Frequently Asked Questions
1.Can I study at a high school in the U.S.A. after I complete my middle school education in Turkey? What kind of a preparation should I make?
A student who has a middle school degree in Turkey can study at U.S. high schools. In order to study at a U.S. high school, the student should have excellent command of the English language and should take the TOEFL Junior Test. In addition to this test, the student should also take the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) which is a multiple choice test.
2.Are there private high schools in the U.S.A. or are all high schools state schools?
There are both private and state high schools in the U.S.A. Private high schools accept international students. In state high schools, international students can only study through the “Exchange Programs”.
3.Can I transfer to a U.S. high school for one or more years while I am studying at a Turkish high school? What should I do for it?
A student who is obtaining his/her education at a Turkish high school can study for one or more years at a U.S. high school through the high school exchange programs. If a student completes the 12th grade level at a U.S. high school, she/he can earn a diploma from that high school. To get detailed information about the High School Exchange Programs you should contact our Commission’s Educational Advisers.
4.As a student of a Turkish high school, can I go to summer school in the U.S.A.? What is the format for summer schools in the U.S.A.?
Yes, you can go to a summer school in the U.S.A. Some summer schools are designed to improve English language proficiency whereas others focus on the preparations for the SAT, ACT, and TOEFL. Still others are designed to develop the skills and knowledge of students in certain fields. Apart from these, some high school students take selected courses at the community college or university level and have those credits applied to their freshman year at the university.
5.What is the cost of the English Language Programs in the U.S.A.?
The cost of English language programs in the U.S.A. changes from school to school. Some schools offer six to eight weeks of instruction while others have programs that last for one semester. The cost of an English language program varies between $1,500 to $1,700 depending on the school and the state the student will study.
6.What should I pay attention to as I am making a decision on a language program?
There are both private language schools and university English language programs in the U.S.A. According to your language level and learning objectives there are accelerated language programs, business English language programs, or long term English language programs from the beginner to advanced levels. When selecting a language school it is important to take your budget and the time you have into consideration. You should also think about the living conditions of the city you are planning to study in. After you decide on which language program to apply, fill out the online application on the web page of the language school and send the necessary documents by the application deadline. After you are accepted into the program, the language school will send you the I-20 Form which shows that you will be a student of that school. Once you get your I-20 Form, you can apply for an F-1 Visa with the additional necessary documents.
7.Why should I study at a U.S. university?
- One of the most important reasons to study in the U.S.A. is to have many options. There will definitely be a program for you in a country where there are more than 4.500 universities.
- If you are unsure about which field to specialize in, many schools will offer you flexible programs. In such programs, you can take general courses during your freshman and sophomore years and then decide on your field of specialization.
- You get to learn about different cultures in the U.S.A. and broaden your horizons.
- There are many sports and extracurricular activities at U.S. universities, and this will help your self-development.
- Once you graduate from a U.S. university you will have a stronger CV and will have more advantages than a person who graduated from a Turkish university.
- Your English language skills will be advanced because you will be using English in your daily life as you earn your degree.
8.What should I have to apply to U.S. universities?
Since there is no centralized student placement system in the U.S.A. each university determines its own admission requirements. There are schools which require higher high school GPA and exam results but there are also ones which have lower standards. Apart from your academic achievements, the extracurricular activities you would like to participate in are also important.
9.What is the difference between state and private universities?
There are small differences between private and state universities in terms of the quality of education and the recognition of earned diplomas. The important point about selecting an institution of learning is that the university be accredited. State universities often have lower tuition fees compared to private universities because they receive financial assistance from the state they are located. In addition, state universities tend to have more students and the class sizes are larger.
10. When should I start applying to U.S. universities?
Ideally you should start your preparations 12-18 months before the application deadline. The best time to start your application is in the summer when you complete the 11th grade but before starting the 12th grade.
11.How can I learn whether the university I am planning to apply to is accredited or not?
In the U.S.A. there is no governmental institution that follows the accreditation of universities. However, different accreditation systems evaluate whether the universities meet established standards or not. You can find information on the accreditation of universities in different states on . To learn whether the school you are planning to apply to in the U.S.A. is recognized in Turkey, you should contact within Turkey. We advise you to submit your queries to the Council of Higher Education in written format.
