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HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES

First, let us differentiate between college and university. In the US, a university, like UFMG, is made up of many colleges. However, some colleges also exist as individual institutions such as liberal arts colleges or community colleges. Also, Americans use "college" in a general way, such as "go to college, graduate from college". "College" here refers to a school of higher learning which comes after high school/secondary education.

There are many good schools in Brazil for undergraduate study although there is the difficulty of the entrance exam. In the US, there are tests, too, such as SAT or ACT, taken while students are in the 3rd or 4th year of high school. These scores are also very important to enter a university.

Applying to and being accepted at an American university is a lengthy process, summarized as follows:

  1. The school year begins in August/September. (You can enter in January but it's in the middle.)So one year before you intend to start your studies, you should begin your search for a "suitable" university.

What is "suitable"? First, the school should have a good program in the area you are interested in. You must also be able to meet the entrance requirements concerning GPA, test scores, recommendations, study plans, etc. You must be able to fit the profile of the student the school would like to have, which can differ greatly from school to school. "Suitable" can also refer to location, size of the campus, if it's located in a big city or a small town, climate or other personal considerations.

  1. Where can you search? If you already have the names of some universities, you can try to find them online. Or you can visit sites included on this page. You can also visit a bi-national center where you can find information in the library or talk to the adviser.

  1. Try to find about ten schools you'd like to attend and go to their websites for the information you need. There you can also download the application forms.

  1. Decide on about 3 to 5 schools to apply to. Remember there is a lot of paperwork involved in completing the applications. Those schools you choose will depend on their requirements and your ability to meet those requirements. Pay attention to application fees and deadlines . You must send in applications, officially translated transcripts, letters of recommendation, and statements by that date.

  1. Tests (TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT) can be taken at ICBEU in Belo Horizonte. Transcripts must be officially translated by a government-appointed official translator. Letters of recommendation are required and can be written by professors , bosses/higher-ups at work, or "noteworthy" friends. Statements/essays are normally required, too.

6. Studying abroad is expensive, about $50,000 per year, depending on the university . Few scholarships are available so they are very competitive and you have to search for them. They are for the highly qualified.
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