We know as a student you may have many questions! Why study abroad in the US or Canada? What is liberal arts? Can I change my major? These are just a few you may have. We’ve prepared a comprehensive list of questions students have about studying abroad in the US or Canada. If your question is not answered here, please feel free to contact us.

Want to study abroad in the US or Canada? Let AHEC help you with any questions you may have!
1. Why study abroad in the USA?

Home to some of the best universities in the world, it comes as no surprise that more than half of the top 20 universities in the world are in the United States! It has a long-standing history of being one of the premier destinations for international students to pursue their education at all levels. There are nearly 2,500 four-year colleges and universities in the US (and more than 1,000 two-year colleges and for-profit institutes). Read our Study Abroad in America page for more information.

2. Why study abroad in Canada?

Canada has positioned itself to become another great destination for international students. Throughout Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, there are more than 150 colleges and universities. A degree, diploma or certificate from a Canadian institution is globally recognized as an equivalent to those obtained in the USA or UK. Read our Study Abroad in Canada page for more information.

3. What are the Ivy Leagues?

The Ivy League consists of Harvard University, Yale University, Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Princeton University, Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania. However, the Ivy Leagues is actually just an athletic conference with eight universities that are best known for their competitive admission rates (<10%) and rigorous academics. In the same echelon of universities with similar admissions standards, you’ll find Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, and many more.

4. What is a U15 in Canada?

A group of Canadian Research universities that include: University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, McGill, Dalhousie University, Universite Laval (French), University of Manitoba, Queens, Western, University of Toronto, Ottawa, McMaster, Universite de Montreal (French), University of Saskatchewan, University of Waterloo.

5. What are the different deadlines for US universities?

Early Decision (binding), Early Action (non-binding), Regular Decision and Rolling Admission.  

6. What are the application deadlines for Canadian schools?

These vary significantly for each school, and can begin as early as December through April. There is usually a deadline to submit the application, and a later deadline to submit supplemental requirements (ie: uploading transcripts).

7. What is the difference between a college and a university?

College’ and ‘University’ are used interchangeably in the U.S. The more common used phrase is college. Both words refer to a school that offer a four-year undergraduate degree. A university is a large institution which has a number of colleges within it. It offers not only a Bachelor’s degree but also other degree programs such as Graduate and PhD. This differentiates it from a college which has limited or no Graduate or PhD programs. Colleges in Canada offer diploma and certificate programs. Often times it is two years and is more practical oriented. Only universities in offer degree programs in Canada.

8. What is Liberal Arts?

A Liberal Arts education allows you to study academic subjects across disciples, for example combining business and biology, communications and sociology, psychology and philosophy. Liberal Arts education emphasizes critical and analytical thinking, you learn to think outside the box, and articulate ideas clearly. Basically, you’re learning how to learn.

9. What is the difference between not-for-profit vs for-profit universities?

Non-profit colleges and universities are focused more on the student’s education and well-being; they promote internships and co-ops, activities outside of the classroom (theatre, athletics, music, etc.) and research alongside faculty or independently. For-profit institutions typically focus on getting “people in seats.” Student experience is not their focus; making money and filling quotas tend to be more important.

10. What are community colleges in the United States?

Community Colleges are two-year degree (Associates Degree) granting institutions. For many US students, this is a good way to bridge the gap between high school and obtaining a four-year Bachelor’s degree. For international students, however, community colleges are not recommended because of the lack of amenities (housing and food) provided. We have found that the US Embassy is more strict with students interview for a student visa to attend a Community College. Instead, we recommend Pathway Programs at four-year universities as a way to help with your transition from high school to university.

11. What is I don’t know what to study as a major?

The U.S is more accommodating and flexible with students interested in pursuing more than one major, or for students who are undecided on a major. More specifically, liberal arts colleges and universities promote exploring different subjects as part of their curriculum. Therefore, students are not limited to one field of study, but can venture into differing fields. For example, a student can have major in both chemistry and business.

12. When should I start my university applications to the US or Canada?

Depending on when you are interested in beginning your semester, it is advisable to calculate a year before the date when working with us. For example, if you are interested in the Fall intake (September), we would recommend starting the process in the Fall (September) of the previous year. This is not limited since some schools are more flexible than others.

13. Is the SAT/ACT or TOEFL/IELTS required for admission?

For most Ivy League and Tier 1 universities, the SAT or ACT is required to be considered for admission. For the 2021-2022 application cycle, there are more than 400 universities that are now test-optional due to COVID-19, including the Ivy Leagues and other Tier I universities. If English is your first language, and the language of instruction at your high school, then the TOEFL or IELTS can usually be waived. More and more universities are also accepting Duolingo, which is a newer, more affordable English proficiency exam that can be completed on your own time. We’ll let you know what requirements are needed to be considered for admission at each of your universities.

14. What secondary school curriculum do I need to study abroad in the US or Canada?

The U.S and Canada recognize and accept International Baccalaureate Diploma, Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), British and American curriculum.

15. I didn’t get the grades I needed, can I still study abroad in the US or Canada?

In most cases, yes. Many of our university partners offer pathway programs at some of the best universities in the US and Canada. These pathway programs, oftentimes referred to as International Year One programs or University Transfer Programs, run parallel to the first year of a Bachelor’s degree and will not add additional semester/year to your degree. The benefits of starting your degree with a pathway program are many, including the smaller classes that lead to closer student/faculty relationships and an easier application process (test scores are not required, and English waivers are available). Pathway programs are not limited to students with lower academic credentials; students who are interested in a “soft landing” with a bit more guidance and support in assimilating to a different culture, environment and academic will also benefit from a pathway program.

16. What can we expect working with an Education Consultant at AHEC?

The stress and anxiety taken off your shoulders, honest feedback and insight, ethical guidance and transparency. This is a unique experience and happens once in a student’s lifetime; we’ll help manage the stress.

17. Is it worth the money to work with an Education Consultant in Kenya?

While we cannot answer specifically for your family, we know this is a small investment into your son or daughter’s future. Investing in the process now – before it begins – will save you time and money down the road. We help your student find the right fit the first time, which saves having to go through the transfer process later. We work with the student to strategically identify their triangle schools: reach, mid-range and safety. A student doesn’t need to apply to 15 colleges; we’ll help you save time and money with application fees!

18. Does it really save time?

YES! We organize all things related to college/university in the US and Canada! It is overwhelming for most students and parents, but we love this process! Our goal is to eliminate unnecessary stress for you and your kid so you can actually enjoy the adventure – which is possible!

19. Why should we work with an education consultant in Kenya?

Your student likely has limited resources in high school, and unlimited resources online. We help you and your student get the most out of the entire college application adventure by providing one-on-one attention.

20. How often do we need to meet?

Fortunately for everyone, we have Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts (and so many more) to make our lives easier! We do like to meet students at least three times in person: initial assessment with parents, beginning applications, finalizing their decision, and visa/study permit applications. We check-in often and make sure our meetings are productive, so we don’t waste anyone’s time.