12.How many universities should I apply to?
You can apply to as many schools as you wish depending on your budget. Since U.S. universities generally charge between $40 to $50 per application, with some programs requiring $250 application fees, students may want to narrow their choices carefully. Some schools may not ask for an application fee from students if they cannot afford the fee. In such cases, students should contact the school directly. Universities do not refund application fees.
We advise students to apply to a minimum of five to six universities because it is not guaranteed that they will be admitted to the selected schools even if they meet their criteria. Group the universities you would like apply into three categories. The first category can be the ones in your dreams, the second category can be the schools that you may be admitted to and the third category can be schools that you will definitely be admitted to.
13.What are Community Colleges?
Community Colleges are two-year colleges that generally focus on vocational education and early college courses. There are more than 1.700 Community Colleges in the U.S.A. Students studying at Community Colleges receive an Associate Degree.
14.Can I find a scholarship for Associate Degree programs in the U.S.A.?
It is not very common to find scholarships for associate degree programs in the U.S.A. Some schools may have a scholarship amount of $1,000 to $1,500 per academic year. If you are studying at a vocational school at a Turkish university, you can apply for our Commission’s Community College Initiative Program.
15.Do I have to have SAT or ACT scores and TOEFL or IELTS scores when making applications to Community Colleges?
The admission requirements of Community Colleges are more flexible than universities and four year colleges. Community Colleges usually do not require SAT or ACT scores. However, if you have TOEFL or IELTS scores, you can send them to the college. If you do not have a language exam result that shows your level of English or if you have a low score from such an exam, the Community College may offer you an intensive English language program.
16.Can I apply to 4-year universities and colleges after studying at a Community College?
In the U.S.A. it is very common to transfer to a 4-year university or college from community colleges. Many American citizens get their Bachelor’s Degree this way. If you want to transfer to a 4-year university or college, you should inform your academic adviser at the Community College. Your adviser will explain the requirements for a 2+2 transfer. In order to transfer, your GPA should not fall below a certain level and you often have to complete a certain number of credits hours to transfer.
17.What should I pay attention to when determining which universities to apply to in the U.S.A.?
- It is very important that the universities that you apply to are accredited. You can find information on the accreditation of universities in different states at www.chea.org.
- If you want to learn whether the school you are admitted to in the U.S.A. is recognized in Turkey, you should contact The Council of Higher Education in Turkey. We advise you to submit your queries to the Council of Higher Education in written format.
- Do detailed research about the cities/towns where the universities are located. Learn about the climate, public transportation, living expenses, accommodation, and whether the city/town has an airport.
- The number of international students at the university is also important point. You can find this kind information from the universities’ web site. If there are 5% or more international students at a university, then it is more likely that you will be admitted to that university. You should also pay attention to whether a certain ethnic group is the majority in that university and the ratio of international students to American students.
18.What documents are required when applying to U.S. universities?
You need to complete the application forms on the web site of the selected universities. Other required documents are your high school diploma, transcript, reference letters, bank statement, CV, SAT or ACT and TOEFL or IELTS scores, portfolio (Art, Performing Arts and Architecture Schools may ask), and personal statement. In addition to these, the university may ask for additional documents.
19.What is “Common Application”?
In the U.S.A. there are more than 450 colleges and universities which accept applications through the Common Application system. Through this system you can make applications to many universities at the same time by paying only one application fee.
20.Is my high school GPA important when applying to U.S. universities?
You need to send your transcript to the U.S. universities at the time of application. Each university has different GPA requirements. Your high school GPA is not the only criterion used to be admitted to a university, but if you have a high GPA it may help you to qualify for more scholarships.
21.What does GPA mean? How is the grading system in the U.S.A.?
Universities in the U.S.A. usually use letter grades. Each letter grade has a number equivalence. Every student graduates with a cumulative grade point average. Grade Point Average (GPA) shows your overall grade point earned from the courses you took during your university program. Many universities calculate GPA from a 4.00 scale. To calculate a student’s GPA, the numerical grades taken from the letter grades earned in the courses are multiplied by the credit hours achieved. Then the sum is divided into total number of credits hours.
22.How are the academic calendars of U.S. universities?
