I started college in Brazil, but dropped out before getting any credits, and now want to apply for college in the US

Hello, I graduated from High School this year, on March, though I was actually supposed to graduate on December, last year, but there was a delay because of the pandemic. I finished High School on a Brazilian public school during the Covid-19 pandemic, so it was really messy, and it was kind of impossible to really learn anything on the last to years of my High School. For example, I didn’t have a Math teacher for almost a whole year, and my Biology teacher didn’t have a computer, so I also didn’t have Biology classes for a year. I had to complete my last year of High School in only 7 months, so I didn’t have time for anything other than studying and doing coursework, I almost didn’t sleep. Because of all that, it felt like it was impossible for me to go study in the US, which had been my dream for a long time. So, when I passed in a Brazilian university on March, this year, right after I graduated High School, my family pressured me into enrolling, and I went along. I only took three months of classes on my university here, and didn’t earn any credits, before dropping out. I was very unhappy there, for multiple reasons, some personal, and also I wasn’t ready to start college right after my High School, which taught me almost nothing and was hell. So I decided to drop out, and to learn all the things that I hadn’t learned on High School, and than go to college. I really want to apply to the US this fall, but I don’t know if I have any chances of getting accepted, since my secondary studies were so messy, and because I started college somewhere else and now I’m kind of in a gap year.

First things first- what is your budget?


Given your shaky high school experience, I’d suggest taking some community college classes first. Lots of foreign students do this.


The first thing to realize is that there are thousands of universities and colleges in the US. Getting accepted somewhere is not hard. Getting accepted to a university ranked very roughly between 100 and 200 is not all that difficult, and at this level you are still looking at universities that are quite good. Getting accepted to a reputable university is usually not the biggest problem.

A bigger problem is usually that university in the US is expensive. There are only a tiny handful of “liberal arts colleges” and universities that offer full need based financial aid for international students, and they are all very competitive for admissions. Thus the question above about your budget is very relevant.

You mentioned personal issues that you needed to resolve. One thing to keep in mind is that going away to a foreign country to study in university is stressful. You will want to get any personal issues resolved before you start university. It is entirely possible for international students to be unhappy here also. Life is not a race and there is nothing wrong with taking a year or two off before starting university.

At this point it is very late for applying for university in the US starting in September of 2022. In most cases universities already have nearly all of their incoming class already set and ready to go. International students have already been accepted and sent in their visa applications. Again however life is not a race and there is plenty of time if you intend to start in September of 2023. Alternately community colleges typically allow much later applications and you could start there. In this case I am however not familiar with what would be the timeline for getting a student visa to study in the US.

To do well in university, your study skills are probably more important than anything else that you will learn in high school (although math skills and the ability to write clearly are also important, as are other things). Many students coming out of high school are really not ready for the academic intensity and need to focus and stay ahead in a wide range of study tasks that you are going to find in university. For some students it may be better to start with a moderate number of classes in a community college. If you do well in those then this will help you to be prepared to do well in university.

The last thing that I thought that I would add: International students are expected to return to their home country after graduating university in the US. Do not expect a degree from a university in the US to allow you to stay here. If in your interview for your student visa you tell US immigration that you intend to stay in the US after graduation, this is a reason for a student visa to be rejected.

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