Admissions Deadlines You Need to Know as a Prospective Pathway Program Student

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Admissions Deadlines You Need to Know as a Prospective Pathway Program Student

Pathway programs in the US are great options for individuals who wish to improve their English language skills while still earning credits towards their undergraduate degrees. The goal of pathway programs is to equip international students with the foreign language skills they need to not only work toward higher degrees, but to also be successful in their endeavors. In order to be successful, students must have certain requirements under their belts. Those requirements include: Satisfactory SAT or ACT scores Passing TOEFL scores Passing IELTS scores  A student visa or I-20 form In addition to meeting each of these requirements, potential students must pass all the required tests and obtain all the necessary documentation within a given timeframe. For most universities, that timeframe is typically about 18 months. Though that may seem like a lot of time, 18 months can pass quickly, which is why it is imperative that you act fast, study hard and are successful in your applications the first time around.

  • Standardized Tests

    No matter where you go to school—in the US, in Asia or in southern Europe—you must pass a certain number of standardized tests before a college or university will accept you. For American students, the standardized testing procedure is rigorous and tough to overcome. For international students, it can be complex, confusing and downright difficult. For this reason, it is important that you prepare and study hard, as your scores on these tests will play a huge role in whether or not the school of your choice will admit you. By understanding which tests are necessary to enter the pathway program, you can better prepare and increase your odds that within a year, you will be enrolled as a pathway student.

  • SAT and ACT Scores

    Every individual who applies to college in the US must take the Standardized College Admittance Test (SAT). This test, which was developed by the US Army and first used as a college admittance test in 1926, assesses applicants’ intellectual potential. It was not until the 1940s, however, after the president of Harvard adopted the testing method, that universities began to use the test as the “standard” form of testing. It remained the most popular testing method until the late 1950s, when the American College Testing (ACT) exam was introduced. The ACT surpassed the SAT to become the most popular testing method for college admittance only recently, in 2010. As of right now, SAT scores make up about 50% of the admittance decision. The test itself covers three main sections: MathCritical thinkingWriting The test takes a little over three hours to complete. Most American high schools set aside days, however, for college-bound individuals to prepare for and take the exam.   Reviewers score tests on a point system, with individuals able to earn anywhere between 600 and 2400 points. A person has the potential to earn between 200 and 800 for each individual section. The average score hovers right around 1500, but if you hope to get into a good school, you need a score of at least 2000. A score of around 1400 should be enough to get admitted to a quality state school. You should take this test in the winter of your second-to-last year of secondary school. However, if you are not sure of which school you want to attend or even if you want to go to university, you may be able to take the test in the winter of your final year of high school. The ACT is essentially the new SAT. However, despite that, and despite the fact that one test is not favored over the other, many schools require students to present scores from BOTH tests. Those who can present scores from each test have a better chance of gaining admittance than those who only present scores from one. Whereas the standardized exam tests students on their math, critical thinking and writing capabilities, the ACT tests students on the following: MathScienceEnglish ReadingWriting (optional) Additionally, though the ACT tests students on more subjects, it is shorter in length. The SAT, on average, takes students three hours and 10 minutes to complete. The ACT, however, takes less than three hours to complete, or just three hours and 35 minutes with the essay portion (which is optional). Each section of the standardized test receives a score of between 200 and 800. However, each section of the ACT receives a score of between one and 36. The composite score is an average of the scores earned for all four sections. Judges score the written test on a scale of one to 36 as well. Judges consider the writing portion separately and assign a point value accordingly. The average ACT score is 21, but individuals who wish to attend higher quality universities should aim for above-average scores. As with SAT tests, individuals should take the ACT test during their second-to-last years of secondary school. However, under certain circumstances, universities will accept tests taken during one’s final year of secondary school.

  • TOEFL Scores

    Many individuals who study abroad wish to do so in English-speaking countries. In order to gain admittance, international individuals need to prove their proficiency in the English language, which is why TOEFL scores are so important. The Test of English as a Foreign Language is a test used to measure the English language proficiency of non-native speakers. The goal of the test is to ensure that students understand the language of their host countries and that they possess the tools and understanding they need to succeed. The exam tests students on reading, speaking, writing and comprehension of the English language. Ideally, students should register for the language proficiency test three to four months before the desired test date. The test date should be two to three months before the university admissions deadline. However, because international students have so much riding on admittance, it may be wise to take the test much further in advance just to ensure that you do not miss the application deadline. Test scores are valid for up to two years, ensuring that applicants have plenty of time to take the test and fulfill any other application requirements for college admittance. The test itself takes about four hours to complete. Individuals who fail the test can retake the test as many times as they would like, so long as they wait 12 days between tests. The TOEFL tests students on four sections: ReadingSpeaking Writing Comprehension Each section is graded on a score of zero to 30. The maximum amount of points a student can earn is 120. However, though individuals do receive a score for their performance on the language proficiency test, there is no “passing” or “failing” score. Rather, universities use their discretion when reviewing scores to determine whether or not students are ready for the courses which they offer.

  • IELTS Scores

    Like the ACT, the IELTS – or International English Language Testing System – is a slightly better version of its predecessor. While the TOEFL is still an effective and highly utilized tool, the IELTS is a world favorite. In addition to testing students on their reading, speaking, writing and listening abilities, this system helps universities understand how capable a candidate is of using his or her language abilities while abroad and during his or her studies and social interactions. Test takers receive a score of one through nine for each subject of the test. A person’s average score produces his or her overall “band” score, which is the score used to determine his or her language proficiency. A person can earn a full score or a half score. The overall band score gives universities an idea of a person’s language skills, which may range from “expert” to “did not attempt the test.” For an idea of what your particular band score might mean, visit the IELTS website. Like with the TOEFL test, you should take this test as soon as possible after making the decision to study abroad.

  • I-20 Form

    Form I-20 is a certificate for non-immigrant status for students who wish to study in the US. If you wish to study in the US, you must submit your I-20 at least 120 days before the date listed on the I-20 form, which is 30 days before you can to enter the states. This is not something you should procrastinate on, as it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to expedite anything government-related. Each country has its own requirements for pathway program students, which is why you should always consult with the universities’ guidance counselors or international student services office before applying. That said, there are a few common requirements you should be aware of, including SAT and ACT scores, language proficiency test scores and student visa status. Before you embark on your study abroad adventure, it is imperative that you have everything lined up and ready to show to the university of your choice. Not only does your admittance depend on your preparedness, but so, too, does your future. Turn to SchoolApply for more information on how to make your time abroad a success.

Levels Explained

  • Bachelor's

    A bachelor's degree (also called a first degree or undergraduate degree) is attained after receiving a post-secondary (high school) education and generally spans four years. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as bachelor or undergraduate students. A bachelor's degree is usually offered at an institution of higher education, such as a university.

  • Master's

    A master’s degree (or postgraduate or graduate education) involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees. This degree is preceded by a bachelor’s degree and generally takes two years to complete. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as master's, or grad students.

  • Pathway

    Bachelor’s and master’s pathway programs are designed for international students who need additional English language and academic preparation before continuing to a degree program at a university. The purpose of these programs are to give students the confidence and skills needed to succeed in college.