How To Do Credential Evaluation For The USA If You Are A Foreigner?


A foreign degree evaluation process determines the academic equivalence of a foreign degree or certification in the US context. It’s essential for validating your international educational accomplishments.

For foreigners, this evaluation is vital. The foreign credential evaluation confirms your educational qualifications, aiding in US university admissions, job applications, professional licensing, and immigration procedures, ensuring your skills and knowledge are appropriately recognized.

Steps in the Foreign Degree Evaluation Process

  • Gathering Necessary Documents: 

The first step in foreign credential evaluation involves collecting your academic documents. This generally includes original transcripts, degree certificates, and course descriptions from all post-secondary institutions attended. 

Remember, these documents may need official copies, sometimes with translations if not in English. It’s crucial to verify with your chosen evaluation service what documents are required and in what format to avoid delays or issues.

  • Selecting The Type Of Evaluation:

Credential evaluation services typically offer two types of evaluations – general and course-by-course. 

A general evaluation provides an overall degree equivalency. At the same time, a course-by-course assessment offers a detailed breakdown of each subject, including grades and credit hours. The type of evaluation you need depends on your objectives. 

For example, a course-by-course evaluation is often required if you’re seeking university admission.

  • Applying For Evaluation:

Once you’ve gathered your documents and chosen the type of evaluation, you can apply to your chosen credential evaluation service. 

This usually involves filling out an application form (either online or physical), submitting your academic documents, and paying an evaluation fee. Follow the service’s instructions closely to ensure a smooth application process.

  • Receiving And Understanding The Evaluation Report: 

Once your application is assessed, you will receive an evaluation report that outlines the US equivalency of your foreign credentials. 

It may be simple (for a general evaluation) or highly detailed (for a course-by-course review). It’s important to carefully read and understand this report as it is the final product of your foreign credential evaluation. 

It verifies your qualifications in the context of the US education system. It can be used for university admissions, job applications, professional licensing, or immigration procedures.

Choosing the Right Credential Evaluation Service

When it comes to foreign credential evaluation, selecting exemplary service is crucial. There are four main factors to consider:

  • Accreditation: 

The most crucial factor is whether the evaluation service is accredited by a recognized body, such as the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE). 

Accreditation ensures the service adheres to specific standards, thus increasing the likelihood that the evaluation will be accepted by educational institutions, employers, or licensing bodies.

  • Price: 

The cost of a foreign credential evaluation can vary significantly between providers. Different services have varying pricing structures. Some charge a fixed fee, while others may require extra payment for services such as rush processing or additional evaluation copies.

It is essential to understand what you’re getting for your money and ensure that it aligns with your budget.

  • Turnaround time: 

This refers to how long it will take for the evaluation service to process your application and provide you with the final evaluation report. 

If you have a deadline to meet, like a university application, make sure that the service you use has a turnaround time that will enable you to meet that deadline.

  • Customer service: 

Choosing responsive and supportive customer service is essential during the foreign degree evaluation process. 

The customer service offered can significantly affect your experience, especially when dealing with complex questions or issues. Therefore, it’s crucial to look for an informative and helpful service.

Conducting thorough research and considering these factors carefully can help you choose the exemplary foreign credential evaluation service that suits your needs, meets your timeframe, and fits within your budget.

Tips for a Smooth Foreign Degree Evaluation Process

A smooth foreign credential evaluation process requires careful planning and execution. Here are some tips to facilitate this:

  • Pre-evaluation Preparation: 

Before initiating the foreign degree evaluation process, familiarize yourself with the requirements of the evaluation service you’ve chosen. 

Understand the types of evaluation they offer, the documents needed, and the format they require. Preparing beforehand helps prevent delays and ensures the process goes smoothly.

  • Document Submission Tips: 

Ensure all submitted documents are authentic, transparent, and complete. Some services require documents to be sent directly from your institution, so arranging this early is wise. 

If translations are needed, they should be done by certified translators. Follow the service’s guidelines closely.

  • Follow-up Tips: After submission, it’s good practice to confirm receipt of your documents by the service. Maintained open communication lines and responded promptly to any queries or requests for additional information. 

If the service provides a way to track your application, use this to stay informed about your evaluation’s progress.

These tips ensure your foreign credential evaluation process is efficient, successful, and stress-free.

Pitfalls to Avoid in Credential Evaluation

When undertaking a foreign credential evaluation, there are certain pitfalls that, if not avoided, could potentially derail the foreign degree evaluation process. Here’s how to steer clear:

Common Mistakes In The Credential Evaluation Process

Some common errors include choosing a non-accredited evaluation service, not submitting all required documents, or submitting documents in a format the service does not accept. 

Misunderstanding the type of evaluation needed (general vs. course-by-course) is another common mistake that can lead to an unsuitable review. Lastly, not allocating enough time for the evaluation process can result in missed deadlines.

How To Avoid These Mistakes?

Do thorough research before choosing an evaluation service, ensuring a recognized body accredits it. Understand precisely what documents are required and in what format, obtaining official translations if necessary. 

Clarify the type of evaluation needed for your specific goals, and ensure you choose the correct one when applying. Most importantly, start the process well before deadlines to accommodate unexpected delays.

In Conclusion

A foreign credential evaluation is a vital bridge, translating your academic achievements to a US equivalent and unlocking numerous opportunities. 

As a prospective foreigner aiming to study, work, or immigrate to the US, don’t underestimate the importance of this process. 

By being diligent, prepared, and patient, evaluating your credentials can become crucial in achieving success in the US.

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