In our last article in this series (A BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR NEPALI STUDENTS) we talked about the basics of applying to the US from Nepal. If you haven’t seen that article, please give it a read first here. US universities require the SAT, the TOEFL (at times), a commonapp application, recommendations and a list of extracurricular activities. But we all know that simply submitting ala these won’t get you into good US universities. You will need to stand out from other applicants, especially to get good scholarship/ financial aid. Given below are the ways in which you can boost your application and get into your dream college. We have personalized them to suit the needs and concerns of students from Nepal
DO NOT USE CONSULTANCIES
Trust me, if you can use the web well enough to find this article you don’t need a consultancy to tell you stuff. Everything that consultancies tell you can be found online, and I mean literally everything. Consultancies are just a way to take extra money without any real effort.
Besides, in our personal experience we have found that consultancies usually run fraudulent business. They take extra charges that don’t really exist in the application process. Sometimes they even “consult” you to apply to a very bad university to increase their success rate. Not to mention you are paying them money for nothing real. Just don’t do it. Use the web to research thoroughly. You’ll save money and protect yourself from fraud. If you really need guidance, go to USEF Nepal instead.
PRACTICE SMART, NOT HARD
The foremost concern for Nepali students is to do well in the SAT. Some US universities provide scholarships simply based on their SAT while elite colleges generally want to see a good score on it.
SAT classes can be expensive in Nepal, and in my experience they aren’t worth it. We recommend you not to enroll into any SAT course offered by Nepali consultancies. Instead, the best way to practice is to find free SAT books online, and do khanacademy recommended practice. All of these are free, online and just as effective as SAT tuitions. Cracksat.net is a helpful site to get even more resources for SAT practice. 30 minutes practice a day is enough, the key is in consistency. Do not, I repeat do not use any third-party apps or tuitions other than khanacademy to practice, they will cost more and benefit you less.
US UNIVERSITIES LOVE NEPALI CULTURE
Do not try to imitate or copy foreign cultures thinking it’ll look better— it doesn’t. Admissions officers want someone unique. We all have that advantage simply by being a Nepali, don’t give that up. Instead, you should try to slip in as many cues to your Nepali heritage as you can. A great place to do this is in your commonapp essay. No matter what you decide to write on, check that it has a certain level of “Nepaliness” to it. Be proud of your heritage, and make sure to show it in your application.
DON’T AVOID SUPPLEMENTAL ESSAYS
Many applicants decide to not apply to colleges that have supplements because they feel lazy. You should remember that a supplemental essay is an extra chance to show the college who you are. You should always use that to your advantage instead of avoiding it because of the extra work. In the end, you want to reach your dream of getting into US universities. And like all things in life, you must be willing to work extra for it.
SCORES/GRADES AREN’T EVERYTHING
One advantage (or disadvantage, however you see it) of applying to US colleges is that grades don’t hold as much value compared to other countries. US colleges practice what’s called a holistic admissions process. Grades are only a part of your application, it’s not the whole package. Even if you have bad grades, you can still have a decent chance of getting in if you have good extracurriculars, recommendations and most importantly- essays. So think twice before retaking you CIEs or SATs just to increase you grade by one point and waste time you could have spent on your extracurriculars.
ASK FOR FEE WAIVERS
Fee waivers are exemptions to the application fee charged by colleges. Applying is VERY expensive, especially for Nepali people. You have to pay around Rs 8,000-10,000 for each application. That combined with SAT fees and everything results in a total price of over 1 lakh. Applying for fee waivers helps you apply to more colleges. The more colleges you apply to, the better will be your chance of getting in. You can get a fee waiver by contacting your high school counselor (or your acting counselor if your school doesn’t have one) and asking them to fill the fee waiver form for you. Don’t spend extra for no reason.
This article is second in a series of articles (see the first one here) we are going to release related to applying to US universities. Stay tuned for more tips and strategies to apply from Nepal. Best of luck for your application!