Isn’t it great. One of the most aggressive online promoters of US higher education to foreign students says it’s narrowed the process down to a five-step program. Five little steps to transform yourself into an American undergrad and all the benefits that go with that.

Let’s forget, for a moment, that battle royale going on among various sectors of the US Government. Visas. Permits. Family. Residency. Proof. You hear about it every day.

So, instead, let’s move on to their five-point plan:

Step 1 – Research Your Choices.  Thank goodness they offered that nugget; can you imagine doing this without performing some level of research based on what you want and can do?

Step 2 – Finance Your Studies. That’s right. Before you even apply or visit or assess the school, by all means, collect all the money you can and begin applying for every grant, scholarship, and discount known to higher education. And, while you’re at it: get a job.

We interrupt this inane list to insert another item – Learn English. There, I said it. If you don’t have some level of competency with the primary language of the USA, you will be forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn nothing and taken nothing away from your investment of time and money (not that American-born students don’t have that unfortunate problem, too.)

Returning, now:

Step 3 – Complete Your Application.  These are mighty ambitious folks, these list-makers Apply to school. As the third step. How many schools? Which schools have folks “most like me” or graduates who have successfully matriculated into the job you covet. Sorry. Looks like you’re on your own for that.

Step 4  — Apply for your Student Visas.   Good luck with that. As an outsider, I’d have started the list with that. It is a process that takes time and money. And if you don’t have both, you don’t have a great shot at landing in the classroom of your dreams.

Step 5 – Prepare for Your Departure.  As I said – terribly ambitious without specifics or realistic expectations.

No discussion of grades and background. No mention of language. No real pricing and payment strategies. Just research, get yourself financed, write an application, and get your visas and airline tickets.

That’s not the way. Not anymore. Think about stretching your favorite target American college to reach your hometown in Serbia or Spain or South America. Online programs let you bring the learning to you. After one or two classes, your chances of admission and success are dramatically increased.

Moral of the story: just because someone says they have a checklist and program to get you across the Ocean and into America as a student…it isn’t necessarily so.