Academic calendars vary from university to university, but generally an academic year starts at the end of August or at the beginning of September and finishes at the end of May. Generally the universities have two semesters which are approximately 18 weeks each. Some schools have “quarter” or “trimester” systems. The summer break usually lasts six to eight weeks. If you want to graduate early, you can take courses during the summer break. There are two major breaks during an academic year. One of these is a two to four week break at the end of December and one week in the spring entitled Spring break.
23.I missed the application deadlines of universities. What should I do?
Some U.S. universities have Rolling Admissions and they accept applications until the academic year begins. Research the universities which have Rolling Admissions and apply to these schools. You can contact our Educational Advisers to get a list of schools which have Rolling Admissions.
24.Is it true that I can start my program in the U.S.A. in the spring term? What are the application deadlines for the spring term?
Yes, it is true that you can start your program in the spring term, but not all universities or programs accept students in the spring. Check for this information on the web sites of the universities you are planning to apply. The application deadlines for the spring term are usually in September and October. It is important to note that the schools do not provide scholarships for students who start their program in the spring term.
25.What is the difference between college and university?
College and university mean the same in the U.S.A. Universities have both undergraduate and graduate programs, whereas colleges have only undergraduate programs since they are smaller in size. Both universities and colleges have programs in the Arts, Sciences, and Management.
26. Which standardized test or tests should I take to study at a university in the U.S.A.? What is the average score I should get?
a.Many universities in the U.S.A. ask for SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or ACT (The American College Testing Assessment) scores. Both of these tests are standardized multiple choice tests and are given in many countries all around the world. The SAT also has additional “Subject Tests”. These subject tests are given in many areas such as; Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Literature, Mathematics, World History, and Foreign languages. If the universities you are planning to apply ask for a SAT Subject Test score, they specify which subject tests you need to take on their web site. Both SAT and ACT have writing sections, but this section is optional for the ACT. When universities want the students to take the ACT with writing, they mention it on their web site. Each exam is scored differently, but the higher your score, the better the chance of winning a scholarship. Some universities may show the average test scores of recent cohorts of students that they admitted to their universities on their web sites. It may help students to check this information to have an idea about the score they should earn.
b.You also need to take either the TOEFL or IELTS which score your English language level. International students should take one of these exams. The higher scores you get from these exams, the higher chance of getting a scholarship you have.
27.What is conditional acceptance?
Conditional Acceptance can happen in two situations. The first one is, if a student has a lower high school GPA than what the U.S. university requires but meets the other criteria of the university, then that student has conditional acceptance and he/ she has to have a high GPA in the first term of his/her Freshman year. If the student cannot keep his/her GPA high, then he/she may be dismissed from the university. The second situation is, if a student’sTOEFL or IELTS score is lower than what the U.S. university requires but meets the other criteria of the university, then that student has conditional acceptance and the student has to take English courses and then take the tests again.
28.Do I have to take the university entrance exam in Turkey in order to study at a U.S. university?
You need to take the university entrance exams in Turkey and should get the minimum scores to pass those exams. It is especially recommended that the male students take these exams in order not to face any future problems when they apply for military service.
29.Can I send the photocopies of the test scores to the universities that I am applying to?
In the university application form there is a section where you write your test scores, but the universities still requests official score reports. Your official test scores should be sent by the test centers to the U.S. universities for both undergraduate and graduate applications. If you determine the universities in which you are going to apply to before the test date, the codes of those universities can be placed on the test form and the test center will send your scores to four to five universities without charging you an extra fee. If you want to send more official scores to additional universities, you will need to pay an extra fee to have them sent.
30.Who should write my reference letters?
Your reference letters should be written by your teachers who have a specialization in a field similar to the field you want to major in. For example, if you want to study Engineering, it is recommended that your reference letters be written by your Physics, Chemistry and/or Mathematics teachers. If you are making applications in Social Sciences, it is recommended that you ask for reference letters from your History, Psychology and/or English teachers. We recommend that in all fields, one reference letter should be from the students’ English Language teacher.
31.Is there an interview during the application process to U.S. universities? What is the format of the interview and what should I pay attention to?
Some U.S. universities may want to conduct a personal interview with both undergraduate and graduate level applicants. These interviews can either be performed by an alumnus of the university living in Turkey or via phone or the Internet. You should look professional during the interview and answer all questions without appearing nervous.
