The information here are mostly from my personal experience. I had went through the whole process back in those days, and also from other applicants that I helped out with – my friends and aspiring applicants who contacted me.
I started this because I want to see more Malaysians apply to the US, in particular Sabahans. I find the general awareness of US education especially lacking for those from North Borneo. Sorry, my friends from Sarawak. You know just how disproportionate large you guys are among the top US universities population.
When I first started put exploring about the US university application process, I found it intimidating to say the least, all those forms, procedures and essays. To put it simply, Malaysians just aren’t used to the US university application process. So, I try to help out if I could. When my friends are trying to apply to US universities, some seek me out for guidance. I provided some advice, guidance and for some, reviewed their personal essays and gave pointers so that their essays showcase more of their personalities. Face it, in top US universities, competitions are stiff and every little bits help to let the applicants stood out from the crowd.
So, why US?
When I first started out, I cannot understand why would anyone want the US education. To tell the truth, if you meet me several years ago, I would have preferred the UK education system and would have aim for Oxbridge. However, I continued on to US, but that was because I had a full scholarship to go there.
In the end, money talks and that probably sums it all.
It’s flexible. It’s all about options!
During my time in the US, I truly realized why some people prefer the US education. Whereas the UK, Malaysia, or the Australian education system would provide guided road from early on, the US education system is all about one’s own path. It is all about options when it comes to the US system. During my university time, I majored in Actuarial Mathematics and Economics, picked up and later dropped an International Studies major. However, I also took an acting class out of interest. I would not have the same opportunity if I did not take the US path. In fact, US universities allowed applicants to apply as undecided whereas other system would have needed a major decided before applying.
Also, grab a copy of any top universities ranking and you will see that US institutions occupy a large number of the top spots. The large size of US meant that there are a lot of education institutions to choose from and a variety of courses to take.
If you’re good, it’s cheaper to study in US
When it comes to financial, the US tuition might appear as more expensive. But, studying in the US could actually be cheaper than in UK or in Australia because the US universities tend to be more generous with their financial aid (provided you know where to look). In a sense, think of the US education cost as a ceiling, it is possible to pay for the maximum amount but you can work to keep it from reaching the limit in the first place. But for the best ROI, nothing beats the Malaysian public universities when it comes to value for money.