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BeBeyond留学申请九步第五步:选校 [复制链接]

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发表于 2006-9-13 16:17:16 |显示全部楼层
The 9-Step Guide to Successful Applications to US Schools
[size=xx-large]5. Choose the Right Schools for You

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What are you currently doing to find the right schools for you? Do you simply look at some kind of school rankings and decide that you are only going to apply to several second-tier schools and then randomly contact them? Or do you single out all the schools with the lowest application fees and think you will at least save some money?

These are not the ways to find your perfect schools!

In order to decide which schools you should apply to, you need to do two things right: (1) Have a clear objective in selecting your schools; and (2) Know how to research US schools and spend a lot of time doing it.

Objectives in Selecting Your Schools
As we have pointed out in previous steps, you need goals and objectives for almost everything you do for your applications. And they have to be clear and specific. The same is true with your school selections.

In selecting your future schools, your objectives can be many. Examples: (a) Your objective is to go to the best schools. (b) You will settle for whichever schools offer you a scholarship. (c) You plan on paying the tuition on your own so you want a school that is affordable. (d) You know that you will have to work part-time at a restaurant; therefore, big cities with a lot of Chinese restaurants are the right ones for you. (e) You want to go to Boston because the person with whom you are secretly in love is there.

You can have any kinds of objectives for choosing your schools and you can even have multiple objectives. For instance, you might want a scholarship and at the same time you might only prefer big cities. That's fine. But no matter what objectives you have, the objectives must be clear and specific and then you must find the schools that meet your specifications.

Do you have clear objectives in selecting your schools?

How to Research the US Schools
There are so many schools in America. How should you go about researching your ideal schools?

Most Chinese students use the school rankings as their main tool. But, this is not the best approach. The best approach is (a) to acquire general knowledge about American university system and then (b) to do in-depth research on the individual schools that are on your list of potential targets.

General Knowledge about American Universities:
(1) Private vs. Public: Private universities are usually considered much more prestigious than public universities. Private universities have quality professors who are actually teaching while many public universities have their best professors mostly doing research. While top private schools are extremely competitive, average private schools are easy to get in because they want your money. Public universities normally have more RA and TA positions available than private ones because they don't have enough budget from the government to pay for real professors. So they'll pay you.

(2) Geographical Differences: Universities in the Southern US normally charge much lower tuition than their Northern counterparts. Universities in boring states such as Alabama or Iowa are much less competitive in terms of admissions standards even though some of them are top-ranked schools. (For most Americans, those places are seen as not much fun.) California is an extremely difficult state for Chinese students to apply to because the State has a lot of Chinese residents. (Being Chinese, they are normally good at school and many of them want to stay with California universities.)

(3) Big vs. Small: Generally, small schools are much more likely to pay close attention to your application and your situation than the big ones. They are likely to be more flexible too. For example, they might be more willing to write a letter to the US Embassy for you or to add some additional money to your scholarship when you have problems with your visa. Of course, they may have fewer scholarships; this, however, is not always the case. But at the same time, they may have fewer applicants as well.

Methods to Research Individual Universities:
(1) Knowing the Obvious: Get school catalogs, go to the schools' website, and read books on American schools to know as many official details of the schools as possible. Is the school that you are researching a private school or a public one? Is it big or small? Where is it located? Do they fit the general descriptions listed above? How are they going to help you meet your goals?

(2) Figuring out the Untold: Look beyond rankings, application fees, and deadlines. When you study a university, don't just write down what is required for an application. Instead, read between lines in a school catalog. What kind of students are studying in this university? Are they rich kids or average US citizens? Do they have a lot of international students? Is this a school with mostly White students? What kind of professors does the school have? Are they more specialized in research or teaching? If you have answers to all these questions, you should be able to imagine the real conditions of the school and therefore decide whether you will like the school or not and whether the school will like you as a student.

(3) Personifying Schools: Know the school like a human being. A school is like a person; it has its own personality. Some schools are always motivated and aggressive. They are eager to pick up a good student on the spot. Some schools are arrogant and they won't give you much special help. Other schools are very liberal; they like to have more minority students and international students. Different schools have different educational philosophies. For example, some top schools will let you in easily but have high standards for graduation. Some schools like Harvard care not only about academic performance but also about family connections.

(4) Confirming Findings: If you can, you should confirm your research results through some channels. For example, if you know somebody who has studied in that school, talk to him or her. You can also try to send an email to the school or one or two professors there to see how they respond to your inquiries. You should always review, confirm, and adjust the schools of your choosing.

Always with Objectives in Mind
Remember: Whatever you do to research the right US schools for you, you need to be aware of your own objectives in choosing a school. You need to constantly evaluate the schools against your objectives to see whether they meet your requirements.

With this approach, your application will have a better chance to be accepted by the schools that you have selected.
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