Strategically Applying To US Universities

by neville

Hedge your bets and stretch your Venture Capital

In this section, we examine the two pronged approach of strategic applying and hedging your bets. The purpose is to allow you to insure that you are accepted into the institution that will best serve your needs and circumstances, and that you will not over extend your finances in the process of gaining admission. In effect, you will spend your resources wisely and judiciously as you seek entry into the perfect location.

The process of strategic applying has two dimensions. The first was largely covered in our section on school selection, and the second is procedural application following an intelligent selection. Assuming you have followed our advice and selected a school consistent with your needs and goals, you are now ready to apply to that school.

Deadlines Matter

The first rule is to observe the application deadline and all other applicable deadlines such as scholarships, financial statement submission, and transcripts and documents.

Do not wait until you have everything in hand before applying. Send in the application with copies of your certificates first, and do so at least three months ahead of the deadline. Do this for every school on your wish list.

If the application is online, and it will allow you to submit without a fee, then do so. If it requires an online fee prior to submission, then print it and send it by post. Important to note: at this stage, send no fees. We will explain why later!

Follow Up

Wait for two weeks after you have posted the application and follow up with an email to confirm that it was received. Make that email very short and to the point and ask them to confirm and let you know the next step. In all likelihood, you will receive a checklist from the institution asking you to have the transcripts sent directly from the schools, and indicating that your test scores and fees are missing. But wait! We said no fees!

Hedging Your Bets – No Fees

This falls under the strategic choice of hedging your bets. If for example you are interested in six universities, you have made a reasonable inquiry into the process by applying, albeit incorrectly. You are now a real entity because a file has been created based on your application. And someone will reply to you because you can now be accessed in the system.

That is why it is better to be an incomplete applicant rather than an inquirer. What is good about this approach? Well you have placed your credentials in front of a decision maker. If they are impressive, chances are good you will be asked to submit them properly and you will likely be offered a fee waiver or even a chance at a scholarship. And you got all of this without paying a fee to get in the game.

This hedging of your bet allows you to decide which schools you want to apply to in earnest based on some additional insight into how they view you as a prospective student. Chances are they will do nothing or give you no clue without getting a fee. But if you submit ten applications in that manner, you will likely be able to strike a bond with an admissions counselor and get access to a lot more insight and information as a serious applicant. For a strong student, no school will make an application fee a barrier…especially if you can explain that it is costly to apply to several schools.


This strategy, like many we offer, is premised on the assumption that you are financially challenged and looking for an opportunity that factors your financial limitation. However, if funds are readily available, it is best to just submit the applications the standard way with application, transcripts from previous schools directly, test scores directly from testing services, and fees at the time of application.

Avoid asking for hypothetical assessments of your credentials because you will likely just be instructed to apply.

And finally, using the strategic approach offered, you can even take a shot at schools that you think may be beyond your reach and see how it plays out. After all, it is just a strategic shot, that might lead to a free application and assessment of what might be available to you.

The final major hurdle.

If all goes as planned and you are admitted my a US University, then you will have to get a Student Visa before you can travel to the United States to begin your studies. To give yourself the best chace of obtaining the US Student Visa, carefully follow the advice outlined in the Visa Section beginning with “How to Get a US Student Visa?”.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

John Olanipekun February 4, 2012 at 10:02 am

please, how can i be an international student with a scholarship or financial aid.


Leslie February 6, 2011 at 10:18 am

Could you please furnish me with a list medium-sized schools and low tuition fee universities offering Ms Civil Engineering? My GRE score is 1230.


ashwin December 5, 2010 at 1:19 pm

can you give us tips, on what basis we should sort colleges………eagerly waiting for your reply……….


nana September 12, 2010 at 2:45 am

can i apply for an undergraduate course being a second year student in the university without any of the test scores(SAT,TOEFL,etc)


jayamangalika August 30, 2010 at 7:50 am

Couid you please send me details of ,how to apply for science degree with scholaships.

Mangalika (Srilanka)


Olaoluwa Shakiru Olatunji March 31, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Pls how can i be an international student with a scholarship


Leave a Comment