Narrowing the Field

Thanks to all the students, parents and counselors who attended Linden Fairs around the world this spring! We are wrapping up with two final fairs in Bogota (Saturday, April 13) and Quito (Wednesday, April 17), so if you plan to attend either of those, don’t forget to register online!

If you’ve been to a fair already, you know that the United States offers a variety of educational options. If you have very specific educational goals in mind, narrowing your U.S. study options from over 4,000 colleges and universities to the one can be easier than those of you desiring a degree in a more commonly offered field, like business, psychology or computer science. So how do the rest of you narrow the field?

Some choose schools based on size or location. Others choose schools that offer particular clubs or sports. If you have a very specific, non-degree-related interest, that can be a great tool for narrowing your options.

Last month, I received a question from a student looking for schools with skating programs. Any idea how many colleges and universities offer figure skating? Just over 75 schools had USFS-registered figure skating programs, with just over 45 of those offering synchronized skating teams in the 2012/13 season. Now this student can match her study interests, preferred geographic location, and other requirements  with those schools that offer skating. With one question, she has narrowed her options from 4000+ colleges and universities to less than 100.

Not bad, right? Do you have a specific interest that you want in a university that could help you narrow your list?

Wisdom in Numbers

As a high school sophomore, I knew exactly where I wanted to attend university. I hadn’t decided exactly which degree program to pursue, but I knew two things: I wanted to skate, and I wanted to study abroad for a full year. My first choice was a school in Ohio that offered both of these activities, along with strong academic programs in a variety of subjects. After visiting the campus, I was sold. This was my school.

Fast-forward to the beginning of my senior year in high school. I applied to the school in Ohio along with a few others. Yet, the more I researched, the more I realized there were many schools with skating teams and study abroad programs. A friend of mine helped open my mind to other options by sharing her university research experiences. She posed questions that I hadn’t, which got me thinking. In April of that year, I had to choose. Guess where I ended up? Massachusetts.

One of the many pieces of advice I received during my university research process was, “Don’t choose a school based on where your friends go.” 

I agree. However, don’t discount your friends as resources in your school process. Our friends are our sounding boards. They share the good, help us navigate the bad and are there for us when things get truly ugly. So why not include them in the college search process?


Do you have friends who are also applying to university? Attend a university fair together! Even if you are decided on a school, see how many of the schools at the fair have the programs you want, and speak with those representatives about their schools. Listen to the questions your friends are asking. You may learn something. More importantly, you may open your mind to the possibilities and find an even better fit than you had previously imagined.

Check for a fair near you, and don’t forget to register online!

Why Register?

Many students understand the benefits of attending a university fair when searching for the school that fits them the best. Meeting someone from a potential school is especially important when a campus visit is not an option. However, they don’t often understand why it is important to register online before the fair.

If you are considering attending a fair this spring, think about the following when deciding whether or not to register online:

  • You will skip the registration line at the door, grab a brochure and gain immediate access to the fair.
  • While in the fair, you will save time by not having to fill out info cards at each university’s table. That means you will have more time to have meaningful conversations with the university representatives!
  • The representatives who are traveling from the U.S. through your city will have your information emailed to them as opposed to having to sort through written cards. This will help them follow up with you more quickly about any particular interests you have expressed in your conversation with them.

As you can see, there is a tangible benefit for students who have registered online.

Attending a spring university fair? What are you waiting on?! Register now:!

Students at the Linden Fair in Bangalore

These students registered, and they look pretty happy about it!


Happy Holidays!

The winter break is the second longest at most universities in the United States. Many students have just finished or are finishing end-of-semester exams, and in cities and towns across the United States, students are fleeing at a rapid pace. Airports and trains are filled with academically drained minds headed home for the holidays. The long break even allows international students an opportunity to return home to see family and friends. 

To students in your last days of exam week:

Take a deep breath and best of luck!

To students who have already completed the semester:

Sit back and enjoy the hard-earned vacation.

 Safe travels to wherever you may be headed and

Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season!


The Keys to College

Input “keys to success in college” into the Google search bar and what appears?

