What Do You Need to Think About to Graduate With a Bachelor’s Degree in the US?

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What Do You Need to Think About to Graduate With a Bachelor’s Degree in the US?

Are you considering studying abroad? Deciding to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in the United States is an impressive goal. A US bachelor program is often the stepping stone to programs in medicine, law or other highly competitive professions. For this reason, most colleges and universities in the United States have many more applicants than they do spots in their schools. Read the following to learn how you can prepare yourself to apply for a bachelor's program. You'll learn about the requirements university US bachelor grades and how to make yourself stand out from other applicants.

  • 1. What Is a Bachelor’s Degree?

    A Bachelor’s Degree typically takes four years of full-time study to complete. During this time, students earn credit for about 40 college courses. These post-secondary, undergraduate degrees require liberal arts classes such as English, critical thinking, history and more. Although only about 10 courses will directly relate to your major, a Bachelor’s Degree is almost always required to attend graduate school for a medicine, law or teaching program. The three most common Bachelor’s Degrees are a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).

  • 2. What Are the Admission Requirements to Enter a Bachelor’s Degree Program?

    The admission requirements to earn a Bachelor’s Degree will vary slightly depending on which college or university you hope to attend. However, most American schools have the same basic US bachelor admission requirements. Students who wish to enroll in a program must first successfully graduate high school or its international equivalent. Those who did not graduate high school must first take and pass a General Education Development test. A third option is to be a transfer student coming from another accredited college program. Students who transfer from another university must be in good academic standing with the school. If you are an international student, you must successfully pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language or the International English Language Testing System.

  • 3. How Important Is English Proficiency for Entering a Bachelor’s Degree Program?

    English proficiency is an important part of applying to a Bachelor’s Degree program in the US College courses tend to be more fast-paced than courses in high school, and the professors often speak quickly and at length, making oral comprehension of English essential to the learning process. For this reason, most universities and colleges in the United States require international students to meet a minimum score on the TOEFL or IELTS. The Test of English as a Foreign Language is more commonly referred to as the TOEFL. This standardized test measures the abilities of non-native English speakers to speak, read and understand the language. A trademark of the Educational Testing Service, the TOEFL has been in use for more than 50 years. The paper-based test typically takes about two and a half hours to complete while the internet-based version can take as long as four hours. Scores range from 0 to 30 and move in increments of one point on each section. The highest score you can receive is 120. There are more than 4,500 test centers in 165 countries, making it rather easy to locate TOEFL exam dates that fit into your schedule. The International English Language Testing System, commonly referred to as the IELTS and less commonly known as the EILTS, is a similar standardized test for determining a potential student's English comprehension abilities.  This test was established in 1989 and is managed by Cambridge English Language Assessment, the British Council, IELTS Australia and IDP. Available in two modules known as "Academic" and "General Training," the test takes about three hours to complete and has scores ranging from 0 to 9, which move in half-point increments. There are more than 1,000 testing centers in 140 countries, and IELTS test dates vary depending on your location. Sometimes, prospective students have trouble deciding which test to take. Many opt to take both tests to ensure they have all their bases covered. However, if you are on a limited budget or have a very busy schedule, it is possible to take just one. Some schools prefer the TOEFL, but others prefer the IELTS. You can research online or speak to an academic advisor to ask for a recommendation regarding which test your chosen college or university prefers.

  • 4. How Important is the SAT?

    As you search Bachelor’s Degree programs and read about what each one requires for admission, you've likely wondered to yourself, "what is the SAT exam?" The SAT, once also known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test or the Scholastic Assessment Test, is an entrance exam that many colleges and universities require incoming students to pass before starting classes. The test, which came into use in 1926 and takes up to four hours to complete, consists of writing, critical reading and math sections. Total scores range from 400 to 1600. The test is offered seven times a year around the world. You can search the test's website to find SAT test dates. It is important for prospective students to take the SAT if they want to get into their chosen Bachelor’s Degree program.

  • 5. What About Grade Point Average (GPA)?

    Nearly every college or university that you research will require a minimum grade point average or cumulative grade point average for admittance. Your GPA is the average of your grades in a single semester. In the United States, there are typically five letter grades: A, B, C, D and F, with A being the highest and F being a failing grade. Students who have an 'A' average or better have a 4.0, 'B' students have a 3.0 and so on. For example, a student that received 4 A's, 2 B's, a C and an F in one semester would have a GPA of 3.0, which is a 'B' average. Now that we've answered, "what is GPA," it's time to understand CGPA. CGPA is a student's cumulative grade point average. Imagine a student took four semesters of classes. In those four semesters, he earned GPAs of 4.0, 3.2, 3.8 and 2.5. To find the cumulative GPA, you would add these four numbers together and then divide by four. The result is a cumulative GPA of 3.4, which is a 'B' average. Grade point averages are very important to colleges. The staff wants their programs to be successful, which means they need students who are consistently successful. Many schools have a cutoff point for GPA and CGPA, and if a student does not meet the minimum requirement, they are ineligible for the program. For this reason, it is very important to stay motivated and do as well as possible in high school and beyond. If you aren't sure what your grade point average is, you can use a GPA calculator to figure it out. Many online calculators will also help you convert CGPA to GPA and vice versa.

  • 6. What Are Other Things to Consider When Applying for a Bachelor’s Degree Program?

    While your academic standing and scores on standardized admission tests are important components of successfully entering a Bachelor’s Degree program at the college or university of your choice, it isn't the only thing an admissions board looks at to determine eligibility. Plenty of students, domestic and international alike, have excellent grades, so you need to stand out from the masses. Extracurricular activities are an excellent way to get a school to notice you. While the type of extracurricular activities that are most likely to get you noticed vary depending on the school and your desired major, several types look good to nearly every school. If your school has a student government, joining it shows you have leadership skills and care not only about your own education but about the education of those around you. Academic teams and clubs, such as honor societies or math teams, also show that you take your education seriously. Sports are an excellent way to highlight teamwork skills, and arts and culture programs display creativity and diversity. Many colleges and universities are also quite interested in students who take on internships or who do volunteer work or community service. Nearly every school you apply to will ask you to write an essay during the application process. Start writing your essay long before the application is due so that you have plenty of time to re-read, rewrite and re-read again. When choosing a topic, think outside of the box. What makes your life or your academic career unique? What would you want to read about if you were the one judging college entrance essays? Sometimes, a school provides a writing prompt. If the one you're interested in doesn't, choose a topic that shows your strengths or how you overcame a significant roadblock in your life. Remember, your goal is to persuade the admissions board to accept you as a student, so write persuasively and always start with an effective introduction. Consider having family members or friends read your essay and offer suggestions before submitting your final draft. Having someone else read your work often brings up places you can improve that you wouldn't notice on your own. To get the best degree results, applying yourself is essential. It often also helps to have an advisor walk you through the process of choosing schools and applying. SchoolApply is a free website that can help you get started and provides access to more than 4,000 schools.

Levels Explained

  • Bachelor's

    A bachelor's degree (also called a first degree or undergraduate degree) is attained after receiving a post-secondary (high school) education and generally spans four years. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as bachelor or undergraduate students. A bachelor's degree is usually offered at an institution of higher education, such as a university.

  • Master's

    A master’s degree (or postgraduate or graduate education) involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees. This degree is preceded by a bachelor’s degree and generally takes two years to complete. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as master's, or grad students.

  • Pathway

    Bachelor’s and master’s pathway programs are designed for international students who need additional English language and academic preparation before continuing to a degree program at a university. The purpose of these programs are to give students the confidence and skills needed to succeed in college.