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Institution Types

State/Public Uni

Common

Private Uni

Common

Undergraduate Only

Lots of options

Junior College

Lots of Options

Arts Schools

Lots of Options

Business Schools

Very Few who teach undergraduates

American Schools

N/A

Research Focused

Lots of options

Teaching Focused

Lots of Options

Good to Know

The USA has both public / state universities and private universities. They are one of the few countries to still have single sex institutions, there are also institutions with strong religious affiliations

Bachelor Degrees are taught at both Liberal Arts Colleges, where the majority, if not all students are undergraduates and at Universities which vary in size but which all have graduate students studying there as well.

For most applications you will be applying to the institution and giving an indication of the range majors you are interested in, rather than applying to a specific major or school. Although there are some notable exceptions to this including NYU. There are also some honours programs which require you to apply to them specifically, there are others that you can't apply to until year 1 or 2 of your degree.

American schools do not have an equivalent end of high school qualification to the IB. For this reason, entry to university is more holistic and includes both GPA, which is your average grades on your transcripts for the 4 years prior to starting university, and may include admissions tests such as SAT and ACT. The global pandemic has pushed many institutions to suspend or remove their admissions tests requirements.

Degrees are taught in English and if this is not your native language you will need to meet the language proficiency requirements.

Degree Length

Standard Degrees are 4 years

You may be able to complete your degree earlier if you score highly in the IB and your university awards you advanced credits for your IB grades

There are some options to combine your undergraduate and professional degree into an accelerated degree e.g. 3+2 or 3+3

Education Model

Undergraduate Degrees are almost all Liberal Arts and Science models but within that there is a huge range of structures, particularly in what 'core' or 'General Education' Requirements there are.

It is possible to study both 2 year and 4 year degrees. The 2 year is known as an associate degree and is normally taught at a Junior or Community College. The 4 year degree is the Bachelors degree, equivalent to undergraduate degrees around the rest of the globe.

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Gap Years

Gap Years are very common in the USA. You can either apply during IB 2 and then once you have been made your offers request deferral, or apply during your Gap Year. You will need to have a plan for what you intend to use your gap year for, but it doesn't need to be directly relevant to the major you are considering pursuing.

Placements

Co-op is the term most often used for placement options within degrees in the USA. They are usually 3-6 months in length and institutions that offer them generally allow you to complete more than one during your degree for academic credit.

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Application Process

Applications can be made via Common App, Coalition, State Systems, Direct application forms and Concourse. Some universities accept more than one of these application routes.

Most applications require multiple pieces of writing with the exception of those via Concourse. These are likely to cover who you are as a person, your values, your experiences, your activities, why you've chosen the institution and possibly why you want to study the subjects you have indicated

100-180 hours for 6 applications depending on how many different systems you use and the amount of writing for each one (excluding research time)

IB students start working on their first essay in March of IB 1 and students register on Common App and the UCal system in April of IB1.

Early Decision/Application deadlines are in November and we advise students to submit at least their top choices by 1 Nov and aim to submit all applications before the start of the winter break.

Any International College students interested in applying to the USA would need to speak to us for support as soon as they arrive in college.

The majority of St. Clare's students submit most of their applications via Common App. The second most common system being the University of California Application system.

For Common App, Coalition and most state systems, you complete 1 application form with 1 or more central essays that go to each institution you apply to. Individual institutions or specific honours courses, may then require you to submit supplemental writing or essays alongside this. It may also be required, or advisable to complete an alumni interview as part of your process. You should not underestimate how important the writing is in USA applications, especially for competitive courses.

Applications to 2-year colleges are most likely to be direct.

It is important to be aware that all USA applications require the submission of financial documentation from your parents regardless of whether you want to apply for aid/scholarships.

 

Grade Conversion

Universities each have their own conversion scale to compare IB to GPA, but when you are trying to understand how competitive you will be as an applicant the conversion on the right can be helpful.

Add your IB subject scores up and divide by 6. (Exam scores are best but if there is a big difference between exam and course grades, take the average in each subject) then use this scale.

There are a couple of universities (including NYU) that will publish the IB points they are looking for. It is unlikely to see UFP grades published on their websites, but you can use the letter grade on the conversion table to the right by finding your average from your subjects to give you GPA.

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Research Resources

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FairTest

Admissions Tests

This site has a list of all the USA Colleges and Universities that are Test Optional or Test Flexible

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CollegeBoard: SAT's & CSS profile

Admissions Tests | Finance

SAT
Book your SAT, access practice questions, get your results and manage sending them to universities

CSS profile
Complete and submit the CSS profile for those institutions that require it

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Making Sense of College Rankings

Advice

As you build your college list, you may notice where schools fall on various ranking list (U.S. News & World Report, for example). But how are these rankings calculated, and how can they help you determine which school is right for you?

