies:

“Dr. MacConnachie was well prepared with knowledge about where I am in the program and was able to quickly review all of the relevant information to my study schedule. She followed up on my assignments and next steps for study sessions which helps give me a clear set of action items moving forward.” Russ Wunibald, Former BeMo Student

However, international students may face some additional challenges when it comes to these tests:

While some of these obstacles will have to be overcome by you solely, an international student advisor can help you with what test to choose and how to prepare for it. Secondly, they can help you strategize and personalize your study plan and make sure you cover all the required material, whether you choose the ACT or SAT, and stay on-track. By completing an initial practice test for assessment purposes, you and your advisor will identify which knowledge areas need more review, which topics you have to start from scratch, and which topics you are an expert in. Your advisor will regularly check your progress and keep you accountable for your plan.

#3: College List

Not every college will be the right fit for you. Some schools do not even accept international students, though these are rare. The college list you create should be composed of schools you truly want to attend, but it should also be realistic. For example, if you dream of studying in California and attending Berkley, but your GPA is not 3.9, you might want to reconsider wasting your application fee on this school.

. However, statistics don’t always make or break an application. Most colleges test to do a holistic review of their applicants, which means that your educational background beyond courses and grades is also considered. This includes any additional programs or courses you did outside of school, your extracurricular activities, your volunteer background, your hobbies, and so on. Working with an admissions consultant can help you narrow down your list of schools based on your GPA and your other application components and experiences:

“The feedback on my school selection list was great. It made me see my weak and strong points based on each school requirements. Thanks so much.” – Anonymous, Former BeMo Student.


Looking for more on the common app activities section? Check this out:

#4: Admission Essays

Admissions essays are required by most programs in the US. Almost all application systems require the submission of an essay, such as the Common App essay. Additionally, some schools require the submission of supplemental college application essays. In Canada, this admissions requirement is less common, but it is a staple for some of the most competitive programs.

These essays are a challenge for many reasons. Writing a compelling narrative is hard but writing about yourself is even harder. This is why many students turn to essay tutors and advisors for help.

Keep in mind that a good advisor will not write your essay for you – that’s not what they are here for. A good advisor will help you brainstorm and create a narrative about you and your experiences that will show the admissions committee that you are the right candidate for their program. Do yourself a favor and take this as an opportunity to learn not only better written communication skills but how to reflect and think critically. This will not only benefit you in the application process, but in your academic and professional career:

“This has been a great help to me as a person, a student, and a future professional. I have nothing but high praise for this company, and I would not be where I am currently without them!” – Thomas W., Former BeMo Student

 These experts have helped thousands of students craft their stories, so take full advantage of this opportunity and learn.

#5: Application Timeline and Components

If you are not using unified application systems like OUAC, then you will have dozens of application components to keep track of for different schools. And truth be told, even if you are using unified application systems, the number of components and the deadlines are hard to keep up with. Many of our students struggle to keep up with all the moving parts, but we always find a way to make it work:

“[My consultant] gave me excellent feedback on my essays, as well as resources to improve my writing flow and grammar. I really appreciated her insight as well as how well she was able to work with me on a tight timeline!” – Anonymous BeMo student


College admissions counseling for international students will help you with keeping track of what documents should be submitted when. They can also help you with creating an ideal timeline for submission and managing deadlines!

While it is possible to do this on your own, why not make this tedious process easier for yourself by getting help from an advisor?

#6: College Interview

Preparing your application is one thing - you can take your time to brainstorm, draft and redraft, and finalize your components; interviews are not like that! You will have mere seconds to respond with concrete answers to college admissions interview questions. If your school conducts admissions interviews, then you must properly prepare for this hurdle.

An advisor can not only help you practice answer strategies for common questions, but they can also help you prepare for the interview format and interview behavior that will be expected of you:

“I recently had a session with Vicky Cerdeira to help me with my interview preparation and she was a great help! She spent the time to go over my answers with me and gave me useful advices to work on my interview skills and answers. She seems genuinely interested in my success. It was a real pleasure working with her!” – Anonymous, BeMo Student.

Even if it’s a video interview, there is certain professional interview etiquette that you must follow. This goes for all applicants, international and local.

#7: Financial Aid

Many colleges have higher tuition fees for international students. Fortunately, there are funding opportunities available. They can be internal (via the university itself) and external (government funding or private funding). A great advisor can help you find the opportunities you are eligible for and make sure you qualify and submit all required materials on time in order to be considered!

As most of these applications also have written components, you might also use the help of an international student scholarship consultant in crafting a catchy grant or scholarship application. 

Interested in some college application tips? This video is for you:

How to Choose the Best College Admissions Consultant

Now that you know what kind of help you can expect, let’s go over the qualities you should be looking for in your advisor.

FAQs

1. What is college admissions counseling for international students?

College admissions counseling services for international students helps them prepare, apply, and transition to colleges and universities abroad by walking them through the application process, coaching them on application requirements and helping them build the strongest possible application.

2. Does college admissions counseling complete my application for me?

No. They guide you along the way and help you prepare the best application, but you will be the sole author of your application.

3. What kind of services can I expect?

College admission counselors and advisors can help you with the pre-application stage, including taking the right courses and extracurriculars, studying for standardized tests, creating a school list, your application essays, interview prep, financial aid applications, and more.

4. What should I look for in my admissions consultant?

The advisor should be an experienced admissions expert who has helped other international and domestic students get into their dream schools. They should provide you with one-on-one consultations and personalized feedback.

5. When should I start my preparations for college abroad?

It should start in the early stages in high school, to ensure that you take the appropriate courses and enroll in quality extracurricular experiences. It's best to start early so you have enough time to complete an application and arrange any visa and travel arrangements you'll need to go abroad. If you're a recent graduate, there's still time to talk to a college admissions consultant and start your journey to studying abroad, but it may mean you are applying in the next year's application cycle.

6. How can college admissions counseling for international students ensure I get accepted?

These experts have helped hundreds of students, so they can identify the schools where you would be the best fit and how you can impress these schools.

7. Can I get into college as an international student without an international school advisor?

Yes, you can, but it is a laborious and challenging process. Using an advisor would essentially guarantee your acceptance, so all the money you spend on applications would not go to waste. If you go through the process alone and do not get in, you will have to identify what went wrong (which is a hard thing to do) and resubmit your application and fees.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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2 Comments

TALAL

Respected Sir: If you will allow me, I have a question that can be summarized as follows. I am studying in the fourth year of the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, specializing in animal production in Syria. I would like to transfer to the University of Saskatchewan and complete my studies and graduate. Can I do that and if what are the requirements, I respectfully thank you very much.

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BeMo Academic Consulting

Hi Talal. Thank you for your comment. You may want to reach out to the admissions office directly to find out if it's possible to transfer. You might need to apply from scratch to become a student at UofS. The application process for international students is nearly identical to those who apply locally, though you may have to submit additional documents.

International students will need to submit a proof of English Language Proficiency by submitting test results, for example an IELTS or TOEFL test result.

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Nazlı Ada Selcuk

I need help for American colleges admission process. I would appreciate it if you contact with me. Thank you

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BeMo Academic Consulting

Hi Nazli, please contact us for a free strategy call so we can discuss how to help you. 

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