How to enroll in a bachelor’s degree in business in the USA

Lilith, our higher education specialist , after school and the gap year, decided to enroll in a bachelor’s degree in the USA. She independently applied to six universities, three of which accepted her. Lilith also helped her brother get an offer from one of the coolest universities in the USA. Lilith talks about the real life of a student in the States, approach to learning and career prospects in this article. 


About English and the desire to study in the USA

I graduated from an English secondary school in Moscow in 2014. Our school specialized in English and participated in an annual exchange program with the American high school Buckingham Browns and Nichols in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 10th grade, I went on an exchange program and lived with the family of an American student who studied Russian at school and then came to Russia with other students.

During the exchange program, I managed to visit the entire center of Boston, Harvard, the University of Massachusetts, the Boston Marathon, the Museum of Science, the Museum of Fine Arts, and also spent several days in New York.

This experience became a decisive factor in my desire to study in the USA. After 10th grade, I went to Harvard summer school for two months, where I studied English. This is not just learning English, but a real course for a young fighter: in addition to the language, we were prepared for student life, talking about the skills that future students will need and how to upgrade them. The first weeks were difficult for me – studying and living in a foreign language away from my family left its mark. I thought I couldn’t handle it, but my mom supported me every day. She convinced me that difficulties strengthen me and that I shouldn’t stop halfway towards my dream of studying at an American university.

Perhaps even better than Hogwarts

About gap year, preparing for tests and choosing universities

In 11th grade, I consciously decided to take a gap year in order to calmly prepare for admission to the USA. Unlike our countries, American students begin the preparation process at the beginning of their last school year.

Every day I independently figured out the intricacies of admission, called admissions committees to clarify details and compiled a list of universities where I should apply. Preparing for TOEFL and SAT also took quite a lot of time – I took individual lessons with a native speaker and additionally studied on my own using official test preparation guides. The SAT was very difficult for me, but the gap year played its role – I prepared thoroughly and passed the test with a decent score.

I applied to six universities for undergraduate business programs, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Vermont and Bentley University offered me offers. All the universities I chose were in the New England region, where Boston is located – this is where I fell in love during my previous trips to the USA.

ADVICE: When choosing universities, I recommend that you familiarize yourself with both the university rating and the specialty rating – this will provide more objective information for reflection. Also, don’t stop only at your dream universities if there is a lot of competition in them and it’s not easy to get in even with an ideal background. Be sure to select 3-4 reserve universities with a higher acceptance rate – plan B is never superfluous. 

My final choice fell on the University of New Hampshire. This is a public university located on a university campus. Its campus is still considered one of the most beautiful in the United States, especially in winter. Driving around campus always feels like you’re in a movie about college students: dorms, academic buildings, fraternities and sororities with Greek letters at the entrance, and lots and lots of student activity.

The University of New Hampshire also turned out to be good because there you get to know real, rural America, and not the one in big cities. It is in such an atmosphere that the country is known, and not by the crazy rhythm of New York or the glamor of Los Angeles. In addition, the cost of studying and living in such places is much lower than in the most popular locations for international students.

University of New Hampshire is beautiful in both winter and summer

As it turned out later, there were many local kids studying at the university, and I was almost the only foreigner in the group – it was an excellent opportunity to hone my English to perfection and discover the real America, its traditions and culture.

About support from the university and the intricacies of studying

I arrived a week before school to check into the dormitory and have time to “acclimatize” before the start of classes. The university helped a lot with this: an orientation week was organized for foreign students, where university staff talked about the features of studying and living on campus and helped in organizing even the simplest questions. How to open a bank account, what to buy at Walmart, where to make a SIM card – the university took care of all the everyday difficulties that international students may encounter and provided great support in solving all problems. Moreover, we had a meeting where we were told about immigration rules, work permits and other important aspects that foreign students cannot always figure out on their own.

First days at the university: orientation week with foreign students

My undergraduate program was called Finance and International Business and Economics, based at the university’s business school. I really liked that the teachers had extensive experience in financial structures, entrepreneurship and marketing. It has always been exciting and useful to learn from a professional who is good in both theory and practice.

In classes, we often discussed the latest trends in business and commerce, analyzed fresh examples and learned from real cases, rather than dryly from a textbook. For example, for our marketing class, the teacher gave us the task of watching the US Super Bowl final, the main sporting event in the United States, where one advertisement costs approximately 5 million dollars, and talk about our impressions and which commercial caught the most attention.

TIP: At US universities, semester grades are not based solely on the final exam. It is formed comprehensively and takes into account everything: homework, team projects, midterm exams and the final exam. Therefore, studying the subject the night before the exam and getting a good score will not work. Always attend pairs and actively participate in projects and discussions during class. To do this, work out a clear study-life balance in advance.

Some of the most difficult courses in my program were Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting. Our business school had a very strong accounting program, so this subject was required for students in all programs. For me and my classmates this was a real test of strength. However, it was worth it – strong knowledge allowed many graduates to receive excellent offers in the best financial companies in the country, such as PWC, EY, Earnest and Young, Putnam Investment and Fidelity Investment.

About career opportunities and helping others apply

While still studying, I started working part-time at a coffee shop on campus to cover operating expenses. Over four years of working part-time at a coffee shop, I rose from barista to general supervisor, which gave me the opportunity to improve my most important business skills and prepare for a career outside of university.

But I always wanted to additionally try my hand at working with university teachers, so I constantly monitored vacancies on campus. In order to work with a teacher, you need to have a good average score, speak perfect English and, of course, be responsible for your work responsibilities. My experience and achievements helped me get a job – I worked for one semester as a teaching assistant in business statistics and for another six months as an assistant professor in a subject called organizational behavior.

TIP: For the last class, my task was to check students’ essays and assign grades. Surprisingly, many Americans sometimes make ridiculous grammatical mistakes and it was funny that I, a foreigner, corrected them. So don’t be afraid that your language is not perfect. Everyone has mistakes and gaps, and this is absolutely normal. 

After graduating from university, I worked for a year in the finance department of the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Living in a big city and working in an international team with expats from different countries turned out to be a very contrasting experience compared to studying in a university city. It was a super rewarding and unforgettable experience. Many of my classmates also began working in their specialty immediately after graduation, and some continued their studies in master’s programs and received good scholarships and grants. For example, my classmate received the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships in the USA, which fully covers tuition.

I was not the only one in my family who studied in the USA. After me, two years later, my younger brother also became a student. Knowing all the intricacies of admission, I actively helped him with collecting documents, choosing universities, preparing motivational and recommendation letters.

When both children in a family have received American diplomas, it’s the parents’ turn

My brother also did a great job and scored 1300 on the SAT on his first try, which is above the American average, and scored 98 out of 120 on the TOEFL. High test results, grades and excellent motivation letters provided him with offers with partial funding to all universities to which he sent applications. My brother chose to study at Northeastern University in Boston, majoring in Computer and Information Science due to the high rankings of the university and the program itself, as well as the availability of co-op opportunities.

Co-op is part of the curriculum where students intern at companies in their field, earn money and gain work experience.

My brother interned in two programs: first at a start-up, and then at an insurance company in the IT department. According to him, both of these internships taught him a lot, showed him the structure of companies from the inside and highlighted the points that need to be developed if you want to become a great specialist. In May 2023, he successfully graduated from the university, and our entire family attended his graduation.

My admissions experience and helping others led me to LinguaTrip , where I can help many achieve their dream of becoming a student at a foreign university. My English, experience in applying and studying in the USA every day gives me the opportunity to communicate with dozens of students around the world to help them develop an effective admission strategy, together create a unique set of documents and submit applications to the most suitable universities.

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