Written by McGovern Education Group, Contributions by Mina Morgan, TLC VP

Lie #1. I should only apply to Top 50 ranked US universities.

There are more than 4,000 universities in the United States and no one, including a magazine ranking system, can accurately determine which is the best school for you. Unless your academic profile is in the 95th percentile, your Top 50 university application will likely be denied. We recommend you find a international student placement agency in the United States that can help you discover great-fit American universities for your academic profile.

Lie #2. I should only apply to the universities with low tuition fees.

Many “affordable” universities with low acceptance requirements are not regionally accredited, which means your investment may result in a disappointing educational experience. Examine the curriculum guide on each university’s website to see if the degree program offered is a good match for you. Create a list of questions and schedule a video conference call with the international admissions department. Again, a knowledgeable international student placement agency can save you time, money, and a lot of frustration.

Lie #3. I need to apply to at least ten universities.

In the end, you can only attend one university. If you are unable to determine the unique differences between 10 universities then look for the aid of an academic advisor or placement agency such as McGovern Education Group. There are many free online resources that can help you get started. However, studying abroad is a big investment, so we recommend finalizing your plans with help of an educational professional. Let McGovern help you to plan your complete study abroad experience from arranging any necessary ESL courses with our exclusive ESL partner, The Language Company, to finding the right university that fits your credentials, program preference, and budget. Finally, keep in mind that the application processes for universities can be time consuming and expensive. Therefore, narrow your list of prospective schools before applying and going for your visa appointment because moving schools and states can be quite costly too!

Lie #4. I should make my decision based solely off of the advice of an online review/agent/relative/friend.

While reputation and recommendation should be highly considered in making a decision about your study abroad destination, please remember that you should do your own research to make sure your personal preferences and needs will be met by a particular school or city. Registered agents (TLC and McGovern have many that we can recommend worldwide), social media, family and friend referral, government/embassy education websites, and google can assist in providing some guidance on a given institution, general locale information, and immigration procedures.  However, we highly recommend that you also consider turning to an experienced, American placement counselor before making your final decision because they will know more about each university he or she represents (and the surrounding city). You can also rely on these professionals should something go wrong, to help answer questions before, after, and during study, and for sound study abroad advice. Unfortunately, Wikipedia will not be there to help you if your institution refuses to give you a refund due to visa denial or denies your acceptance because of lack of English proficiency or if you are stuck at the port of entry.

Lie #5. International student placement agencies are expensive.

A good placement agent serves as a kind of trusted advisor who can help you choose from the 4,000+ US universities, avoid application mistakes, receive application fee waivers and visa interview training, and significantly improve your chances of getting into your dream school in the United States. McGovern offers these services at no cost to international students.

Lie #6. My university application essay doesn’t matter.

Your essay is your opportunity to write directly to the admissions committee, who will determine if you will be accepted or denied. If your statement of purpose essay contains errors or is plagiarized or is too vague, then you have will likely be denied. Many programs are very competitive so do not waste your chance to shine.

Lie #7. It is acceptable to transfer to another university upon arrival.

If you arrive in the US on a visa provided by one university with the intention of immediately transferring to another university, you are in a sense violating immigration regulations. In addition, different institutions have different refund policies so you may be putting yourself at financial risk. You are also potentially putting your immigration status at risk by not planning ahead because most universities are not going to accept you overnight. Many universities do not take too kindly to this type of unethical action and generally do not make it easy to transfer.

Lie #8. Universities are better than colleges.

There is no significant difference between a college and a university in the United States. For example, Dartmouth College and Harvard University are both highly selective and are both Ivy League schools. Additionally, sometimes it is easier, especially for an international applicant to start at a college and then move on to a reputable university.

Lie #9. I can get a free university education in the United States.

Most US colleges and universities do offer international scholarships for well-qualified applicants; however, we are unaware of any US university offering a fully funded (free) education to international students, unless it is specialized student and a specialized program.

Lie #10. I can easily get accepted to a US medical school or law school.

Applying for either medical school or law school is not advised. Both applications are extremely unlikely to be approved. A law degree makes a student an expert in US law and is therefore not applicable to international students returning home. Most public institutions will not accept international students for medical school because of funding restraints and transcript credit issues. In many cases a law degree in other countries does not equate to the credentials of a lawyer in the United States.

For more information about TLC university partners, please visit our Cooperative Institution Database

For more information about our FREE and exclusive placement service, please visit McGovern Education Group.

For more information about how TLC can prepare you for university study and admission, visit The Language Company