This article is written with the intention to share my experience with next grades.
I went to UCLA in Spring term, namely from March 2019 to June 2019. If you are considering applying for a foreign university, an appropriate time to begin would be half a year before the date when you know your result. For example, I began my application in August 2018.
It is true that applying with the help of an agency will save you some efforts, like housing and all kinds of financial problems, but you have to pay more. Though those agencies will not tell you how much they take, I guess they take away about 10 thousand RMB. It is your choice to decide whether you want to spend more money and less effort or less money more effort. Of course, one of the big advantages of applying by an agency is that you can meet a lot of interesting people from mainland China, and living together and chatting together with them will definitely be an unforgettable memory for you.
When it comes to housing, we can’t avoid talking about our roommates. Usually, the houses that are available for renting are apartments, with beds for 5 or 6 people and 2 people share a room. The kitchen and living room are public areas. If you want to greatly improve your spoken English during your stay abroad, I strongly suggest you finding a foreign roommate, or the time you spend speaking English everyday may not be more than that when you are preparing for you TOEFL or IELTS tests. But do remember that it is not a good choice to have a Japanese roommate, because usually they don’t understand what you are talking about and neither do you understand what he/she is talking about.
Then I will share my view on their education only from the aspect of a student majoring in science. To be honest, students from 985 universities in China can easily get an A in almost every course, if they are studying in universities that are not the top 10 in US. And one of the reasons that they can easily get high scores is that, from my own aspect, the level of courses in America is not higher than that in China. The semester in US is rather short, for example, there are only ten weeks in one term in UCLA. And the way they count credits is different from that in China. Any course, as long as it takes more than 3 hours a week, can be a 4-credits course. Therefore, it would be a good way to try to make up your credits and improve your GPA here in US. Personally, the biggest advantage studying in US would be the English environment. After staying in UCLA for a semester, I found myself having a different view about academic courses and research. As you may know, English is the language for scientific research. If you decide to stay in the academic field, there is no way that you can avoid English. And there would be a great chance that you will spend a lot of time on reading English papers and attending English meetings. Personally speaking, for students who have studied abroad, the efficiency of them reading papers may be higher than students who have always been under Chinese education.
In the last second paragraph are some preparations for those who are going to study in US. First, it is not safe in US, the criminal rate is rather high, especially in downtown. We usually dared not to walk out alone in the night. Second, personally speaking, the food in US is kind of expensive and not that delicious. It will cost you a lot if you want to have some nice food. Third, your living expenses can be controlled to a very small number. If you cook by yourself, probably you will only spend 40 dollars in 3 days.
At last, wish you all get your dream completed when you graduate~