A non-US citizen’s outlook on the college application process


Mishal Nizar

Non-US citizens are having a more diffuclt time applying to colleges this year.

Cache Merriweather

The college application process for students who are immigrants or non-citizens of the United States is vastly different compared to those who are. There are many different living options that non-citizens are in, some being the H1B and H4 visas, that can determine how complicated the application process can be. Padma Danturty is one of these students, living on an H4 visa as a senior and applying to colleges both in-state, out, and in other countries. 


How is the college application process different for you compared to those who are U.S. citizens?

It’s very different for me. First off, because I’m ineligible for practically every sort of scholarship for financial aid or anything like that, especially if it’s through the federal or state governments, I’m not able to get any of those sorts of benefits at all. If I want to become a student and stay in the United States I have to pay the full tuition. But some colleges have certain grants, so the entire thing is just very difficult. Some colleges will also require you to be an international student, so you have to go through some extra hurdles like taking an English proficiency test even though you’ve been in America your whole life. 


What hardships do students who are not citizens face when it comes to college application season as well as transitioning into adulthood?

 It is different for me because I’m on a visa and not a green card. So even though we’re both non-citizens, it’s very different. If you’re still on a visa like me it’s much harder because you have to make that switch to a student visa, or F1. Right now I am dependent on my parents’ visas. The tricky thing about the switch is that you have to time it right because you need to do it before you’re 21 years old or else you can be deported. First off, they can deny you, and if you do switch, you’re basically paying international student fees. I think the scariest thing is you can get deported if you don’t get the next visa as soon as possible. On top of that, there are other restrictions, at least for me on an H4, I don’t have a social security number, so I can’t get a job until I switch to an F1. 


Are there any benefits to not being a citizen in America?

It’s hard to see them when every day you’re really upset because you feel like you’re treated so much differently by the government, but at the same time, it can be comforting to know that you have another home somewhere else. So in a way, it can be nice knowing that you have another home in India, but it’s also really hard because I don’t know much about living in that country because even though I’m an immigrant, I only lived there for a year when I was young.

Do you think that Metea has the proper resources to help people who aren’t citizens if they need it?

I would say no, but also I wouldn’t expect it from school because it’s mostly a personal thing. The problem is that my guidance counselors don’t really know how to help me or how to find these niche scholarships that I would be eligible for because there are so few. So I would say no, but also I understand why there wouldn’t be.