Universities in the West Coast, USA: How to choose the right college
Picking a college in America can be difficult decision. Here are some advice from U.S. Schools Accept, a college admissions specialist based in California that helps those living in Asia find the right university overseas
You’ve decided that you want to go to college in the U.S. You’ve heard that West Coast universities are leading the way in science, technology, engineering, and math. How are you going to choose the one that is the best fit for you and your goals? Here are some tips:
1. Start by making a list of your interests and personality traits.
If you are shy, for example, you may prefer a small private college. If you have always wanted to live by the beach, you may look for schools with proximity to the ocean. University California Santa Barbara, for example, is not only situated in an idyllic community on the Pacific Ocean but boasts six Nobel Prize winners among its renowned faculty.
2. Make a list of what activities you hope to participate in while pursuing your degree.
If you are thinking about pursuing a degree in business, but also love film, look for a college that has a strong business program but also offers courses in film so that you can explore that field. It is possible to switch your major or receive a minor in a second field. Most colleges have web pages for each of their academic departments.
3. Think about if you would like to be a part of a large school or a smaller, private university.
Bigger schools offer more diversity, larger class size (often taught by TAs rather than professors), and a place where you can be semi-anonymous. Smaller colleges tend to offer more leadership opportunities in a comfortable, close-knit community.
4. Consider the sort of environment in which you thrive.
Studying abroad offers many challenges. One of which is convincing your family that you will be safe. Different schools have different social vibes. If there are specific activities that you’re currently invested in, make sure your prospective school or the surrounding area offers opportunities to continue. Many West Coast schools have many students from Asia that have formed great networking and support groups on and off-campus. Students regularly get together, often at their new favorite close-to-authentic-as-they-can-find Asian restaurant.
5. Be wary of college rankings.
Your college search should be about what is important to you. Prioritize things that are important to you. List out your top five requirements based on the discussion above. Cappex is one of a myriad of resources that will help you compare your priority list with data on every U.S. college.
But what if I don’t qualify for the college I want?
Evaluating admissions statistics in relation to your qualifications can be daunting. Most four-year universities have required GPA, SAT and ACT ranges that they find acceptable. Most international students will either need to score high enough on the verbal section of the SAT and or provide a TOEFL score. This process can be intimidating. Most students spend years preparing to attend their dream college.
Don’t rule out attending a school because your GPA or test score is low. Starting your U.S. college career at a community college could be the right answer for you. If your SAT or ACT score is not in range of your desired university and you don’t have the time to retake it, or you simply did not take it, consider attending a community college for two years to complete your general education classes. Most community colleges do not require a SAT or ACT score, and a few do not even require the TOEFL for international students.
The quality of the education is comparable, the tuition is significantly less, and the schedule is flexible. Whether you start at a community college or a four-year university, you are required to take general education courses (60 units). These are the prerequisites that you can take at a community college that will transfer to your desired four-year university where you will complete your major and earn your Bachelor’s degree.
For many students starting at a community college is the most direct route to earning their Bachelor’s Degree from a top U.S. college.
List of universities in the West Coast
Now that you’ve done some thinking, here’s a list of the top US colleges in the West Coast for your consideration:
- Stanford University: Good for Engineering, Social Sciences
- University of California, Santa Barbara: Good for Engineering, Social Sciences, Business
- University of California, Irvine: Good for Engineering, Social Sciences
- Pomona College: Good for Mathematics, Economics, Biology
- Claremont McKenna College: Good for Economics
- California Institute of Technology: Good for Engineering
- University of California, Berkeley: Good for Social Sciences
- University of California, Los Angeles: Good for Social Sciences
- Whitman College: Good for Science
- Colorado College: Good for Science
- Harvey Mudd College: Good for Engineering
- Reed College: Good for Humanities
- University of Southern California: Good for Science, Dentistry, Business, Film
- University of Washington: Good for Science
- Scripps College: Good for Women’s Only Liberal Arts
- Santa Clara University: Good for Engineering, Business, and Law
- Occidental College: Good for Liberal Arts
- University of California, San Diego: Good for Medicine, Science, Social Sciences
- University of Colorado, Boulder: Good for Science
- Pitzer College: Good for Psychology and Political Science
- University of California, Davis: Good for Social Sciences
- Pepperdine University: Good for Business
- University of Denver: Good for Social Sciences and Humanities
- Colorado School of Mines: Good for Engineering
Why U.S. School Accept?
U.S. School Accept helps each student navigate the college application process and determine a major and a career path. These decisions guide the identification of the best-fit university for that student. Students entering the 2+2 Program are placed into California’s top community college in one of the safest and most beautiful small cities in the world – Santa Barbara. This crucial step, helps the student acclimate to college life in America, saves money on tuition, and side-steps the TOEFL and SAT/ACT requirement of entering a university as a freshman. We walk the student through the entire process, from community college to university to bachelor’s degree.
Visit U.S. School Accept’s website for more information.