U.S. Admissions: Choosing and Applying to a University
How do I choose a college or university?
With over 4,000 accredited institutions in the United States, there is much to consider.
Some particularly important factors include
Be sure the institution is accredited by a body recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.
Also be aware that some countries and employers have additional expectations; for instance, some do not yet accept degrees earned through distance education.
Areas of study. Even the biggest schools do not prepare students for every career be sure the types of programs that you are interested in are offered by the schools that you are considering.
Tuition and fees can differ a lot between one U.S. university and another.
Living costs will also vary depending on location. Look not only at costs but also at how much financial aid may be available—in some cases expensive schools may be able to offer good financial aid.
Location. Variations in climate and landscape are large in the United States.
Consider also whether you would prefer a campus located in an urban, suburban, or rural setting.
Type of institution. Institutions may be public, private, or religiously affiliated. They may be large or small, have many international students or only a few. Qualifications and research interests of faculty. A match with faculty interests is particularly important for graduate students. Facilities and special resources or programs.
For instance, if you are not fluent in English, you may want to look for a school that has an English language program on campus.
How closely do your qualifications match those of students accepted to the school?
This can give you an idea how likely you are to be accepted.
Which are the best schools?
The United States does not publish any official list of best universities. Some private organizations compile "best" lists that have been created based on such factors as research funds or the opinions of professionals in a given field. These lists vary considerably in their conclusions, which is not surprising given that over 4,000 accredited U.S. universities and colleges currently operate, each with its own goals and strengths.
Often the most famous universities are also the most expensive and the most difficult to enter. The "best" university is going to be the one that is right for you—one that offers your field of study and meets other criteria important to you such as location, financing, housing, and facilities for international students.
Which schools are the least expensive?
Can you give me some tips on things I can do during the application process that will reduce the costs of my study?
See this Web site’s more detailed Financial Aid section for information on costs and financing strategies. What kind of grades do I need to be accepted into U.S. universities?
The diversity of U.S. education means that requirements vary significantly from one university to another; some institutions are very selective while others accept most applicants.
To enter a selective undergraduate program, you will need at least a B average in secondary school, equivalent to placing in the top 20 percent of your class. The most difficult universities are likely to require placement at least in the top 10 percent of your class. Some institutions have less demanding requirements or even “open enrollment” programs that require only secondary school completion or other basic prerequisites in order to start degrees (there may be additional requirements for international students; for instance, English language proficiency is generally required to begin any degree-awarding program just be sure you’re prepared to succeed in university-level course work; open enrollment academic programs can be just as challenging as those of more selective institutions.
Students entering graduate school are generally reviewed with an emphasis placed on the final sixty units of undergraduate study.
Eligibility requirements vary from department to department, with admission typically more selective than at the undergraduate level. When should I begin applying to U.S. universities?
If possible, begin at least one to two years before you plan to start your program. The U.S. academic year begins around the end of August and ends in May. Mid-year admission to begin classes in January or February may also be possible, but not in all cases. Application deadlines may fall as early as the end of November at some schools. You will also need time to register for, take, and wait for scores from standardized tests.
Some of these tests are offered only once or twice each year.
Have you gotten a late start? Some schools offer more flexible “ rolling ” admissions and will accept applications at any time.
In the United States, you also aren’t required to begin an undergraduate program immediately after secondary school graduation
if you need to wait a year because the deadline of the school in which you’re interested in has passed, you can.
At graduate schools, older students are even more common and some universities even offer programs specifically intended for “mid-career” individuals with substantial work experience. Still, starting early allows you the broadest range of choices and the best chances at financial aid without having to rush or wait. What admission tests will I be expected to take?
See the section on Testing in this Web site for answers to this and other testing questions. What is the process of applying to U.S. universities?
Application procedures will vary slightly from one university to another. Here are the common steps:
Check scheduled dates for the TOEFL or any other exam required for your field and level of study.
Register at least two months before the date you wish to take these exams.
