| May 7th, 2007

* tips for application: "guidelines for application to us colleges – customized for International candidates from bangladesh

This write-up covers some very basic steps to take if you are thinking of applying to the US for undergraduate studies. It is compiled entirely based on my personal experience of applying to college. Therefore it might be outdated, since I started college in the Fall of 1999. Please make sure you check with the college websites to make sure things haven’t changed significantly!


Steps to applying to US Colleges as an Undergraduate International Student:


This section is not meant to address graduate school admissions at all. Check Graduate School and Professional Training for graduate admissions.


Undergraduate Admissions:
In the US, undergraduate admissions refer to four years of post-high school education at a college or University. This results in a bachelor’s degree at completion.


As admissions requirement, you need to have completed 12 years of high school education. This is equivalent to the completion of SSC and HSC according to our National Board system, and is equivalent to the completion of O and A Level exams.
Note: none of these exams are an admissions requirement. All the colleges require is proof of completion of 12 years of high school  the terminal exams and their results are not an admissions requirement. These results however, can provide supplemental information to support the strength of your candidacy!
Admissions requirements vary from college to college and it would be a good idea to check with individual colleges to make sure you complete all the required standardized testing for that particular college.


International Student Status:
You are considered an international student for admissions purposes if you do not hold a Green Card, if you are not a Resident of the US or if you are not a US citizen. Its best to clarify your application status by visiting the websites of the colleges you are applying to.
If you’re applying for admission to a college in The United States for the fall semester of say, 2008, you’d want to follow the timeline set out here. If you’re applying for some other fall semester, just adjust the timeline accordingly!

It is very important to keep in mind the deadline set for each step in the admissions process, particularly if you are a financial aid applicant.


College application process summarized:
1. Selecting Colleges to apply to:
The first step would be to identify a list of places you want to request brochures and materials from. If you’re planning on starting college from fall 2008, sometime in April or May of 2007 would be a good time to begin thinking about the different colleges. By June or beginning of July of 2007, you should have your schools selected so that you can start requesting their application materials.
To select schools, you can talk to
– seniors who are already in college
– your teachers at school, or
– counselors at the USIS in Dhaka (United States Information Services, last I knew, they were located in Banani).
– you can surf the internet for names of colleges. (Valuable resources would be http://www.usnews.com 


You’d want to choose schools based on
(1) What type of school you want to go to, a National University or Liberal Arts College, a big school or a small school, urban or rural setting.
(2) Your choice of subject of study might influence what type of college you want to attend, and the quality of undergraduate education at the colleges.
(3) Where you want to spend the four years of your college life. Some people prefer the West, some like the East, some others prefer locations where they have friends or family.
Liberal Arts Schools are good for those who want to explore a range of subjects before finally concentrating on any particular branch as their major field of study.
Engineering schools, and professional schools might suit those who have a fixed goal in mind. Note: Engineering subjects are not always offered at all colleges, so it’s best to check whether the school you picked offers a major you are interested in.
If you are interested in any particular aspect of extracurricular activities, such as intramural sports, undergraduate research opportunities, study abroad programs, or cross registration programs with other colleges or universities, you might want to check for these facilities, since they vary widely from college to college.
Once you have selected a list of names of places that you think you might be interested in, the next step is to request them for brochures and detailed information so that you can make a choice.

2. After selecting colleges: getting info for applications: 

Once you’ve identified some 30/40 names,
– you can search their websites for more information
– you can send them e-mails or letters around mid to end May asking for brochures and informational material, as well as application materials. End May to mid July is probably the best time to request these materials.
Once you’ve gone over the brochures in details, you can select around 15-17 colleges that appeal to you. Make sure you have some competitive schools as well as a couple of “safe” schools to apply to, schools that you know you have a high chance of getting admitted into. A well-balanced selection list will ensure that you try for the competitive schools that you like without jeopardizing the chance of your timely college admissions.



4 Responses to “* tips for application: "guidelines for application to us colleges – customized for International candidates from bangladesh”

  1. sharmin says:

    I was asked by a one person which college (between two names she gave me) would be better for her niece. she emphasised on the fact that since it is about a girl they want to make sure that the campus/area is “safer”.
    Do you have any suggestion around that?

    Do you plan to write on any tips for getting any financial assitantship/scholarship in undergrad programs?

    Another useful topic would be, how it is for a Bangladeshi girl to adjust to the life as a student in a US school. What are the chances for someone to get “spoiled” and how.


  2. Toni says:


    What exactly does “spoiled” mean? Does it mean that she would get influenced by the “evil” western culture? Does it mean the loss of her virginity? Does it mean that the girl could ::gasp:: become a strong independent woman who is able to think for herself, take care of herself and not completely rely on a husband to take her through life?

    When I read this blog I begin to more and more understand why the bengali women in my city act like they do. I’m tired of Bangladeshi women acting like delicate flowers. It’s time for them to stand up for themselves, and talk about more issues than how many sharees they have in the closet, and what they’re cooking for dinner. And if that means allowing a Bangladeshi girl to experience life on her own on a college campus, so be it.

  3. Sharmin Islam says:

    First of all, I am tired of this assumption that Bangladeshi women are submissive “delicate” flowers, as Toni put it. I think the new generation of Bangladeshi women are extremely strong-willed, independent, intelligent and very much capable of taking care of themselves, whether they are married or not and whether they are living in Bangladesh or abroad. Just look at the number of Bangladeshi women in the workforce back home. Among the less affluent sector in Bangladesh, is it the men or the women who are the majority of the employees working in the garment industries to support their families? Also, there has been a significant rise in female Bangladeshi students applying to universities in the U.S. and other countries since the early 90’s, when I attended college. Bangladesh is changing, and so are the opportunities and freedom for women to explore, learn and grow. In my opinion, I think the Bangladeshi men are stuck in a time warp. It’s time that they acknowledge that we women are no “less” than them and are equal if not better.

  4. sharmin says:

    Think of that girl, who wants to come to a US college for her undergrad or grad school, her family is not quite sure how the life will be in here, all they heard some horror stories and are advised not to send their daughter to a foreign land all by herself.

    Now if you and I can give some realisting information to that girl and her family saying, how it really is, how safe it is for a student to use a bus and to do other daily activites, how busy one has to be with her own studies and may be on-campus work — it is like a rigorus training for a young individual to make her prepare for the professional life, then may be there is a better possibility for that family to be convinced and that young girl can fulfill her dreams.

    On the otherhand, if we get outragous, who is it going to help? Girls, lets think about that girl who represents the majority of Bangladeshi young women. Can we not be a big sister for her and help her out with our experiences?


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Adhunika blog is launched with a mission to share knowledge among women from every walk of life. Sometime it would be in the form of sharing experience to find a feasible solution of a problem; sometime it would be in the form of professional consultation, which Adhunika group will arrange for its bloggers. Nevertheless, the intent of this blog always remains the same - to help and empower women through a common web-based platform....read more



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