How to School Selection work?

What happens if I don’t get my dream school?

Coming to the United States, you might have an idea of what schools are considered the “best” in the country. Rightfully so, you may also have aspirations to attend one of these schools. It’s important, however, to realize that outside of the top 10-20 schools, ranking might not matter as much as you think.

School rankings factor in details such as the number of international students who apply/enroll. This means that rankings can be heavily inflated due to reasons not necessarily related to academics or prestige.   

When it comes to finding a job after graduation, employers tend to hire from universities in their region, so they can save time and money. Take Arizona State University for example. It is a very good school and a popular choice by many students. While on paper this is a great school,  students should also heavily consider what companies have a presence in the Phoenix area as that is where they may be most likely to be hired. 

Especially for international students, it’s key to note which schools have companies in the area that offer great OPT and H1B visa opportunities. Different regions are known for different specializations. For example, the Pacific Northwest is a hotbed for tech jobs, while the Midwest is known to be a powerhouse in the manufacturing sector.

The U.S. is huge, even bigger than India geographically, so it’s crucial to research local economies and who is hiring from schools in the area. If you don’t necessarily get into your dream school, there’s plenty of universities that offer a prestigious education and a plethora of job opportunities post graduation, even if they might not have a certain rank that tells you so.

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School Selection

Making the choice to study in the U.S. is difficult on its own. Choosing exactly what school you want to go to is even more stressful. And getting into that school is just another obstacle in the way.

You probably have a plethora of options in mind about what schools you would want to attend. This may be based on which schools you believe will provide the best education or job opportunities or it might be simply based on what you’ve heard to be the best schools from peers or family.

It’s important to carefully assess and research which schools you think will be the best fit for you, but it’s equally important to factor in your probability of getting into certain schools. Everything about your profile should be taken into account including grades, test scores, statements of purpose, and desired program when selecting a potential university as well as any personal restrictions you may have including location, budget limits, and overall prestige of where you want to attend.

You might have always desired to go to a very high ranking university, but your grades might just be shy of the threshold. This doesn’t mean don’t apply but to just consider some other options. That lesser known school might not be as popular, but may have an equally rigorous course load and potentially more job opportunities after graduation depending on the location and industry that you have chosen.

A helpful tool to help sort these schools is to do a profile evaluation. A profile evaluation is done by providing the aforementioned information to an admissions counselor and having them review  it. They will then return to you a list of universities, typically broken down into 3 categories of probability: ambitious, moderate, and safe. Having this list will then make it simpler to gauge which schools might be more attainable and which ones might require some additional effort to make your admission a reality.

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