Are you a Nigerian student that has just completed secondary education and wishes to attend a college or university in USA or Canada on scholarship? Are you a University graduate who wishes to pursue a post graduate degree in the USA or Canada on scholarship? If your answer to any of the above questions is “yes”, then, you are in the right place. We are here to make your dream come true.
In order to achieve your desire to study abroad, the greatest thing you need is knowledge. You need to understand all the processes involved and know exactly what you are required to do at any point in time. The steps involved can be summarized as follows:
- Preparation and Sitting for the relevant exams
- Applying to selected Schools
- Preparing for Visa Interview
- Get your International Passport
The first thing you need to do is to obtain an international passport if you don’t have one already. This is very important because you will use it for every process that will follow, which includes serving as an identity card during the international exams you will write in the near future.
It can be obtained from the National Immigration Service offices anywhere in Nigeria. You will need two passport photographs of 2 by 2 inches each. The cost ranges from NGN 10,000.00 to NGN 20,000.00. The variation in cost depends on the agents used, city, urgency and other factors.
- Start your school search
A good place to start is the internet or a counsellor. There are many factors to consider before selecting a school. Some of them are:
Location: Do you have relatives in the United States or Canada? Do you want to choose schools close to them?
Cost: The tuition fees of Universities in America vary a great deal. The range is from about $16,000.00 to $64,000.00 per session. How much can you afford or are you hoping to get some form of scholarship? You have to consider schools that meet your financial ability. Also, cost of living is not the same in all American cities. So, if you choose to school in New York, don’t expect the cost of food, accommodation etc to be the same as other remote towns.
Course Availability: You must make sure that the course you want to study is available in the school you choose. There are over 3,000 universities and colleges to choose from.
If your studies in America will depend on scholarship, then, you have to limit your search to schools that can readily grant scholarships to foreign students. This greatly depends on your SAT or GRE score. There are limited enrolment and scholarship opportunities for students wishing to enrol in January, so, fall (August) is the best time to enrol if you desire a scholarship. There are schools that can give students up to 100% scholarship depending on the availability of the scholarship and the student’s performance in the prerequisite exams. Also, there are schools that can offer graduate assistant opportunities to post graduate students. This can help in offsetting some of your bills when you get there. Generally, do your research and application early enough before the application deadline.
You need to have your schools ready before filling the SAT registration form as there is a column for a maximum of four schools free with registration. You can add extra four schools with your registration but it will cost you $11.00 for each extra school. If you are a post graduate student, you will fill your schools (maximum of 5 for GMAT and 4 for GRE) immediately after sitting for the GRE or GMAT exam on the exam day at the exam centre. If you wish to apply to more schools, then, you will have to do score reporting which costs $25.00 per school for GRE and $28.00 per school for GMAT.
- Sit for the exams
Identify the exams you need to sit for and start preparation. If you have your West African Senior School Certificate Exam (WASSCE) results and wish to pursue an undergraduate degree in the United States or Canada, then, you need to sit for the SAT and TOEFL. But, if you already have your degree from the university and wishes to go for a Masters degree in the US, then, you need to sit for the GRE or GMAT and then, the TOEFL. If you want to study for a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) or a Masters degree in Management, then you need to sit for the GMAT and TOEFL. But, if you want a postgraduate degree in Engineering, science or MSc, then, you will sit for the GRE and TOEFL. An alternative for TOEFL is the IELTS, but it is not all schools that accept it. If you choose to sit for the IELTS, you must find out if your schools accept it before opting for it, otherwise TOEFL remains your best choice.
- Apply to Schools
Now, that you have chosen your schools, it is time to apply to all of them one by one.
Applications can be done on-line (in most schools) or through post for all schools. Every school charges an application fee which ranges from $20.00 to $150.00. Every school has their own admission requirements but they generally have similar requirements. Some basic admission requirements are:
- TOEFL Score
- SAT or GRE/GMAT Score
- High School Transcripts or University Transcripts
- WAEC result
- Bank Statement within the last 6 months
- Recommendation Letter
- Other certificates received
Each school has its own deadline for application, so, be sure to apply on time. The exam scores will not be sent by you but by the exam body directly to the school. That is why you will fill-in the school you want to receive your scores on the exam day (for GRE/GMAT) or in the registration form (for SAT). When sending your WASSCE result, include a scratch card which they will use to confirm your result from WAEC’s website.
- Pay the Sevis Fee and the Visa Fee
When you have received your admission letter and I-20 form from the school, the next step is to pay the sevis fee and commence preparation for visa interview. The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the web-accessible database for monitoring information about exchange visitors, international students and scholars subject to this program. It was established by the Department of Homeland Security in the United States, and is administered by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). The sevis fee is required of all foreign nationals who come into the United States for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study. After paying the sevis fee, then pay the visa fees. In Nigeria, it is paid to any Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) branch and it costs NGN 26,400.00
- Fill the DS-160 Form and Book for a Visa Interview
When you have paid both the sevis and visa fees, fill the DS-160 form on-line. You will need to create a user id (your e-mail) and password. Complete all pages of the form and print the confirmation page. You will need to take the confirmation page printout to the US embassy.
After filling the DS-160 form, book a visa interview date on-line and also print out the confirmation. You will have the option of selecting either the US embassy in Lagos or in Abuja as well as selecting the passport pick-up point if you successfully obtain a visa.