Take the time to research which universities have programs and professors that are strong in the specializations on which you plan to focus. Departmental Web sites often provide helpful detail and you can research leaders in the field by looking at who is presenting at professional conferences, who is writing articles in professional periodicals, and so forth. If possible, make a connection with professors and/or departments where you plan to study, perhaps by sending an e-mail to professors of interest introducing yourself and briefly explaining your goals and qualifications.
After research, make a list of schools that seem to match your needs and preferences. Send e-mails or letters to each requesting information and application forms.
When you receive the application forms, complete one form for each of the three to seven universities that best meet your needs and send each one, along with the application fee, to the university.
Your academic documents and test scores may be sent later, although applications received without the application fee will be returned. Test scores must be sent directly from the testing agency. Copies are not acceptable.
Ask schools that you have attended to submit official transcripts showing the courses you took.
If you took a school-leaving examination, also send a copy of these results. Most U.S. colleges and universities also ask for recommendations to be sent directly by teachers, employers, or others aware of your strengths. Documents not in English must be accompanied by an English translation. If your school will not provide original copies, explain this to admissions offices; they may accept a certified true copy stamped by AMIDEAST.
What are the basics I should know about completing U.S. college and university application forms?
Use the same spelling of your name on all application forms, test applications, and so forth.
Use the spelling that is on your passport if you have one. Differences in spelling from one document to another can cause problems.
Type rather than handwrite materials whenever possible, or print very neatly if you need to handwrite pieces.
Usually applicants to selective institutions are asked to write an essay, personal statement, or statement of purpose. Specific guidelines may be provided by the institution but these essays usually serve the following purposes:
Graduate programs are most interested in learning details about the applicant's desired area of study, their career goals, and how the program being applied for meets the applicant's specific academic needs.
At the undergraduate level, the essay allows the admissions staff to gain a better feel for the applicant's individual personality and background. How are you different from other applicants? The essay may also provide a good place to discuss your interests and skills that are not fully described in other parts of the application.
If you intend to major in performing arts areas such as music or dance, you may have to provide a videotape or an audiotape of a performance. Artists may be required to provide a portfolio or slides of their work.
Use airmail courier for all materials sent from outside the United States or apply on-line if possible.
Keep a copy of everything you send to institutions.
There will probably be items on the application that do not fit international students (such as Social Security number, zip code, and so forth). You can leave these blank you may attach a cover letter explaining why certain items have been left unanswered if you feel anything might be confusing. Where I can find more information on choosing and applying to U.S. universities?
Visit the sections of this Web site focusing on Undergraduate Admissions and Graduate Admissions, as well as on Fields of Study.
If you still have questions not answered on our site, you are welcome to contact us.
When I apply to universities, what admission tests may I be expected to take?
TOEFL. If English is not your native language, you must submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score. Many institutions require a minimum score of about 80 on the Internet-based (iBT) TOEFL, about 213 on the computer-based version of the TOEFL (a version of the test no longer offered), or about 550 on the paper-based version for both undergraduate and graduate students to enter their academic programs. A few schools may not require the TOEFL if you completed high school or college in the United States or if you graduated from a four-year, degree-granting institution where English is the language of instruction.
SAT® Reasoning Test®. The SAT Reasoning Test may be required of undergraduate applicants. No standard score is required; results are weighed with secondary school grades and other elements of the undergraduate application.
SAT Subject Tests. Each SAT Subject examination tests knowledge in a specific subject area. One or more may be required of some undergraduate applicants.
GRE. Most graduate applicants are required to submit results on the Graduate Record Examination general test and sometimes subject tests as well. Some graduate programs require a minimum 450 verbal score on the general test; others may also have a 420 minimum required on the quantitative section. Minimum scores will vary from university to university. Some do not have minimums but will weigh scores with undergraduate grades and other elements of the graduate school application.
