It's Mid June now, and it is another 203 days to application deadline of 2nd January 2010.
If you have set your dream to further studies to top US Universities in fall 2010 (Aug/Sep 2010), then you should definitely start your action already! Start preparing seriously, since time is not really on your side. 203 days will fly by very fast. By coming Tuesday, it would be countdown 200 days already!
For those of you who have just recently gotten prestigious scholarships to further studies to US, Congratulations! However, would say that getting the scholarship is just the first step. What you should do now, would be to really work very hard to get into the best university possible. And what's best university, would be the university that suits you the most. So, it might not be the most famous university.
Before I go further, will put the link of a few other ReCom threads earlier on US Applications. Do read through here
The reason I set this new thread is so that all of you can concentrate on using a common thread to prepare, and for future batches, they can see in full, how's the questions, preparation for a batch.
The timeline that you should know:-
Now - Dec 2009 - TOEFL Test
10th Oct 2009 - SAT Reasoning/Subject Test
1st Nov 2009 - Early Decision/Action Deadline for Most Universities
7th Nov 2009 - SAT Reasoning/Subject Test (Last Date for SAT test for Early Decision/Action applicants)
5th Dec 2009 - SAT Reasoning/Subject Test (Ideal Last Date for SAT Test)
Mid Dec 2009 - Admission Decision for Early Decision/Action
2nd Jan 2010 - Regular Decision Deadline for Most Universities (Do check deadline for particular universities, as some deadlines do defer)
23rd Jan 2010 - SAT Reasoning/Subject Test (Last Date for SAT Test)
Feb - Apr 2010 - Admission Decision for Regular Decision
1st Apr 2010 (5am Malaysia Time) - Admission Decision for Regular Decision of Ivy League Universities
1st May 2010 - Decided on your university by now.
June/July 2010 - Obtained your I-20 and applied for US Visa.
Aug/Sep 2010 - Start your studies in US Universities
I am sure above would create more questions than answers to you. You might be wondering on a number of those terms. My suggestion for you would be to google/wikipedia those. Try to take initiatives, rather than waiting for spoonfeeding.
Some clarification of the terms:-
1. Regular Decision - This is the normal application pool
2. Early Decision - You can use this option for your top dream university. You are allowed to apply for 1 university only under Early Decision. If you get into this university, you are legally binded to attend that university. Your chance of admission is significantly higher.
3. Early Action - You can use this option for your top dream university. You have higher chance of admission, but you are not binded for the decision.
4. SAT - check it here
5. TOEFL - check it here
6. On application forms for most universities, refer to Common Applications
Then, the next question some of you would ask would be what is required to apply for US Universities. I would say that the following would each play a part in it, and is not limited to the following:-
1. Application Essays
2. Standardized Tests (SAT Reasoning Test, SAT Subject Tests, TOEFL)
3. Pre-U and High School Results
5. Co-curricular activities (including external activities, charity, community service, business, conferences, research, competitions, performances etc)
6. Recommendation Letters
8. Special talents
And to all of you who are still thinking of your long strings of A1s in SPM, do remember that this is a global competition to get admission. Your 15A1s or more A1s may not help much. It might be a tough reality to accept, but your long string of A1s is not too important. So, you need to prove yourself to the universities that you are really good.
So, you might be saying, so what I can prepare now?
My thought would be that you can start preparing on some of these stuff:-
1. SAT Reasoning Test - Grab a book(s) and start prepare. If your English is not very solid, you do need to put in a lot of efforts in this. Strengthen your vocabulary through programs like Free Rice
. Try the comprehension. Are you ready to answer Maths questions in English? Is your grammar solid?
2. SAT Subject Tests - Do start choosing the 3 subjects or more that you would like to take for SAT Subject Tests.
--> Do note that you have to sit for SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests in different months. And there are tests only in Oct, Nov, Dec, and maybe you can take the Jan 2010 one too. And most students do need to resit again, so be prepared for one of your SAT test in October and another one in November.
3. Resumes/CVs - Start to prepare this early and get it ready.
4. Recommendation Letters - Start to get your teachers and others who can recommend you to start drafting it. It shouldn't be a repetition of what you have written in your CV/Resume. So, just pass your CV/Resume to your teacher to write would not make it. It would be useless. It should be about personal observation of the recommendor on you.
5. Application Essays - This is very important. Do start carrying a notepad and jotting down any part of your life that you think is unique. Essentially, this will really be helpful, when you start writing your essays.
This write up is quite long already. Hope that all of you can start preparing now, and really make full use of the resources. We have put up about 30+ resources at here
, so those would be good place for you to start prepare.
And don't forget to sign up for the workshop on 1st, 2nd, 15th August 2009. About 25 incoming students/current students/alumni of various top US universities will be facilitating. You can get the info here
Lets all of you work very hard, and hopefully, some of you will be able to get into your dream university! The hard work these 7 months would be worth it. You will learn a lot in the process, and this will be the busiest moment of your life (much more stress than your SPM time), but you will learn from it. Good Luck!
Do post your questions here and do share the resources with others who are applying too! You are fighting the global challenge to see how many Malaysians can make it to these universities!