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What to Keep in Mind to be Able to Graduate in the US with a Pathway Program

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What to Keep in Mind to be Able to Graduate in the US with a Pathway Program

A university pathway is a program designed to help international students boost their academic and language skills to a level that makes success more likely. If you are considering an American college for your higher education, there is a possibility the school will ask you to enroll in one of these programs as a condition for eventual admission. Here are a few things you should keep in mind if you want to graduate in the US with a pathway program.

  • The School Wants You to Succeed

    While these programs contain many different elements that might appear to slow your progress towards a degree, the most important thing you should always keep in mind is that it is designed to help ensure your success. Take a look at your home country and imagine how an American would fare if he or she showed up as a student without basic proficiency in your language or cultural customs. Without help from others, it would be very easy to get overwhelmed and let academic progress fall by the wayside. If you get assigned to a pathway program by your university, you will be placed with other students who are in a similar situation, which presents its own set of benefits. Not only will you make friendships that could last a lifetime, but you will also be able to lean on each other for assistance during difficult assignments. Over the course of 12 months, you will receive instruction on English proficiency, as well as tips to improve your study skills. While there is no way to guarantee success for every student, you will be able to use this valuable experience for the rest of your academic and professional life.

  • Admission Requirements

    Every college has its own set of standards that must be met by all applicants, and you will still have to meet them as an international student. When choosing between schools, take a look at each university’s grade requirements to see if you have achieved the desired GPA during your high school career. Even if it looks as if you have far surpassed the minimum grade requirements, it is important you keep up with your studies all of the way through until graduation. It is not uncommon for a college to withdraw acceptance for a student who decides to coast through his or her final months of schooling. Beyond the information on your transcript, you may also need to complete the personal statement on your application, which is also known as the essay. You will be given a question and asked to answer it with a long-form written answer. While not every university includes this in the admission process, you should be extremely thoughtful in your response. Do not hesitate to have a proficient English speaker take a look at your piece before submitting it, and make sure you have answered the prompt completely and to the best of your ability.

  • English Proficiency

    One of the key indicators of whether or not you will be placed in a pathway program is your command of the English language. You will have a difficult time adapting to college life without this skill, which is why students from non-English speaking countries must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). If you feel uncomfortable taking this exam, see if there are any preparation services available in your area. If your TOEFL scores do not meet the requirements for full admission, your university may place you in a pathway program. As you take courses towards your degree, you will also enrol in classes designed to bring your English proficiency up to the desired level. One big benefit of this type of program is that it is geared towards academics, which means you will learn to speak in an educational environment.

  • Standardized Admission Tests

    Instead of having a different entrance exam for every university, today’s students are asked to complete standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT. While these examinations presents a difficult enough time for English speakers, you could find it even more challenging if you speak a different language. If there are preparation services in your community, it is worth the investment to enroll in one of these programs to help you study. The SAT consists of three different parts: verbal, math and essay. If you take the test and are not satisfied with your initial scores, you do have the option of taking it multiple times. While each school has its own standards of how to treat scores from retests, many of them will pick and choose the best results from each testing session to create a “super score.”

  • Preparation for College

    Once you have applied to a school and received either full or conditional acceptance, your next step should be to take the necessary steps to become an American student. As your first semester approaches, you should make sure you have accomplished the following tasks: Arranged financingApplied for and received a student visaFigured out living arrangementsSecured healthcare coverageBooked travel While some of these tasks can be accomplished relatively quickly, the student visa application process does take some work. Your university will issue you an I-20 form, which you must bring to your appointment at your local US embassy or consulate office along with a few other documents. You will have to fill out a non-immigrant visa application and provide a valid passport and acceptable photographs. At your appointment, you will go through an interview, so bring along academic transcripts and other evidence you can use to back up your claims. The interviewer will ask about your study plans and prior scholastic success while also asking you to demonstrate your ability to pay for the degree. Once you have answered everything to the interviewer’s satisfaction, you will be issued a student visa. If you are struggling to find a way to pay for your studies, there are many resources available for international students. Since universities value diversity in the student population, there are often scholarships and grants available for those who demonstrate a genuine need. You could also turn to friends and family members for assistance, and many financial institutions also offer low-interest student loans. Some colleges also offer work-study programs to help you earn money towards your degree.

  • Grades

    While many people think of a pathway program as a resource for undergraduates, many institutions offer them for graduate students as well. If you have received your Bachelor’s Degree from a non-English-speaking university, you might not have the language proficiency needed to succeed in the Master’s curriculum at a US university. You may be an ideal candidate for one of these programs as a graduate student if you meet certain criteria: Your GPA is not to desired levelsYour English skills need further refinementYou need extra preparation before enrolling in graduate-level classesYou require stronger study skills Unlike a pathway program for an undergraduate student, you can expect graduate-level programs to be even more intense. Standards are much higher for students wanting to earn a Master’s Degree, so it will take even more work to bring you up to the desired level. Not only will you receive instruction in academic English, but you could also get preparation assistance for post-graduate standardized tests such as the GRE or GMAT.

  • Stay on Top of Your Requirements

    These are just a few of the things you will need to keep in mind if you hope to graduate with a pathway program in the US, but keep an open mind. Many universities will have their own requirements that must be met by all students, so take advantages of academic counselors and other available resources. Universities build a reputation by preparing students for successful careers, which is why they provide pathway programs and other types of assistance for students in need. By utilizing these services and taking their information to heart, you will have a much better chance for academic and personal success. SchoolApply can help you research the pathway programs that are available to you in the US, and our advisors can support you in creating an application that will help you stand out. You can get started by browsing the pathway programs online now.

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.

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