GMAT. Graduate applicants in business- and accountancy-related areas usually must take the Graduate Management Admission Test. (Applicants to some programs may have a choice between taking the GMAT and the GRE.) A minimum score of 500 is often required, with a score of at least 25 percent on the verbal portion. Again, requirements vary from program to program.
When should I take university entrance exams?
Begin your testing plan at least one year before you wish to start your academic program. The U.S. school year begins around the end of August and ends in May. Many universities have application deadlines in December for school entry the following late August/early September. Organized university applicants take TOEFL and other exams in September, a year before school entry. International mail can be slow and unreliable, and you will also need time to register for and take standardized tests. This also gives you time to take tests a second time if you are not pleased with the results and to request score report mailings.
Where do I find information about the tests?
The Educational Testing Service (ETS) develops and administers the TOEFL and GRE, and details can be found on their Web site.
The GMAT, is developed by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), You can find test information as well as useful information about business studies in general by visiting their student site.
How do I register for the tests?
AMIDEAST offices maintain test registration forms. Most also offer a service to help you register and to allow payment in your own country's currency or you will usually also be able to register online from the test’s Web site.
What should I do on the day of the test?
Arrive 30 minutes before the assigned test time. Check-in procedures take time. If you arrive late, you may not be admitted to the test, and you will forfeit your test fees. What should I do if my test scores don’t arrive in this time frame?
You should get in touch with the testing agency by telephone, e-mail, or fax. Contact information is listed below.
Be sure to provide the following information in your correspondence: your name, address, birth date, and test registration number. You should also provide this information if you have another question or if you need to request additional score reports.
For many tests, information is provided online as well as in written form. Universities may be willing to check your scores online rather than waiting for the paper score report, depending on the policy of the particular institution.
Who do I contact if I have score report problems or other questions on tests?
Funding U.S. Study
Education is an investment in your future that can bring great returns. U.S. study offers more choices than any other educational system, allowing you to match your future plans closely with your curriculum.
To be able to make the investment in U.S. study, smart planning is the key—you need to do research to identify U.S. funding possibilities that match your own needs and strengths.
Below are some suggestions and strategies to help you get off to the best possible start in funding your U.S. studies.
Planning Sources of Financial Aid For More Information on Financial Aid Information
Begin researching the costs of your planned program well in advance. All U.S. universities and colleges can provide an estimate of tuition and living costs at their particular institution. Both tuition and living costs can vary widely.
Aid availability also varies and can make a big difference—don’t assume an institution is too expensive without checking how much aid is available to international students there.
Be sure to consider the following types of expenses:
College and university application fees
Fees for standardized tests
Housing and meals
Books and supplies
Clothing, recreation, incidental expenses
If you plan tostudy in the United States for several years, consider how you will fund the whole period of study.
Start researching financial aid possibilities as early as possible—one to two years before you plan to go to the United States. Be aware that financial aid deadlines may be months earlier than regular application deadlines. Give yourself time to get together a quality aid application and assemble standardized test scores, transcripts, recommendations, essays, and so forth.
Sources of Financial Aid
The university or collegeyou will attend is the most likely source of outside funding—over 10 percent of undergraduate and over 45 percent of graduate international students in the United States receive primary funding from their college or university, according to statistics maintained by the Institute for International Education.
As is clear from this statistic, funding is much more available at the graduate level. However, some undergraduate institutions also offer scholarships, based on academic merit or, less commonly, a background of community service, athletic ability, talent in the visual or performing arts, or other criteria.
Graduate teaching or research assistantships are one type of aid commonly awarded by universities to graduate-level students. Students with assistantships may be expected to teach sections of undergraduate classes or help professors with their research. In return, they may receive a salary to cover part of their educational costs or they may be excused from paying tuition.
First-year graduate students are not usually immediately given assistantships—they are first expected to demonstrate academic and teaching ability as well as fluency in English. Assistantships are more available in some fields of study than others. For instance many are awarded in the sciences, a smaller number in the humanities and social sciences, and very few or in professional programs such as business or law.
