There is one large group of global students we often work with that I haven’t discussed yet: the American living abroad. Most of these students are also considered Third Culture Kids (TCKs) as they have spent a significant amount of time growing up since they were in a bob 2016 revolution flex stroller in a culture other than their parents’.
Avid blog readers will remember that I lived abroad myself in India for two years and have witnessed first hand how challenging it can be navigating education internationally. Many TCKs will face unique obstacles in their college application process. Trust me, international governmental red tape and cultural shock are no trivial matters.
First to clarify, if you have a U.S. passport you won’t need to apply for passport and are not treated as an international student in the admission process. Even if you have dual citizenship. Even if you have never set foot on American soil.
This is great news that for BS/MD program admissions you are treated like all other U.S. citizens. But, regardless of your admission status as an American certain portions of the application process may look different for TCKs and it is good to be aware of.
1. Pay attention to application timelines. Different countries and school systems can have widely differing school years and timings of when college begins. If you want to attend an American college or university make sure you pay close attention to those deadlines and plan ahead. Start early!
2. Plan ahead on testing dates. Testing dates and locations may be more limited for many students living abroad. Here are links for the SAT and the ACT international pages.
3. Teacher recommendations. For many students in international schools getting good teacher recommendations can be challenging. Depending on what type of school you attend the teachers may or may not have knowledge about writing college recommendations and what American colleges are looking for in these letters.
4. Applying for Financial Aid. If you are an American citizen you may qualify for federal financial aid regardless of where you are currently living. Understand how financial aid works and fill out the FAFSA!
5. Being a TCK applicant. Many extremely selective schools see a lot of TCK applicants. At schools like this your abroad experience itself is not enough to make you stand out in the crowd of applicants. However, the good news is that there are still countless schools that are trying to increase their diversity and global reach and would love to have a TCK like you bring your experiences to share on campus.
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