32.When do I start hearing from the universities?
Each university has a different calendar to announce their admissions, but generally the applicants should start hearing from the universities in two to three months after the deadline for application.
33.What should I do to study Medicine in the U.S.A.?
You cannot start studying Medicine in the U.S.A. After you complete your high school education in Turkey, there are two options to study Medicine in the U.S.A. The first option is to study Medicine or a Medicine related field like Biology, Genetics, etc. as an undergraduate degree in Turkey and then to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). The MCAT is given only in the U.S.A. and you will need to study hard for these exams and have a goal of taking it only once. The second option is to study Medicine or a Medicine related field like Biology, Genetics, etc. for an undergraduate degree in the U.S.A. and then plan to take the MCAT.
34.What should I do to study Law in the U.S.A.?
You cannot start studying Law in the U.S.A. After you have completed your high school education in Turkey, there are two options to study Law in the U.S.A. The first option is to study Law or a Law related field like Political Science, Sociology, etc. as an undergraduate degree in Turkey and then take the LSAT (Law School Admission Test). The second option is to study Law or a Law related field like Political Science, Sociology, etc. as an undergraduate degree in the U.S.A. and then to take the LSAT.
35.What is the difference between “Liberal Arts Colleges” and universities?
Liberal Arts Colleges are unique to American higher education system. These colleges provide academic programs for students to develop their verbal, written, and critical thinking skills. In the first two years of a Liberal Arts Colleges, students take courses from Social Sciences, Sciences, and Languages and then decide on the field in which they want to specialize in. In the last two years of their education, the students take courses in the field that they have chosen. Liberal Arts Colleges help those students who do not have an idea of what to study for their undergraduate degree by offering them a flexible program. The class sizes at Liberal Arts Colleges are small thus students can interact more with their professors.
36.As an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program graduate, what kind of advantages do I have at U.S. universities?
The IB Diplomas are recognized in the U.S.A. and IB Diploma Program graduates have advantages at many universities. IB Diploma Program graduates can be exempt from some freshman courses if they took the similar courses at the “High Level” as part of their IB program. In addition to this, if these graduates have a high IB diploma point, they can often find scholarships at U.S. universities. For more information on scholarship opportunities, you can visit www.ibo.org.
37.What does “freshman”, “sophomore”, “junior” and “senior” mean?
Freshman, is a term used to describe students who are studying in their first year at the university; sophomore, is used to describe students who are studying in their second year at the university; Junior, is used to describe students who are studying for their third year at the university; and Senior, is used to describe students who are studying in their fourth year at the university.
38.What does “Semester”, “Trimester” and “Quarter” mean?
Semester is a period of study from approximately 16-18 weeks. Colleges on a semester system have two semesters for instruction per academic year. Trimester is an academic calendar period of about 15 weeks in general. Three trimesters make up one academic year. Students may attend two of the three trimesters if desired. Quarter is an academic calendar period of about 12 weeks in general. Four quarters make up one academic year. Students may attend three quarters in one academic year.
39.What are the undergraduate scholarship options at U.S. universities?
The U.S. universities may offer several different kinds of scholarships to undergraduates, but it is not easy to find scholarships at this level. In order to get a scholarship, students should be academically successful and have extracurricular activities in sports, music, fine arts, voluntary work, etc. In addition to these, a student should have an excellent command of the English language and have high scores on the SAT or ACT. Although students may meet all of the above criteria, the universities may only give them a partial scholarship, which usually covers only the tuition fee. Students would then have to pay for your living expenses.
Below is a list of different types of scholarships that are available:
- Merit-Based Scholarship: For students who are academically successful. Find the requirements to apply for this type of scholarship on the web sites of the universities.
- Need-Based Scholarship: If family funds are not enough to pay for your college education in the U.S.A. you can apply for this type of scholarship. In order to get this scholarship, you may need to send financial forms to the universities early.
- Sports / Athletic Scholarship: If you have outstanding achievements in a particular sport, especially at the national team level, you can apply for this scholarship. Once a student is awarded an athletic scholarship, he/she continues regular classes and is required to attend sports practice and games. His/her GPA will need to always be high. If the student’s GPA decreases, the student may become ineligible for this scholarship.