The U.S. government provides some limited aid to international students, primarily at the graduate level. The AMIDEAST or other EducationUSA center nearest you can provide details on current programs. You should also check on the availability of local and international government aid programs, which provide primary support to about 4 percent of international students in the United States.
Finally, sources such as private associations and international foundations may award grants for education. These are often hotly competed and tend to provide only small amounts of funding rather than full support. Combined with other funding, however, such awards may be helpful in achieving your goal of U.S. study. For More Information on Financial Aid don't hesitate to call us .
Everyone applying for U.S. non-immigrant visas, including all visas granted for the purpose of U.S. study, is required to demonstrate an intention to return to their home country.
The burden of proof is on the applicant to prove ties to the home country and establish what is called non-immigrant intent.
During your student visa interview, you will be asked whether you intend to return to your home country after your education. We hope the answer is an honest yes. If so, you need to provide evidence to prove this.
Have a few sentences in mind that express how you intend to use your degree or research at home after your finish your program
Bring copies of deeds to any property (land, house, apartment, store, business) that you or your family owns in your home country
Bring bank statements for any accounts that you or your family maintain in your home country
If you have an employer who intends to employ you when you return home, bring a letter from that employer
For more information from the U.S. Department of State about the requirement to demonstrate ties to your home country click here
Also, for some good information and recommendations, we would suggest reading Ten Points.
Travel to any new place can be stressful if you’re not well-prepared. Here are some tips for a smooth trip to your U.S. college or university.
Timing Your Entry
You can arrive in the United States using your student visa up to thirty days before the start of your academic program. At a minimum you will want several days to recover from jet lag and adjust before your schedule becomes busy.
Also find out when your college or university’s orientation program for international students will be held.
Arrive in time to attend this and other student orientation events—such programs cover important information on campus resources and requirements.
If you will have to change planes during your trip, allow plenty of time—at least three hours between flight arrival time and any connecting flight’s departure.
Remember that you will have to go through port of entry procedures, you may need to travel from one airport or terminal to another, and of course your arriving flight may be delayed.
Planning Ahead to Avoid Travel Complications
Let the international student office at your college or university know your travel plans well in advance of your departure , also ask them about the best ways to get to campus and the approximate cost.
Make sure that your housing arrangements are finalized. Inquire with your college or university international student office about any temporary housing,hotel, motel, or other arrangements that may need to be made if you are arriving early or during the weekend.
Arriving during working hours typically Monday through Friday, about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the United States is generally preferable.
Get the name, address, and telephone number of the staff person at your U.S. university to contact in case of a travel delay or an emergency, and carry this with you during your trip. Also carry contact information for a person at home and for or another organization that could provide you with support if needed, such as an educational mission or sponsoring agency.
Purchase travel insurance that will cover the costs of your trip in case you should have to cancel or delay travel for some reason and that will pay expenses in case of a medical emergency during travel. You may also want to purchase baggage insurance to cover against loss, damage, or theft of your baggage. Pack Smart
Be aware what items may not be packed in carry-on luggage--only small amounts of liquids, aerosols, or gels are allowed, though they can be checked in packed luggage. Some of the less obvious things that you should not try to carry on a plane include razors; pocketknives; tools such as hammers or screwdrivers; and sports equipment such as golf clubs or pool cues. Luggage over allowed carry-on size (which varies somewhat by airline) must be checked and there are weight and size limits on these pieces as well without overweight fees being added.
Keep photocopies of transcripts, passport, visa, I-20, and other important documents in your luggage, separate from the original documents, which you will want to carry on. (You may want to leave an additional copy with someone at home.)
Take most of your initial funds (enough to pay expenses over the first few weeks while you set up a U.S. bank account, which may run to $1,500 or more) in the form of traveler’s checks. If possible, however, also obtain $100-200 of U.S. currency in small denominations—$1, $5, $10, and $20 bills—for expenses on arrival in case you are not able to immediately change money at the airport.
