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Funmi Oyatogun @funmioyatogun
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Who wants to study in America? This is how to find the right school for you, apply successfully, get a student visa, abide by the rules and enjoy your experience while studying in the USA. So many people make mistakes from the beginning. Here's how to do it right.

A Thread.
1. Before you go to school in the US, make sure that you do so intentionally and for good reason. Don't go simply because you want to go abroad. The US has some of the best universities in the world and one of the most colorful diversities anywhere!
2. This is how to choose a school and major. Which schools are accredited and ranked well? You don't want to finish school and realise that the degree doesn't pull its weight. Find universal US school rankings here -

But there's more...
3. It is more important to check for schools based on their rankings for your major / course of study. Some schools are renowned overall and that's great. However, even if your school isn't Harvard or Yale, it may be the best for Engineering or Geography or Art History or Bio.
4. It is better to select a school that is top in your specific program because chances are that when you get to the job market, recruiters are scouting from the best schools in their fields of work. Here's a good place to search for schools by major -…
5. Also, consider other factors. Do I want an area with seasons or a warm area? Do I care if it is a predominantly white or black area? Do I want a mixed area? Do I want a big city or a small college town? Do I want an area with a beach, mountains, etc. Do your research.
6. How can you get to a school and say "I didn't know this was a very small school where everyone knows everyone." That's the kind of info you can find on the first paragraph of Wikipedia. When choosing a school, choose intentionally. Especially if you have many options.
7. One last thing...if you want to be close to family and friends, find out the proximity to them. The US is a huge country. You can't go to school in Alabama and live in Wyoming and commute. Even in the same state and city, sometimes, this isn't practical.
8. Now that you've chosen a few schools, you can begin the application process. Yay! Some schools charge an application fee, some don't, some allow you apply for a waiver. Find out the one that applies to your school(s) and act accordingly.
9. These applications are detailed. You are competing with applicants from around the world. Make sure you present yourself to stand out. Americans appreciate all-round education. Flaunt your As and awards but also highlight your volunteer work, extracurricular activities, etc.
10. Learn how to tell a good TRUE 🙄 story. Admissions are lost and won over essays. Most applicants have good grades, especially those applying to ivy league and top schools. Essays are what differentiate applicants. And in school, you'll write a lot so don't run away from it.
11. Once your admissions roll in, choose one to accept. You should only accept one school because most acceptance fees (a portion of your tuition) are non refundable. Your chosen school will send you an admission packet with fun brochures and a I-20.

What's an I-20?
12. This is the legal document that describes your status as a student. It is just as important as your visa (or maybe slightly more). Without an I20, you have no status as a student. Guard it as diligently as your passport.

Now, it is time to apply for a student visa (F1).
13. Please look through this thread to help you through your US visa application. There's no need for me to duplicate posts. The summary must show that you are truly going to study and you have the funds to support your education.

14. Do not, I repeat, do not forge documents. Many admissions will require you to take TOEFL / SATs for undergrad and TOEFL / GMAT or GRE for grad school. Do not forge any result. Do not forge bank statements. Just don't do it.
15. Pro tip: if your resumption date is close and you can't get an early US interview appointment, you are eligible to request an expedited date. The US embassy considers student visas as emergency. Cool huh? So you can get to school in time.

It is best to start early sha.
16. After you get your visa, remember these important rules:

- Students can only work for 20 hrs per week during school time. During holidays, you can work full-time hours. You can ONLY work on campus on a student visa, during school and on holidays.

There's an exception.
17. You can apply for a permit that allows you work off campus in a company that will enhance your study. There are special conditions for this. Don't bank on it. Your school's international office will give you the eligibility requirements after you've studied for some time.
18. These rules are important because you need to know that you can't pay your way through school as an international student, legally. Some people are working illegally to pay their fees. Toh. Don't do it. I know this will fall on many deaf ears but I sha said my part.
19. The US invites you to their country to study. They want you to be a student first. That's why they put these work restrictions. Take a legal job or two, it will be helpful to pay bills and gain work experience. But don't get caught up in the rat race and do something illegal
20. Enjoy your stay in America. It truly is the only country of its kind in the world. You'll grow to love the diversity, the beauty and the sheer spirit of America. Take road trips, visit new places, try new foods. No two states are the same so you have enough to explore!
21. Get active on campus and in the community. You'll never have the opportunity to be involved in so many cool things again. Student government, sports, rallies, volunteer work, talks, clubs, internships, name it. Get yourself an all round experience. Don't waste this!
22. And when you walk that stage with your family blowing vuvuzelas at you, while Pomp & Circumstance plays in the background, you'll be glad you did this and finished well!

Any questions?

The End.
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