“Dealing with tough professors”

“How to succeed in the classroom”

“Time Management”

“Exam study tips” 

Did you notice anything missing? Computer skills! Not only do many schools prefer you to submit your application online, but when you arrive on campus, you are likely to be assigned many assignments that require you to type…not just a page or two, but 10, 20, 30 pages in one single assignment…and then submit the work via internet. 

Many students I met in South Asia this year informed me that they did not, in fact, learn how to type in school. If you don’t learn to type properly, you are stuck with the hunt and pick method, which unfortunately means you are steps behind your American cohorts who learned to type as eight-year-olds, if not before. As a student, this lack of typing ability won’t necessarily set you behind in a visible way, but it will mean that 20-page paper your peers completed in one day will take you twice as long. Responding to your emails will eat more of your time. Classes with a lab component requiring Excel and PowerPoint projects will be much more frustrating than need be. Why put yourself through that?

There are several resources online that can teach typing, and you will improve quickly with practice. Wondering where to go to learn the basics? Don’t worry – that same Google search bar from the first sentence can help you find exactly what you are looking for. Now input “how to type.” In your search should appear tutorials on YouTube, wikihow, typingweb and a host of other sites …for free!

Go into the world wide web, get to know your computer’s keyboard and when the time comes to register for a university fair, apply to college or write that first 20-pager, you will be ready!

Can’t make it to the fair? One Qatari student’s dilemma:

I received a great question from a student in Doha this morning:

 His Dilemma:

He is unable to attend the U.S. University Fair in Doha, but would still like to connect with the group of university representatives who will be there. Of course he could visit the schools’ websites, download informational brochures and email his questions to the representatives listed on the site, but nothing replaces face time.

 His Questions:

Can his parents attend the fair in his place? If so, is there a parent registration form online? He could only find a form for students.

The Response:

Of course! Parents who are willing to attend a fair when their children cannot is a great way to still get information from universities in person.  Be sure to have your parents complete the online registration form with YOUR details, so that after the fair, admissions officers can contact you directly about your specific interests in their school. Looking for that registration form? Go here: Linden Fair Online Registration Form!

 Important Reminder:

As a student, you are able to check the list of universities participating in the fair before the day of the fair. To get the most out of a fair that you cannot attend, send your parents with a list of your questions for specific institutions that you have researched. Looking for the list of universities participating in the fair in your city? Visit: Linden U.S. University Fairs – List by City, click on your city and look for the “Participating Universities at this Fair” link at the bottom of the page.

Questions? Find us on Facebook at or email us at

Surprising Question, Common Fear

At our first university seminar in China this March, a student came up to me and asked a question I never thought I would hear at one of our events: what kind of dances do they do in America? I gave her a puzzled look, thinking I might have misunderstood what she said. The young woman asked again, “I want to go to university in America but what kind of dances do they do? I am worried I will not know the dances.” I smiled. For the first time since I started working internationally, a student expressed a social concern about being an international student in America. 

“Truth is,” I told her, “all the MTV music videos in the world won’t prepare you for life in the United States.” I meant it. When I was in college, we did everything from the Cha Cha Slide to Soulja Boy, and how I managed to learn those dances, I’ll never know. I watched MTV, and I tried to branch out from my head-bobbing prom days. I bought new clothes for my anticipated social life at college, but inevitably, there was nothing I could do to prepare. Even as an American, I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in at my dream school.

This is what the student was addressing – the rational fear that having grown up in a different country meant she would seem silly or out of place. I didn’t grow up in Beijing, and I have no idea what it is like to be a student from an international or day school. What I do know is that every single person preparing to go to college feels the same way. Even my American friends worried they wouldn’t know the “right dances” to fit in at school. But luckily, there is good news for you – being an international student has its perks.

Most of the schools that attend our university fairs have programs to help you learn how to blend into American college life. International student support offices offer orientation programs, language help, and most importantly, a place where you can go to ask questions about all areas of campus life. It is a key part of choosing a school that is overshadowed by minimum SAT requirements, TOEFL scores, and essays. Each of the admissions officers at Linden fairs are familiar with international student needs, and part of the reason they are there is to help you decide if their school has not only the best academics, but the best support to make sure you can “do the dance.”

