How to apply to US universities

How to apply to US Universities
How to apply to US Universities

In this article let’s learn how to apply to US Universities step by step. The United States of America is the most desired study destination for international students with its nearly 5,000 accredited universities and colleges. The USA is also home to top-ranking universities which offer a wide range of amazing programs to the students who want to pursue their bachelor’s or master’s abroad. These degrees are well-known, globally accepted and obviously offer life-changing opportunities to the international students.

When you decide to study in the US, remember that you are one among one million international students who join American universities every year for their higher education. Applying to US universities seems to be very much complicated and even confusing unless we know the process involved in it. But with the right approach and guidance, the entire procedure will become easy. So, here we have explained the step-by-step process from beginning to the end and also all the requirements that are needed to make an application.

Shortlist the universities:

The first and foremost thing when you want to apply for the universities is to do some research and shortlist the universities keeping in the mind the choice of programme, location, and tuition and living expenditure. You can start your research to find much detailed information about the universities and the courses that they offer at the U.S. Department of Education College Navigator site. 

Aware of the Intakes and Deadlines:

Once you are ready with the handpicked universities, try to be aware of the intakes and deadlines.  The US universities offer admissions in three different intakes in an academic year: Fall, Spring, and Summer and an academic year are divided into two semesters. 

Let’s see an overview of these intakes

IntakeApplications can be madeStarts fromNature
FALL (Also known as August intake)October to AprilAugust/SeptemberPrimary/Major Intake
SPRING (Also known as January intake)June to OctoberJanuarySecondary Intake
SUMMERSeptember to JanuaryMay/JuneNot offered by all US universities

Standardized Tests

The next step is to take the standardized and English Language Proficiency Tests which are otherwise called study abroad tests. Have a glance at the different tests.

Program LevelStandardized Test (Academic Assessment Tests) English Language Proficiency Test
UndergraduateSAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)ACT (American College Testing) IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems)
PTE (Pearson Test of English)
TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language)
Duolingo
Graduate/Postgraduate
MBA/MIM
GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)
GRE (Graduate Record Examination) 
IELTS, PTE, TOEFL, Duolingo
MS/Ph.D.GRE (Graduate Record Examination)  IELTS, PTE, TOEFL, Duolingo
Medical CoursesMCAT (Medical College Admission Test) IELTS, PTE, TOEFL, Duolingo
Law CoursesLSAT (Law School Admission Test) IELTS, PTE, TOEFL, Duolingo

Admission Requirements:

The following are the major requirements to apply for the universities in the USA.

  • Copy of a valid passport
  • 10th and 12th Grade Marksheets
  • Academic Gradesheets/Transcripts from the previous study
  • CMM and Provisional/Original Degree
  • Proof of English proficiency test scores
  • Standardized Test Scores like ACT/SAT for UG programs, GMAT/GRE scores for PG programs
  • Letters of recommendation at least 3 from the professors (employer if applicable)
  • Updated CV/Resume
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • Essays (if needed by any specific university)
  • Evidence of funds
  • Work Experience Document ( If Applicable)

Applying to the University:

Once you get all the required documents ready, proceed to apply for the Student Exchange and Visitor Programme (SEVP) designated universities. Most US universities allow students to apply online. It is ideal to apply to 4 to 6 universities. The application fee varies from $30-$100 and even some universities may waive off it.  Here keep in mind that the big universities close their priority deadlines by the 2nd week of January. The decision by the university varies from 2 to 8 weeks depending on the university. So it is always better to apply at the earliest.

Official Tests Reporting:

Once the application is made to the university, you are suggested to send the score reports like GRE or IELTS to the university through their official website.

Admit Letter:

After receiving all the necessary documents and test scores, the university reviews the student’s application and issues the admit/offer letter initially. The student, interested in that particular university, has to accept the offer and should follow the necessary steps to apply for I-20. The main important document to be submitted to the university here is evidence of funds as indicated by the particular university. 

Receiving I-20: 

Some universities require an initial deposit of $200-$2000 to issue an I-20 and some with only the submission of required documents. Once the student receives an I-20 from the desired university, the next move is the visa application process where several steps are involved. It is always a better idea to get professional guidance when applying for a visa to get a higher rate of success.

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