College Housing Costs and Amenities

You should always have realistic expectations when starting your apartment search. Part of that comes with understanding what the average cost of rent is and what apartment amenities are the most popular across the US. That’s why we partnered with LoftSmart — to create an infographic that lets you know what you can expect in your big move to the US.

The goal of the “LoftSmart Series: Answering All Your Student Housing Questions” has always been to provide you trustworthy and thorough advice. Ultimately, we hope that our posts have armed you with the great information to help with your move to the US.

 


Have a few more questions on student housing in the US? The team at LoftSmart offers tons of great resources on their site that is sure to help with your move to the US.

Ready to find your perfect place? Sign up for LoftSmart today!

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Renting an Apartment without a Financial Background

In the midst of your search for a new apartment for your time studying abroad? Finding your place is only the first (but most exciting) step.

Maybe it’s your first time on your own away from family, or maybe you’ve enjoyed your time at a previous university. But despite your prior experience with embarking to a new university, one hurdle many international students face when studying abroad is how to rent an apartment without any prior financial background.

Student properties help avert their risk of renting to students without income generally through a co-signer or guarantor. (If you’re not to familiar with what a guarantor is check out our quick definition here!) But in some instances, a guarantor may not be immediately accessible for you.

That’s why we’ve partnered with LoftSmart, the US’s leading source for student housing, to come together and help make your move a seamless and delightful process with assistance on how to rent without a financial background. Check out Flywire and LoftSmart’s tips on how to navigate signing your lease without having a substantial financial background.

Forgo a Guarantor with a Higher Deposit

Most apartments give you the option to pay a higher security deposit when signing your lease with little to no financial history. Essentially, the property is mitigating their risk in the event that your or not able to pay a month’s rent, by frontloading your payment. This is a common method in the circumstance that you’re not able to find a guarantor to assist with your lease.

Proof of Financial Assistance

If you’re an international student studying in the U.S., you may have financial aid in the form of a scholarship, loans or the financial backing of your parents that will cover your housing while you’re enrolled in college. In many cases, documentation of this assistance can be utilized in replacement of proof of your own income.

Proof of Income for Your Parents/Guardians

Another method of signing your lease without prior proof of income for yourself is through proof of income from your parents. This is generally the simplest method as the property will generally only require prior pay stubs from your parents, regardless of the country of origin, to verify that if you do not have the means to cover your month’s rent.

Utilize a US Guarantor

The final way to bypass this hurdle is through guarantor matching or services like Jetty. Essentially, these services can assume the risk on your apartment for a fee. The process works like many insurance policies.

Have a few more questions on student housing in the US? The team at LoftSmart offers tons of great resources on their site that is sure to help with your move to the US.

Ready to find your perfect place? Sign up for LoftSmart today!

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FAQ: International Student Housing in the US

The decision to study abroad comes with much excitement but assuredly, with many uncertainties as well. The moment you receive your acceptance letter a rush of emotion may take over as you’re set to spend the next year or more studying at your dream destination!

But along with the excitement of your upcoming move, we’re sure you have a few questions on logistics that coincide with your transition not only to a new university, but to a new country. Of those questions, the question of “where am I going to live?” is at the top of the list.

That’s why we’ve partnered with LoftSmart, the US’s leading source for student housing, to come together and help make your move a seamless and delightful process. To begin, check out Flywire and LoftSmart’s list of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received from international students regarding the student housing industry.

Note: Though the FAQ’s below focus solely on college housing in the US, many of the same terms and policies are reflected across countries worldwide.

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LoftSmart Series: Answering All Your Student Housing Questions

Here at Flywire we understand that making the education payment process easy and convenient contributes to our goal of boosting your student experience. For international students, the experience also involves moving to a new country to attend school — a process that many questions arise out of for those undertaking the move.

Finding resources that are not only trustworthy, but thorough enough in delivering the proper advice that is to come with your big move is difficult. That’s why we’ve partnered with LoftSmart, the US’s leading source for student housing, to come together and help make your move a seamless and delightful process. Over the next few weeks we’ll be working together to bring you all the most important information to aid in your apartment or housing search, highlighting the entire process from searching for your place to moving in.

LoftSmart is the world’s first transactional marketplace in the student housing space, revolutionizing the way students worldwide find their perfect place at their new school. Their site offers exclusive content that makes the process especially appealing to international students venturing to the US. Not only does LoftSmart make discovering your ideal property simple through their revolutionary VR tours, verified student reviews, and exclusive neighborhood guides, but they are currently the only platform that allows you to fully sign your lease and pay your apartment’s deposit, all online.

Their years of working in the college housing space makes them the verified experts and go-to source for all your housing questions. Stay tuned for what’s to come in the coming weeks through the following series, highlighting the entire journey of your move to a new school and country!