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The Common Application

Application Portal

The most widely used application platform in the USA. There are also advice articles and a link to the college boards university search engine 'Big Future'

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Concourse Global Clearing

Application Portal

Concourse is a platform where universities search for candidates they want, rather than you completing lots of complex, time consuming and expensive applications. You complete one profile, which institutions view an anonymised version of. If they feel you are a fit for them, they will make you an offer and if you're interested, you can connect with them, share your full details and speak to them about what they can offer you.

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Six Colleges.Org

Explore

The prestigious Liberal Arts Colleges of Amherst, Bowdoin, Carleton, Pomona, Swarthmore and Williams have teamed up to develop virtual events and on-demand content to support students and their families through the college search and application process

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College Covered Quiz

Explore Options

A quiz to help you think about which types of institutions in the USA would be a good fit for you

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YOUniversityTV

Explore Options

View College Tour Video's for USA Institutions, or browse through them by category for inspiration

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Niche

Explore Options

Niche is a comparison site for USA institutions that lets you search on a variety of factors and has their own rankings by major of top institutions. It includes both quantitative data points and also qualitative from student reviews resulting in a report card for each institution.

You can put your own information in and then see the chances of you being accepted into a particular school, although keep in mind this is based on USA student data not international student data largely.

Be aware that the Net Price given assumes that you are a USA citizen receiving the average financial aid award. It is likely to be substantially higher if you are an international student.

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BigFuture

Explore Options

Big Future is a search and comparison site from CollegeBoard and reliably has all courses and institution on it.  You can search by a very large number of factors and order the results on an equally large range of priorities. 

You can search by those institutions that offer need based financial aid.  This will not bring up those institutions that only offer scholarships based on merit to international students.

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Cappex

Explore Options | Finance

A search engine for scholarships and colleges in the USA with accessible financial information. Be aware that international fees are often higher than out of state fees and you should always check on the universities own website.

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EducationUSA: Financial Aid Search

Finance

Education USA is the USA government's education arm. They have a database of financial aid opportunities.

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Costs

The cost of University tuition in the USA is dependent on your citizenship, residency and the state the university is in. Universities are then free to set their own fee rates, so they do vary by tens of thousands of dollars a year.

You should check universities own tuition and finance pages for exact figures.
In-State fees are normally the lowest fee rate and are for USA citizens resident in the same state as the institution
Out of state fees are more and this is for USA Citizens who live in a different state. These are often the same level as International fees and if there isn't a separate international fee rate listed, you might find the institution classes out of state and international at the same fee rate.

Private institutions tend to be more expensive than State universities and the more desirable locations where land is more expensive, also tend to have higher tuition fees.

Fee rates vary a lot, as do the finance awarded to support students, which means that on search and comparison sites you will often see the 'average' tuition fee after financial awards, this is NOT a good guide as to what you are likely to pay as an international student.

USA institutions often roll living costs in with the tuition costs on the finance pages and living costs can also vary a lot by location and institution.

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Funding

The USA government offers Federal Student Financial Aid to all US citizens through completion of the FAFSA. You can find more information at https://www.usa.gov/financial-aid. This is need based aid and requires your parents to complete financial information.

Some universities consider international students for need based aid and most require you to submit either the CSS https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/ or Idoc https://pages.collegeboard.org/idoc to be considered

Some universities offer merit based scholarships for international students and you should check their individual websites for this information when you are researching options. Many of these will require additional applications, although some have automatic consideration.

Institutions take a different approach to the role financial need plays in the admissions process:

Need Blind = the financial situation of an applicant is not considered in the admissions decision. Most then expect to cover the full financial need of any applicant they accept
Need Aware = the financial situation of the applicant is considered as part of the admissions process and generally a student will not be admitted unless the institution can afford to cover all or most of the financial need

There are only 5 institutions that offer need-blind admission and full need financial aid to international students: Yale, MIT, Harvard, Princeton and Amherst College

There are also some need aware institutions that pledge to meet full demonstrated need for the international students they accept. Equally, some institutions will publish that they are only able to offer X% of their tuition as aid for internationals.

 

Universities

Explore the university profiles for this country on the CareersExplore Platform.

 
American University

Surround yourself with students who are active, collaborative, driven, passionate and motivated to challenge themselves in the classroom!

Single Subject Focus (Joint degrees available), Liberal Arts and Science (Major/minor Model), Integrated or Thematic degrees, Researched Focused Institution, Teaching Focused Institution

Suburban Campus

Medium Institution 5000-15,000

Areas of Study

Art & Design
Business
Computing & ICT
English & Media
Language & Culture
Liberal Arts & Sciences
Mathematics
Medicine & Healthcare
Performing Arts
Sciences
Society & Social Sciences

Boston University

BU is based in Boston, but with a truly global identity. Our residential campus feels like “home” for our bright, inquisitive, and collaborative students.

