Foreign Credential Evaluation Service
If you want to pursue further education, get a job or immigrate to the United States of America you would require the services of a foreign credential evaluation agency which would provide you with an evaluation report that states the US equivalence of your foreign education.
International students seeking admission to colleges or universities in the US are advised to get their transcripts evaluated. A course-by-course evaluation, in addition to the US equivalence of your education, lists the subjects completed in terms of US credit hours and grades with the Grade Point Average (GPA). This enables the college or university to understand what you have studied and determine your eligibility for admission to their degree programs. It also helps them in granting transfer credits for courses already completed so that the student does not have to repeat a course unnecessarily.
To settle down in the United States you would require a visa issued by the by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Most visa applicants need a formal credential evaluation stating the US equivalence of your diploma or degree, information of the degree granting institution including its accreditation status and the duration of studies. For employment and immigration a document evaluation should suffice as credit hours and grades are not required generally. You could also opt for an education and work experience evaluation to add up to a bachelor’s degree if you have an incomplete degree or add to a bachelor’s degree to result in a master’s degree equivalence as per USCIS norms.
The easiest way to look for an agency is to search the internet. A search for a term like “foreign credential evaluation” on Google would throw up a list of agencies providing this service. One of the most important things to look for while choosing a credential evaluation agency is the turnaround time. A slight delay could cost you a semester or your job. Comparing the evaluation fees charged by different companies would show you for instance that while some companies charge you regular fees for a 72-hour service, others may provide you the same turnaround time by charging an astronomical fee for a rush job. You would also be well advised to ask them how long they keep your records to facilitate copies that may be required in future. Several agencies have made the evaluation process very simple by allowing you to order online by submitting an online application and transmitting your documents via file uploads, e-mail or fax. A few of them email or fax the electronic copy of the credential evaluation report for review prior to shipping the hard copy.
Credential evaluation agencies are independent private entities. There is no governmental body that grants approval to agencies that offer credential evaluation services. The agency or their evaluators are generally members of one or more of professional associations like NAFSA (NAFSA: Association of International Educators), AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers), EAIE (European Association of International Education), AEA (American Evaluation Association), AMIDEAST (America-Mideast Educational and Training Services, Inc.) and AICE (Association of International Credential Evaluators) to name a few.
The United States offers a wide range of options to the international student and opens a new world of opportunities to grow personally and professionally. US universities are renowned for their facilities, faculty and resources. Course choices are very flexible and one can easily move from one college to another.
University admission requires completion of 12 years of primary and secondary education culminating in a high school diploma. Admissions criteria involve the students’ GPA, class ranking, and scores at the Scholastic Aptitude Test I (SAT I) and the American College Test (ACT). International students need to submit a high school equivalency report from a foreign credential evaluation agency.
Students who have completed high school can pursue post-secondary education at a college or university leading to a bachelor’s degree in a field of concentration known as a major. There are schools that offer either a two-year degree (called an associate degree) or a four-year degree (called a bachelors degree) in a specific course of study. International students can transfer to a US college or university by submitting a course-by-course evaluation report that shows the equivalence of the courses completed in their country in terms of U.S. courses, semester credit hours and grades.
After obtaining an initial undergraduate degree a student can proceed to the second stage of university education which consists of the Master’s degree, as well as other postgraduate Diploma or Certificate courses. Master’s programs are designed for two years of full-time study, which includes the completion of a research thesis. Many graduate and law schools do not require experience after earning a bachelor’s degree to enter their programs; however, business school candidates are usually required to gain a few years of professional work experience before applying.
Students who want to advance their education beyond the master’s level in a specific field can pursue a doctorate degree, also called a PhD. A PhD degree can take between three and six years to complete, depending on the student’s educational background. The Ph.D. degree is awarded after writing a dissertation on an original piece of significant research and successfully defending the work before a panel of faculty members who specialize in the discipline. The doctoral degree is designed to train research scholars and, in many cases, future college and university faculty members.
Certain courses like law, dentistry, pharmacy and medicine are are offered as graduate study after earning at least three years of undergraduate schooling or after earning a bachelor’s degree depending on the program. These professional fields do not require a specific undergraduate major, though medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry have set prerequisite courses that must be taken before enrollment. Some of these programs have formal apprenticeship procedures like residency and internship which must be completed after graduation.