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Three US University Admissions Myths Debunked!

Friday, June 2, 2017 3:41 am EDT

Every year, hundreds of thousands of international students and their families must go through the painstaking, complicated, confusing and culturally baffling process that is US university admissions. Until now, there has been no single resource for readers to turn to for holistic, accurate and up-to-date advice on the subject.

Jennifer Ann Aquino, an international education expert, stresses that there is no general route in the application process as everything works on a case-by-case basis. Parents and students are expected to commit to taking months of dedication towards understanding the US university admissions application and evaluation process in depth in order to be an informed and successful applicant.

“Admissions in the US are based on fit,” says Aquino. “This means that the student or applicant must know who they are in order to determine which universities they will apply to.”

The lack of education on this topic often results international students and families to base their application on clichés, fear and incorrect information. Having followed her own interests and passions at university, Aquino strives to show and encourage her students and readers to follow their own true interests, desires and passions.

In her book, The International Family Guide to US University Admission, she spills the truth on three myths surrounding the US university admissions.

Myth 1: The more colleges you apply to, the better your chances.

Answer: No. Create a well-rounded list. There are thousands of universities in the US. There are over 4,000 accredited degree-granting institutions in the US, over 3,000 of which are 4-year degree-granting institutions. Each has its own culture, character, strengths, weakness, student profile, professors, facilities, student life, and community. Commit to a well-rounded, realistic list. A realistic list means that you’ve done your research and know your fit and can defend that.

Myth 2: Only test scores matter.

Answer:This is another way for Admissions to be able to “level the playing field” by assessing applicants with very different curricula, programs and classroom pedagogy on the same test. Unfortunately, these tests are clearly not for everyone, so it totally does not level the playing field. I have seen perfect test scores rejected and dismal test scores accepted. Acceptance of an applicant is not a science. This is why it is important you understand how the process works.”

Myth 3: You can pay your way in.

Answer:You want to donate $100 million to get your son into a university? It’s not as easy as writing a check. Universities are quite sophisticated in how this works, if it does work. I used to get offered large sums of money as Director of International Advancement for a university in the US to get a son or a daughter into said university… and consistently turned the money down. Unless the family is strategically working with Development in a very sophisticated “you win, we win” approach, perhaps years prior, you can forget this approach. Yes, you may be a potential Development lead in the future and that can add to your appeal during the Admissions process if Admissions knows of you and you are truly and legitimately someone they would want to keep their pulse on, but this happens much less often than you think. The kid who told you that Anthony got in because his father wrote a check probably doesn’t know what he is talking about. Let it go. And, if you’re up for donating the $100 million, start your discussions early and with the right people. That takes a lot of time. You’ll need some strategic help.”

New Guide for International Families and Students

Aquino’s daily experiences and encounters with both her private clients and also with friends and acquaintances in Europe, Asia and Pacific regions quickly convinced her that there was a critical need for a guide based on US university admissions for international families that could guide them honestly and effectively throughout the process based on how the process actually works.

Published by Wiley in May 2017, Aquino’s new book, The International Family Guide to US University Admission, closes this gap by helping international students and families discover how to make sense of the US admissions systemfrom start to finish.

The book serves as an insider throughout the process, helping international students and their families find the right institution by navigating the complex and often overwhelming admission process. It guides the parent and student through the entire process following the timeline of the US university admissions cycle to ensure that they are pacing themselves appropriately—from preparation to submission and through to applying for student visas.

The International Family Guide to US University Admission is aimed at the vast and increasing number of international students applying for places at US Universities each year, and their families, and provides the first single resource for readers to turn to for complete, accurate and up-to-date advice on the subject. Whether you're an international student living outside of the US or an ex-pat living abroad, you'll find answers to all of your questionsall in one place.

The International Family Guide to US University Admission is now available wherever books and e-books are sold. For more information, click here.

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