Sean (Yusheng) Xue is a senior saxophonist at Eastman. Coming from China, he understands the differences between the application process of the two countries and the extra work that international applicants have to do. Here are his tips of how to make your application process as an international student easier and more successful.
Read this post in Mandarin Chinese here.
5. Send only the materials requested. It is understandable that the application process might be stressful for international students. A lot of times international applicants send as many complete documents as possible (for example, photocopies of passport, bank statements) because they are concerned that if something is missing then it might delay the audition scheduling and possibly the visa application. However, Eastman does not require documents such as certificates of competitions, award portfolios and fancy DVD resumes. Applicants do not need to send photocopies of passports and proof of funding until they are accepted. Also, transcripts (academic reports) and translations of transcripts can be scanned and uploaded onto the application system, so there is no need to mail these items when you apply to Eastman. This is great for students who might have to pay a lot of money to send their materials overseas.
4. Write your own essay and make your own application. Applying to colleges in the United States is quite different from applying to colleges in other countries. The English language can be a barrier for a lot of students and some agencies might offer to make the application for you or even write the application essay for you. However, please take some time to fill out the forms by yourself and write the personal statement by yourself. The Admissions staff will have a better chance to get to know you if it is your own application essay. Who better to speak about you, than you?!
3. Take your TOEFL early. Music schools across the United States have different deadlines and TOEFL test requirements. Other schools might not ask for a TOEFL score until March, but Eastman requires an official TOEFL test score by Dec 1. We cannot schedule your audition until we receive your official TOEFL score. Scheduling a TOEFL test can be difficult in some countries because of the large number of applicants. The waiting time might be up to 2 months for a TOEFL seat. Also, it usually takes a month for you to receive the score after you take the test, and it can take another two weeks for ETS to send your score to us. So, please plan ahead, prepare, and schedule the TOEFL early.
2. Communication is your friend. If you have any sort of questions during the application process, whether it be the recommendation letters, how to upload the prescreening recording, scheduling a live audition, amount of snow in Rochester NY, or food quality in the Dining Center, anything; please feel free to send us an email. We do our best to reply within 24 hours on weekdays, or call us if you have Skype or an international calling card.
1. Don’t Panic! As stressful as the college application process may be, it is still an exciting (and sometimes even fun) experience. There are a lot of people (admissions counselors, faculty members, students, and more) who are happy to help you through the process. You will meet new people, possibly travel to new places, and be making some of the biggest decisions of your life. So, stay calm and enjoy the experience.