The interview was created for the purpose of the application for US studies. One of the students from Poland agreed to tell us about her preparations for the application for US studies. It is worth adding that Wiktoria applied on her own and did not benefit from the support of the agency.
Wiktoria: I am very happy that I can help with this. I did not have such possibilities, and the process itself seemed very complicated and confusing to me. Therefore, if I can spare someone the stress of the application process, I am very happy to do so.
Uniclub: Let's start one by one. Please tell us what the process looked like in your case.
Wiktoria: The application process to study in the USA starts years earlier. In my case, it was in the middle of my freshman year and I think it was too late anyway. I did not apply for the so-called community college or state college. I applied to most of the top universities in the USA from the so-called Ivy League. I was admitted to New York University.
Uniclub: What matters most when studying in high school?
Wiktoria: First of all, grades in subjects are very important. In the United States, high school lasts 4 years. If you apply from Poland, you will be asked for grades from the last four years of education. Students should ensure that their grades are of the highest quality. In the USA it is very easy to have a high GPA (average grade), unfortunately not in Poland. When studying in the USA, GPA is measured on a scale of 0.0 to 4.0, with 4.0 being the highest rating you can get.
GPA is very important at US universities. Students must maintain a certain GPA level in order to continue their studies at university or receive a scholarship. The Polish grade point average is therefore converted into the American one, so the student has to try very hard to become one of the best applicants and to get a chance for a scholarship.
Overall, aim for US 4.0 and fight for the red bar. A certificate with a stripe can be entered in your achievements as an honors graduation.
Uniclub: What extracurricular activities are appreciated by American universities?
Wiktoria: Mainly participation in extracurricular activities. The more the better. It is important that they are specialized in something. They should define the direction in which you want to study. Activities that demonstrate your speaking, public speaking, and management skills are welcome. In my case, it was a student company and all kinds of economic Olympics and debates.
Volunteering is equally important. In the United States, they are organized by the school, while in Poland, you should look for such opportunities yourself. During high school, I volunteer at a day-room for children from pathological families.
Musical or sports skills can also help. Even a student who did not have an end-of-year certificate, who is a great athlete and has evidence of his achievements, is able to get into Harvard. The University Sports Leagues in the United States are very competitive and are of great value to schools because they profit financially from them. If you go to music school or sing in a choir, your chances may also increase.
Important! Whatever we put in our personal statement, we must support it with appropriate documentation. Otherwise, it will be worthless. Therefore, I encourage you to build your portfolio of certificates, diplomas, and any other documents that confirm our skills and social commitment.
For the application for studies, reference letters are also necessary, which are written at a very high level in the United States. These are short paragraphs from teachers describing you and your commitment to the school. What I can advise you is to get on well with two or three teachers in high school. They are essential, and sometimes they can open the door to most of your dream universities.
You can read the second part of the Study in the USA - Interview series about the SAT exam here 👈
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
- Ivy League; list of 8 private research universities in the United States recognized as the best schools in the world.
- GPA (grade point average). The average score is given on a scale from 0.0 to 4.0. This is the standard scale at most American schools. To achieve American 4.0 you must have a minimum average of 5.0 in a Polish school.
- Personal Statement. CV and cover letter in one. This is an opportunity for you to express your ambitions to study at the university of your choice and to demonstrate your skills and experience.
- Reference Letter. a reference letter for studies abroad is a short text recommending a candidate for a selected field of study. In it, the teacher describes the student's abilities and qualities with a slightly more personal point of view.
- Honors graduation. Graduated with honors. To obtain a white and red stripe on the school certificate, the arithmetic mean of the marks must be at least 4.75. Behaviour and additional extracurricular activities also influence the certificate with the stripe.
- Schedule an appointment with our consultant and find out more about studying in the USA right here.