Subject focused, with a foundation in Liberal Arts. Students apply directly into their program of interest. They focus on their subject/major-specific courses beginning in their first semester, while also exploring other areas through Liberal Arts. Many students pursue more than one subject.

City Island Campus

Large Institution 15,000-30,000

Areas of Study

Art & Design
Business
Computing & ICT
Engineering
English & Media
Language & Culture
Mathematics
Medicine & Healthcare
Performing Arts
Sciences
Society & Social Sciences

Bryant University

Bryant provides a safe, tucked away, campus with a tight knit community with access to major U.S cities. Bryant is a relationship driven place where people know your name. We believe in collaboration, real world application and competition while maintaining a supportive environment.

Business and Arts/Sciences

Suburban Campus

Small Institution <5000

Areas of Study

Business
Computing & ICT
English & Media
Language & Culture
Mathematics
Medicine & Healthcare
Sciences
Society & Social Sciences

University of Florida

At the University of Florida, we are people for purpose. We're committed to challenging convention and ourselves. We see things not as they are, but as they could be. We strive for a greater impact; one measured in people helped and lives improved.

Liberal Arts and Science (Major/minor Model), Researched Focused Institution, Teaching Focused Institution

Rural Campus

Very Large Institution >30,000

Areas of Study

Art & Design
Business
Computing & ICT
Engineering
English & Media
Language & Culture
Liberal Arts & Sciences
Mathematics
Medicine & Healthcare
Performing Arts
Sciences
Society & Social Sciences

Georgia Institute of Technology

The strong academic work ethic at Tech is balanced by a collegiate atmosphere incorporating campus traditions, athletics, and 400+ other student organizations.

Technologically based education combined with experiential learning.

City Island Campus

Large Institution 15,000-30,000

Areas of Study

Art & Design
Business
Computing & ICT
Engineering
English & Media
Language & Culture
Liberal Arts & Sciences
Mathematics
Sciences
Society & Social Sciences

Hampshire College

Hampshire College is a small liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts that has been at the forefront of progressive education innovation in the United States for over 50 years.

Students design customized programs of study in collaboration with hand-picked faculty committees.

Rural Campus

Small Institution <5000

Areas of Study

Art & Design
Business
Computing & ICT
English & Media
Language & Culture
Liberal Arts & Sciences
Mathematics
Medicine & Healthcare
Performing Arts
Sciences
Society & Social Sciences

Hult International Business School

With our uniquely global programs, you’ll do more than study business. You'll experience the world, shape the future, and learn about your biggest asset— you.

Single subject focus on Business with Major and Minor options

Urban City

Small Institution <5000

Areas of Study

Business
Computing & ICT

Johns Hopkins University

A Community of curious and passionate people, who follow their interests wherever they lead. Discussions spill out of classrooms, onto quads and into residence halls.

Hopkins is a research university with a liberal arts curriculum.

City Island Campus

Medium Institution 5000-15,000

Areas of Study

Art & Design
Business
Computing & ICT
Engineering
English & Media
Language & Culture
Liberal Arts & Sciences
Mathematics
Medicine & Healthcare
Performing Arts
Sciences
Society & Social Sciences

California State University, Long Beach

A beautiful, active campus in Southern California filled with diverse and friendly people. It's better at The Beach!

Liberal Arts and Science (Major/minor Model): Accessible, Practical, Affordable

Suburban Campus

Very Large Institution >30,000

Areas of Study

Art & Design
Business
Computing & ICT
Engineering
English & Media
Language & Culture
Liberal Arts & Sciences
Mathematics
Medicine & Healthcare
Performing Arts
Sciences
Society & Social Sciences

Michigan State University

MSU is massive and overflowing with school spirit from the campus, the surrounding community, and more than half a million alumni all over the world.

Liberal Arts with a heavy emphasis on research

City Island Campus

Very Large Institution >30,000

Areas of Study

Art & Design
Business
Computing & ICT
Engineering
English & Media
Language & Culture
Liberal Arts & Sciences
Mathematics
Medicine & Healthcare
Performing Arts
Sciences
Society & Social Sciences

Minerva University

Achieving Extraordinary

Fully active learning in every class. Small, engaging seminar format.

City Campus

Small Institution <5000

Areas of Study

Art & Design
Business
Computing & ICT
Engineering
English & Media
Language & Culture
Liberal Arts & Sciences
Mathematics
Medicine & Healthcare
Performing Arts
Sciences
Society & Social Sciences

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

University of Minnesota Twin Cities students are on the go! You will have many opportunities to meet students from around the world, participate in undergraduate research, explore the vibrant and fun surrounding cities, join student groups, complete internships and develop as a whole person.

Liberal Arts and Science with a Research Focus

City Campus

Very Large Institution >30,000

Areas of Study

Art & Design
Business
Computing & ICT
Engineering
English & Media
Language & Culture
Liberal Arts & Sciences
Mathematics
Medicine & Healthcare
Performing Arts
Sciences
Society & Social Sciences