What’s to Come

  • Friday Sept, 1: FAQ: International Student Housing in the US
  • Tuesday Sept, 19: Renting an Apartment w/out Financial Background
  • Wednesday Oct, 11: College Housing Costs and Amenities
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Do I contact my roommate before school starts?

Whether you’ve already received your roommate assignment for the upcoming semester or you’re eagerly waiting for your housing information, the question of whether or not you should contact your roommate(s) has definitely crossed your mind. The answer to that question is yes!

It may feel awkward, especially if you are on the shyer side, but you will be living with this person or persons for the year so you might as well get the awkwardness over with before you get to school. Here are some important reasons why:

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2017 Westbon Spring Break Road Trip Challenge

The 2017 Westbon Spring Break Road Trip Challenge Registration is mind-blowing! What is your dream destination? Gather your friends and register today.

Check out the promo video here: https://youtu.be/88-L7sTimeE.

Spots are running out fast! Join now. Click the link to RSVP: https://www.westbon.com/…/2017-westbon-road-trip-challenge-…
#westbonroadtrip #westbon #springbreak

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2017 Westbon Road Trip Challenge

2017roadtrip-startup

Cross-country road trips are the epitome of the American experience. Books are written just to capture the excitement and joys that spring up from them, and every year, people hop into their cars to explore the U.S. Right now, Westbon is giving you the chance to have your own Great American Road Trip.

If you’re an international student studying in the U.S., register to win a spot on the 2017 Westbon Road Trip Challenge. Participants get to be part of a team, each of which will receive $1,250 cash sponsorship as travel funds. The winning team receives $2,000, so be sure to sign up! The deadline is March 17. Good luck!

 

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How Can Joining Campus Organizations Contribute to Your Academic Success?

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As a student, it can be very easy to believe that academics should be your sole priority. While it is certainly true that your coursework should take precedence, there are other opportunities on campus for both academic and personal growth—extracurriculars, for instance.

Involvement in one or more campus organizations has many advantages. For instance, participating in an extracurricular can help you more effectively manage your time. Balancing your studies with the duties of a student organization is fantastic practice for the often competing demands that will be placed on your time after university.

You can also widen your social circle. Student groups may be based around common interests, but the students who participate in these organizations are often diverse, with differing backgrounds. If English is your second language, interacting with others in this context will provide you with an excellent opportunity to improve your speaking skills.

Becoming a member of an extracurricular can demonstrate that you are more than your grades. You will be able to obtain experience with leadership, planning, problem-solving, and teamwork. These skills shine on a resume, and they may give you an advantage when applying for employment or an internship.

In addition, you may discover new strengths and talents. Campus organizations rely upon their membership to achieve their goals and to run smoothly. As you carve out a role within the group, you will learn about skills that you did not know you possessed. Conversely, you may also discover that there are tasks that you do not enjoy or excel at.

If you are a student attending university outside of your home country, extracurriculars can provide a sense of belonging and community. As a member of a campus organization, you may receive invitations to special events, such as group social outings. You may meet new study partners. Many of these connections can turn into lifelong friendships.

Many student groups also have a faculty sponsor. This can place you in direct contact with someone who may be able to assist you academically, or with possible internships or jobs.

What is the best way to discover campus organizations? First, decide which areas you are interested in or passionate about. Then, browse postings on campus bulletin boards and online forums. Speak with other students about their activities, and perhaps sit in on several meetings to get a feel for the group. Finally, look at your schedule to decide whether you can balance your academics with your extracurricular commitments. You will eventually find the perfect balance.

Becoming involved with campus organizations is very beneficial both academically and personally. University is the perfect time to branch out and to try activities that you may not have done before. So—be sure to branch out and explore life beyond the books!

 

Niki Bridges is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world’s largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.

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5 Ways International Students Can Ace Their College Applications

pen-writing-notes-studyingApplying to university—no matter which country you call home—is a complex process. International students may be unsure as to what, exactly, is needed to increase their chances of gaining admission to the American school of their dreams, but never fear! These five areas (and their associated strategies) can help students ace their college applications.

1. Entrance examinations

College entrance examinations—like the ACT and SAT—are required by many schools in the United States, whether or not the applicant is an international student. These tests are typically taken in the third year of high school. The higher your score on these exams, the more choices you generally have in regard to which colleges and universities you can attend. The more selective a school is, the higher its minimum ACT or SAT score will likely be. Prepare in advance for college entrance examinations so that you will have time to retake the test if necessary, and so that your results will arrive at the admissions office by the deadline.

2. AP or SAT Subject Tests

In addition to the aforementioned entrance examinations, many American students complete AP exams and SAT Subject Tests in order to earn college credit, as well as demonstrate to admissions officers that they are prepared for higher education. Certain selective institutions even require applicants to take one or more SAT Subject Tests. In many instances, international students can sit for these exams, as well. For instance, individuals who speak a language other than English can earn credit for mastery of their native language just by succeeding on one of these tests.

