Preparing to Study in a Pathway Program in the United States

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Preparing to Study in a Pathway Program in the United States

If you’ve made the choice to travel to the United States to study and have chosen a pathway program, we want to help you prepare well in advance so you are ready for a positive, fulfilling university experience. Traveling internationally can be stressful and frightening, particularly if you are leaving for a longer period of time. At SchoolApply, we want to make the entire process easier on you and your family so that you get the most out of your education. Pathway programs often offer online courses that allow students to work more and spend more time with family and friends while they are studying. A pathway program is intended to help international students improve their language proficiency, get accustomed to the culture of their host country and ease into their higher education studies. Fortunately, the steps to prepare for a pathway program are like those for traditional university programs. The pathway programs are ideal for international students who are trying to ease into university life in the United States. As you spend time learning in a pathway program, you are better prepared to take on traditional university life when you complete the year.

  • Booking Your Flight

    Once you’ve chosen your preferred pathway program, you will hopefully have a chance to visit before you settle down. If not, your first experience with the school will be when you arrive to start your program. One of the first steps you should take when preparing to move to the United States is to book your flight ticket. It is often beneficial to have a family member travel with you to get settled if possible. When you are booking your flight, remember that you will need a passport, student visa and all other appropriate documentation to enter the United States. Try to book your flight well before school starts, but keep in mind that you may have to wait for your accommodations to be ready for you to move in. Once you know what day your student room or off-campus apartment is ready, you can book your flight. Consider the time difference and try to book your flight so you enter the United States during the day when you can visit the campus before school starts and check out your new accommodations. There may be an orientation that your school offers that you want to attend also, so you will want to fly in before that.

  • Purchasing Insurance

    If you are traveling to another country for your education, there are several types of insurance you should consider. Remember that insurance works differently in various countries and even in different US states, so you may want to consult with the international student office at your university to discuss options. Several types of insurance you should consider include: Student health insurance: This allows for medical care in the United States and around the globe, and there are several different plans to choose from. Look for simple monthly payment options and comprehensive benefits when choosing a health insurance plan.Travel medical insurance: If you are traveling, studying or living abroad in any part of the world outside your home country, you should purchase travel medical insurance. These plans are ideal for those dependents who are not covered by their parent or spouse plan and students that are traveling that want to be prepared for an unexpected injury or accident while abroad. Travel medical insurance may cover evacuation, medical expenses, emergency reunion, repatriation and other benefits.Major medical insurance: International students that need medical benefits for more than one year should purchase a major medical insurance plan. Plans may include coverage up to certain amounts and offer extensive benefits for students that are far away from home.Renter’s insurance: If you are renting a place to live, you may want to buy renter’s insurance the covers your belongings in the case of a theft or fire. Many companies offer insurance plans to international students, so be sure to shop around and find the right package for the right price for your situation. If you have a variety of medical problems, you may want a more significant coverage plan than an individual that is typically healthy.

  • What to Pack

    Traveling internationally is much different than traveling in your home country, and there is a specific list of things you should pack before you leave for your adventure. If you must wait for documents or items to be shipped from your home, it may delay your ability to begin school when you are ready. The following packing list will help you get started: Student visa, proof of identity and passport. Check with the international student services office at your school to determine exactly what kind of documentation you need.Personal mementos and items such as pictures and things that remind you of home. Do not bring family valuables or heirlooms that may get lost during transport.Because electrical outlets differ from country to country, make sure you have a travel adaptor that works for all your devices. Bring appropriate clothing for the climate you will be living in. For example, if you plan to study in California, you won’t deal with temperature changes as extreme as you would if you are studying in Boston. You can always buy clothes when you arrive, but bring things from home that you love that you are also comfortable in.Pack any toiletries that are appropriate to bring on an international flight. You can go shopping for toiletries when you arrive in the US, but you’ll want basic things like a comb, shampoo and soap while you are traveling. Once you’ve arrived at your school, you’ll have plenty of things to purchase. Shower shoes and slippers if you are living in a dormitory, cleaning supplies, hangers, a first-aid kit, USB drives and multi-plug, tableware, shelves and storage boxes and academic resources and books. Most of these things are easier to purchase than to pack and can wait until you have settled in for a few days. The stuff you pack should be what you need right when you arrive.

  • Bank Account

    Even if you have a banking account back home, you’ll want to open a US bank account when you come to study. In the United States, there are two common types of accounts: savings and checking. Checking accounts are ideal for everyday expenses and allow you to make unlimited deposits and numerous withdrawals. These accounts work best for paying bills, living expenses and daily transactions. Some special features are offered for student checking accounts, so be sure to check with your financial institution when signing up.Savings accounts are ideal for those who want to put money away for emergencies or a rainy day. These are used for money you don’t need for your daily expenses and often require a minimum deposit. The bank you use at home may have an international branch, so check with them as soon as you know where you are studying. If that is not an option, most universities offer some type of student banking organization or credit union associated with the university. Those are preferable because they are easy to access and often located close to campus. You’ll need the following documents to open a bank account in the United States. Proof of address such as an apartment contract or a utility billCollege address such as an enrollment verification letterCurrent passportIdentification number, which may include an alien identification card number, a taxpayer identification number or a passport number with the country where it was issued You may also be asked for the following: a credit card or foreign driver’s license, I-94 card, Form W-8 BEN for those who are not eligible for ITIN or SSN or an I-20, I-797 approval notice or DS-2019. One way to avoid confusion is to check with your preferred financial institution before you arrive and ask them for the exact documentation you need so you are prepared when you arrive.

  • Other Considerations

    These are just a few of the things you should consider before you leave your home country for the United States to study in a pathway program. You may also want to investigate on-campus employment options if you want to keep a job, reach out to the international student office at your school, explore extracurricular activities to get involved socially, find other international students to work with, research different majors and degree options, and study a map of your campus. All these things can help you prepare and ensure that your university experience in the United States is a pleasant, productive one. As more than one million international students choose to study in the United States each year, the dream of earning a degree in the US becomes more attainable for many students throughout the world. Five percent of the students in higher education institutions in the US are international, and the arrangement has benefits for both the university and the student. At SchoolApply, our goal is to help students from all over the world find the right program and university in the United States and give them the tools and tips they need to prepare. If you have basic questions or want to learn more about studying in a pathway program in the United States, contact us today.

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.