Community Colleges are two-year colleges that generally focus on vocational education and beginning college prerequisites. These colleges are the equivalent of the Turkish universities’ vocational schools. Students attend a community college after high school and receive an Associate Degree at the end of two years if all course credit hours have been successfully completed. The students at community colleges are usually required to complete coursework of 60 credit hours to receive a degree. There are usually two different Associate degrees awarded: Associate of Arts (A.A) and Associate of Science (A.S). The application to community colleges is easier than four year universities in that they do not require SAT / ACT scores. The class sizes are usually smaller and credits can be transferred to a four-year university if certain requirements are met.
Universities and Colleges
A Bachelor’s degree is received after completing approximate coursework of 120 credit hours depending upon the major. However, universities may have different prerequisites for the number of credits to qualify for graduation. There are usually two Bachelor’s degrees, Bachelor of Arts (B.A) and Bachelor of Science (B.S). The courses taken during the four years at the university can usually be grouped as major or minor courses.
The application deadlines, application forms, departments, and campus formats of U.S. universities are different from each other. Students need to conduct thorough research on the universities they would like to attend. When doing this research, pay attention to certain factors such as the accreditation status, international student ratio, the location, the local climate, living expenses, and accommodation options of the university.
If you want to study Medicine, Law, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Veterinary Sciences, or Nursing, know that students will have to earn a Bachelor’s degree first, then take additional college hours as well as having to pass certain exams to pursue these professional degrees. To study Law you need to pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), for Medicine the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), for Dentistry Dental Admission Test (DAT), for Pharmacy the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT), and for Veterinary the Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT). To earn these degrees in the U.S.A. requires an additional six to eight years. However, if students would like to pursue these professional degrees in Turkey, they can apply for graduate programs in these fields. For example, for Medicine, students can take the USMLE and then apply for medical residency in the U.S.A.
Application Process to Universities
It is best to start the applications process to U.S. universities approximately one academic year before the academic year you are planning to start your education. Ideally, it is advised to start these preparations eighteen months before the academic year in which you plan to attend. Students should carefully read the information on the universities’ web sites and understand the documents that need to be sent to the schools. Generally, the following documents are required when making applications to U.S. universities. Additional documents may be requested, so check the university’s requirement on their web sites.
These documents usually are required:
- High School Diploma
- High School Transcript
- SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or ACT (American College Test) scores
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores
- Reference Letters
- Personal Statement / Statement of Purpose
- Portfolio (Fine Arts and Architecture applicants)
- Interview (some schools may require an interview)
- Application Fee
- Bank Statements
The majority of U.S. universities accept applications through an online system, but there are still some universities which have paper application forms. Students need to research the type of application process in the universities they are applying and complete either online or paper application forms. After completing the forms, students will need to understand and pay the application fee. The application fee is different for each university. Application fees can be paid by credit card and the required documents must be sent to the universities by the application deadline. Some U.S. universities have “Rolling Admissions” which means that these universities accept applications throughout an academic year.
If a student’s TOEFL or IELTS score is lower than the U.S. university requirement, but the student meets the other criteria for admission then the student may receive conditional acceptance. The student then has to take English language courses to improve their skills and take the tests again in hopes of earning a higher score. Student can learn more regarding this type of admission on the university web site.
If a student is planning on applying to more than one university, they can use the Common Application system. In the U.S.A. there are more than 450 colleges and universities which accept applications through the Common Application system. Through this system students can make applications to many universities at the same time by paying only one application fee. A list of universities that are members of the Common Application system can be found at www.commonapp.org. Some universities may ask for additional documents from students even if they are a member of this system. To learn about the extra documents visit the web sites of the universities you are interested in.
Planning Your Application to U.S. universities
- 12-18 months before application: Conduct research on the individual universities and departments of interest, scholarship opportunities, application documents and deadlines, and standardized tests requirements. Begin studying for the required tests and then register for the tests you need to take.
- 1-6 months before application: Request your transcript and reference letters. Take the standardized tests, fill in the application forms, prepare the other documents, and send all of these to the universities before the deadlines.
- 3 months before your arrival to the campus: The university you are accepted to will send you the I-20 Form. After you receive this form, you can apply for a student visa.