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College Students

How to start your US journey

We understand that starting your US College journey can be very overwhelming, considering all the steps you need to take.

Due to this, we have created a small checklist that could maybe help guide you in the right direction!

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

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1st Step: Safety, Target and Reach Schools

One of the first vital steps is to create a list of schools you want to apply to. 

In this list of schools you have to consider:

  • Your Career Path

  • The requirements for certain schools(Tests, GPA..)                                                                                  

 And then of course, personal preferences:  

  • Larger campus or smaller campus

  • Public or Private

  • Location

  • Extra curricular activities

Once you know what you are looking for, you can start dividing your schools into Safety, Target and Reach schools:

  • Safety – These schools are your safety net. When choosing safety schools, you choose colleges that are a safe bet. These are not always schools you want to go to, but you are always able to transfer in the following years.                                                                                                                   

  • Target –  These schools match your criteria. They should match your level, your career path, personal preferences… Target schools should be a good match for you.                                             

  • Reach – These schools are dream schools, that are more than likely a stretch to get into, but you still try and apply. For example, these may be Ivy League Schools

How many schools?

      When it comes to how many colleges or universities to apply to, experts usually say around 5-12,         with 20% being safety schools, 50% target schools and 30% reach schools

2nd Step: College advisors, contacting...

After considering which schools you want to apply to, you should start going through them with college advisors and debate which one suits you more and which one less.


You will also need to discuss:

  • Who will write your recommendation letters

  • Evaluating your transcript

If you want to find out more about your colleges, we recommend you to look online where you can find lots of online video conferences, done by your desired schools, which you can sign up for and ask questions.

Once they have your email, school admission boards will then send you more emails in the future informing you about more video calls!

Another important point if you are interested in learning more about a certain college, don’t hesitate to contact them yourself. Introduce yourself, your situation and ask questions to show initiative. You want to make yourself known to the school.

3rd step: Essays and Applying

The college application process can seem intimidating, especially if students don't have parents or siblings who have already been through it and can offer advice, so here is a short summary on steps to take:

One of the first steps you can take (even before the whole application process!) is create a Common App account

What is Common App?

  • Common App helps manage your college application. Through the platform, first-time and       transfer applicants can apply to multiple colleges at once. So students only have to fill out   details that most schools require – such as name, address and extracurricular activities – only one time.

Then when it’s time to apply, you can just send your CA application.

When to apply?

  • When to apply varies, you can either apply early action (EA) or regular. Each schools application dates are different, so make sure to check beforehand and become familiar with your deadlines. EA is usually a few months before regular applications


  • When it comes to essays, essays and personal statements are key in a successful application. Yes, colleges look at your grades and extra curriculars, but they also make sure you have a well written essay. To read more how to write a good personal statement check out the Tips in Talisa’s blog: 

Final Note:

We hope this article helped guide you a little in the right direction!

Disclaimer: This short article was created to give you a basic idea and steps you should take when thinking about college applications. As you hopefully know where to start looking, we advise you to do more research.

The application process varies for each student. For this reason, we excluded some steps, such as financial aid, and legal documents, as this will differ for each person.

Good luck on your College Journey!

- young4STEM



For further questions, please don't hesitate to contact:

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