Study in the US - Application Process for US Universities

By Vidhya

Application Process for US Universities


Applying to universities in the US may seem daunting at first, but it's not as difficult as it seems to be. Do not let the process of application overwhelm you or hold you back from being able to study in the US.

Students often tend to underestimate the time required to apply for admission to a college or university in the United States. Plan to begin your studies well in advance and set a schedule that starts early, well in advance. Always remember, "Early bird catches the worm."

Give yourself ample time to research the institution and programme that will suit your interest, financial aids, academic and professional goals. Make sure you meet the deadlines for application, some universities may have deadline as early as 10 months before the start of the school term.

The process of application requires significant amount of time and it needs perfect cooperation from your side. For instance, you will have to provide essays and letters of recommendations from teachers.

Process of application for US universities have 4 seasons for intake:

Fall August/September
Summer April/May
Winter December

Majority of the intake happens during the fall. Also there are many universities that are open for spring, a few for summer and winter intake.

While majority of the subjects commence in fall, only a few see intake in winter and summer.

English Language Proficiency

All the students applying to the US universities are expected to have a decent score in English language proficiency tests like TOEFL and IELTS. A score of 90 or above for postgraduate, and 80 or above for undergraduate degree in TOEFL, is a decent enough score. For IELTS, score of 6.0 or above for undergraduate degrees and 6.5 or above for postgraduate degrees is required.

More than 2500 institutions in USA recognise IELTS exams for English proficiency from international students.

Standardised Tests

Most of the universities in the US require students to take one more exams to gain entrance to their programmes like SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT and so on.

Here is a list of mandatory entry requirements to be eligible for applying to a university in US:

  • For Undergraduate courses: 10+2 of education is required.

  • For Graduate: Minimum of 16years of education is required (10+2+4).

  • Some institutions also accept an education of 15years for their Bridge and Masters programmes.

  • Good and strong academic background is recommended.

  • Decent scores in entrance exams like SAT, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, IELTS etc

  • Valuable recommendation letters.

  • Strong statement of purpose or personal statement, essays and resumes.

  • Certificates in extra-curricular activity participation and achievements.

  • Sound financial background or excellent grades to avail a scholarship.
  • Credential evaluators:

    Another important feature you must keep in mind while applying for admission overseas is the credential evaluators. Not only language, the school curriculum also varies by country. Most of the schools accepting international students require the official status of your school and also need to verify the authenticity of documents.

    The application process to the US might seem a lengthy procedure as you will have to apply separately to each university. Concentrate more on areas which you can control such as revisions for entrance exams and writing strong essays and personal statements. The key to apply successfully is to allow sufficient time for yourself to complete each step of the process.

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