Proper research and planning before the application process can certainly help you complete the process with lesser hassles. While there are extra college hacks that can benefit you at large, not every applicant seems to know about it. These extra efforts can help you make economical moves and better choices:

  • Cutting off costs with fee waivers

    Applying to US colleges might be a hefty and costly process for your family but, one way to cut off some costs is to utilize fee waivers. Most of the applicants may not even know about these fee waivers:

  1. Common App: As you can send up to 20 applications from Common App, you could do it for free. For that, your Guidance Counselor will have to attach an application for Fee waiver via the Common App.
  2. Standardized test scores: Some colleges may also consider attested PDF scores especially for students with the poor financial condition. For that, you will have to email the admission department/ international admission counselors, explaining your financial circumstances and ask them if they accept attested scores from the Guidance Counselor. If they do, you can download your test results from the testing agency’s website, print it, get it attested and ask him/her to email it to the admission offices. Keep in mind that not all colleges will accept attested scores. So, communicate early!
  3. CSS: There are two ways to submit the CSS: with online payment and fee waiver code. CollegeBoard allows up to 8 CSS Fee Waiver Codes. You need to generously email the college admission offices about your financial condition and request a CSS fee waiver. Some colleges may ask you to fill up some forms before providing the code while some colleges may decline your request. So, again, communicate early!
  • Studying the general trend

The best way to estimate your chances in a particular college is to look at the statistics of accepted international students in the previous years. You can easily find the average test scores and GPAs of the colleges online, but note that this is not the sole factor of evaluation. Colleges may also put in consideration the student’s essays, recommendations and financial need before admission, especially if they are need-aware colleges. While needing blind colleges are always difficult to get in, you might find target or safety need aware colleges for internationals. But, while applying to need-aware colleges as an international student, you may be at a disadvantage if you have very less expected financial contribution. Be sure to check the college’s aid policies for internationals before applying.

This accounts for a great need for prospective students to understand what kind of international students the college generally accepts. For this, college forums like College Confidential could be of great help. You could track statistics of previously accepted students and also filter it country wise. It will help you get a general overview of the trends of college admission and aid relevant for international students, let alone Nepali students. This strategy would certainly help you make realistic choices.

  • Acceptance Rates may be defying:

    Always look up the college admission profile of the previous year to confirm the latest acceptance rate of colleges. While you may think you’ll surely land at colleges with high acceptance rates and never land at ones with lower rates; this is not always the case. Some colleges/universities generally get a large number of applications, even though they have the high number of seats for admission. This makes the acceptance rate really low and makes it seem impossible to get in for you, even though you stand a fair chance in reality. While some colleges may have lesser number of seats, yet very high acceptance rates because of the small number of applicants. So, make sure to check these numbers and yields of the respective colleges to make better estimations.

Besides, USEF and US Embassy could be great resources to help you get reliable information regarding the application as well as visa process to the USA.