Undergraduate Scholarship at a glance

Undergraduate Scholarship at a glance

I learned late that I wanted to continue my higher education abroad. Because, of course, I can’t afford to pay the tuition fees on my own, I had to look for scholarship opportunities. This meant I had to do all the information gathering, surfing for colleges and registration fast. Its easier said than done tough. I just wish there was someone or something to tell me what I had to go through from A to Z. so now I am going to do the honors of telling you what it’s all about.

Here is the thing you need to know firsts,- finance. In each and every step of this process, you will be required to spend money. It starts with internet café fees, Test fees, fees paid for required materials (transcript, recommendation letters, bank statements) Application fees, Mailing fees, financial aid application fees. The good thing is, there is a way to waive some of the fees, which I will be telling you in each section. 

Here are the things you need to put in mind-

1. Registering for a certain type of standard examination. The tests available in our  country are SAT(scholastic aptitude test), TOFEL ( Test of English as a foreign language), IELTS (International English language testing system)

The SAT tests your strength in reading, writing and math. All three are taken from 800, total of 2400. If you would like to enroll to the upper class universities like Harvard, Yale, Stanford…, you will have to work hard and score above 2000. For any other colleges you want to go to, check the minimum requirements in the admissions requirement section of their website. SAT test costs a total of 85USD. This payment also covers the cost to send your score to four colleges. You have to use this chance in exactly nine consecutive days after your test date. The SAT test can be waived; you just have to prove you are eligible for it while registering. You can do that by having your school write you a letter confirming you are unable to afford the payment. www.collegeboard.org    

TOFEL test is for applicants who are non-native English speakers. If a certain university has a test optional (if Sat is not required) application arrangement, it will still require you to prove your ability of English.  There are two basic types of TOFEL. The first One is, TOFEL PBT (paper based). This test includes writing, reading, structure and listening sections. It is measured out of 600. The second, TOFEL IBT (internet based). This test is carried through a computer; it includes all the four skills plus integrated skills. It’s measured out of 120. Contrasting the two types, PBT can be a little difficult as the listening section material is played to all test takers at once, in which it’s not allowed to take notes. Whereas, in IBT listening is given out on individual head sets, volume is no problem and note taking is permitted, so for computer oriented person I suggest IBT. This tests costs 170USD. The fee waiving technique is similar to the SAT. Choosing four colleges for which results are to be sent to have to be done prior the test taking date. Got to www.ETS.org

The IELTS (the international English language testing system) measures all the four English language skills in which the speaking section is a face to face interview. Test takers can choose between two versions of the test: academic or general training. The academic is for those who want to enroll in universities and colleges. The general training is for academic training and immigration purposes.   The IELTS is graded on a scale of 0-9. Test fee is about 165 USD. Test results are revealed after 13 days of test date. 5 copies of your result will be sent to institutions of you wanting.  www.IELTS.org  

2. Get a common app account or any other similar site of your liking. Common application and its likes let you fill out a sing bulky form and send it out to several colleges. It helps you in saving the time you spend to fill out each college’s form. And let me tell you it takes too long. To complete this form smoothly you need to collects all the information required. Get full information of your parents’ birth date, education background, work place, email address, P.O.Box, your councilor’s full name and email, two/three teachers’ full name and email, other recommenders full name and email.

In addition to saving time, common app enables you to waive the application fee required by each college, if you provide materials to support your eligibility. The easiest thing to do to authenticate your ability is to get a letter from your school requesting fee waiver.

Visit www.commonapp.org www.universalcoolegeapp.com www.collegeNET.com  

3. Choose your colleges very carefully. As I have said above, college application is a time consuming task. So, you wouldn’t want to waste your time on randomly picked colleges. While surfing through to match colleges, you should consider deadlines, your major study program, standardized test requirements, Grade point Average (GPA) requirements, financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Make sure you have everything under control, be organized, keep all your records, accounts and information written down for future reference. 

4. After submitting your application to your chosen college, you will be sending out materials. The thing is, every college has its rules and techniques. The best thing you could do here, instead of going through the way others had, is contact your respective college and ask for guidance. You can ask how to send you document (Transcript, recommendation letters….), their financial aid and scholarship policy, and anything else you might be lacking information with.   

Some colleges have their own financial aid forms and others require you to submit CSS PROFILE application, which is a service provided by collegeboard. For both of these forms you will be needing plenty of financial information. Like your parents’ annual income, tax payment, assets estimation, expenses… CSS PROFILE is a paid service. So, before you make a payment, ask the college you are applying to, to provide you with a fee waiver code. If it’s available, they will send it to you, otherwise you will have to make the payment. Not more than 25 USD, differs from one to another,

5. The next step before your notification day is, to follow up emails from colleges you have applied. These colleges will be contacting you in regular bases, letting you know your application status, missing materials and the like. Be active and respond quick, because it’s all a game of time,

If you have done everything correctly, it will be very likely that you will receive a decision within about 3 weeks.

Dear readers, I know this whole process might be a little too much. But trust me when I tell you it’s worth it. So, do not quit half way or give up. Don’t get too carried away either, work on your studies as hard as well. Best of lucks!!

Contact me at hawidadhi@yahoo.com for further question.

Related: are you applying for graduate studies in USA? if so you might wnat to take the GRE test. read up here for detailed information http://www.discoverbusiness.us/education/online-mba/resources/gre/

BY Hawi Dadhi

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