Make a list of your belongings according to where you packed them so you can more easily make a claim if any luggage is lost. Carry on a change of clothes, toiletries, and any essentials that you will need upon arrival or could not easily replace, including all important legal, medical, or academic documents.
All checked and your hand luggage is passed through scanners at airports and may also be opened. Random searches are also conducted—all travelers, including U.S. citizens, are subject to these searches.
Don’t wrap any gifts that you are bringing as they will be unwrapped in the case of a search. Leave luggage unlocked or use special TSA locks, in case officials need to search bags—otherwise they may be forced to break your locks. It’s better not to pack food or drink in checked luggage as some substances (such as chocolate) may activate machines screening for explosives. Do not stack books or other dense items together in your luggage; spread them out instead so they do not appear as an unidentifiable mass. For easier inspection, it’s suggested that you place small carry-on items such as toiletries together in clear bags and pack footwear on the top of other contents in checked luggage.
Be aware what items may not be packed in carry-on luggage—basically weapons, explosives, and incendiary materials.
Matches and cigarette lighters with fuel may not be checked in luggage but up to two cigarette lighters and four packs of safety matches may be carried on board.
It’s also important to be aware of customs regulations. Some types of items that require a special permit for U.S. entry or that are entirely prohibited include any drugs and narcotics that are illegal in the United States , weapons, ammunition, and explosive materials including fireworks, offensive-smelling or irritating materials such as pepper spray; fresh fruit, vegetables, plants, seeds, and other unprocessed plant products; wildlife or products made from endangered species; and fresh fish, meat, or seafood. You may also want to avoid packing substances that may be difficult for inspectors to identify. Getting Off the Ground
Travelers on international flights are generally advised to arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance.
If you are traveling at a peak time such as a weekend or holiday, you will want to arrive even earlier.
Call ahead to reconfirm reservations, and also to confirm that your flight is on time.
You will need to show your boarding pass ,ticket confirmation and a piece of government-issued photo identification at security checkpoints, so have these readily accessible.
Only ticketed passengers traveling on the particular day will be allowed through security checkpoints.
All passengers are screened with a walk-through metal detector. Therefore, avoid wearing anything metal; take change and other metal objects out of your pockets before passing through the detector. If you set off the alarm, you will be asked to step aside for further screening with a handheld metal detector as well as a pat-down search.
You will be asked to take your laptop computer out of its case for separate screening. You also may be asked to turn on the computer or other electronic devices that you are carrying with you.
Footwear inspections are standard for anyone stopped for random searches; at some airports all passengers may be asked to remove shoes during screening. Shoes often have metal in their heels so you may want to consider taking them off before going through the metal detector even if it is not required.
In the Air
No smoking is permitted on any U.S. flights. All passengers must by law obey any instructions given by the flight crew, including remaining seated during takeoff, landing, and periods of air turbulence. Do get out of your seat and walk a little at least every two hours, or do some basic stretches in your seat—sitting still for long periods is not only uncomfortable but can occasionally lead to dangerous blood clots.
Dry air in airplanes can cause dehydration, which makes jet lag worse. Drink plenty of water throughout the flight, eat lightly, and avoid caffeine and alcohol, which will make you more dehydrated.
To help you sleep, you may want to bring earplugs, an eye mask, and/or a neck pillow.
Airlines provide small pillows and blankets for you to use on board, and sometimes other conveniences.
Before landing, you will be given a customs form to complete. This should not be complicated assuming you have not brought any prohibited items. You will need to show it to customs inspectors at the airport.
At the Airport
You should be provided with information about the international visitor registration process when you apply for a visa and also receive a list of the air and sea “port of entry/port of exit” points where inspectors are located to register arrivals. You should travel through one of these points whenever you enter or exit the United States most major airports currently serve as ports of entry.
On arrival in a port of entry, after collecting luggage, all international visitors should be directed to the office of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection within that airport. Inspectors there have been assigned to collect two “biometric identifiers” from every traveler.
