Checklist for Core 4 Undergrads



By Rajkamal Rao

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This page is dedicated to undergraduates - that is, those that want to pursue a traditional 4-year US education to get a BA/BS degree.

Our high-level strategy for Core 4 Undergrads is dramatically different and well exploited by a small minority of US students today.   It involves the following steps.
  1. Core Idea 1:  Take as many Advancement Placement (AP) courses as you can when you are still in your home country; 

  2. Core Idea 2:  Apply to, attend and graduate from a 2-year college in the US with an Associates Degree.  [The college must have an articulation/transfer agreement with your desired 4-year college];

  3. Core Idea 3 (Optional):  Work for one year one an Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa in your field of study after your Associates Degree to earn valuable work experience in the US.

  4. Core Idea 4:  Transfer to your desired 4-year college to complete your undergraduate education.
We admit that this approach will take you 5 years to complete a 4-year degree but the one-year OPT experience can be such a huge differentiator that it may be well worth it.  Remember, however, that you are at liberty to not exercise the Core Idea 3 option - so that you too can complete your 4-year degree year at the same time everyone else in your peer group does.  But at this point, this is getting too much in to the weeds, so let's step back.

The best way now is for you to navigate through the following links, in order.  If one of the links below has additional associated links, finish reviewing them all before returning to this page.
  1. Understand the basics about US college costs.
  2. Explore Core Idea 1.
  3. Explore Core Idea 2.
  4. Explore Core Idea 3.
  5. Explore Core Idea 4.
  6. Core 4 Step by Step Approach 


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Our promise is to empower you with as much high-quality, ethical and free advice as is possible via this website.  But students often ask us if they can engage with us for individual counseling sessions.

Individual counseling is part of the Premium Offering of Rao Advisors and involves a fee.   We suggest that you review our Note on Premium Services for more information.  Or you may contact us directly for more information about our Premium offering.

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