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Schools in the USA

Preparing for University

If you are considering applying directly from high school to a university or 4-year college in the United States, your post-secondary planning process should begin early. University and college--or particular programs within an institution--can be competitive; therefore, it's important to plan your high school courses accordingly. Your area of interest will determine what you should take. If you are considering a science or technology-based program, you should load up on courses in math, chemistry, physics and computers to ensure that you are well prepared for the schools that make your list. Communication skills are always important, in virtually every field, so don't forget your English! In general, English and math are the most-often required courses for all fields of university and college study. If you are going into a more general program--or don't know yet what you plan to study--then go for breadth: take courses across the curriculum in science, social science, humanities, creative arts and technology. Find out what the university's policy is on pre-requisites, because if you are missing a required course, some institutions will offer specific courses to help you complete what's needed.

Taking the required courses, though, isn't necessarily enough; you should also be sure to keep your grades up. Most universities and 4-year colleges in the US have a minimum cut-off average for general admission, which is usually between 60-70%. This required GPA varies according to the type of school you are applying to (public versus private, for instance). Quota or other highly competitive programs may require a competitive grade point average (GPA) of up to 85%. The competitive GPA can change from year to year as it is based on the quality of the applicant pool and space available in the specific program.

In addition to your academics, there are several additional things you can do to prepare for success in your university application:

  • Undertake to read and study independently. This is a good way to develop interests, expand your knowledge and improve the vocabulary and reading comprehension skills needed for your program. This will also help you if admission requirements include an interview, since you will be able to impress the interviewer or admissions committee with the knowledge you have built up of terms and issues specific to your area or program of interest.


  • Since lots of students have excellent grades, many university admissions committees base their decision partly on a student's personal qualities. These qualities can be developed through participating in extracurricular activities. Consider joining or even starting school clubs, whether related to your area of interest or not (of course if it is related to your proposed field of study, all the better!). This is also a good way to develop demonstrated leadership skills, which are also an important aspect of any competitive application.


  • Prove your work ethic. University study takes a lot of commitment and plain old hard work. Therefore, work experience -- paid or volunteer -- is an achievement often regarded highly by admissions committees. Any work experience related to your chosen field is extremely beneficial: university programs are competitive, and being able to show the admissions committee that you have some experience in the field will be a definite plus.

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    Featured Schools

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    UEI College

    At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

    Programs Offered:
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    Utica College

    What They’re Known For

    Founded in 1946 and located in the heart of central New York, Utica College is a regionally accredited, independent, private institution that features many of the advantages of a large university — such as undergraduate and graduate degree options, excellent academics, and outstanding faculty — with the intimacy and high degree of personal attention more closely associated with smaller private institutions.

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    Ultimate Medical Academy Online

    Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers industry-relevant knowledge and training for in demand careers in healthcare.

    Programs Offered:
    • A.S. - Healthcare Information Technology
    • Diploma - Medical Administrative Assistant
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    Full Sail University - Online
    Push Your Creativity To The Next Level
    Programs Offered:
    • Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
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    Platt College
    Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.
    Programs Offered:
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    Laurus College
    Get started on your career with Laurus College.
    Programs Offered:
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    Fremont College
    Fremont College traces its roots to Platt College’s founding in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1879, and the Southern California branch campus was established in 1986.
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    Brightwood College

    About Brightwood College

    Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

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    The Art Institutes system of schools

    With an education from an Art Institutes school, imagine what you could create.

    Programs Offered:
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    Milan Institute of Cosmetology
    Get hands-on training for a beauty industry career at the Milan Institute of Cosmetology.
    Programs Offered:
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