Experiences in college

Amel Atie

A Dominican-Lebanese graduated majored in Business Administration from Lynn University, specialized in International Business, International Relations and Global Citizenship. Recognized as one of the Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges, Amel has a vast experience on college life, resident life and the admissions process for international and local students. Currently living in the Dominican Republic, Amel would be starting her Masters in Management with the I.E. Business School in Madrid on January 2015.

While many of your peer Americans students are focused on choosing the right state, college or country to study abroad, we the foreigners are busy going through an overload of information to make a very narrow decision. If you are lucky enough to have already narrowed your search to the United States, it is time to choose the right college for you.

As everything in this great nation, the options are limitless when it comes to what environments, academic programs, student life, and international presence each university may offer you. The key to choosing the right one would depend highly on how much you know yourself and what your looking to obtain from your higher education. The odds are you would drop out within the first year if you pick a university that does not necessarily match your goals or personality.

I advise you to begin by compiling a list of the top 10 characteristics you must have to feel comfortable for the next four years. With this done, you may now research directly in the web and with your advisors for schools that fulfill those characteristics. Request as much information on each one as possible to help you make a more informed decision. Familiarize yourself with their websites and social media sites; many have current students and staff eager to answer any doubts you may have.

For those international students looking for financial aid and scholarship, this should be a top priority. As you would soon find out, not all universities have financial aid or scholarship for international students. Other universities are known for awarding higher than average financial aid to international students. To get a direct answer on the subject, I recommend contacting an Admission Counselor at each school to discuss the subject. The answer to this inquiry may have a direct effect on whether you attend college A or B. Keep in mind, there are always outside scholarships available for undergraduate and postgraduate programs that may reduce your financial burden; this includes government scholarships, loans, and NGO’s scholarships. You can also improve your odds by sharing how much more College A is offering you than College B. If they are interested in having you come to their university, they may match or improve the competitor’s package. As everything in life, it’s all open to negotiations.

Not every student has it’s major decided by the time they start their college search, that’s no problem as you may sign up as an undecided students and choose within the first years. For those of you with a declared major or area of interest, then you should research those departments within each institution to compare academic courses, rankings of professors and the program in general. You would like to choose a university that invests in your area of interest, with recognized professors that challenge you throughout your education.

The key is finding a balance between a university that would offer a well-rounded education program and the student life experience you are looking for. Both play a key role in helping you adapt faster to the changing environment. If you have the time and economic possibility of visiting your top choices before making a decision, I highly recommend it. All the information available would be no match to experiencing the every day life, classes and people you may end up sharing the next four years of your life with.

Personally, I was looking for a personalized education, where professors were easily available. A community that welcomes international students, and more specifically has a significant international students body to expand my connections. All these combined with a financial aid package for international students. I was fortunate enough to find all these and much more at Lynn University.

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