Getting accepted into US universities can be very hard. Especially considering the fact that most Nepalis require financial aid and scholarships, you will have to excel in a lot of things to get the funding you need. This will mean that you will have to master all the sectors that US universities expect in an ideal candidate.
To help you organize your application better, we have compiled everything that you will need to be good at. Before reading this article, you should check out our beginners guide for US applicants. Read that first and come back here.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
US universities are known to provide a certain level of flexibility when it comes to grades compared to universities in other countries. However, grades are still very important in the application process. They just don’t mean “everything”. You will need to work hard in school and get grades that reflect your hard work. Your transcript will be sent by your school and your GPA from grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 will all be considered.
If you can pay less than 10,000 US dollar per year, then you will need at least 3.6 GPA to have a shot at getting appropriate scholarships. So work hard and get those numbers. But at the same time, don’t be discouraged if you have bad numbers. You will need to to better in other sectors of the application process to make to for it and universities will still accept you.
Standardized Test scores
This is another tangible and academic aspect of the US college application process. SAT is the most common standardized test in Nepal but ACT is also available if you prefer that. ACT costs Rs 18,000 which SAT only costs around 12,000 so keep that in mind. Again, standardized testing isn’t everything but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a good score. You will have an advantage over other applicants if you have a better SAT/ ACT score.
Top US universities will expect a score of at least 1450 in the SAT and 33 in the ACT. You should aim for that score. Khan academy is a great resource for SAT practice and crackact is a great resource for ACT. Although this year many US colleges have waived the standardized testing requirement, you should still try to sit the exams (if they are held). Having a good score is always better than having no score.
Extra Curricular Activities
Extracurriculars, in US universities, matter as much as academics do. You will need a stellar EC record as well as a bunch of personal qualities to go with them. Simply doing good in exams will not get you into a university. The intensity of involvement in activities outside of the classroom plays an integral role in the application process. Volunteering, community service can be a great substitute if you don’t have any other talent or aren’t very involved in EC activities.
ECAs are especially important if you lag behind in academics and standardized test scores. Think of the application process as an all-round package. Excelling in only one thing will get you nowhere, and you can make up for one aspect with another.
Essays sent to universities
All universities, with very few exceptions, will ask you to submit the common app essay. Besides the common app essay, there will also be supplements that you need to submit to some universities. These are also an integral part of the application process because they will showcase your personal qualities. You will need to give a personal voice to your application and amount to more than just some data on a page. This is what essays do for you.
Take time in writing your essays. Especially in the very top colleges, essays turn out to be even more important than academics and extracurriculars. You will need to stand out from other applicants and essays will do that for you.
There are two types of recommendations in the US college application: teacher recommendation and counselor recommendation. It isn’t much you can do to change your counselor’s recommendation unless you are close to your counselor (which is quite rare). But you can manipulate how well your teacher’s recommendations are. You will need to stay on the good side of your teachers. Don’t give them a hard time and regularly participate in class. Recommendations also play a huge factor in the admissions process so try your best to impress at least 2 of your teachers.
For extra tips that will help you apply to the US, read our article here