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Attending College in the U.S.
The United States has some of the best colleges in the world but it also has one of the most expensive college education systems in the world. Therefore finding funding to pay for college is a concern for most people planning to attend college in the U.S., American and international students alike. No wonder parents are urged to start saving for college from when a child is born. If you are not so lucky to come from a wealthy family, have parents who have not saved enough for college, or worse still you come from a country where the exchange rate does not even begin to compare to the dollar there is hope. This comes in the form of full tuition scholarships for international students.
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Finding Funding for College
Finding funding for college can be tricky business but the secret is to start early. You don't have to wait until the year before you plan on enrolling. Start early. Always be on the lookout for funding sources. Each time you find a potential funding source tuck it away in a specially-designated computer or paper file. Each time you find a source write up a short summary about it, including the deadline and a website where you can always go back to find out more. Whenever you are surfing the Internet, listening to or watching the news or leafing through your favorite magazine you are on the lookout.
Also, check your associations and social connections as potential sources of funding. Check you and your parents' employers, your religious organizations, you and your parents' social clubs, other social clubs like Rotary International and Lions Club. The last two are international and have different programs in different countries, so make sure to check your local chapters. Also, check your home government, because it may provide some funding or be able to put you in touch with foundations that do. Another good source of information is your high school guidance counselor as well as the financial aid offices of colleges you may be considering. They may have the list of organizations that have provided funding to international students in the past. Finally, another valuable source of information is the United States Information Service in your country. This office is usually attached to the American embassy. Some USIS offices also provide special programming for people interested in schooling in the U.S., and this usually includes information on scholarships and financial aid.
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The Application Process
Once you have your list of potential external scholarships you'll then need to make your list of schools that offer full tuition scholarships. You'll need to coordinate all the deadlines involved. The schools that offer full tuition scholarships to international students are usually private, more expensive and for more competitive schools. State schools are government funded and have a special obligation to the citizens of the state. They are often unable to provide the kinds of scholarships that private schools can.
However, do not let this discourage you. You just need to start early and to apply to as many schools as possible. Use valuable resources such as a list of schools that provide funding to international students, as well as a college directory to narrow your search. Since you are applying for full scholarships your application needs to start at least the September before the fall you plan on enrolling. Take special care with the application process, especially the personal statements and other essays. Your likelihood of getting a full tuition scholarship will rest largely on your college application.