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Here’s how to get the most out of your relationship with your education counselor

Developing a strong relationship with your education counselor is one of the most impactful decisions you can make as a prospective international student at a U.S. university. Education counselors have worked with hundreds of students. They can help you prepare your visa application, apply to the right schools for your interests and even help you find scholarships. However, you shouldn’t expect them to do all the work. There are important steps you can take when working with an education counselor to get the most out of your relationship. Keep these pointers in mind and you will achieve your goal of studying at the perfect U.S. university for you:

1. Keep your counselor informed

Your counselor can only help you achieve your educational goals if they know about them. As you learn more about available programs at U.S. universities, your study plans may change. Make sure you share these changes with your counselor so they can better guide you through the process of studying abroad.

2. Express yourself

There are thousands of programs for international students at U.S. universities, each one with advantages and disadvantages. The right program for you is out there and working with your education counselor can help you find it. One of the best ways to achieve your goals is to be clear with what you want when meeting with your counselor. The better you express what you want out of your international education, the more your counselor will be able to help you.

Explore the U.S. News & World Report list of Top Universities for International Students

3. Be patient when you ask for help

One of the hardest parts of applying to university is waiting to hear back. However, it’s important to be patient and to understand that yours is not their only application to process. The same goes with education counselors. Many represent a large number of students and are not always available to provide immediate help, especially as application deadlines approach. Be prepared and get your paperwork in as early as possible. That way, your counselor will have more time to help you with any issues that you might have with your application.

4. Be confident in your decision

Choosing where to study might be the biggest decision of your life so far. Especially when 48 of the top 100 Global Universities are in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. It’s normal to have doubts or reservations after you pick a school. It’s important, however, to discuss your feelings with your education counselor. Once you commit to a U.S. university and begin filling out your I-20 paperwork for studying in the United States, you should be confident in your decision. Retracting an I-20 request and obtaining a refund is a complex and time-consuming process.

5. Trust your counselor’s experience

Counselors work on behalf of the students they represent. They have experience and connections at top U.S. universities and may suggest an option that might not make sense until later. Trust that your counselor is doing everything possible to get you into the right school. Keep this in mind when working together and you will have an open, successful relationship.

6. Submit your paperwork as soon as you can

Paperwork takes time to complete. It takes time to review. It takes time to process. The earlier you complete your paperwork, the more time you will have for catching errors, making changes, and the sooner you will hear back. Get your applications in as soon as possible and you will avoid any unnecessary delays.

7. Remember, studying abroad isn’t just about the classroom

Studying at Berkeley College in New York City is a lot different from studying at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Don’t forget to consider things such as climate, campus life, available clubs, and internship opportunities when picking your school. Talk with your education counselor about what you want out of the next 2 to 4 years of your life. Make sure the schools you consider have the options you need to be happy and to grow.

Read the personal stories of international students studying in the U.S.

8. Preparing for the visa application

Every student applying for an F-1 visa, required for study in the U.S., will be interviewed at a U.S. embassy or consulate. You may feel intimidated by the prospect of the interview, but your education counselor has successfully guided many students through this process and can help you, too. Work closely with your counselor and take their advice. Schedule your interview as early as you can and practice often and you will be well prepared.

9. It doesn’t end with college

Make sure you consider your life after you graduate when applying to study at a U.S. university. Ask your education counselor about the support network and career opportunities available to you in your field of study. Remember, you are about to work hard for a reputable degree. To ensure you are well-positioned for success after you complete your studies, discuss your employment prospects with your counselor before you decide on a school.

Read these helpful tips on how to get a job after college.

10. Stay in touch

Education counselors work hard to get students through the application process and safely onto campus. Reach out and let them know you’ve arrived and how grateful you are for their help. It will mean a lot to them.

Want to learn more about studying in the U.S.? Connect with a qualified counselor today.