Linden will be in China until March 14 and in Southeast Asia March 15 – 29. To see a list of fairs and participating universities, please visit us at or on Facebook at

Let’s Talk $$$

If you have thought about applying to a university in the United States, you have also probably started researching ways to finance your U.S. education.

Watch this six-minute video on applying for financial aid in order to kick start your research:

More questions? Ask a university representative about financial aid at a university fair! Keep in mind that each school has different financial aid and scholarship options.

Find a U.S. University Fair in your city by visiting the Linden Tours Website.

Study Break: Other Ways to be Involved on Campus

The university experience in the United States is exceptional. Academic programs are strong, professors are knowledgeable and internship opportunities are plentiful. Of course you will take interesting classes, get to know your professors and pull a few “all-nighters,” but have you thought about the other on-campus activities that could become a large part of your U.S. university experience?

The first week of my freshman year at university, there was a large student activities fair on one of the athletic fields. I knew I wanted to join some of the student clubs, but with over 300 listed in the student associations directory, I wasn’t quite sure where to start. My roommate and I printed a list of the clubs in attendance and headed down to the field.

Synchronized Skating

One of many school activities - synchronized skating!

French Club, Synchronized Skating Team, Ski and Snowboard Club, Water Polo, Greek Life, 85 Broads, Ad Club, Residence Hall Association…there were more opportunities to get involved on campus than I had ever imagined. I signed up for information from about ten, actually attended intro meetings for a few of them, and finally became an active member of two.

By joining clubs, I gained an instant family. My university of over 30,000 students suddenly seemed smaller, and I learned the necessities of getting by on campus and in a new city from the upper classmen in the clubs. The next four years of membership in these clubs enriched my university experience, provided opportunities for leadership and introduced me to some incredible friends.

Pep Band - For those of you who are musically inclined

Keep in mind that most universities offer an overwhelming number of opportunities to get involved on campus, so it is important to ask admissions representatives about student life in addition to academics! Visit a U.S. University Fair for the opportunity to ask representatives in person. Click here for upcoming fair dates and locations.

The Computer-Lab Conundrum

I was nearing the end of my freshman year of high school and found myself sitting in a computer lab with about twenty classmates and my newly assigned college counselor. We were given an assignment for our hour-long “college class,” and the goal was to come up with a list of 15 colleges and universities we could see ourselves attending four years down the road.

After directing us to several online university search tools, like the College Board’s College Search feature, our counselor took a seat by the printer and waited on our university lists to come rolling out.

Within a few minutes, I had finished answering a few pages of questions, and at the end, I had a somewhat large, varied list of colleges and universities. “Hmm…how do I get this down to just 15?” I thought.

The college search tool starts off by asking several questions:

  • Four-year or two-year school?
  • Small, Medium or Large?
  • In which region or state do you want to study?
  • What do you want to study (prepare for an overwhelming large scroll menu of options)?

Of course, I narrowed my list within the hour, and now I don’t remember a single school that was on my list that day. This wasn’t the point anyway. The point of the exercise, contrary to my freshman opinion, was not to find the schools to which I would apply as a senior, or even to find a few good fits. The exercise was meant to prove that I had a long road ahead on the path to college applications. In order to choose one school of the many, I would have to consider each school that fit my handful of requirements and weed them out – trial and error. Websites, online campus tours, university fairs and, eventually, conversations with college students and admissions officers helped me narrow my application to five by my senior year in high school.

For those of you sitting in similar computer labs around the world, I invite you to come to a university fair this spring. Between fifteen and twenty-five university representatives will be at Linden University Fairs in February and March in Asia and South Asia, and conversations with these representatives will bring you one step closer to narrowing your list.

Times, Dates, Participating Universities and Locations of all Spring Fairs are at:

Like Linden U.S. University Fairs on Facebook for additional updates and information!