If you are planning to study in the U.S. or Canada, you probably have a good idea of what goes into the application process: the standardized tests, the application forms, the essays and statements of purpose, and the (yikes!) financial documents. However, even all of that information may not be enough.
Colleges and universities receive applications from students all over the world, and their offices may not be equipped to thoroughly evaluate your academic documents and coursework from your country of education. So how do you make it easy for admissions officers to understand your academic qualifications and determine where you might fit into their program? This is where a credential evaluation report can come in handy.
There is no official U.S. or Canadian government office that evaluates academic credentials. Some colleges and universities evaluate international academic credentials in-house, while others will utilize a private organization. If your school’s admissions office does not already recommend a credential evaluation service, the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (naces.org) is a good place to research an established agency that will best suit your needs.
For higher education, most academic institutions recommend a “course-by-course” evaluation. When selecting a credential evaluation service, it is best to seek out an organization that includes in its report details about the length of your program of education, course descriptions, whether or not your institution is accredited, and verifies the authenticity of your documents. An added benefit is to receive a grade point average (GPA) that provides the U.S. or Canadian equivalency of your coursework, since many international universities do not provide this. Finally, a course-by-course analysis provides your education’s equivalency (bachelor’s, master’s, PhD, etc.). The evaluation report is then sent directly to the academic institution(s) where you would like to further your education.
In addition to helping admissions officers better understand your qualifications, a credentials evaluation is equally important to you as a student. The report shows what courses and electives may be transferable, saving you time and money. Knowing your GPA and how your education fits into a program’s requirements will help you identify the best schools to apply to. Students from countries that offer a three-year bachelor’s degree (such as India) may be able to immediately qualify for a graduate program in the U.S.
(World Education Services (WES) also offers the option of storing your verified documents and evaluation report indefinitely, making it easier for you to pursue a master’s degree, a doctorate program, or even employment in the future. If you think you need to store your documents for ready access, you may want to explore the WES International Credential Advantage Package (ICAP).)
As a prospective international student, going the extra mile to present your academic credentials, along with the other important preparations, puts you in a better position to determine where and how you want to further your education and to pursue these educational opportunities with confidence.
This guest blog post was written by Alli Rodenhauser and Jyothi R. from WES. You can visit their website for more information about the credential evaluation services they offer.