There are more than hundred schools in the US both private and public school. Public schools is a bit cheaper compare to private schools, but it does come with a compromise. Public school tend to have more enrollments, therefore it can be competitive to apply or transfer to. There are indeed ways t o increase your chance of applying or transfer to as long as you do your homework. Having said that, it is best to point out my situation that I am international student with previous Bachelor degree. Everyone situation is different and unique to individual. Please keep that in mind as you read along.
First, University of California or UC in short is quite popular both for local and international students. Majority of students would consider USC, UCLA, UC Berkley or UC Davis, etc. These schools will be among their top three choices because of reputation, curriculum, instructors, etc. Cal State Universities are also public school but with a much affordable price. There are thousand of applicants apply to these every years, which is made it hard to apply or transfer to.
I do encourage everyone to apply as long as you meet their criteria to transfer. There are many options to be competitive in the space such as sign up for the Honors Institute or internship while pursuing your education. Since there is no requirement for recommendation letter for bachelor degree, by being part of the Honors Institute or doing internship at more points or credibility to your application. In addition to that, students need to apply for more than school and as early as possible to avoid any problems.
UC and Cal States System deadline usually begin in October and end in November. This deadline is typically the priority deadline for all applicants, which normally does not emphasize by the school. Cal States schools do accept applicant after the deadline, but those applicants would miss out some perks like being consider for scholarship, early registration and so on. This is why it is important to apply by their deadline. However, it is a bit different for private schools, students still get some perks after the hard deadline as long as students negotiate with the school.
One important aspect to keep in mind is that both UC and Cal States do not accept second bachelor degree with few exceptions on the major like nursing. I applied to San Francisco States through transfer application in which they do not state that policy clearly unlike the UC schools. Luckily, I applied to two other private schools and got accepted way earlier that San Francisco States.
The pain is that it took them more than two months to deny my application. It is not a best scenario for international students that need to comply with the immigration rules. That is why it is important to apply as early as possible. Furthermore, it tells me a lot about their support system. It is nearly impossible to get reply from them in a week. During the process, they asked for more documents to send to them via email rather than upload it to the student application portal. It took them more than two weeks to get back to me on waving the English requirement. The appealing process didn’t work out too. They just refereed me the graduate department, just to find out there are requirements for GRE for a master degree in design.
To sum up, every one is different in applying or transferring to the new school. I just want to share with you that, public schools can be daunting to get into in some circumstances. Please don’t repeat my mistake. Apply as early as possible and if your option didn’t work out, you will have time for your second move. The applicant process for international students does not know your circumstance like the I-20 expiration or grace period for transferring to the new school. It is your responsibility not theirs plus with the lengthy process from some schools, it can be worrisome.