Currently this means that a photograph of you will be taken and that your fingerprints will be electronically recorded.
You will also need to show your travel documents and will be asked about the length and purpose of your U.S. stay.
This process may be combined with customs inspection checking whether you have anything to declare , possible random baggage searches) or may be a separate step, depending on the airport.
Once you are cleared to enter the country, you should receive an Arrival
Departure Record (form I-94) from the inspector. Keep this as you will have to show it again when leaving the country.
If any of your luggage does not arrive with you, file a claim at your airline’s desk before leaving the airport. Write down the name of the person who helps you as well as the work address and telephone number where this person can be reached in case of any later confusion.
The airline will send luggage to you at your U.S. address when it is found or provide reimbursement if any is lost while in their system.
All airports have information booths to help travelers, and there will also be signs to direct you to local transportation. Guidelines on what taxis should cost are often also posted or distributed. Settling In
The best way to adjust to being in a new time zone is to start following the new schedule and to spend some time outdoors—sunlight will help your “body clock” reset itself. Try to stay up until it is bedtime where you are and then to stay in bed until morning.
Let the international student adviser at your college or university know as soon as possible that you have arrived.
You will want to meet with this person to learn how to register as an international visitor which you will need to do after thirty days in the United States and then annually as well as any time you exit and reenter the country or change addresses) and to get all sorts of guidance on how to successfully adjust to life and study on your new campus.
How many international students are in the United States?
Open Doors, a survey published annually by the nonprofit Institute for International Education, reported that approximately 623,805 international students were enrolled in U.S. institutions of higher education . What types of support services will be available to me on campus?
Your college or university international student adviser will be your first stop for many types of questions. Part of this adviser’s job is to serve as a liaison between international students and other resources in the campus and community , if your adviser can’t answer a particular question themselves, they can probably refer you to someone who can.
At most U.S. colleges and universities, you will also be assigned an academic adviser.
This person will generally have expertise in the field that you are planning to study and will provide guidance on your institution’s requirements as well as responding to other questions you may have about your course of study.
If you want to change your academic adviser for any reason (maybe you find the person you are assigned to difficult to talk with, or you have decided to change majors , that is very common,usually you can choose a professor who you like or think would be helpful and ask them if they would be your adviser.
Many universities have counseling centers designed to help students with a variety of more personal problems, from working out family difficulties to diagnosing learning disabilities. You don’t have to have a seriousproblem to visit these centers , they offer a chance to get some professional, confidential support and guidance if you, for instance, are stressed out over exams or homesick. Different institutions offer different levels of support and organize it differently—this should be covered during orientation.
For academic problems, tutoring centers or services on campus can help, providing support from one-on-one help with particular classes to workshops on writing or research skills.
Some other common campus resources include centers or courses providing English language training, housing support offices, offices that arrange support for students with disabilities, student groups including groups of international students, career centers that may provide help writing resumes and finding internships and other professional opportunities…the list goes on. Attend campus orientation programs and talk with your international student adviser so you’ll learn exactly what your particular campus and the community around it have to offer you as well as how to access these resources. Can I keep a halal diet in the United States?
Yes. Some universities provide meal plan options for students with special diets, including halal diets you will need to check with your university to learn what your on-campus options are. One good Web site to help you in locating stores and restaurants selling halal food is Zabibhah.com What kinds of housing do international students live in?
It varies. Students may choose to live off-campus or on (some universities require undergraduate students to live on campus the first year . Types of on-campus housing also differ widely there may be a special dormitory for international students and/or individuals with international interests; dormitories that are single-sex or have single-sex areas; special housing for married students; and other options. When you first come to the United States, you may want to look into opportunities to take part in a homestay this is not permanent housing but provides the chance to live with a U.S. family for a short time, which can provide a good introduction to U.S. culture. What are U.S. teaching methods? What will my professors expect from me?