40.If I am a dual citizen of both Turkey and the U.S.A., how can I apply for financial aid or scholarship at a U.S. universities?
Dual citizens may apply for the federal financial aid or student loans in the U.S.A. For more information you can visit www.FAFSA.ed.gov or contact with the Financial Aid Offices of the universities you are applying.
41.How can I get the Sports / Athletic Scholarship?
First of all, we would like to state that the Sports / Athletic Scholarships are given only at the undergraduate level. In order to get this scholarship, you must be a highly successful sportsperson and should have outstanding achievements in your sports branch, especially at national team level. Before applying for this scholarship, you need to prepare a DVD of your videos recorded during trainings or matches/competitions. According to your sports branch, you need to research the universities that provide scholarships for Division I sports mentioned on National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) web site. Then, you should contact the coaches of the universities you are planning to apply and send them your DVD. The coaches decide whether a student should get the Sports / Athletic Scholarship or not. Once a student gets the athletic scholarship, he/she continues regular classes and is required to attend practices and games while keeping your GPA high. We recommend you to read the document about Sports / Athletic Scholarships prepared by EducationUSA.
42.Can I get a student loan from a U.S. bank?
Banks in the U.S.A. can give student loans to international students only if they have a co-signer who is an American citizen. Instead of getting a student loan from a U.S. bank, you can apply to a Turkish bank or apply to a university that can give you scholarship.
43.Can I work off-campus while studying in the U.S.A.?
International students cannot work during their first term in the U.S.A. The reason for this is to let the students adapt to their new environment. After the first term, an international student can talk to his/her International Student Adviser regarding work in the campus library, computer lab, etc. An international student can work up to 20 hours per week on campus. After completing the first year at the university, the international students can then apply to “Immigration and Naturalization Service”, and get permission to work off-campus. An international student can work up to 20 hours per week off campus. However, international students should not depend on the money they will earn working either on or off campus, as it will only help students pay for daily expenses.
44.What is “OPT”? What kind of advantages does it have?
OPT stands for Optional Practical Training. It gives undergraduate and graduate students the right to work in the U.S.A. for 12 months. Students who study in the fields like Sciences, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics can extend their OPT to 29 months. OPT enables students to work at American companies and gain work experience.
45.What should I do after I am admitted to a U.S. university?
The university you are admitted to will send you the I-20 Form for an F-1 Visa or DS-2019 Form for a J-1 Visa after you confirm that you will be attending their school. I-20 Form is sent when you if your family members are paying for your education and DS-2019 Form is sent if you get a scholarship from a U.S. University, the U.S. Government, or an institution in Turkey. You need to take the Form you receive with you to the Visa interview.
46.Can I transfer to a U.S. university while I continue my education at a Turkish university or at a university abroad?
It is possible to transfer to a U.S. university from a Turkish university. The transfer requirements are almost the same as the admission requirements of U.S. universities. However, in addition to the high school transcript, the student should also take the transcript showing his/her grades in their current undergraduate program. Your GPA from your current program is also important. For example, some universities may ask for a GPA of 3.00 out of 4.00 or some may ask for a GPA of 2.5 to 2.8 out of 4.00. It is very hard to make a transfer if a student’s GPA is 2.00 out of 4.00. We recommend that you make a transfer application in the same field. If you change your field, you may have to take extra courses and this could make your undergraduate studies longer. In addition to all this, we recommend that you transfer in your second or the third year, because U.S. universities want students to study on their campuses for a certain amount of time in order to be able to award them a diploma.
47.Can I apply for exchange programs at universities?
Many Turkish universities have exchange program partnerships with U.S. universities. You can visit the International Relations Office at your university to learn about these partnerships.
48.How can I arrange accommodation after I am registered at a U.S. university?
You can stay in dorms on campus. If you are planning to stay in the dorms, you need to follow the application deadlines for dorms applications. If there is no available space in a dorm or if the university does not have dorms, you can do research about other accommodation options like apartments for students, studios, hostels, or co-ops. We advise you to contact the International Student Office to learn about different housing options and to make arrangements. If you are not going to stay in a dorm, we recommend you make reservations at a hostel or hotel before you arrive in the U.S.A. In such cases, you should arrive 15 to 20 days early to arrange your housing. On the bulletin boards of the International Student Office you can find roommate/flat mate ads.
