How to Apply to a University in the USA?
17 August, 2020
3 mins read
Tips and Advice
Studying in the USA is a fantastic adventure that many students around the world dream of experiencing after high school. Universities in the US are known for their academic excellence, modern campuses, and high-end facilities, as well as having a friendly, diverse community. If you’re considering studying in the US, you should know that each university has its own admission requirements and processes. However, there are some standard procedures that every university follows. Here are some tips to guide you through applying to a university in the USA:
1. Put Together a Plan
Time is an essential factor when it comes to applying for colleges in the US. There are many steps and factors to take into consideration, so it’s better to start as early as you can. A good time to start planning is around 18 months before the first college term starts. Make a plan after deciding on a major, researching the best universities in the USA, their departments and requirements, and compiling a list of potential colleges. Remember to broaden your choices and select around 3-5 universities to increase the chance of getting accepted.
2. Prepare Yourself
Universities in the US base their admission on the student’s academic performance and specific standardized tests. Some of the standardized entrance tests are GRE, GMAT, MCAT, and LSAT as well as language proficiency tests. You’ll need to know which tests to focus on according to your targeted universities; then you can set aside time to prepare to take them. An essential part of preparing to apply to college is keeping your grades up at school and getting involved in extracurricular activities or events that help you to stand out in your application.
3. Get in Touch
The next step is to go through your list of potential universities and contact the admission office to get things started. You’ll need to get the application form for each university and ask about the details of the required tests and documents. Make sure you enquire about the required grades, recommendation letters, and fees. The admission office will then ask for a non-refundable fee to process your application and will send you the form as well as brochures that cover the college’s academic programs and campuses.
4. Take the Required Tests
Once you feel prepared to take the tests required for the universities you chose, research the qualified test centers in your city. Standardized tests are the same all over the world, so any university will accept them. The tests will be related to the major you are applying to; for example, the SAT focuses on English and Math while the ACT adds science for those majoring in science-based degrees.
Since both the SAT and ACT are accepted, you can choose the one most suitable for you. The results are valid for five years which means if you didn’t get accepted to your preferred university this year, you could try the following year, and you can retake the tests if you’re not satisfied with your score. Also, don’t forget to register and take the required English language proficiency test (TOEFL or IELTS) to help you actively learn and participate in class.
5. Secure the Paperwork
Now you’re ready to submit your application to the universities you chose; you just need to make sure the paperwork is in order. The application form will have all your personal information; name, address, birthplace, etc. It will also ask you to list the activities you participated in and prepare recommendation letters from teachers. Here’s what should be attached to it, in addition:
- Academic records or grades transcripts from your high school or college if you’re applying for a postgraduate degree.
- Your resume
- Your SAT/ ACT scores
- Proof of language proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS)
- Motivation letter or Statement of Purpose
- Passport photo
Once you have all your documents prepared, make sure you mail them before each university’s application deadline in case there are any adjustments needed, then contact the admission office to confirm they have received it.
Now you’re all set! All that is left to do is wait for an acceptance letter, and then you can proceed with your US Student visa application and choose your student accommodation. Even though this process could be stressful and overwhelming, getting started earlier can save you a lot of anxiety. The summer between your junior and senior years at high school is the perfect time to take action. The more time you have, the more you can consider all your options and be well prepared for this adventure.