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Researching North American Universities

Year 12 Lunch Workshop

Naviance your first stop

How to Navigate and Search for your long list

Differences in Colleges and Universities

A two-year college - Associates Degree or the first two years of university study Many students use this as an economical way to study the first two years of a university degree and then simply transfer to a nearby school. A four-year college or university - Bachelors Degree.

Therefore, a university offers both the Bachelors Degree and graduate degrees such as the Masters (M.A.) and Doctorate (Ph.D.). A university tends to maintain research requirements for its instructors and is thus usually a more "research-focused" institution. This in turn allows them a certain degree of recognition, attracts a larger student body and affords them the capacity to offer higher learning options than a college can offer.

Research Considerations

ADMISSIONS What standardized tests are required for admission (SAT I, SAT II, TOEFL, IELTS, ACT)? When is the admission deadline: What percentage of applicants were accepted last year? How selective are the admission standards at this institution? Transcript, IB Predicts Does this school offer Early Decision/Early Action admissions (U.S. only).


ACADEMICS Does this university have the major/programs in which I am interested? What is the student/faculty ratio for undergraduate courses? How many courses do most undergraduate students take each semester? Who teaches introductory courses, faculty members or teaching assistants? What is the average class size of freshman introductory classes? What is the format of school calendar (semester, trimester, quarterly, etc.) How many hours/courses will I need to graduate? When will I need to declare a major? Does this university offer dual-majors?

ACADEMICS Does this university offer a cooperative education program? What opportunities are there for independent study? Are there exchange programs with other universities? What opportunities are there to study abroad? Are internships in my field available? What percentage of students goes on to graduate school? What percentage of students return after their Freshman year?

STUDENT BODY What is the size of the Freshman class? What is the total enrollment for this university? How diverse is the student body (economically, geographically, culturally, etc.) What is the male/female ratio? What is the general orientation of students (academic, scientific, social service, arts, etc.)?

STUDENT SERVICES AND PROGRAMS Will I be assigned an international student advisor? Is there an international student center or club on campus? Will I be assigned an academic counselor or a faculty advisor to help me choose my courses? Is there a career-counseling center to help with resume writing, interviewing, and job placement? Is there a personal counseling center available? Will I have access to a health center on campus during holidays and summers?

STUDENT LIFE Are there theatres, concert halls, or art galleries nearby? Are there movie theatres, restaurants and sports complexes nearby? Does the university regularly sponsor dances, concerts, guest speakers, etc. Is there an extracurricular activity in which I have an interest on campus? Are there intramural sports available?

STUDENT LIFE What percentage of students live on campus and what percentage commute? What role do fraternities and sororities play on campus? What are the most popular activities/clubs on campus? Are cars allowed on campus? What is the crime rate on campus? Does the school have an honor code?

HOUSING AND DINING FACILITIES Are the dorms co-ed or single sex? Will dorms be available after my Freshman year? Are there fraternity/sorority houses available? How close are the dorms to the classrooms and dining facilities? Are there special dorms available (language, honors, international, etc)? Are most Freshmen dorm rooms single, double, triple or quad? Are there a variety of eating plans available? Is housing available?

CAMPUS FACILITIES How is the library (to study, do research, convenient hours, etc.)? How are the recreation facilities (gym, track, pools, etc.)? How are the sports facilities (tennis courts, fields, weight rooms, etc.)? How accessible are the computer labs? How are the music practice rooms? Is the student center a comfortable place to hang out? Is there a place to practice my religion on campus? What tools are requested? (Some schools require you to bring your own computer)

COST AND FINANCIAL AID What is the total cost to attend this university (tuition, room and board, books and supplies, travel expenses and living expenses)? Are there any special fees for my particular program/major (lab fees, materials cost, etc.) What percentage of students receive financial aid? What is the average financial aid package? Does this university offer financial aid/or scholarships for international students? Are there opportunities for finding jobs on campus?


All students should take the SAT I starting Year 12 and if possible SAT II Subject Tests in June. SAT II Subject Tests should be taken in the subject matter you feel confident.

Not all universities require the SAT I or SAT II Subject tests. Be sure to check the university website, application, or any other literature you receive. Also, look for the admission requirements listed for specific universities on Naviance.

SAT Subject TEST

The following are SAT II Subject tests that offered:

German, Literature, Italian, French, Latin, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Modern Hebrew, U.S. History, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, World History, Math IC, Math IIC
Please note they are not all offered each testing date. Check www.collegeboard.com for the correct dates and times. Scores MUST be sent from the testing agency. REMEMBER YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR GETTING YOUR OWN TEST SCORES TO THE UNIVERSITY. Universities only accept official scores for admission.

If your first language is not English or if you do not have the following passports: US, UK, Canadian, Australian, or New Zealand; you will be asked to take the TOEFL or IELTS test. The results of this test are good for 2 years so we advise you to take the TOEFL in the summer of Year 12 . It is usually advisable to take the TOEFL or IELTS since it is designed for students whose first language is not English. This test score does not replace the SAT verbal. A high TOEFL or IELTS score will allow admissions offices a better perspective of your English proficiency requirements for university application and admissions. You MUST designate which universities will receive your scores from TOEFL. NIST cannot do this for you. Scores must come from the testing agency.

Canadian Universities What You Need To Know

Canada offers a multicultural environment with vibrant cities, beautiful spaces, and friendly people. The education system is also highly regarded for its high quality, affordability, and renowned university-level research. Canadian universities, are considered to be equivalent to those in other Commonwealth countries and the USA.

GENERAL INFORMATION In Canada, a university is a place that awards Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees. All universities offer bachelors degree programs, which require 3 or 4 years of full-time study. A 4 year honors degree often requires a higher level of achievement and is usually a minimum requirement for graduation. The IB Diploma is usually considered for both admission and transfer credit to the Undergraduate programs. A strong emphasis is placed on a students academic record for admission and entrance award purposes. REMEMBER Your first semester grades in YEAR 13 along with your IB predicted grades are the most important for Canadian acceptance.

Cost, Employment, Scholarships, and Financial Aid

Tuition fees for international students will vary across the country. Fees are set directly by the university under the jurisdiction of the province. Scholarships are generally based on academic merit, and students are often automatically assessed for scholarships when they apply for admission to university. Full-time international students are allowed to work on campus part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer. There are many private and public organizations that provide funding for international students in Canada.

Great Websites
For Universities in the USA NIST uses Naviance http://connection.naviance.com/nist College Board Online www.collegeboard.org Petersons Education Center www.petersons.com Worldwide information on Universities www.braintrack.com IELTS Thailand: www.britishcouncil.org/thailand-exams-ielts TOEFL http://www.toeflgoanywhere.org/ ACT www.actstudent.org For Universities in Canada www.studyincanada.com and www.aucc.ca MacLeans Universities Guide www.macleans.ca Ontario Universities Application Center www.ouac.on.ca