Different classes may have different structures at your university. While some classes, especially beginning courses in the sciences, may be large and structured primarily around a professor lecturing to students, other classes will take a seminar approach, with much smaller enrollment and a focus on discussion among students and the professor on assigned reading or other class-related subjects. Large lecture courses also often include smaller discussion groups, often led by a graduate student teaching assistant, which meet in more of a seminar format to talk about the class and address student concerns. Especially in science and language classes, lab sessions allow for hands-on practice of skills being taught, speaking and listening or conducting experiments.
Even in large lecture courses, you are expected to attend all classes. In seminars ,class participation” is usually an important factor in calculating grades. This means not only attending classes but actively taking part in them, asking questions and contributing to discussions.
Classes may be less formal than you are used to students may address a professor by his or her first name; some people may bring food to class or arrive late. Don’t make any assumptions, however the professor is still in charge and different classes may be conducted differently. Watch and get a feeling for what the situation is in the particular class that you are attending.
U.S. education emphasizes original, critical thinking and analysis. Rather than simply learning the ideas of great thinkers or memorizing formulas and vocabulary, you will often be expected to apply theory to new situations, give your own opinion and interpretations, even develop and test your own theories. It is not considered disrespectful to question or to (politely) disagree with someone else’s ideas, even your professor’s.
When you quote someone else or even paraphrase someone else’s ideas, you always need to acknowledge the source. Otherwise, you may be accused of plagiarism, stealing someone else’s ideas, which is a very serious offense that can lead even to expulsion from school. Your university orientation programs should cover plagiarism as well as the specifics of how to cite sources in greater depth. What if I find I need help with my English?
Many colleges and universities have on-campus English language centers where you can study, or offer individual English as a second language courses. Your university’s international student adviser can also direct you to language classes and resources in the community as well as tutoring services where fellow students may be able to provide you with one-to-one assistance. What types of health costs can I expect with insurance ? What can I do to minimize them?
Health insurance is required for international students because of high U.S. health costs. Discuss with your international student adviser and be sure you have enough both for yourself and for any family members who may be accompanying you.
Insurance plans typically do not cover routine eye care or dental services. Depending on university arrangements with the insurance company, plans may or may not cover “preexisting conditions. If you have an already diagnosed health condition for which you expect you may need continuing coverage, talk with your university international student adviser about whether and how you should purchase additional coverage.
Even with insurance, you can expect to have some health costs, such as co-payments on doctors’ fees and prescriptions you pay part of the cost—often a small amount such as $10 or $20 the insurance pays the rest). Read your plan and be aware in advance what your insurance covers.
Where you go for care will make a difference in cost most universities and colleges with students living on campus also have health care facilities on campus, and these can provide an affordable source of quality care, but extent of services available varies and often this type of care is available for students only and not their families. Your international student adviser should be able to provide you with information on other sources of medical care in the community, including private physicians, group plans, and urgent care centers. Hospital emergency rooms should be resorted to only in a true emergency when you may have to be admitted to the hospital care there tends to cost far more than an appointment with a doctor or urgent care clinic, and insurance may not cover costs if the insurance company does not authorize such care in advance or judge the health problem to have been a sufficient, urgent threat to merit waiving such authorization.
Details and advice on U.S. health care and insurance can be found in two booklets published by NAFSA: Association of International Educators To Your Health: Health and Wellness for International Students, Scholars, and Their Families and To Your Health: Medical Insurance for International Students, Scholars, and Their Families. Order information and on-line copies of these booklets can be found at www.nafsa.org/publication.sec/international_students. How can I find a mosque in the United States?
The number of mosques in the United States grew by more than 42 percent between 1990 and 2000 and there are now approximately 2,000 mosques around the country. Your university’s international student adviser should be able to give you information on local mosques and prayer facilities many universities will have on-campus facilities of some kind .
You can find more information and answers to your questions in other parts of the U.S. Life section of this Web site. Also contact the Mrzai or Education USA office nearest you as they all offer special events and resources to help you prepare for U.S. Study and life.