If you are considering pursuing your higher education in a US college, you’re certainly not alone. Over 1.2 million students from all over the globe chose the US as a destination for college in 2016. And more and more students from abroad are entering US campuses every year, which makes competition even fiercer. In this article, we’re going to give you some essential tips when enrolling in a US college to make sure the process is as smooth as possible.

Apply for Different Schools

The US has over 5300 universities and colleges and every college has their own set of criteria when it comes to admission. While some colleges will be very selective when it comes to the type of student they accept, others are much more forgiving.

It’s not uncommon for US students to apply for up to five schools or more to make sure they get accepted. They will have a few “on target” picks that fall in line with their qualifications and a few “safety” picks in case these applications fall through. They will also try a few Ivy league schools just in case, even though it might be a reach in some cases.

International students should apply the same strategy. Try to apply for at least 5 to 8 schools to increase your chances. And even if you have a set choice, make sure that you pick schools you would be happy to attend in the case your application gets rejected.

Get to Know What the Campus Life is About

You also have to make sure that you get a general idea of what campus life is all about in the school you’re thinking of enrolling in before you make a decision. Where the school is located will have a huge influence on what you can expect. If you’re enrolling in a college in Flagstaff CA for example, then you can expect a very different experience than if you decide to go to a college in Nebraska. This isn’t a point that you should take lightly, since it will have a direct influence on your morale and incidentally your success long term.

Understand the Nuances of the US College Admission Process

In the US, colleges will have a tendency to look at the person as a whole, and not just as a sum of their academic accomplishments. They will want to know more about your personality and things like your level of involvement in your community for instance. They will want to know what kind of extracurricular activities you engage in and if you have any valuable skills you may have acquired outside of an academic setting.

This is where your essay and letters of recommendation will come in handy. They will show a glimpse into who you really are and will have a big influence on whether you’re going to get accepted or not. If you have the time, it would be wise to consider taking an internship or join a club or cause that is near and dear to you. US college administrators are just as interested in what you do outside class as you do inside, so make sure that your personality shines through.

If you want to increase your chances of getting admitted into a great school next semester, make sure that you follow the tips in this article. This could make the difference between your application going through or having to wait another year to realize your goals.