10 Tips for Norwegians Wanting to Attend College in the United States

norwegian_student.jpgWith its over 4,500 colleges and universities, the United States of America still offers the greatest higher education system in the world.  Many of these colleges actively recruit international students to join their student body.  So, if you are a Norwegian student, you are already at an advantage for acceptance. Don’t miss out on this great life experience awaiting you across the Atlantic Ocean! Here are ten tips for Norwegians wishing to attend college in the USA. 

1)  Check Application Deadlines.

They vary greatly among the universities, but application deadlines for the fall semester can range from as early as November the previous year to late spring, mere months before the start of the school year.

2)  Start the Application Process Early.

Under most circumstances you will be required to take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to test your English proficiency skills.   Allow time to study for the exam and for the test results to reach the schools before the application deadline. Other submission requirements include an official transcript from your Norwegian high school, a bank statement showing you have sufficient money to finance your studies and, possibly, letters of recommendation from teachers.

3)  Use Study Guides.

Ordering a study guide before taking the TOEFL or the IELTS is a good investment. These tests are different than the ones given in Norwegian high schools, so come prepared test day.  Even an online prep guide can help.  There are also study guides for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT), although not all colleges require you to take either of these tests.

4)  Practice Your English Skills.

Read American newspapers, magazines (other than the gossip magazines), and books to get a feel for the American-English language. Listen to audio books by American authors. Next time you watch an American movie, try to ignore the subtitles.

5)  Participate in Extracurricular Activities
(Activities Other Than Academic Ones).

It is not just your grades that matter when you are being considered for admission to college in the United States. Sports, music, volunteer work, religious involvement, social clubs, public speaking, travel experiences, etc. all show your talents and your engagement outside of the classroom.  These kinds of activities will strengthen your application.

6)  Don’t Limit Your Choices to the Obvious Schools.

College in the United States is more than Ivy League and schools in California, Hawaii, Florida, and New York City. There are over 4,500 higher education institutions in the USA, and many schools offer high quality education. Do not limit your choices to only the schools you know from movies, media, and friends. The United States is a vast country with a wide range of choices of universities.

7)  Realize that Details Matter.

Failing to complete every section of your application will likely cause it be held up during the acceptance process. Even though it is a worst care scenario, small omissions and mistakes can keep you from being accepted to the school of your choice. Read every section of the application carefully and follow the instructions exactly.

8)  Look for Stipends and Student Loans.

“Laanekassen” (www.laanekassen.no), the Norwegian government’s student loan office, grants various amount of government loans and stipends if you attend any of their approved American colleges and universities. Besides Laanekassen, there could be scholarships available both from Norwegian sources and the colleges themselves.

9)  Don’t Forget About Your Student Visa.

Before studying in the United States, you will need a valid passport from the government of Norway and a visa from the government of the United States. The American Embassy in Norway will issue a student visa for you, but only after you have officially been accepted to a college or university. Follow the instructions from the American Embassy closely. It will increase your chances of getting the visa quickly.

10) Fasten Your Seat Belts!

Once you are accepted to a school, you will embark on a journey, which for many students is a life changing experience. You can look forward to the unique American experience of living on a college campus, meeting interesting people, joining college organizations, playing various sports, and enjoying different foods. It is hard to describe unless you have actually lived it yourself.

So What Are You Waiting For?

This article was written by Rune Hellerslia, President and CEO of Journey USA- A College Consulting Company
(www.journey-usa.com). 
Rune was born and raised in Norway, but now lives permanently in the United States. Through Journey USA he is guiding Norwegian and other international students through the college application process. He would love to see more Norwegian students attend college in the United States. He can be reached via email at rune.hellerslia@journey-usa.com.  Rune is still fluent in both oral and written Norwegian.

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