When applying to university in the USA there are a few steps you’ll have to take beyond simply picking your favourite university and course. Below you’ll find some brief information on what international students must do to successfully apply to an American educational institution.
Before making a formal course application you must ensure you are adequately qualified and stand a good chance of acceptance. Most courses state their entry requirements online or in their prospectus, but international students will often have qualifications different to those demanded. Contact the university or use an agency such as IEC Abroad to help determine the value of your international qualifications, and which courses you are eligible for. It is recommended that international students contact preferred institutions a year prior to their application.
The requirements to study in USA universities vary between each institution as America has no centralised application process. After writing to your preferred university you will need to send a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and examples of your qualifications. Other information you may be asked to provide includes extra-curricular activities, family information, and a career goals essay. Application fees vary from $35 – $100 and are typically due between November and January for courses beginning in September.
For some courses your prior qualifications may be deemed sufficient to gain entry onto a course, however many undergraduate students will be required to take the Scholarship Aptitude Test or the alternative American College Testing exam. This test takes three hours followed by fifty minutes to complete an essay. Scores on the SAT range from 600 to 2400, and different institutions will have certain scores they expect you to achieve. The test costs around $100 to take outside the United States, and can be taken at several points throughout the year.
International students will require either an M1 or F1 type visa to attend an American University. Students should apply for a visa in good time prior to their arrival, as there are additional steps required beyond a simple application. Physical interviews are almost always required, taking place at your local embassy or consulate.
Many courses have minimum requirements regarding the English language proficiency of their international students, and whilst there are several ways you may demonstrate this, the simplest option is to take either the IELTS or TOEFL tests. These tests are offered at various locations throughout the year, and if you fail to achieve the scores required by your institution you may take it again after twelve days. It is recommended to register for a test around four months before your chosen date, which in itself should be two to three months prior to your application deadline.
There are quite a few pieces of documentation an international student may need, so it is wise to acquire them well ahead of time. Having physical copies of all educational qualifications is useful, and any documents which prove your ability to fund yourself are essential. These may come in the form of bank statements or scholarship acceptance letters.
If you have any questions about the process or requirements to study in the USA for international students, contact IEC Abroad today.