Tips on How to Apply to U.S. Universities


Our Guest Blogger is Emma, one of our great tutors!

So, you’ve decided to apply to schools in the U.S. What next? The application process is already complicated enough for an American high school student, but for international students it can be even more confusing. Here are the basic steps for applying to universities in the United States.

Do your research. This first step is crucial to your decision to study in the United States. Factors such as weather, location, city size, degrees offered, and faculty can all influence which universities you might want to attend, so it is important to research these things. Once you narrow down the schools in which you are interested, you can move on to the next step!

Contact schools for information. A quick search on a university’s website can take you to their page for international admissions. Emailing the director or another staff member about the requirements not only ensures you will get instructions from someone who knows the process, but it will also show your sincere interest in the school. You can also ask for the emails of some current international students, possibly from your own country, to get their personal feedback on what attending the school is like, their experiences, and how they navigated the application process. You can even use to speak to American college students to talk about university life.

Take required entrance exams. Schools in the U.S. usually require students to send in standardized test scores. The tests accepted vary by school, but most accept ACT or SAT scores. If you come from a country that speaks a language other than English, the university may also require additional exams such as the TOEFL or IELTS. Refer to the individual universities for their specific requirements.

Fill out applications. Give yourself plenty of time to fill out your applications. You will need personal information, your test scores, and one or more essays depending on the school. The essays usually take the longest amount of time to complete, and it is essential that you write thoughtful answers that tell the university about yourself. The essays are your chance to stand apart from the other applicants. Applications for most universities in the U.S. are usually due in December or January.

Wait, compare, and decide! This is probably more stressful than filling out the application, because there can be months of waiting without any word from the universities. All you can do is stay patient. Universities usually mail out their decisions beginning in March. Once you hear from all of your schools and compare factors such as preference, cost, and financial aid, you can make your decision. Most universities require you to either accept or reject their offer of admissions by May.

Get your student visa. Now that you’ve decided which university to attend, you can apply for your student visa. Your university can help you with getting the proper paperwork for this step. It’s important to do this a few months before you plan on being in the U.S. in case any issues arise.

Now you have everything you need to attend university in the U.S.—all that’s missing is the flight. Good luck!

For more information on attending university in the U.S., check out this super helpful website!

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