49. I have my Bachelor’s degree and am 30 years old. Is there an age limit for applying for scholarships?
Generally there is no age restriction for scholarships provided by universities. However, if you are going to apply for a scholarship at an institution, they may have an age limit.
50.Before applying to graduate programs in the U.S.A., can I contact the professors of those programs?
Yes, you can contact the professors who have specialization in the field you want to study. You can send a detailed e-mail to those professors introducing yourself and stating the field you want to study. You can also attach your CV. The professors may not respond immediately if at all. Be patient and you should not take it personally if they do not respond back.
51. Which standardized test or tests should I take to study in a graduate program of a U.S. university? What is the average score I should get?
- Many graduate programs in the U.S.A. accept the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores. Some MBA schools also accept the GRE Revised General Test, but some of them accept GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) scores. Both of these tests are standardized, multiple choice tests and are given in many countries around the world. GRE also has “Subject Tests”. If the graduate programs you are applying require a GRE Subject Test exam, the web site will list the subjects you need to take. Both GRE and GMAT have writing sections. With the recent changes made to the GMAT, the number of compositions has decreased to one. Instead of the second composition, a new part called “Integrated Reasoning” has been added to the test. Each exam is scored differently, but the higher your scores the higher the chance of receiving a scholarship.
- You will need to take either the TOEFL or IELTS to score your English language level. All international students should take one of these exams. It is expected that students making applications for Law, Journalism, and Education programs receive a minimum of 100 from the TOEFL iBT. For Engineering or Economics programs a minimum of 85 from the TOEFL iBT is considered acceptable. The higher the scores you receive from these exams, the higher your chance of receiving a scholarship.
52.What do Teaching Assistant, Graduate Assistant, and Research Assistants mean? How can I get these assistantships?
Teaching Assistant (TA): These assistants usually teach “freshman” or beginning courses using a professors’ curriculum. The level of English language speaking skills of these assistants should be at an advanced level. Prior teaching experience can also be an advantage. Teaching Assistants pay often covers the tuition fee and some assistants receive a monthly stipend.
Graduate Assistant (GA): These assistants usually work in the administrative units of the university. Graduate Assistants positions pay does not cover the tuition fee but the assistants receive a monthly stipend.
Research Assistants (RA): These assistants are usually doctorate level students doing research on their dissertation or projects with professors who do research in the same area. To get this type assistantship, the students find a professor in their field who is willing to work with them. When the research is completed, the student is no longer a Research Assistant. Research Assistantship often covers the tuition fee and the assistants receive a monthly stipend.
53.What are Pre-MBA programs? What kind of advantages do they have?
Pre-MBA programs are for those who do not have enough work experience or who do not have enough academic background to start an MBA program. Students who are registered in pre-MBA programs can also study for the GMAT.
54. Do I have to have work experience for MBA programs?
Some MBA programs in the U.S.A. require two to three years of work experience at the time of application to their programs. Summer internships or part-time jobs do not count for work experience. In order to apply for our Commission’s grants in MBA and its subfields, you have to have a minimum of one full year work experience at the time of application.
55.How long are the MBA programs in the U.S.A.? Can I work at the same time?
MBA programs are generally two years long, but there are also programs for one year. International students can work up to 20 hours per week on campus. After completing the first year at the university, international students can apply to “Immigration and Naturalization Service” to get permission to work off-campus. Many MBA students can find full time internships or summer jobs during their programs.
56.What is LL.M.? What kind of advantages does it have?
LL.M. is the Master’s program in Law. The LL.M. program allows students who have graduated from Faculties of Law in Turkey to learn about the U.S. legal system. LL.M. programs are usually one year long and the applicants do not have to have GRE scores, but they have to have high TOEFL or IELTS scores.
57.I want to do my internship in the U.S.A. What should I do?
You have to start planning early to do your internship in the U.S.A. Consider your aims for participating in an internship, your financial status, and your calendar before making official application. In addition to these considerations, update your CV, and compose a cover letter. In your cover letter state why you are applying to that institution and why they should select you in a concise and clear way. In order to receive an internship, you should not forget that you are competing with many other candidates and a great deal of effort needs to be exhibited into this process.