Interview with Mayra T. Robles

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Why is the U.S usually the first choice for many students who want to study abroad?
U.S. higher education institutions are known worldwide for the quality of their programs, faculty, and facilities. As an investment in your child’s future, a U.S. degree or education experience offers excellent value. The U.S. higher education system offers unparalleled choice to international students in the types of institutions, academic and social environments, entry requirements, degree programs, and fields of study that are available. Students can choose from a variety of academic areas, from the humanities to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). U.S. institutions continue to lead in terms of the breadth of academic specialisations and research opportunities they offer. National and regional accreditation systems ensure that U.S. institutions maintain high academic standards.

The number of international students studying in the United States continues to increase each year. U.S. institutions welcome international students because they bring diverse perspectives and experiences to campus to share with their classmates and community. Campus international student support services help students adjust to their new academic and social environments. With more than 4500 nationally and regionally accredited institutions in the United States, international students have many choices regarding the institution type and location that is the best fit for them and where they will thrive and reach their academic and long-term goals.

EducationUSA advisers help students research their options and understand application requirements. A wide range of tuition, fees, and living costs make study in the United States financially possible for many international students. Additional opportunities for limited on-campus employment help students defray living costs, while internship experiences can provide practical work experience.

What sort of budget would an international student need for living expenses and tuition fees per year?
Invest in yourself! The cost of living and studying varies across the United States. With the right amount of planning and research, pursuing a U.S. higher education can be made affordable with high returns on your investment. Start your financial planning as early as possible. Each year international students receive significant amounts of financial assistance for their studies. However, competition is high. Applications for financial aid go together with applications for admission.

When looking into studying in the United States, evaluating your finances should be one of the first things you do. As with any investment, you need to evaluate what’s best for your educational and career goals and what you are willing to spend. U.S. institutions offer a wide array of programs with a wide array of tuition and fees. The United States is a large country and the cost of living varies greatly from place to place. You need to assess your funding and what you are able to spend on your education and living expenses.

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Photography by Greg Chin

What are some of the prerequisites needed to apply to higher education institutions in the U.S.?
The first step to studying in the United States is researching your options to find a college or university that best fits your needs. You shouldn’t try to match yourself to the school, but rather find the school that matches you and your priorities and long-term goals. Remember that no official ranking system exists for colleges and universities in the United States. The best college or university is the one that is best for you and meets your requirements—academic, financial, and personal. At least 12 to 18 months prior to the academic year in which you hope to attend a U.S. college or university, you should begin your research.

Start by answering these basic questions:

• Why do you want to study in the United States?
• Where will you fit in best?
• Which colleges or universities will meet your needs?
• Will you need financial assistance?
• What are the application and financial aid deadlines?
• Where do you want to live in the United States?

The U.S. Embassy’s academic advising office, EducationUSA, offers free advising services to students in Brunei who wish to pursue higher education in the United States. Visit http://www.educationusa.state.gov or email EducationUSA Advisor Mayra Robles roblesmt@state.gov for more information.

This article was published in the Oct-Dec 2016 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!