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Monday, November 07, 2005

SPM, STPM, US - It's not the end...

“Why didn’t JPA and Petronas choose me?!”

Every year, after the scholarship results are out, many students complain of not being able to achieve their dream of studying overseas because they were not awarded those scholarships. But hey, it is NOT the end. Most of the students are not aware that many of the colleges and universities in the US do give out lots of financial aid and scholarships to international students.

For, those who would otherwise not be able to afford it, there are basically two ways to finance your education in the US. First, merit scholarships and the second, need-based financial aid. Merit scholarships are pretty much self-explanatory. However, merit scholarships are rare among the most selective schools like Harvard, Yale, Williams etc. These colleges and universities employ the latter, need-based financial aid. This means that you only pay what you can afford to pay. Need-based financial aid covers everything(yes!), tuition fees, accommodation, living expenses and such. Let’s say the price tag is 40,000USD per year, if your family can only afford to pay 5,000USD, you pay that amount; if you can only afford to pay 10 USD, yeap, 10 USD it is.

Now although many universities award financial aid, the fact is that many universities take into account whether one can pay or not when they admit international students. These universities are need-aware in their admissions. When these universities look to admit you, they consider how much you are able to pay when making their admissions decisions. This is the opposite of need-blind, where the university is rich enough to not consider your ability to pay when they admit you. There are six need-blind colleges/universities that I know of. Harvard, Princeton, Yale, MIT, Williams and Middlebury. In these six institutions, let’s say you can pay 20 USD and another international student can pay 40,000 USD, you will not be discriminated by that factor. Although the other colleges/universities are need-aware, fortunately, many are rich enough to be generous to international students. Some colleges that are particularly fond of internationals are Carleton, Macalester and Oberlin just to name a few. Just because you haven’t heard of them does not mean they are not good. The education at these colleges is comparable to those at the Ivy League. Don’t make the mistake of only applying to universities that you know and assume all the others are not as good.

About applying, the intake for US colleges is usually in Aug/Sep. But do be aware that the deadline for the most selective colleges is in early Jan. So you need to start early if you want to apply. One should start preparation at least by May/June the year prior to enrollment.

For entrance requirements, SPM is enough but I would recommend a pre-u qualification because it will make you a much stronger candidate. So yes, even STPM students should not lose hope. Studying overseas is still a very real option even if one doesn’t have enough money to do A-Levels in a private college. Opportunities are all out there, one just needs to know where to look and work to get them.

Relevant links
For more information on the application process, read http://tinkosong.blogspot.com/2006/02/yale-university-need-based-need-blind.html by Elizabeth Wong


Blogger nakedwriter said...

I am contemplating to apply for scholarships and aids for education in USA - i just did my SPM. However, i'm rather confused with what they need and all the jargon they havve -SAT, undergraduate (4 YEARS?!!), how many subs we can take, etc, etc. MACEE hasn't been very helpful - their staff have not been very cooperative. Anywhere else i can find info? Even collegeboards, ifind rather confusing.

7:44 PM

Anonymous Alex said...

Do you know anything about New York University ? Is it easy to get student loans ? I don't mind being bonded .

8:10 PM

Blogger Yee Hoong said...

Ya its true. One advice is that, don't narrow down your choice. I was so into furthering my studies to the UK that I insulate myself within the opportunities of UK scholarships--which, as far as i'm concern, are not much. Am.is a perfect choice, and i only get to know that after i've gotten to INTEC. Try US uni, and you'll never regret, even if you don't get admitted. The application process's not only fun but may enable you to discover your inner self better:-)

12:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the colleges says that the deadline for the application form is February 1st oh god =|

12:15 AM

Anonymous Leen said...

For this so-called financial aids, I believe that we will have to be admitted to these universities first before they actually offer us a financial aids and not the other way around, right? Also, do they require any SAT or TOEFL result because I have non of them. How can I apply for admission to these US universities? Do I have to send in my application form as well as my certs? How do they even know the content of the certs? How do I do it? Someone please tell me.


8:37 PM

Blogger enghan said...

Leen, please read
http://tinkosong.blogspot.com/2006/02/yale-university-need-based-need-blind.html by Elizabeth Wong

12:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am a STPM student this year. Can i know exactly how can i apply thru any oversea universities? How can i actually apply for it?

12:18 AM

Blogger Jeffrey said...

Alex: New York University is located right in the middle of New York City.For freshmen, the application deadline is Jan 1 , if I'm not mistaken. But, no,as of now, they don't offer financial aid to international students.

12:55 PM


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