When do I begin my search for universities in the States?
We recommend that you start your search at least 12-18 months before your intended departure date.
When are university application deadlines?
For students interested in starting their studies in the fall (end of August/ beginning of September) deadlines may start as early as November (the year before) and as late as the spring just before classes begin in the fall. Each university has its own deadline, therefore, it is best to find out exactly when the deadlines are for each university that you intend to apply to.
How do I begin my search?
Visit the Education USA website, www.educationusa.info, where you can walk through the various steps of choosing the program, choosing the college or university, funding, tests etc
You can also visit one of the websites recommended on Internet Links about Study in the U.S. (see the link on our website)
If I have a Matura diploma am I entitled to extra credit from the university?
Many universities give additional credit for the Matura diploma. Your Matura grades will be evaluated by the university (occasionally prior to your entrance at the university but most usually during your first semester there) and you will receive an advanced standing evaluation that will give you all the details. The number of credits you receive will depend on the subjects and the grades you received.
I do not have the Matura diploma can I still attend university or college in the US?
It is possible. If you have 12 years of formal education and or a secondary school leaving certificate you may be accepted at many universities without a Matura diploma. If you do not have 12 years of formal education or a secondary school leaving certificate, it may still be possible to attend university in the United States if you first complete a “bridge” program. These programs are offered at many community colleges.
I have graduated from a secondary school here in Switzerland, does that mean that I should look for graduate schools in the US?
No, if you do not already have a university degree you will be an undergraduate at an American University.
Where can I take the SAT, ACT (GMAT,GRE, TOEFL, etc) test in Switzerland?
Each test has a website on the internet. All the relevant details for that specific test are available there. Where it can be taken, cost, registration details etc.
You can find more information on our website under “Student testing” or in the attached brochure “A successful start in the USA” under Examinations.
My son is very good at sports and would like to look for a sports scholarship. Is this possible?
There are numerous sports scholarships available for talented young student men and women. Schools that offer teams in specific sports can be found in most of the college resource guides. But first it will be important to follow the rules for sports scholarships. Information on these can be found at http://www.ncaa.org/
What is a cooperative education program?
A number of universities offer cooperative education. It is a program where the student attends class for usually a semester and works in a specific field for the next semester. Class the following semester and work the next semester until the program is completed.
What is accreditation? And why is it important?
Accreditation is a voluntary process that a school elects to go through in order to receive a “stamp of approval” from an accrediting association. Accreditation tells us that the educational institution has reached a level of performance, integrity and quality that warrants the confidence of the educational community and the public. Usually, only credits and degrees from accredited educational institutions will be recognized by other educational institutions and employers. For a more in-depth description and further information please read the separate section on Accreditation found in this web site.
I have attended a tertiary institution and want to transfer to an American university/college. How many of the years that I studied will they acknowledge?
It is up to each individual institution to decide how many credits they will transfer, although occasionally universities may give you a rough indication of how many years it will take you to graduate. In most cases, you will not have a definite answer until your first semester there.
I want to go to university in the US. I speak excellent English. Do I have to take the TOEFL?
Most educational institutions require that international students or students educated abroad take the TOEFL or some equivalent exam to be certain that the students English is of a sufficient level, both written and spoken, to be able to work at university level in English. If you had all or several years of your primary and secondary education at an English language school you will probably not be required to take the exam. If not, even if your mother tongue is English, you will probably be required to take the TOEFL exam. Make sure you always double check with the University you are planning to study at.
Are "colleges" and "institutes" in the U.S. as good as "universities"?
Degree-granting institutions in the United States can be called by any of these terms, and colleges and institutes are in no way inferior to universities. As a general rule, colleges tend to be smaller than universities and usually offer only undergraduate degrees, while universities offer graduate degrees.
Note: a Junior College/Community College or 2-Year College is not the same as a 4-year college. Community Colleges offer Associate degrees, not Bachelor’s degrees. Students may attend a Junior College or two-year college and then transfer to a 4-year college or university to complete their degree.
Is it best to stay on-campus or off-campus during my first year in the States?
We recommend that you live on-campus for the first year. This will help to integrate and make friends, so that you will not feel lonely or isolated. You will also obtain better support when living on campus. Students should apply for housing immediately after admission acceptance. Housing is often limited on campus so it is important to apply early.
Are financial aid or scholarships available for International Students in the USA?
Some universities in the US offer scholarship awards. For the most part, the competition is intense and the awards do not cover all the expenses.
It is generally easier to get financial aid at the graduate level, in the form of a teaching or research assistantship. For more information, please visit the website of the CRUS: https://www.swissuniversities.ch/en/ (also available in French and Italian)
How do I apply for financial aid/scholarships in the US?
Students must apply directly to a university financial aid department. This process is done in cooperation with the admission application. However, the deadlines may be different.
Where can I find a university that gives financial aid?
Not all colleges and universities have financial aid available for international students. The College Board’s International Student Handbook lists all US universities and whether or not they offer financial aid. But it is also wise to find out from the individual universities that you are specifically interested in whether or not they have financial aid available for their students.
My son needs to take the PSAT can he take it in Switzerland?
It is possible. Many international schools offer the PSAT to their students. Contact the international schools nearest your son and inquire from their college guidance counselor or educational advisor if they offer the PSAT and if your son could sit the test with their students.