3. The IELTS or TOEFL examination

International students whose native language is not English will likely be required to prove English proficiency. Although the TOEFL is more common, some colleges and universities will also accept results from the IELTS. Be sure to review the application requirements for the schools that most interest you. Again, amply prepare for the test, and schedule your exam date well in advance of deadlines to allow for any retakes, and for scores to be reported to the college admissions office in a timely fashion.

4. Transcripts

In addition to earning great grades in high school, international students must also have their transcripts translated (and, in certain cases, evaluated) if they attended class in a language other than English. There are several organizations that will translate and evaluate your transcript. You can receive help with this process from your current school, from a university in your home country, or from organizations that assist international students with American study opportunities. This process does, however, take time, so build it into your schedule.

5. Extracurricular abilities and interests

In the United States, college admissions is not just about test scores and grades. Schools are seeking students who are an ideal fit for their institutions—those individuals who will do well and enhance the school experience for other students. Once an applicant completes the exams and paperwork required to submit his or her application, he or she will still need to make this application stand out from others in order to be accepted. This is an area where international students can shine. By definition, international students have experiences that are outside the norm for American students. For example, international students are typically more likely to be multilingual than American students, even if they are from an English-speaking country. International students who are interested in attending college in the United States should make an effort to show that they are well-rounded and have interests and abilities outside of their area of study. They should also make sure to do their research and communicate why they want to attend a particular college or university.

Whether a student is from the United States or not, the college application process involves doing well on tests, doing well in courses, and demonstrating that the student is a well-rounded individual. International students sometimes have the added burden of extra steps, but in the end, those individuals who satisfy this criteria have a strong shot at acing their college applications.

 

Dana Elmore is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world’s largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.

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Understanding how money works differently in the US and why credit is so important

selfscore

Provided by SelfScore, a company founded by former international students to provide today’s international students access to scholarships, student loans (coming soon), and fair credit.

When international students come to the United States to attend university, finances are always a major concern—it’s the single biggest barrier to the privileges of studying abroad. If you’re fortunate enough to have a scholarship and ample money from home to help with finances while you study, you may not feel the need to seek out other sources of income. But whether you need the extra money or not, it’s highly recommended that you find a way to get a proper US credit card.

This is different from a bank or debit card that may have the logo of a credit card company on the front. These cards only offer access to money you already have in your bank account. They do not build your credit. The US economy is built upon credit and lending. Ultimately, the credit system boils down to trust. When a bank gives you a credit card or a loan, they are doing so because they trust you to pay them back. And the most common way people build that trust is by using credit cards and paying their credit card bills on time.

Here are four benefits of using credit cards:

1. Your Credit Score

You create good credit by borrowing money and paying it back promptly. Some US citizens borrow money in the form of loans for large purchases, in addition to using credit cards. By demonstrating that you can pay back money that you borrow, in small or large amounts, you’re establishing good credit which is reflected by your credit score. Your credit score says a lot about you. It’s a grade for your financial performance, just like the ones you get at school. That grade matters to banks who are determining your interest rate, landlords who are deciding whether or not you will be responsible with your rent, and insurance companies who are setting your monthly payments. Here’s how they read your credit score as a grade:

580 OR LOWER: F

580-619: D

620-679: C

680-719: B

720 OR HIGHER: A

Ideally, you want a score of 680 or higher. The good news is that the burden on you is simply paying back your credit balance on time. Only missing or avoiding payments adversely affects your credit score. Once you’ve started using your credit card for 6 months, check with your bank to find out the status of your US credit.

2. Independence

Pay for dinner, books, and toothbrushes right now, without waiting to receive your next cash wire transfer from home. When you receive money via wire or mail, use this to pay off your credit balance as soon as possible. In the meantime, you don’t have to worry about timing or delays in money you may be getting from home or even a job. By building credit you are also building financial independence in the US. With a good credit score built through a history of positive credit card use, you can sign a lease, rent a car, or sign up for a cell phone.

3. Subscriptions

Recurring payments such as subscriptions or other monthly bills are most easily made with a credit card. While you can use a debit card for these payments, it’s best to avoid overdrafts and other complications by using a proper credit card and paying off the balance all at once with your monthly credit card payment. Setting up automatic payments with your credit card for recurring bills and subscriptions is a great way to build your credit score. It demonstrates that you pay your bills on time. And some services such as cellphone companies insist you keep a proper credit card on file.

4. Safety

Paying with a credit card, either in person or online, is actually safer than paying with a debit card. When your debit card is compromised, whether through fraud or unstable payment infrastructure, that card is tied to your cash assets. Your resources are extremely vulnerable when that information enters the wrong hands. And even though banks provide fraud protection for debit cards, you can loose access to your cash during the time it takes for your bank to investigate and process your claim. With a credit card, your cash is never touched and fraud claims can be resolved before your next payment is due.

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